New York State Assembly Makes an Appeal to Cuomo on...Pit Bulls

Categories: Politics

Photo credit: davescaglione via Compfight cc
Does this vicious pit bull have murder in his heart?
We don't generally see a lot of love expressed in the New York State legislature.

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Check Out This Illustrator's Cartoon Diary of All the Weird Things She Sees in New York City

Categories: Comedy

Andrea Tsurumi
One big upside to living in an overcrowded traveling circus New York City is the myriad of opportunities to people-watch. Andrea Tsurumi, an Astoria-based illustrator, has decided to turn that most beloved of urban activities into a cartoon diary.

In Eavesdropper, Tsurumi chronicles the flashes of bizarre behavior, or inadvertently comic situations, that spring up amid the humdrum of city life. The project grew out of a class that the 30-year-old took in 2013 while pursuing her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Called "Drawing on Location," the class had Tsurumi going into the streets to find scenarios to sketch. "I really enjoyed that kind of active approach to drawing," she says.

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Catcalling Is Just the Worst Right Now, Says Viral-Video Subject

Categories: Crime, Internet

Photo by Huascar Fiorletta
Shoshana Roberts, who bought the domains and, after starring in a viral video in October 2014
The email signature for New York actress Shoshana Roberts reminds you that she's the "star of the viral street harassment video with 40+ million views."

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New York City Council Women's Caucus Wants a Woman on the Twenty-Dollar Bill

Categories: Culture, Money

Courtesy Women on 20s
A grassroots push is under way to put Harriet Tubman's face on the twenty-dollar bill.
Today, the New York City Council's Women's Caucus will take to the steps of City Hall to announce a resolution calling for a woman to replace Andrew Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill, part of a nationwide initiative organized by a nonprofit called Women on 20s.

Earlier this week, the group announced that Harriet Tubman was the winner of a ten-week online vote to choose which woman it will nominate to grace the twenty-dollar bill by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The runners-up were Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation. More than 600,000 votes were cast.

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Man Says Cops Are Still Parking Illegally Outside of His Midtown Business

Categories: NYPD

Jon Campbell/Village Voice
Andy Hort's quixotic battle with NYPD-affiliated parking scofflaws continues.
Once again, Andy Hort is back at the end of his rope.

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Dear Chris Rock, Here's How You Can Get More Black People to Watch Baseball

Chris Rock, Newark Bears owner? Here's the full cover of this week's Village Voice. Photo-illustration: Chris Rock, David Shankbone/Creative Commons; Body Double, Michael Harris, photographed by Steve Truesdell; Newark Bears Jersey by Ebbets Field Flannels (
On April 21 Bryant Gumbel aired a monologue by Chris Rock on his HBO show Real Sports. The comedian's topic was the deteriorating relationship between baseball and African Americans. Rock played it for laughs, but it was clear he was serious about the subject.

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Governor Cuomo Orders Inspections of New York Nail Salons

Categories: Health

Smoobs via Compfight cc

Following a New York Times investigation into the state of New York City's nail salons, Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered a multi-agency Enforcement Task Force to inspect nail salons across the state and implement new rules and guidelines. Salons will now be required to post signs in six languages informing employees of their rights. Manicurists will be required to wear gloves and masks, and salons will need to be properly ventilated. The rules will take effect in the coming months. In a statement, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who proposed legislation to regulate salons back in August, said, "This is an important public health issue, one that benefits not only customers but also protects the personal safety and workers' rights of those in the industry."

Original story from May 4 below:

If Ruben Diaz Jr. has his way, choosing your nail salon will soon be as easy as choosing where to eat. The Bronx borough president has been on a crusade this year to institute a citywide letter grade system for all nail salons, and on Friday his proposal finally reached the City Council.

"I hope everyone got their nails done," quipped Rafael Espinal, the chairman of the council's Committee on Consumer Affairs, who introduced the legislation on Diaz's behalf.

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New Doc Thought Crimes Dives Into the Fantasy World of the 'Cannibal Cop'

Categories: Film and TV, NYPD

Courtesy of HBO
Gilberto Valle
When Gilberto "Gil" Valle visited HBO's headquarters near Bryant Park recently to watch Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop — the documentary about him — he didn't like what he saw.

