New York's Bridge-Climbing Subculture Is Fighting Over Those White Flags on the Brooklyn Bridge

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Image via City Council Member Mark Weprin's office
The infamous white flags.
Maybe you heard: on Tuesday morning, or maybe very late Monday night, someone swapped out the American flags on the Brooklyn Bridge and put some bleached white ones in their place. New York's public officials have been competing to see who can be more outraged and appalled over the stunt: Public Advocate Letitia James said the incident "raised serious concerns about our safety as a city," while Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams offered called the stunt a "terrorist act" and "descration" and offered $5,000 of his own money as a reward for information leading to the capture of the flag-swapping menaces.

Meanwhile, in a rapidly devolving debate taking place through Instagram and thinly-veiled jabs in the news, the subculture of daredevil photographers who like to climb high things and take stunning photos are pointing the finger at each other.

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Podcast: Karina Longworth on Old Hollywood

Categories: Film and TV

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Karina Longworth
On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, Amy Nicholson of the L.A. Weekly and Stephanie Zacharek of The Village Voice interview film critic and author Karina Longworth, who's just launched a fascinating new podcast on the history of Hollywood called You Must Remember This.

Democratic Challenger Zephyr Teachout Wants Cuomo to "Resign Immediately" After Allegations of Meddling In Corruption Panel

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As far as Albany skulduggery goes, this one is almost too on-the-nose: a New York Times investigation out today alleges that Governor Andrew Cuomo's office interfered with an anti-corruption commission, making sure it was unable to investigate any alleged corruption emanating from people or groups with close ties to the governor.

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Architect Files Construction Permits for 5 Pointz Replacement; Demolition Set to Begin in One Week

Categories: 5 Pointz

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Then: "View of 5 Pointz, January 20, 2013" by Ezmosis - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons / Soon: H. Thomas O'Hara, via NYC Department of City Planning
5 Pointz: Then and Soon.
H. Thomas O'Hara -- architect of the two towers set to be erected on the lot where 5 Pointz sits now -- filed construction permits with the Department of Buildings on Tuesday. The filing comes one week after owner Jerry Wolkoff announced he had secured a permit to demolish the building. On July 17 Wolkoff said he planned to begin tearing the iconic building down within two weeks.

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Eric Garner's Death: How a Video Undermines a Police Narrative

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The NYPD's internal report about the death of Eric Garner explained what happened through the eyes of the officers at the scene. As the Daily News first reported, one officer said that Garner "resisted arrest" while being apprehended in Staten Island last week. He was "struggling" with Officers Justin Damico and Daniel Pantaleo, who "attempted to place him in handcuffs."

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Trolling Hell: Is the Satanic Temple a Prank, the Start of a New Religious Movement -- or Both?

Categories: Longform

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The most controversial new work of art in the United States is a sculpture that resides in an undisclosed warehouse location in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Hardly anyone knows where it is, and few have actually seen it. The people who commissioned the piece have warned the artist not to publicly identify himself.

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In 1951, the FBI Thought the Soviets Might Be Hiding an Atomic Bomb Somewhere in New York City

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Image via Wikimedia Commons
Fat Man, the atomic bomb detonated over Nagasaki by the United States in 1945.
In the incredibly overheated, paranoid environment of the Cold War, anything seemed possible. Senator Joe McCarthy saw Communists hiding in every broom closet, Julius and Ehtel Rosenberg were executed as spies -- although the evidence we have today suggests that Ethel, at least, wasn't guilty of anything of the sort -- and the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched COINTELPRO, a series of covert actions spying on and disrupting various political organizations, including civil rights leaders and Vietnam war protesters. In 1951, according to a recently declassified FBI file, the agency also became convinced that an atomic bomb built by the Soviet Union could be hiding somewhere in New York City, waiting to be detonated. After receiving a rather flimsy tip from an unnamed informant in Brazil, the FBI spent several years quietly looking for the bomb.


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Here Are New Jersey's Most Agile Cats

Categories: Cats, Video

"Dogs have masters and cats have staff, the servants, and that's us. It takes some intelligence to know how to twist that dynamic around and that's what cats do."

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Jill Abramson on New York City's Pedestrian Death Epidemic: 'We Know The Causes'

Jean Chambers was in the crosswalk, with the signal in her favor, when she was struck and killed by a driver at West 95th Street and West End Avenue on July 10. That day Chambers became the fourth pedestrian struck and killed within one two block radius on the Upper West Side in the last six months.

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City Will Pay $2.75 Million to Family of Killed Rikers Inmate

Ronald Spear was arrested and charged with burglary in September 2012. He awaited trial at Rikers Island. He was 52-years-old and had health problems. He had a kidney disease and he walked with a cane. He needed dialysis and other treatment.

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Bill Nye Talks Evolution and Climate Change, Poses for Selfies, at Irving Plaza

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C.S. Muncy
Nye poses for a quick photograph before his show on Saturday night at Irving Plaza.
The show was about to start with the kind of problem one could only find at a Bill Nye event: All the liquid nitrogen had evaporated overnight. It was one of those tiny things -- somebody had forgotten to put a cover back in place from the previous show, and overnight it had all burned off. Nick, Nye's producer, put it pretty simply. "We've got a problem."

