Blood on the sidewalk from the victims of the explosion on Saturday night. Photo by Rebeca Corleto.
When a bomb in a dumpster exploded at 133 W. 23rd St. in Manhattan last night, 18-year-old Diana Shubaiev heard the deafening sound. Shubaiev was on the sidewalk outside of Epidermis, the salon where she works, handing out skincare samples when it happened.
“We heard the noise and saw people running,” said Shubaiev. “Suddenly there was like 2,000 people outside.”
As people ran up the street, some took cover in the salon. Shubaiev and co-workers that were at the salon helped to calm down the scared and injured people. The degree of injuries varied from very minor to more severe, she said.
“They say there were only minor injuries, and I know why they said it was minor, because no one died and there was no internal bleeding, but there was blood all over the place. It was like a nightmare. ” Shubaiev said.
Epidermis is one of the southernmost businesses on 6th Avenue in Chelsea. and one of the few that has reopened following the 8:30 p.m. blast. The police have shut down all activity below 24th St. while the investigation takes place. Twenty nine people were injured in the blast. A second bomb, a few blocks away did not explode.
Shubaiev stood outside the salon today, as she did last night when the bomb went off, handing out samples to draw in business to the salon. On the other side of 24th St. a line of police officers stood guard by a barricade around the area in question.
Shubaiev, who moved from Israel to Ridgewood ,Queens a month ago said that her parents called her, worried for her safety after they saw the news.
“They were crying on the phone, because I was so close to where it happened. I was scared,” she said. “In Israel, we don’t take it too hard when there is a bomb, because there is a lot of war. If they shut down every time there was a bomb, the whole country would stop.”
Shubaiev contrasted her home country’s less urgent response to bombings with that of the NYPD after the blast
“The police had everything shut down fast—five minutes—after it happened,” she said.
Or Garahian, also 18 and from Ridgewood, works with Shubaiev at Epidermis. He said immediately following the blast, people ran up 6th Avenue, directly past the salon. Garahian came outside and helped scared and injured people, ushering some inside the salon.
“They call this place a crime scene,” said Garahian. “I gave bandages to the people who were bleeding. Tried to calm them down before the ambulances got to them. Some people were clearly in shock, so we couldn’t go near them.”
While Garahian was outside trying to help people, Shubaiev lost sight of him in the crowd.
“Or was here and all of a sudden I couldn’t find him,’’ she said. “I was very worried and I was looking for him, but then he was there, helping some girls who were scared.”
“People say there are probably more bombs hidden,” added Shubaiev. “They’re still looking for them.”
A Franklin Delano High School’s students drawing of the 9/11 attacks hangs in a social studies classroom. The Bensonhurst high school teaches 9/11 every year. Photo by Julie Liao.
It’s just after noon on Friday at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Twenty seven students swarmed into their stuffy, 11th grade social studies class.
This was their last social studies class before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that changed their city and their world. Michael Scherer, 38, their teacher, planned to teach his annual 9/11 class as he had been doing for the past five years.
“Raise your hand if you heard the word virtue before? What does it mean?” he asked the class.
He defined virtue as “doing what is right for the common good and expecting nothing in return.”
Scherer started a discussion about whether people do good deeds out of their natural kindness or for payback. He asked the students for their thoughts and the response was spilt down the middle.
“The point of today’s lesson is to kind of prove that wrong,” he said of those who believed payback was a reason to do good. Scherer had a very personal story to share about virtue and doing good for nothing in return.
Scherer’s father-in-law, Vincent J. Albanese, a veteran firefighter, was among thousands of heroic first responders, who rushed to the World Trade Center and helped to rescue trapped workers after the two planes crashed into the towers. For several months after the attack, he supported clean up efforts at ground zero.
But the toxic dust made Albanese sick, Scherer said. In 2010, he died of bladder cancer. He was 63.
“I watched him pretty much die,” he said.
Scherer isn’t the only teacher who emphasizes 9/11 education at the school. All the social studies teachers at FDR high school are required to teach 9/11 in their curriculum.
In fact, the first comprehensive 9/11 education plan for teenagers in New York City was released by a nonprofit group in 2009. Two years later, cooperating with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the Department of Education of NYC provided online teaching materials for students from kindergarten to high school. Through stories, videos and interactive activities, the students would learn about the attacks in four parts, “community and conflicts”, “historical impact”, “heroes and services” and “memory and memorialization”.
