Ebola Is Here, Twitter Freaks Out Vol. 2 [UPDATED]

Categories: Health

Via Twitter
We all know his name. We all know where he lives. We all know where he bowls. Social media has absolutely exploded in the 15-or-so hours since New York City announced its first confirmed Ebola case. New Yorkers have had much to say about the city's response (de Blasio's got this, btw), the fear-stoking media coverage, the alarmist public reaction, and the patient himself -- Dr. Craig Spencer, to those who passed out before 9 p.m. last night and are only just now waking up. The Village Voice is wading through Twitter to find our favorite responses to the thus-far-not-really-a-crisis. We'll keep adding to the list as long as you all keep sending your thoughts out into the world. Since there's no chance of that not happening, who knows how long we can keep this up.

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Make Your Own Crisis Mode de Blasio Meme

"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups..."
By now you've heard the news: A 33-year-old doctor who recently traveled to Guinea to treat patients with Ebola tested positive for the disease on Thursday here in New York. Craig Spencer is currently in isolation at Bellevue Hospital. His girlfriend and two friends who had contact with Spencer are in isolation as well.

But don't panic -- de Blasio has got this, guys. If there was any doubt in your mind, just look at the photo he posted to Twitter last night, then let sweet relief cascade over you in slow, soothing waves.

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Jury Awards Upstate Man $41 Million for 16-Year Wrongful Imprisonment

Categories: Justice

In 1989, then-16-year-old Jeffrey Deskovic confessed to the murder and rape of a 15-year-old classmate in Putnam County, New York. He was convicted and sentenced to 15-years-to-life in prison. He claimed that police had coerced the confession and that he was wrongly convicted. In 2006, DNA testing showed that Deskovic actually was innocent. DNA found on the victim matched that of another man in prison, Steven Cunningham, who had been convicted for murder.

Cunningham was exonerated and released. He sued Putnam County. On Thursday a federal jury ruled in Deskovic's favor and awarded him $41.65 million in damages.

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Ten Things to Do for $10 or Less This Weekend, Oct. 24-26, 2014

Categories: Culture

Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp read from Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been this weekend.
This weekend, you can visit a haunted hotel or a haunted fortress on the fringes of Queens. You can see dogs in costume or dingoes diving into pumpkins. But if you're overwhelmed by the Halloween spirit, Jenny Slate reads from Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I've Ever Been at BookCourt; a new board-game café opens in Williamsburg; and more.

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Want to Become an NYC Sanitation Worker? If You're Lucky, It'll Only Take Seven Years

Photo credit: mugley via Compfight cc
Getting one of New York's toughest jobs is half the battle.

The race to join New York's Strongest is about to begin. The New York City Sanitation Department exam, which will be held in February 2015, is open for applicants until the end of the month.

Getting in with the crew, though, sounds like a lottery -- or some kind of Kafkaesque shit-show -- only with feats of strength.

First, you've got to be 17 and a half years old with a high school diploma to be eligible for the exam. And you'll have some competition: If 2007 -- the last time the test was administered -- was any indication, you'll be taking it with more than 30,000 other people.

If you pass the test in February, you get to take another test, one of physical strength, known as the "Superman" test, which involves lugging around 30-pound trashcans and may or may not have caused heart attacks. You're then placed on yet another list and ranked according to your overall scores. Along with the written and physical tests, you'll have to pass a medical exam and possess a commercial driver's license. And once you've done all that...keep waiting.

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Seven Movies Out This Weekend You Don't Know About But Should

Categories: Film and TV

Each week new movies open in New York (and online) by the dozen. The Voice reviews all of 'em. Here are some you might not have heard about that got our critics excited, for better or worse:

Here's some rare good news: Two weeks in a row we've had first-rate horror flicks. Last week, Chuck Wilson touted writer/director Gerald Johnstone's Kiwi shut-in shears-and-teddy-bear freak-out Housebound, which is available on demand and totally worth your time if you're the kind of person intrigued by that description.

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The New York City Council Just Revolted Against the Feds, and They're Not the First

Categories: Immigration, NYPD

Photo Credit: Victor Zapanta via Compfight cc
New York City law enforcement will largely cease cooperating with controversial immigration detainer requests.
For years now, local police departments have been playing an increasingly pivotal role in enforcing federal immigration laws.

