Smuggled, Untaxed Cigarettes Are Everywhere in New York City

Jon Campbell
Smuggled cigarettes found during an inspection at a corner store in Long Island City
As six armed officers pour out of two unmarked Ford Explorers on a Long Island City street corner, you can see the confusion on the faces of gawkers and passersby. One woman looks up from her phone and does a sitcom-worthy double-take when she notices their windbreakers, embossed with the word "SHERIFF" in big gold letters, front and back.

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Street Artist RAE Debuts Show in Vacant East Village Bodega

Araceli Cruz
On Saturday night, Brooklyn street artist RAE presents "Word of Mouth," his first solo show in New York City. Unfortunately, he won't be attending opening night, because when you use the city as your canvas, you never know if the police might be looking for you.More »

Newark Bodega Owners Demand Cheap Bulletproof Vests

Although Mayor Corey Booker is on a mission to re-invent Newark, the crime rate in the New Jersey city is still a statistic he cannot rub: The violent-crime rate is way above the national median for urban centers, and, according to, one in 94 Newark residents is the victim of some sort of assault. There are 534 crimes per square mile, creating a widespread battleground for the city and its denizens. 

For this reason, some of them are taking action to protect themselves from the ongoing spree.

Today, the Bodega Association of the United States met with Booker to discuss protection plans for its workers. One of the demands that stands out is a proposal for cheap, subsidized bulletproof vests to be offered to bodega owners. Strapped up and ready to go.

Somehow, this idea speaks volumes more than mere crime statistics.

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Bodega Run Ends with Full Cavity Search for Bronx Man

Bronx resident Shawn Schenk went to buy a pack of smokes at a bodega last September but ended up getting a lot more. The Daily News reports Schenk is suing the city because police allegedly gave him a cavity search in front of 40 people after misidentifying him in a drug sting at the Green Valley Deli and Pizza.

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Bronx Soda Buyback Event Not Exactly a Hit

On Saturday, the Alliance for a Healthier New York and SEIU 1199's Healthcare Education Project held a soda buyback event at Richard R. Green Middle School in the Bronx to support the soda tax.

"We will be disposing any of the sodas we get," said Andy King, an AHNY organizer. "We are not returning them anywhere. We are not drinking them. We'd OD if we drank all those sodas."

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Ain't No Bodega Like a Brooklyn Bodega 'Cause Brooklyn Bodegas Might Sell You a Blunt, SON. Also, Jerk Chicken.

The beautiful thing about New York is that you never have to go too far to find a corner deli or bodega with whatever you need in it: ice cream, laundry detergent, smokes, small-batch beer, sandwiches, cooking supplies, feral cats waiting to be adopted, etc. Which is why today we mourn the six Brooklyn businesses NYPD blues busted up in Crown Heights today, the varying merchants of which sold jerk chicken, CDs, and T-shirts. To supplement the weed and blow, of course.

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