Mob Informant Who Ran Afoul of FBI Will Get New Trial

Categories: Crime, The Mafia

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Photo Credit: bloomsberries via Compfight cc
Mob informant gets a new trial.
A longtime mob informant will get another chance, after an appeals court granted his motion for a new trial.

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A Brooklyn Librarian Will Now Make You a Personalized Reading List, and You Don't Even Have to Put on Pants

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Photo by Flickr user Jose Raimundo Sousa Ribeiro Jr.
The main Brooklyn Public Library branch at Grand Army Plaza
This has been, without a doubt, an excellent summer for New York's libraries. In Manhattan, the Stephen A. Schwarzman branch set up a beautiful outdoor reading room that was open for the past two weeks before closing on the 22nd. A group of seafaring book lovers announced that they'll launch a floating library aboard the Lilac Museum Steamship for a month come September. And now, in a less temporary and totally genius move, a group of hardworking librarians across the Brooklyn Public Library system will make you a personalized reading list. You don't have to leave the house, dress yourself, or talk to another human being to put in a request for one. The future is here, and it is glorious.

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Number of Shooting Victims Has Increased in 14 NYPD Precincts Over the Last Five Years

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The Warriors
It's unfair to judge a police department solely against the crime stats of the previous year. Numbers can fluctuate from one year to the next. What matters is improvement over the long run.

Over the past few months, there has been much attention on the rising number of shootings in New York City this year--up 10 percent from this time last year. Must be the fault of new mayor De Blasio or new stop-and-frisk policies, some have said. But then there's also this stat: the number of shootings are down 22 percent from this time two years ago.

This is the message the NYPD has been trying to get people to understand. The city is, in fact, getting safer with time.

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The 11 Best Found-Footage Horror Movies

Categories: Film and TV

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Did you hear that?
Found footage horror movie As Above, So Below follows a team of urban explorers into the catacombs beneath Paris, home to "200 miles of tunnels right underneath our feet!" as announced in the trailer by Perdita Weeks, who plays urban archeology student Scarlett Marlowe. "Holding the remains of six million corpses," replies fellow explorer George, played by Ben Feldman. You can imagine what happens next: images of walls built from skulls, enveloping darkness, nightmarish visions of each character's past, and what looks like the Grim Reaper's hood, all viewed from the perspective of a GoPro.

"Tell me we just didn't go in a circle," says Weeks's Marlowe in the red band trailer. (Of course they did.)

There are no doubt high expectations for As Above, So Below (it opens in 2,500 theaters on Friday), but for every truly memorable found-footage horror movie, there are eleven derivatives. Here are our picks for the eleven best found-footage flicks, from The Blair Witch Project, which put the genre on the map in 1999, to ones released just this summer. More than a few are available on-demand, as well. And remember to keep your cameras recording.

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Topless Book Club Wisely Opts Out of "Go Topless Day"

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Image via Facebook
The topless book club during a recent outing.
We're sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but you missed out on an important national holiday on Sunday: GoTopless Day, which was held in cities across the country and is exactly what it sounds like. The festival of shirtlessness is sponsored by the Raelian Movement, a cheerful and publicity-hungry group of folks who believe that life on earth was created by aliens.

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Bronx District Attorney Defends Richard Rosario Conviction

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Richard Rosario and his daughter Amanda.
Rosario family.
Richard Rosario was convicted of murder in 1998. Two eye witnesses had identified him as the man who shot 17-year-old George Collazo on June 19, 1996 in the Bronx. Rosario, whose case we detailed in a May feature story, has proclaimed his innocence since the day of his arrest. The most compelling evidence supporting his story: nine witnesses have testified that Rosario was in Deltona, Florida on and around the day of the crime.

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Fox News Desperately Wanted Saturday's March for Eric Garner To Be a Bloodbath

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All photos by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice. See more Eric Garner march photos.
Thousands of people marched through Staten Island Saturday to protest the July death of 43-year-old Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, and to call for justice for all victims of police brutality. There were no arrests during the "We Will Not Go Back" rally and march, which was organized by Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network, backed by a host of labor unions and social justice organizations, and attended by a smattering of politicians, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and former Governor David Patterson.

The lack of violence surely came as a serious disappointment to Fox News, which spent the days leading up to the march solemnly predicting that the whole thing would melt down into a full-scale race war.

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Rightbloggers' Long Obsession with Obama and Golf -- And Why It's Finally Paying Off

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

Maureen Dowd, recently adopted as a "narrative journalist" by the New York Times Magazine, did a Sunday column about how Obama likes to golf even when bad things are happening (that is, anytime). "FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago," the column began, and did not improve thereafter.