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Here's How Unbiased GamerGate Crusaders Would 'Review' Citizen Kane

Categories: Film and TV

Someday soon, after the happy warriors of GamerGate have saved journalism, arts criticism will enter a golden new age of objectivity.

That's the vision laid out by Milo Yiannopoulos over at Breitbart.com, a website now dedicated to chumming the water for aggrieved gamer dudes as well as its usual Palinistas. Yiannopoulos dreams up a future where GamerGate -- which he defines as a "consumer revolt against shoddy ethics and bias in video-games journalism" -- has unlocked the rarest achievement of them all: "unbiased" coverage of games and game culture.

Of course, writing an "unbiased" review is as hard for a critic as it is for a GamerGater (or Breitbarter) to get through a day without feminists RUINING EVERYTHING.

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Cuomo Says the 'Situation Is Under Control' in NYC While Ebola Breaks Twitter

Categories: Health

Via Twitter
Cuomo: "We're doing everything we should be doing."
Reaction to the first reported case of Ebola in New York City ranged from swift and measured to explosive and histrionic as the city familiarized itself with Dr. Craig Spencer, his exercise habits, and his bowling game.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo called a 9 p.m. press conference to reassure the city that the case involving the 33-year-old Spencer, recently returned from a Doctors Without Borders mission in Guinea, is an isolated incident that has been handled properly and expertly by the New York City Department of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, first responders, and Bellevue Hospital medical staff.

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Doctor With Ebola-like Symptoms Rushed to Hospital in NYC

Paramedics rushed a doctor in West Harlem to Bellevue Hospital on Thursday after he started showing Ebola-like symptoms.

Craig Spencer, 33, a physician with Doctors Without Borders, treated Ebola patients in Guinea, Africa, before returning to New York City more than a week ago, according to the Post. FDNY hazardous-materials specialists, clad in protective gear, sealed off Spencer's apartment on West 147th Street.

See also: What If an Ebola Case Lands at JFK?

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Owners of AIDS Care Facility Stuck With Building After Booting Patients

Categories: Health Care

Katie Toth
Rivington House, founded in 1995, is closing its doors. "It's a shame," says activist Kathleen Webster.

Rivington House, the city's lone nursing home dedicated to treating people with AIDS, is closing -- whether its owners have a buyer or not.

The nonprofit founded the historic nursing home in 1995, at the height of the AIDS crisis, to offer specialized hospice and nursing care at a time of stigma and fear. But for the last few years, the nursing home has been only half-full. Administrators say that's because AIDS is no longer the automatic death sentence it once was.

"What the need was then -- people were coming in our doors and dying every week or so," says Robert Goldman, communications director for VillageCare, which owns and operates the Lower East Side live-in and specialty outpatient facility. "That need has declined...[it's] not there in that large volume anymore."

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You are More Likely to Be Hit by an NYPD Car Than Any Other City Vehicle

Categories: Pedestrians

New York City Department of Planning
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer released a report on Thursday showing that pedestrian injuries caused by city vehicles have cost New York City taxpayers almost $90 million in settlements since 2007. That's a lot of money! So who is to blame? You will probably be unsurprised to learn the answer is the NYPD.

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Bronx Barnes & Noble Will Remain Open for at Least 2 More Years [Updated]

Barnes & Noble will be shutting down its retail store in Bay Plaza at Co-op City in the Bronx after more than a decade of serving the borough. Or as the Daily News aptly put it, "the Bronx is about to go bookless" because of a lease disagreement between the bookstore chain and its landlord, Prestige Properties & Development.More »

Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee's One Big Mistake Was Our Gain

Categories: Media

The Post's 1981 Pulitzer, lost to fraud, ultimately went to the Voice.
In 1980, a Washington Post writer named Janet Cooke wrote a heart-wrenching story about an eight-year-old heroin addict in Washington, D.C. "Jimmy's World" was a heroic piece of journalism, shedding light on an often unseen world of addiction and poverty and misery.

