The Queens Graffiti Mecca 5 Pointz Was Never Just About the Painting on the Outside

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C.S. Muncy
Nicole Gagne doesn't remember the fall itself, or any of the month that followed. She spent almost all of it in a hospital bed, pumped full of a painkiller that had the happy side effect of causing temporary amnesia.

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Prisoner Who Refused Water During Ramadan Can Sue on Religious Grounds

Categories: Courts, Religion

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Leshaines123 via Compfight cc
In November 2003, prison guards at the Wende Correctional Facility in upstate New York ordered Darryl Holland to take a drug test. He had three hours to provide a urine sample. But the order was not so simple. Holland was Muslim and it was Ramadan and he had not drunk any water all day. The guards gave him water to drink for the sample. Holland refused to drink it and asked if the guards could take the sample after sundown, once his fast was over.

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Video: Witness a New York Manhattanhenge (and Moonhattanhenge!)

Manhattanhenge: "It's one of the few times in New York City where you see people being friendly to each other," says Jackie Faherty, an astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.


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Borderline Personalities: Rightbloggers Vs. Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free

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[Roy Edroso dissects the right-wing blogosphere in this weekly feature]

A whole lot of kids from Central America have been dashing over the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months, and rightbloggers blame them on Obama. (They also want them sent back to the hellholes they fled, but mainly they want to blame Obama, because that's pretty much what their lives are about anymore.)


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Some Jerk Is Dressing Up Like a Clown And Roaming Around Green-Wood Cemetery [Updated]

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Photo by tipster Ryan Jackson
The clown peers out from behind a gravestone at Green-Wood.
Clown-related viral marketing stunts: they have to stop. Back in March, we as a city dealt with the Staten Island Clown, who obviously turned out to be the brainchild of a small-time film production company. Last year, Northampton, England dealt with a similarly terrifying weirdo, who dubbed himself "Spot" and, until June, maintained a Facebook page.

But now, in what has officially gone too far, somebody's dressing up like a clown and wandering around Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery.

A cemetery. An active, working cemetery where people are still buried. This is really, really not okay.

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The Jabbar Collins Case is Far From Over

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Wikimedia Commons
On Thursday, New York state agreed to pay Jabbar Collins $3 million for his 16-year wrongful imprisonment. It was the latest in a string of high-profile, high-priced settlements this year stemming from wrongful convictions in New York city during the crack era. In January, the city agreed to pay David Ranta $6.4 million for 23-year wrongful imprisonment. In June, the city announced a $140 million settlement with the five men wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in Central Park. The Central Park Five each received $1 million for every year behind bars, the highest rate the city had ever paid.

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Pro-Palestinian Demonstrators Crash City Council's "Stand With Israel" Press Conference

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Photos by Anna Merlan
Demonstrators at the City Hall gates
Here's a question: why would the New York City Council and various other local and state politicians decide to wade into the miserable, never-ending, blood-filled dogpile that is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? In what way does a press conference on the Middle East dovetail with the actual business of our elected officials here in New York? Could a press conference called "New York Stands with Israel" possibly serve any other concrete purpose except to be a magnet for controversy? Seriously, how could this possibly end well?

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Brownsville Pop Warner Team Finds New Home Field

Categories: Brownsville

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Christopher Farber
Mo Better played some of its home games at Fort Hamilton HS last year.
The Mo Better Jaguars, the only Pop Warner program based in Brooklyn, used to play its home games at Betsy Head Park in Brownsville. Hundreds of locals would circle the field to watch games, filling the track and the handball courts. Then, several years ago, Pop Warner officials ruled the Betsy Head Park was unfit for competition. The field was rock-hard, dusty, weedy, and pocked by divots.

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Local Idiots Criticized Over YouTube Pranks In Brownsville and East New York

Categories: Pranks, Stupidity

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Screenshot via.
A dissatisfied prank participant responds to an Etayyim brother.
Mohammed "Moe" Etayyim and his brother, Etayyim "Et" Etayyim, are two twenty-something dudes from Bay Ridge. They have access to a video camera and they're not very smart. This much we can surmise from their YouTube channel, OckTV, which specializes in "pranks," the omnipresent YouTube kind that involve harassing, annoying or just plain baiting people in various New York neighborhoods. They sit on people on the subway. They ask for directions and then scream "Don't tell me what to do!" And sometimes, teaming up with yet another YouTube prankster,, Dennis Chuyeshkov, a.ka. "Dennis Cee", they wander up to men in higher-crime neighborhoods like East New York and ask if they want to buy guns. This is going to end really well.

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Here Is Footage of Three Men Robbing an Armored Truck in Queens

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FBI
On January 31, three men robbed an armored truck in Queens. They parked in front of a HSBC Bank outlet in Queens and waited for an armored car to make its regularly scheduled cash pick up around noon. They held up the guard at gunpoint and left with an undisclosed sum of money.

Nearly six months later, the case remains unsolved. On Wednesday the FBI released the security camera footage showing how the bandits pulled the theft.

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What Should You Actually Do When You Get a Rat in Your Wrap or a Frog In Your Salad?

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Photo by Jack Buehrer, who didn't have lunch there
An out-the-door lunchtime line at Chop't on July 9, the day after the Rat Wrap story broke.
Another month, another soul-destroyingly disgusting foreign object in some poor unfortunate diner's food. On Tuesday, Gothamist brought us the story of the Rat Wrap, in which some anonymous guy at a law firm apparently ordered lunch delivered from Chop't on Pine Street in the Financial District and got an extra party favor, in the form of a whole damn rodent tucked away amongst the lettuce. (It looks like a mouse to us, but we'll bow to the alliterative superiority of the term "Rat Wrap.") Two of his colleagues tweeted about the incident, one with a stomach-turning photo, and RatGate was born.

