New York City

Percussionist Chief Baba Neil Clarke is performing on Sunday July 1 at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn as part of the International African Arts Festival, a celebration that kicks off Saturday June 30 and goes until the 4thof July.  

Ang Santos / WBGO

New York City is ranked 9th on The Trust for Public Land annual ParkScore index.  They rate park systems based on access, size, investment, amenities.

“How many residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park, spending per resident, and a bunch of what we call amenities, basketball hoops, dog parks, playgrounds, recreation and senior centers, and splash pads,” said Adrian Benepe, Senior Vice President with The Trust For Public Land.

Jersey City fell 13 spots to 53rd.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The Carteret Ferry Terminal is part of a redevelopment project on the borough’s waterfront along the Arthur Kill Channel.  Mayor Dan Reiman says the terminals construction won’t be complete until 2022, but the ferry can start operating as soon as they acquire a boat with help from NJ Transit.

“We have an existing 1,200-foot pier.  In fact, last year, two years ago when we did the test runs we operated off of this existing pier.  The infrastructure in town is in place.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to further expand the NYC Ferry service.  He says it has far exceeded annual ridership expectations.

“We thought the most we could possibly see with the existing lines was about 4.5 million riders a year.  Now we have a new projection.  In just a few years, that number will double to 9 million a year.”

De Blasio wants to invest $300 million in capital funding into NYC Ferry over the next five years.

Jon Kalish / WBGO

For much of the 20th Century some public libraries in New York had apartments on the premises for custodians who needed to keep the coal furnaces running 24/7. A new play has opened by a woman who grew up in one of these apartments. You can hear a report from WBGO’s Jon Kalish above.

  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says it’s time to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the opioid epidemic.

“Those who created the problem have to feel the consequences, change their ways and finally address the damage they have done.  The suit targets seven manufacturers and three distributors who are most responsible for creating this crisis.”

He says they deceived the public, while putting lives at risk, all for the sake of profits.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says it wasn't only bad weather that caused anemic turnouts on Election Day.  He says his second administration will fight to change election laws in Albany.

“We are one of only thirteen states that doesn’t allow early voting.  Early voting is the greatest preventative measure to make sure people aren’t excluded because of the weather or because work went late, or the subway broke down.  If you don’t have early voting you’re implicitly allowing the disenfranchisement of a huge number of voters.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Wins Re-election

Nov 8, 2017
Bill de Blasio
CNBC.com

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio cruised to re-election Tuesday.  The mayor collected about 66 percent of the vote compared to 28 for his main challenger, Republican Nicole Malliotakis, with more than 95 percent of the election precincts reporting.

“We have a lot to be proud of, but we can’t stop now,” de Blasio said in a victory speech at the Brooklyn Museum.

WBGO's Scott Pringle was at the election night headquarters.  Click above to hear his report.

Bob Hennelly / WBGO

Ang Santos:  So Bob, in New York City, which is overwhelmingly Democratic, doesn't the primary carry the weight of the General election?

Bob Hennelly:  Absolutely, with the exception of Staten Island and some pockets in Brooklyn, it’s a sea of blue. And once the candidate gets wins in the primary they can start measuring the drapes for their new offices or old office if they are an incumbent.

AS:  Even though Mayor de Blasio is expected to win handily why is he blitzing the airwaves with commercials? 

Ang Santos / WBGO

A report from the New York State Comptroller says the amount of jobs in the Big Apple’s tech sector has grown nearly sixty percent in six years. 

“Last year, employment in the tech sector surpassed 280,000 jobs,” said New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.  “Which ranked New York third in the nation after California and Texas.  Since 2010, this sector in New York State as a whole has added more than 57,000 jobs.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the growth of tech job salaries is outpacing other’s in the private sector.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Speaking from a MTA conference seeking solutions to New York City’s aging infrastructure, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s system under a state of emergency.