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Film Podcast: Oscar Season Opens With Birdman and Listen Up Philip

Categories: Film and TV

Photo: Alison Rosa
Michael Keaton and Edward Norton put up their dukes in Birdman.
It's awards season, and the hyped movies are starting to land in theaters. On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, we talk about Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, and Alex Ross Perry's Listen Up Philip, and carve out some time to recommend Nothing Bad Can Happen and Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me. All four of those films have received high praise -- though some have been hit with some pretty damning criticism, including the characterization of Iñárritu as a "pretentious fraud," leveled by film critic Scott Tobias of The Dissolve. Amy Nicholson of LA Weekly, along with Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice, dive into what stirs critics to use loaded words like those when reviewing a movie. Ahh, must be Oscar season.

Video: Three Men Punch 21-Year-Old Woman in the Face in Brooklyn Robbery

Categories: NYPD

Credit: NYPD video
Three guys beat up a young woman and robbed her earlier this month.
The NYPD is looking for three assholes suspects in Brooklyn (never good to editorialize) who carried out a particularly brutal robbery in Prospect Heights earlier this month.

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Faulty System and Human Error Delayed Medical Help to Kids Who Died in Queens Fire

Categories: Fire, Queens

Wikimedia Commons
On April 19, a fire broke out on Bay 30th Street in Far Rockaway, Queens. The first 911 call came in at 11:51 p.m. The first firefighters arrived at the scene five minutes later. They began hosing down the blaze and attempting to rescue the children trapped inside. Firefighters carried two small children out of the house and then searched for any paramedics on the scene, but there were none there.

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Taxi Drivers Demand Signs Reminding Passengers Not to Try to Kill Them

Categories: Transportation

Photo Credit: Vincent_AF via Compfight cc
These guys are tired of your crap.

New York taxi drivers are mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, cab drivers and chauffeurs accounted for 53 of the 4,405 Americans killed on the job in 2013. Their workplace fatality rate is 130 percent higher than the national average. And in New York, eight cabbies were assaulted in 2014, according to data from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

That's why drivers rallied in front of City Hall on Tuesday afternoon, urging the City Council to pass a bill that would require that signs be posted in all city-licensed taxis to remind passengers that assaulting a cab driver could land them in jail. For a long time. The signs, as suggested by the council bill, would read:


Mamnun Ul Haq, a co-founder of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which has lobbied the council to push for the signs, was joined at the rally by other drivers and councilmembers who supported the bill. He says the idea to propose the signs came to him in a hospital bed as he recovered from being stabbed on the job: "I can't even tell you how painful it was," he tells the Voice.

See more:
How Some Illegal Taxi Drivers Are Fighting Back Against the Green Cab Program

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NYC Hosts Massive Ebola Training Session for Health Workers

New York City is running point in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's defense against Ebola. As part of its efforts to revise its Ebola response protocol, the CDC co-sponsored the training of about 5,000 healthcare workers in new techniques for protecting themselves when treating Ebola patients. The educational session took place Tuesday at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Hell's Kitchen and was streamed live across the country.

See also: What Happens if an Ebola Case Lands at JFK?

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How Can New York Stop the City's Worst Landlords?

Photos by Jena Cumbo
90 Elizabeth Street, one of many NYC apartments with rent-controlled tenants.
When the trouble came to 90 Elizabeth Street, it arrived quietly, in a flurry of white papers. They blanketed the mailboxes and the front doors of many of the tenants in the modest Chinatown apartment building, a forbidding snowdrift of eggshell, piled with angry black type. When 43-year-old Betty Eng got home one spring afternoon last year, she found one waiting for her, too. It was a lawsuit, filed by her new landlords against her, her younger brother, her father, and her mother. Eng's mother, who is in her eighties, suffers from Alzheimer's disease and had recently moved into a nursing home. Eng's father had been dead since 2010.

The suit said that the Engs, who had lived in their apartment since 1970, a year before Betty's birth, weren't actually living there full-time, and thus were not legally entitled to the rent-stabilized unit. It warned that an eviction proceeding would be initiated against them. The suit also alleged that the Engs hadn't been paying the rent. But Betty had been paying, she says, sending the checks through certified mail. Each month, Marolda Properties refused to accept them. They piled up, uncashed.

"They were refusing them," Eng says. "The envelopes would just come back."

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