He saw himself, pale, with dark, baggy circles under his eyes, sitting in his mother's living room while under house arrest. He saw TV news reporters calling him the "Cannibal Cop." And he saw the messages, one after another, that he exchanged with another anonymous user of the Dark Fetish Network (NSFW), detailing how he would do away with his victims.

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Melvin Garten, a Man of the 'American Century'

Categories: Obituary, Tributes

On Saturday, Colonel Melvin Garten, born May 20, 1921, in New York City, died. He was 93. During his 30-year military career, he became one of the most decorated veterans of his time, earning the Distinguished Service Cross, three Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, five Purple Hearts, the Legion of Merit, two Joint Commendation Medals, and two Air Medals. In 1966, he lost a leg in Vietnam.

"We can't pick when we're born or where we're born," said his son, Jeffrey Garten, a professor at the Yale School of Management and husband of Ina Garten, the host of the Food Network's Barefoot Contessa. "But he really was a person of what some people call the American Century. He lived through the Depression. He rose with the middle class. He lived at a time when the middle class became prosperous. He fought in the three major wars that established the United States in the twentieth century. He was from New York, and even though he traveled all over the world and lived all over the world, he never lost touch with the city."

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Slain NYPD Officer Brian Moore Remembered as a 'Rising Star' in the Department

Categories: NYPD

Photo by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice
Members of the NYPD carry Brian Moore's casket on Long Island.
Thousands of members of the NYPD, joined by fellow officers from around the country, are paying tribute to slain officer Brian Moore, of the 105th Precinct, at a funeral service at Saint James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford, Long Island, today.

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These Five NYC-Based Legislators Are Still in Office Despite Brushes With the Law

Categories: Politics

When New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was arrested last week on bribery and corruption charges — only a few months after assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver earned the same fate — it was more proof that Albany is a frigid, snow-blanketed cesspool of dirty dealing. It's no secret that the state of New York is lavishly corrupt, impressively so, actually, and has been for generations.

Politico earlier this week offered an explanation of sorts, citing the long tradition of making decisions based on the whims of "three men in a room," the governor and party leaders in the assembly and senate. The website also cited evidence that the distance between Albany and the state's largest population center here in the city — where the media scrutiny is most intense — might be a contributing factor, too. Jon Stewart weighs in below:

Meanwhile, the lower Hudson Valley's Journal News created a database of the most recent state lawmakers to face criminal charges. In that same spirit, we decided to highlight a few from our fair city (or close by) who have somehow managed to stay in public office despite their brushes with the law. Read on to see the alleged crooks, drunks, and stoners proudly serving the people in your own backyard.

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This Is How New York City Would Look With 90 Percent Fewer Rats

Categories: Culture, Politics

Tompkins Square Park Central Knoll by David Shankbone. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
A rat-free Tompkins Square Park? Forget about it.
Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio will propose spending $3 million to make permanent a pilot program that reportedly exterminated 80 to 90 percent of rats in seven targeted neighborhoods. The proposal is included in his executive budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

While a rat-free New York is nice to think about, like maybe winning the Powerball, or perfectly timing your bus-to-train-to-train commute, the odds of it actually happening are remote. But if the approximately 2 million rats in New York came down to, say, 250,000, what would the city look like?

"I don't think we fully know," says a Fordham University biologist who's become an expert on rat behavior in New York. "It's kind of an impossibility anyway, unless we sort of started over and tore down the city and built it a different way."

But still.

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Podcast: Stop Laughing at Old Movies, You $@%&ing Hipsters!

Categories: Film and TV

Warner Bros.
"I'm over people who think they're funnier than the movie," says LA Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson, in the wake of her recent piece "Stop Laughing at Old Movies, You $@%&ing Hipsters." Joining her — *in the same room, for the first time ever on the podcast* — as usual are Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice. The trio also praise Hot Pursuit, the flagrantly silly comic vehicle for Sofía Vergara and Reese Witherspoon. Alan also heartily endorses Niger's own Purple Rain, a film starring guitarist Mdou Moctar that's "a striking, gentle bliss-out of a feature." Keep up with the latest movie reviews, essays, and interviews at, and follow us on Twitter at @VoiceFilmClub. If you like the podcast, give us a nice review, won't you?

Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast on iTunes!