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Rightbloggers Take Back the Culture with Anti-Feminist Tumblr, Religious Film Reviews, Etc.

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

Let's be honest -- we really don't want to talk about last week's big, horrible news stories. The Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 story is too disturbing and, aside from the usual it's-all-Obama's-fault knee-jerks, not much differentiates right from left on the subject. Similarly, reactions to the Israel-Palestine fight have little to do with anything in American politics except the strength of the Israel lobby and the absence of a Palestinian one.

So we will instead go with an evergreen -- or, as we like to think of it, a topic that never gets enough updates: Culture War, which is what rightbloggers have instead of culture.


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Video: This is the Deadliest Intersection in New York

Categories: Traffic, Video

"I feel terrified to cross this street, which I have to cross about 10 times a day, every day," said a tenant who lives in a building on 95th Street and West End Avenue.

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Video: De Blasio Addresses Death of Man Strangled by NYPD Officer

Cut to 31:45 into the video see the beginning of the press conference.


On Thursday night, Staten Island man Eric Garner, 43, known affectionately as "Big E,"died while being arrested after an NYPD officer placed him in a chokehold. Garner, a father of six, was reportedly asthmatic. A disturbing video of the incident posted on Live Leak shows that Garner repeatedly said "I can't breathe!", sounding close to tears, as the police held him to the ground. The Staten Island Advance reports that Garner, who stood over 6 feet and weighed more than 350 pounds, was a fixture in the neighborhood who sometimes sold loose cigarettes for 50 cents apiece. Witnesses have said that Garner was trying to break up a fight in front of a beauty supply store.

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Back to Normal: LIRR Workers Reach Deal with MTA

Categories: LIRR, Unions

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C.S. Muncy
The Long Island Rail Road's Babylon stop a little after 6 a.m. today.
Governor Andrew Cuomo predictably stepped into negotiations Thursday night between union leadership and the MTA, just three days before a planned work-stoppage of more than 5,400 workers and service on the Long Island Railroad. The union had worked without a new contract for four years before the agreement was reached.

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De Blasio Appoints Richard Emery to Chair Police Oversight Board

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NYC's new Civilian Complaint Review Board chair has a long history of civil-rights advocacy. | photo: Vincent Desjardins via Flickr
After a long vacancy, New York City's Civilian Complaint Review Board will have a new leader at its helm. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a city hall news conference this afternoon that longtime civil-rights attorney Richard Emery will assume the chair of the agency. The CCRB is an independent body that reviews citizen complaints against NYPD officers and sends recommendations for disciplinary action to the police commissioner.

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New York Post Reporter to Occupy Activist Cecily McMillan: "You Look Fabulous! But You Should Eat More."

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via nypost.com
The latest installment of the New York Post's Cecily McMillan fashion watch.
Occupy Wall Street activist and New School graduate student Cecily McMillan was back in Manhattan criminal court Thursday morning, just weeks after her release from Rikers Island, where she served two months after being convicted of assaulting a police officer. The 25-year-old McMillan still faces another criminal charge, this one a misdemeanor, for obstruction of governmental administration. After a brief hearing, McMillan and her attorney, Martin Stolar, left the courthouse trailed by the usual press scrum, who immediately drilled down on the real story: McMillan's physical appearance.


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De Blasio Stops By The Colbert Report, Is a Little Boring

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on The Colbert Report

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went seeking the "Colbert Bump" last night in what turned out to be a relatively brief, bland interview.

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Podcast: The Mystifying World of Planes with L.A. Weekly Film Critic Amy Nicholson

Categories: Film and TV

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On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, we hear from L.A. Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson, who's intrigued by the bizarre universe of Pixar's Planes movies. We also hear about the film critic's background and how she became interested in the movies by way of subliminal advertising and photography.

See also:
Here Are the Most WTF Moments of Kid's Flick Planes: Fire & Rescue
Planes Raises Intriguing Questions About the Implications of Airplane Sentience

Investigators Say 14-Year-Old Noel Estevez, Who Stabbed Fellow Student Timothy Crump, Never Reported Being Bullied to School

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Image via Facebook.
Estevez, left, and Crump, pictured together in an undated photo. The photo is from a Facebook page titled "Free Noel Estevez- Standup Against Bullying." The caption on Faceook reads: "it is sad that once friends, Timothy and Noel had turned foes due to circumstances and eventually things have turned out into the worst possible situation for everyone involved... Collective failure of the school and parents to be blamed for not addressing the problem in its early stages."
Fourteen-year-old Noel Estevez is accused of fatally stabbing Timothy Crump, also 14, outside of their middle school in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx. Estevez was initially charged with murder and was to be tried as an adult, but on July 1, a grand jury voted to indict the teen for a lesser charge, second-degree manslaughter, and move the case to family court.

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