But as with her famous pot-candy bummer, Dowd is way behind the curve. Her Obama golf column was preceded by years of rightblogger rages against the President's pastime, which flared again this week as he vacationed in Martha's Vineyard.


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How to Join the "We Will Not Go Back" March for Eric Garner

Categories: Eric Garner

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Twitter.com/TheRevAl
Reverend Al Sharpton with the family of Eric Garner on July 19.
Depending on where you get your news, tomorrow's march protesting the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo will either be a tame, "self-policed" demonstration with an "understated" NYPD presence or it will be an anarchic event,with some 350 "riot cops ready" and armed with "hats and bats."

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The Westboro Baptist Church Is Coming Back to New York to Picket the Media, the 9/11 Museum and "FaceBook"

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Photo by Flickr user Mathias Erhart, who is in no way affiliated with the WBC.
We have lots of photos of the Westboro Baptist Church. We just decided you might rather look at some fuzzy kittens.
The Westboro Baptist Church will return to New York City in September as part of an ongoing bid to troll the universe and fill their days with some semblance of meaning. According to their picket schedule, the protest- and lawsuit-happy church/hate group is in Missouri this week to picket the funeral of Mike Brown, the Ferguson teenager recently slain by police officer Darren Wilson. But after that, to coincide with the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, they'll be heading this way. They've got quite the itinerary planned.

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Financial Claims From Rikers Inmates Rose Dramatically over the Past Five Years

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Credit: New York City Comptroller
Personal injury claims have risen dramatically over the past five years at Rikers Island Jail
Comptroller Scott Stringer has been getting some good press lately for his new ClaimStat program, which tracks financial claims against the city as a way of identifying potential problems. A New York Times editorial called it nothing less than a step toward "better governance through data."

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Podcast: Which Expendables Stars Surprised Us? And We Watch the New Yorkiest Movie

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo by Phil Bray - © 2014 - Lionsgate
Well, who was it? Find out in this week's pod.
On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek of The Village Voice and Amy Nicholson of L.A. Weekly sift through the smoldering pile of action movie that is the Expendables 3 and discuss which star has the most surprising scenes. Amy and Stephanie talk about Love is Strange, which might be one of the most New York movies out in a very long time, and not just because of the rent plot point.

Photos: Several Arrested During March Against Police Brutality

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All photos by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice.
An NYPD sergeant scuffles with an anti-police protester in the East Village while trying to complete an arrest. During the march, the officer attempted to arrest a participant but was delayed when several other protesters attempted to pull the individual free. A melee ensued and the group was brought down to the pavement before several other officers intervened and completed the arrest.
A group of several hundred protesters gathered in Manhattan, marching late into the evening against police brutality. Marching to chants like "NYPD hey hey hey, how many kids did you kill today?" the group moved through the Lower East Side and East Village late into the night, taking to the streets throughout before ending in Union Square. At various points, individual protesters attempted to block the line of scooter-mounted police by tossing trash bags and street dividers onto the road, resulting in several arrests. Photos by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice.

View the full gallery of images from last night's protests here: Several Arrested During March Against Police Brutality

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Environmental Activist Daniel McGowan, Jailed for Blogging, Is Suing the Bureau of Prisons

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Photo by Brandon Jourdan courtesy of Daniel McGowan
Daniel McGowan, the environmental activist and former member of the Earth Liberation Front who spent five and a half years in an extreme prison isolation unit, is suing the federal Bureau of Prisons for violating his right to free speech. McGowan, a New York native, was imprisoned in a highly restrictive Communications Management Unit in Terre Haute, Indiana in 2007, after being convicted of burning down two Oregon lumber mills on behalf of the ELF in 2001, an action that was deemed an act of domestic terrorism. (McGowan says he left the ELF soon after the second arson). After his release in December 2012, he was sent back to New York to begin his probation at the Brooklyn Residential Reentry Center, a halfway house near his home in downtown Brooklyn. But in April 2013, when he wrote a blog post for the Huffington Post about his time in the CMU, the Bureau of Prisons and the "reentry manger" in charge of the Brooklyn RRC reacted very, very poorly.

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Judge Keeps Subway Inn's Doors Open For Now

Categories: Dive Bars

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Facebook.com/subwayinn
Beloved dive bar Subway Inn has been issued a weeklong reprieve from its impending eviction. On Monday, Judge Lynn Kotler of New York County's Civil Court signed a temporary restraining order preventing developer World-Wide Group from evicting the 77-year-old water hole. The judge scheduled a hearing on the matter for the morning of August 27.