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Bank Thieves Saw Through Roof Under Cover of July 4 Fireworks, Steal $290k

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Wikipedia Commons, Jonathunder
The average take in a bank robbery is around $4,000, according to federal authorities. That's because most heists are the hurried. Note to the teller, cash into the pockets, out the door before the police arrive. The big money is in the safe and cracking a safe take a sophisticated and creative approach (and happens in less than five percent of bank robberies).

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Upstate Judge Indicted For Lying About Being Beaten With a Toilet Lid

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Image courtesy of the Seneca County Sheriff's Department
Judge Barto's mugshot
Waterloo Village isn't the kind of place that makes the news much. It's a tiny place in Seneca County, population just a hair over 5,000, located about 270 miles north of New York City. It's so small and so quaint that one of its only judges, Justice Roger W. Barto, is also the sexton of the local cemetery. (A sexton oversees the graveyard's maintenance. Most towns got rid of theirs a couple hundred years ago.) And he's allegedly tripling up on roles this week, also becoming the town's mastermind criminal. A Seneca County grand jury indicted the judge on five felony and four misdemeanor charges for allegedly lying about being viciously beaten with a toilet lid last fall.

On a Saturday night in September of 2013, Barto was discovered in his courtroom, lying on the floor. He was taken to Rochester Memorial Hospital, where he told police he'd been locking up the courtroom when someone choked him from behind and hit him over the head with the heavy porcelain lid of a toilet tank.



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Podcast: Why You Should See Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Boyhood

Categories: Film and TV

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Listen or Cesar shoots.
On this week's Voice Film Club episode, film critics Alan Scherstuhl, Amy Nicholson and Stephanie Zacharek recommend seeing Matt Reeves' Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (12:00) and Richard Linklater's Boyhood (20:00), a movie filmed over twelve years with the same cast.

Rightbloggers Celebrate Hobby Lobby as Defeat for Liberals, Victory for Something-or-Other

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[Roy Edroso dissects the right-wing blogosphere in this weekly feature]

Last week's Hobby Lobby decision at the Supreme Court was contentious, as you probably noticed. For liberals, it was an egregious misreading of the competing interests at stake, and suggested for-profit companies can use possibly specious religious arguments to deny women their rights under Obamacare.

For rightbloggers it was mainly a fun victory. Oh, they were, as you might imagine, glad that ladies lost to religion and corporations -- in their world, that's a twofer! -- but most of them didn't press that point; it was as if, given the imminence of election season, they didn't want to sack-dance on female voters too much. So they instead devoted their writings to the distress of liberals, and how it proved they were stupid, a compelling message they can bring to voters of either gender.


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Damien Echols Just Moved to New York and Wants to Teach You to Read Tarot

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Photo by Olivia Fougeirol - © 2012 - Sony Pictures Classics
Damien Echols, with wife Lorri Davis, will be teaching tarot reading classes in the city this summer.
Damien Echols doesn't want to talk about the West Memphis 3 anymore. These days, Echols, one-third of the infamous trio of teenagers convicted of murder but freed amid a groundswell of support nearly 20 years later, would much rather talk about reading tarot - something he plans on teaching to New Yorkers in the very near future.

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Two Pop Warner Football Alums from Brownsville Gunned Down in One Month

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Albert Samaha
"Yo, is it true about Kameron?" Vick Davis asked the other coaches when he arrived at Brownsville's Betsy Head Park on a Monday evening in early June.

It was, replied Chris Legree, head coach of the Mo Better Jaguars youth football program. Kameron had been killed the previous Friday. He had been shot a few blocks away from the park. He was 22-years-old.

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Gunman Opens Fire on Man Sitting on Bed-Stuy Stoop

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Screenshot via NYPD video
Grainy surveillance footage of the gunman
The NYPD is circulating a particularly chilling surveillance video this morning, one which shows a man strolling up to a house in Bed-Stuy very early on the morning of Sunday, July 6, and shooting at a man seated on the front stoop at close range.

The NYPD says the victim is a 25-year-old man, who was sitting on the steps of 184 Macdonough Street around 1:10 a.m. In the video, he and the gunman appear to be having an animated conversation for a few minutes. The gunman then looks around, reaches into his waistband, pulls out a handgun, and fires at least twice. As he's shooting, he turns and flees.

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Photos: The Macy's Fireworks Show Returned to the East River Tonight

Categories: Fireworks

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C.S. Muncy
The annual Macy's Fireworks show returned to the East River tonight, after a five-year run of explosions over the Hudson. Brooklynite and Mayor Bill de Blasio worked on the campaign to move the show back, a decision that was announced in April.

Photographer C.S. Muncy brings back these images of the fireworks over the Brooklyn Bridge, photographed from Robert F Wagner Sr Place and South Street in Lower Manhattan.

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The NYPD's a Little Confused About How the Freedom of Information Law Works

Categories: Journalizing, NYPD

Image via Dave Hosford
They've apparently had the details wrong for, um, a few years.
The NYPD hasn't had the best track record when it comes to fulfilling requests under New York's Freedom of Information Law. Demands for NYPD documents under FOIL -- which is supposed to make accessing public information simple and relatively quick -- routinely lead to lawsuits and long delays.

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