“The delays are maddening New Yorkers.  They are infuriated by a lack of communication, unreliability, and now accidents.   Just three days ago we literally had a train come off of the tracks.  It’s a perfect metaphor for the dysfunction of the entire system,” Cuomo said.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The annual Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival brings the best high school jazz ensembles nationwide to New York City, where they compete live from Jazz at Lincoln Center.  They kicked things off this year with a message, New Orleans Style.

Jazz at Lincoln Center kicks off the Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival with a statement on the importance of funding the arts.  They have fifteen of America’s most talented high school jazz ensembles by their side to help.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The 115th Street library in Harlem is being named after singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte.

“I grew up in this very space.  I lived on 114th Street and Manhattan Avenue.  I used to go to Manhattan Park to hang out and do mischief.  But this library and this community did a lot to shape my life,” Belafonte said.  “I’ve done a lot in my life, but this particular ceremony has deeper resonance and deeper meaning than I think many of you would realize.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made it official.

abyssinian.org

Cyrus Chestnut wrote 'Saga of the Cross' only a few months back, a new composition to be performed with The Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir in Harlem.

“I teach at Howard University in Washington, DC of which there’s a great music program.  What stands out from the program is this vocal jazz group called ‘Afro Blue’ under the direction of Connaitre Miller.  So I’ve been hearing around the vocalists and hearing all of these vocal arrangements and all.  So it’s kind of gotten planted in the ear,” Chestnut said.

Bethany Jacobson

If you’re into New York City settings, mixed with the happenings of a struggling uptown neurotic, bedded to an original jazz score, then Hotel Bleu is a short flick for you.  It’s film maker Bethany Jacobson’s first dive into a full on writer, producer, director role.

“New York can be so many things in cinema.  It’s a challenge to make it something that we haven’t seen before in terms of the feeling of it.  I think I wanted through these characters to show a little bit of the feeling of the old and the new mixed together,” Jacobson told WBGO.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is laying out a new strategy to reduce homelessness across the five boroughs.  He says the city will stop using private apartments, known as cluster sites, and commercial hotels to house the homeless.  He says they’ll build new or expand on existing shelters.

“Ninety new shelters will be necessary.  We think it’s more than a fair trade off to build new and better facilities, cleaner, safer facilities.  The overall number of buildings that are addressing the homeless crisis will be reduced by forty-five percent,” de Blasio said.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Recent Quinnipiac University Polls show a split in New York City voters overall approval of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

When it comes to Mayor de Blasio, voters polled by Quinnipiac University are divided evenly, give or take a few percentage points on his favorability, leadership skills, or whether he deserved to be re-elected.  Poll assistant Director Tim Malloy says they’re even 50-50 on de Blasio’s public disputes with Donald Trump.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to offer free tuition at New York public colleges for eligible residents.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan, ‘The Excelsior Scholarship,’ would provide free tuition to State or City University of New York colleges for residents whose families earn less than $125,000 a year.

“College is a mandatory step if you really want to be a success.  The way this society said we’re going to pay for high school, because you need high school, this society should say we’re going to pay for college,” Cuomo said.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New York City officials are assuring the public that Times Square will be safe for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. 

Over 7,000 law enforcement officers, highly visible weapons teams, and 65 strategically placed sanitation trucks to protect the events perimeters have Mayor Bill de Blasio assured the stage is set in Times Square.

“New Year’s Eve as per usual, we expect over one million people.  I’m not quite sure why millions of people want to stand in the cold for long, long periods of time, but they do, and we’ll be ready for them,” de Blasio said.

Ken Thompson: Overturning Wrongful Convictions

Dec 10, 2015
Ken Thompson
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson lost his battle with cancer in October of 2016.  Thompson was 50.  Thompson made history in 2013 when he became the first African American to be elected Brooklyn District Attorney.

Thompson's enduring legacy includes the formation of a Conviction Review Unit which overturned the wrongful imprisonment of 21 people, winning national applause and attention.