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Horrifying New York Post Cover Shows Journalist James Foley Just Before Beheading by ISIS

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Photo by Nicole Tung via Free James Foley
Foley in Aleppo, Syria, in July 2012.
James Foley, an American freelance journalist who was kidnapped in Syria by terrorists two years ago, has been murdered by his kidnappers, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS and ISIL. The group posted a video online yesterday showing Foley reading a clearly coerced speech calling the U.S. government "my real killers" before being beheaded with a knife by a black-hooded man. Extremely disturbing images of his death began spreading with virus-like speed across social media, even as friends of Foley and many journalists pleaded with the public not to share them. Dick Costolo, the CEO of Twitter, eventually announced that the company would suspend the accounts of anyone sharing the images of Foley's death.

That sense of restraint and basic decency was not shared by the New York Post, which for its cover photo today used an image of Foley just moments before his beheading.

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Jabbar Collins, Wrongfully Imprisoned for 16 Years, Gets $10 Mil Settlement from City

Categories: Justice

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krystian_o via Compfight cc
Jabbar Collins's lawsuit against the city and state for his 16-year wrongful imprisonment has been a groundbreaking case. The case forced former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes to testify under oath about misconduct in his office for the first time. It led to the telling deposition of top prosecutor Michael Vecchione, who answered "I don't recall" more than 300 times during questioning. Former Brooklyn Detective Louis Scarcella was one of the next witnesses on the list. Other high level criminal justice officials may have followed.

The trial was scheduled for October. It was setting up to be a spectacle, with a parade of powerful men taking the stand to answer questions about their roles in the city's wrongful convictions.

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Photos: The 20 Hottest New Yorkers

Categories: I $ NY

Start spreading the news: New York is full hot bodies!

In a single New York minute, you can see sizzling singles noshing on cronuts at hot spots that absolutely radiate N-Y-C cool. But just like New York apartment prices, the awesomesauce of today is -- you know it! -- totes gone tomorrow. (You're outta here, Jack!)

That's why the Voice is here to help with this list of the 20 hottest New Yorkers of 2014. Read it before your next upscale happy hour, so you'll know who to look for and who should be looking for the door.

You'll never believe who made it onto our list of sizzling It Girls (and It Guys) for 2014. Did you make the cut?

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Grand Jury Will Hear Evidence on Eric Garner's Death

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Photo by Caleb Ferguson
Pallbearers carry Eric Garner's coffin at his funeral in Brooklyn July 23.
The Staten Island District Attorney's office says a grand jury will hear evidence on the death of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old man who died in July after NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a chokehold. A press release sent out this morning by Staten Island DA Daniel M. Donovan Jr.'s office didn't mention Office Pantaleo by name, saying only that "after a careful review of the recent findings of the Medical Examiner regarding the cause and manner of Mr. Garner's death," he'd decided to present the case to a grand jury.

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The Outsider: Zephyr Teachout Will Never Be Governor, So Why is Andrew Cuomo Worried?

Categories: Longform

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Caleb Ferguson

It was a strange July morning in Lower Manhattan, and getting stranger by the minute. On the Brooklyn Bridge, sometime during the night, someone had swapped all the American flags for bleached white ones. As police and reporters swarmed the bridge, less than a mile away, in front of the 150-year-old Tweed Courthouse, two political candidates who agreed on nothing at all had just announced a surprise joint press conference. The announcement, emailed to reporters minutes before the event, said only that Zephyr Teachout, the left-wing law professor challenging Governor Andrew Cuomo in the upcoming Democratic primary, would make a joint appearance with Rob Astorino, the starched, suited, Roman Catholic radio host and career politician running on the Republican ticket. It was an irresistibly odd matchup. The reporters not covering the white flag mystery showed up and waited on the expanse of concrete in front of the courthouse. And waited. And waited. A podium bearing a sign with the words "Clean Up Albany" stood empty. The candidates showed no sign of appearing. Perennial long-shot candidate and comedian Randy Credico arrived, fuming at not having been invited to participate. Dressed in a bunched-up blazer and a yellow tie, sweat streaming freely from his head, he cornered Liz Pitt, Teachout's finance director. "Nice to get a call from you guys!" he cried. Pitt smiled politely. Credico advanced. "You dissed me twice," he warned. "Credico has a mean streak in him that's hard to come out, but I think you got it."

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