A New York Photographer Documents a Still-Segregated Southern Town for HBO

Categories: Film and TV, Race

Gillian Laub/Courtesy of HBO
Sha'von Patterson, holding a picture of himself and his brother Justin, who was shot and killed in 2011
Gillian Laub knows what it's like to feel unwelcome. As a New York–based photographer who spent several years photographing residents of a small Georgia town, Laub has had to stop at a gas station to duct-tape the tires on her rental car after they were slashed. She once left a Ruby Tuesday's restaurant after police told her that the townspeople liked to take matters into their own hands. And she's had a sheriff reach into her car and grab at her camera to physically stop her from taking pictures.

"I think that incident was really important to have happen to me, because I was fine," she says. "But it made me realize I was fine because I was very conscious that I got to leave. They had to stay here and deal with the fact that authority is not there to protect them."

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Charlie Hebdo's Editors Illustrate the Importance of Being Uncomfortable

The editorial cartoons that incited the January 7 attack by Islamist extremists on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo portrayed the prophet Muhammad in an extremely unflattering light — the faithful would call it blasphemy, though for a lot of American writers, "offensive" is the key word. When PEN announced its decision to honor Charlie Hebdo with the Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award at tonight's annual gala, six writers who had previously agreed to host tables at the event noisily withdrew.More »

In Astoria, an Art and Performance Space Doubles as an 'After-School Center' for Adults

Alanna Schubach
QED founder Kambri Crews

QED, a multipurpose event space in Astoria, has been visited by comedy-world luminaries like Ted Alexandro, Mystery Science Theater 3000's Frank Conniff, and a slew of Saturday Night Live writers. But it also recently played host to an archaeology professor, who lectured about how to build stone tools for surviving a zombie apocalypse.

"That's what makes this place so cool — there's nothing else like it," says Lauren Krass, a comedian and producer who hosts an open mic at QED. "It's a bookstore, a bar, a café, and a theater."

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Ride Along With New York Private Eye Michael McKeever

Categories: Dating, Video

"People are like snowflakes," says private detective Michael McKeever. The son and grandson of New York City police officers, McKeever, upon graduating from college, decided he wasn't "cut out for the grisly side of life." Instead, he hunts down cheating spouses, does surveillance in fraud cases, and looks for people who have gone missing.

He shares thoughts on his life and work with videographer Emrys Eller.

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This Brooklyn Activist Is Making Life Hell for Her Community Board

Felipe De La Hoz for the Village Voice
Alicia Boyd in action at a recent Community Board 9 meeting
The meeting ended just as most have over the past year: Alicia Boyd was shouting at Community Board 9 District Manager Pearl Miles. And Miles was shouting back.

"You're corrupt, Pearl!" yelled Boyd, to which Miles replied: "I don't care!"

Asked to clarify, Miles quickly mumbled that she meant she didn't care what Boyd thought.

Earlier in the meeting, Miles had called the police and threatened to have Boyd ejected for "trespassing." It would have been the fourth time Boyd was arrested and removed from one of the board's regular or committee meetings; this one was abruptly adjourned before the NYPD could arrive.

Boyd, a 54-year-old former kindergarten teacher and therapist with a stern educator's gaze and frizzy, layered hair, is a community organizer and the leader of the Movement to Protect the People, a community group that opposes upzoning and real estate development in Brooklyn's Community District 9, which includes Crown Heights, Prospect–Lefferts Gardens, and parts of Flatbush.

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NYC FC Says Its Supporters Group Is Handing Out Those Much-Maligned Song Lists

Categories: Internet, Sports

The much-hyped New York City FC are struggling on the field, winning just once thus far in their inaugural season. It's nothing to sing about, but a song list being circulated at games encourages fans to do just that. Except everybody hates the songs.

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Weekend Recap: May Day, the Fight for Legal Weed, Blur in Brooklyn, and Wiz on SNL

Photo by Kathleen Caulderwood for the Village Voice
May Day 2015. See more photos from May Day in our slideshow.
American Pharoah and Floyd Mayweather each had a great weekend, even if the latter's victory was as boring as the former's predicted win was thrilling. If you were at home, shelling out $100 for pay-per-view or shopping for the best whiskey for your mint julep, you might have missed these events happening in New York.

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