But since it is not mandatory, not all schools teach it.
FDR high school administrators believe it is an important part of history and should not be ignored.
“We teach them those events and also some of the historical context in which they occurred to raise awareness about not only global terrorism,but about the resiliency of the American people after those events occurred,” said Christine Imbemba, the assistant principal of this school as well as a social studies teacher.
But 45 minutes is not enough to study 9/11. Although both Imbemba and Scherer said they are more than willing to spend the whole school day teaching 9/11, they have to comply with the school’s curriculum schedule.
After the discussion, Scherer had his students watch the documentary, “The Man in the Red Bandanna.” It is the story of Welles Crowther, 24-year-old equities trader working on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center during the attack. Somehow he found an escape route and led three trips up and down the stairs, even carrying survivors. His body was found in the rubble six moths later.
“… like what if that was me, what if that was my son, what if that was my brother,” said David Ismailati, 16, a student about the documentary. The teen believes terrorism is still a big threat.
Ismailati said he may do an oral history as his 9/11 homework assignment. His father was working about ten blocks away during the attack.
“He had to walk all the way from around the World Trade Center back to Brooklyn because there was no subway,’’ he said. “He came back covered in debris completely.”
Despite the limited time and resources, Scherer said he believes his students will understand his theme of selfless virtue and 9/11.
“I know it was just like a small message, but I think it might resonate,” he said.
The corner of 5th Avenue and 55th Street is the intersection of luxury watch and jewelry stores. The St. Regis Hotel, one building over on 55th, brings an affluent clientele to the Rolex and Des Beers shops at this corner, and on this mid-December evening, they are out shopping for the holidays, bundled in Canada Goose parkas.
Since 1875, this corner has also been the home for the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. This time of year, it is the only building on 5th Avenue that isn’t decorated in twinkling lights or garlands. In fact, the majority of the building’s Victorian Gothic façade is almost entirely obscured by scaffolding, the red sandstone clock tower and steeple just barely peek out of the top. The only seasonal additions to the building are a simple wreath hanging from a cross above the front entrance, and a homeless woman sitting by the edge of the building, wrapped in a thin wool blanket against the cold, holding a sign that pleads for assistance.
The homeless have become a common sight in New York City, with the Coalition for the Homeless reporting a swell of nearly 60,000 homeless individuals in it’s shelters this past season. That’s as high as it was during the Great Depression, and it’s an 86 percent increase from ten years ago. Those are just the numbers of people who take refuge in city shelters, no one has a head count on those who would rather freeze to death than go into the system.
The Department of Homeless Services believes that houses of worship have the ability to influence individuals on the street who are fearful or resistant to city shelters. To reach them, the de Blasio administration will funnel $19.5 million beginning January 1, 2016, in order to incentivize churches to make space for homeless during the coldest months of the year. The new project, called the Opening Doors Initiative, hopes to double the amount of beds made available in churches by adding an additional 500. This year Fifth Avenue Presbyterian hopes to use those funds to make space for 10 homeless women.
Paul Sanchez, a New York photographer, on how he started his career and why he loves photographing in New York.
The Pretty Reckless, a New York City based band. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
by Stacey Kilpatrick
Through a mop of blonde curly hair, silhouetted by blue, yellow, and purple lights, front woman Taylor Momsen and band mates of The Pretty Reckless kicked off the night’s iHeartRadio Live concert in New York City on Monday evening.
Thrashing, hair flipping and dancing began with the show’s opener, “Follow Me Down,” the band’s first track off their sophomore album Going to Hell. It was a good choice, with Momsen, guitarist Ben Phillips, drummer Jamie Perkins and bassist Mark Damon walking on stage into darkness. The song slowly grew heavier with a rush of drums, guitar and bass, leading into Momsen’s vocals as the lights shined. And this girl has pipes – loud, gritty, throaty ones.
After a hundred or so fans rocked out in the intimate space, iHeartRadio’s host, Jonathan Clarke, introduced the band and asked a few questions before “Sweet Things,” which Momsen and Phillips said was influenced by David Bowie and Little Red Riding Hood.
“I think rock needs a revival and I hope that we can be a part of that,” Momsen answered when asked whether she thought the band was influential, especially to young girls. “And, you know, by meeting fans and things I definitely see a lot of people coming up and saying … ‘I heard your song and now I’m playing guitar’ or ‘now I’ve started a band’ or whatever, so that’s great if we can inspire anything inside of anyone, that’s a goal.”
Clarke also asked if the Reckless plan on releasing an acoustic version of Going to Hell, to which Momsen said yes, and that it’s currently in the process.
“We are doing an acoustic Going to Hell, which kind of gives the listener an inside look as to how the songs were originally written,” Momsen said to high applause and cheers. “So it’s kind of like the songwriter demo version of all the songs before we brought the band in. Because we write everything on acoustic when it starts and then we bring these guys in and it develops into what you’re hearing now.”
““There’s not much production,” Momsen added about Going to Hell. “It’s just guitar, bass, drums and vocals.”
“Well speaking of hearing things,” Clarke said, “How about we hear ‘Heaven Knows’?
The first single off Going to Hell, the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs in March, a feat extra special since it was just the second No. 1 on Mainstream Rock Songs in the last 24 years to feature a female lead. Opening with quiet guitar riffs by Phillips, a light drumbeat, and a soft crowd-clap, Momsen sang the opening verse before leading into a ramped-up vocal of the entire song. “Go!” she yelled throughout, pointing the microphone at the crowd, playing on stage and interacting with the fans.
“Dear Sister” followed, the band’s slower, soft-sung 56-second tune, streaming seamlessly into its followed-up “Absolution.” Momsen throated through energized lyrics and held long notes while playing off of Phillips, showcasing her true vocal strength.
The band’s first single we ever heard from them, as Momsen said, was next. “Make Me Wanna Die” was a crowd favorite that led into title track “Going To Hell” and the closer, “F*cked Up World.”
“I’m gonna need you guys to get real loud on this next one, ‘cause New York City, you’re at iHeartRadio, but you’re still going to hell,” Momsen said. Feeding off the audience, she held her mic out and asked the crowd to scream.
“Not loud enough,” she belted. “I see you in the back.”
They tried again.
“You can do better than that. Scream it!”
Scream they did.
Ending on a high note, the Reckless performed “F*cked Up World,” the group’s second No. 1 song, which peaked in September on Mainstream Rock Songs, making it the band’s second straight No. 1 and making the group just the second band to reach the top of the charts with a female vocalist since 1990.
About halfway through, Momsen, Phillips and Damon ran off stage, leaving Perkins to drum solo with mixed trippy techno beats blaring from speakers for almost six straight minutes. The mates came back for the remainder of the song – Momsen with a tambourine, dancing in circles – as they hung on every note and riff until continued applause, which really never stopped during the hour-long set.
“New York City thank you so much,” Momsen said, shaking her tambourine to all sides of the room in appreciation. “Thank you iHeartRadio, we’re The Pretty Reckless, we love you, thank you, we will see you next time, have a great f*cking night.”
A new bill passed this month by the New York State Assembly will require the Department of Education to consider closing schools if a holiday is likely to result in numerous students being absent from school.
The passage of the bill comes after a push by some New York City legislators to close city public schools for the start of the Chinese New Year. Asians make up over 10 percent of the student population in the NYC school system and schools in Chinatown typically have very low attendance rates on the first day of the Chinese celebration.
“We should consider other cultures’ celebration of the New Year,” said Suiling Tsang, a parent at PS 124, whose child didn’t attend school on the start of the New Year.
“I think the typical example is the Jewish New Year. We celebrate the Jewish New Year so why can’t other cultures?”
Mayor Bill De Blasio recently said he supports creating a holiday for the Chinese and Lunar New Year. De Blasio also campaigned on creating school holidays for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which are two Muslim celebrations.
“It will take time. It’s complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. It’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” said De Blasio in a recent interview on WNYC.
Adding three holidays to the school calendar could pose a problem for the school system. Schools are required to be in session for 180 days and the city currently only offers 181 instructional days. The school system does offer a 183 days calendar for high schools.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed into law in October a bill that prohibits New Yorkers under the age of 21 from purchasing cigarettes. The law, which was approved by city council with a vote of 35 to 10, will go into effect in early 2014. Retailers that violate the law will be fined up to $1,000 for a first time offense, $2,000 for a second offense and will have their license revoked for repeat offenses within a three year period. New York City is the first major city to raise the smoking age to 21.