Monday, May 11th, 2015
Perry Rosen is one of America’s few remaining jukebox technicians. Rosen, whose Sheepshead Bay home is lined with a half-dozen Wurlitzers and Rock-Olas, says that he can repair any variety of jukebox “from the 1930s right up to the year 2000.”
As the jukebox fades from American culture, though, Rosen still sees purpose and merit in his work. His clientele is mostly Baby Boomers, who collect jukeboxes for their nostalgic value. “It feels good to be in a business that makes people happy, that gives people joy,” he said.
Thursday, April 2nd, 2015
Nine women and one guy – mostly strangers – trail into a small apartment in Greenpoint. The twentysomethings sit down in a living room and start chatting with one another while “Hit Me Baby One More Time” blares in the background. Some nibble on chocolate chip cookies from a plate labeled “Gimme More.”
They’re all here for a 90-minute presentation titled, “Britney Spears: Goddess, Feminist Icon, Pop Priestess,” a quirky but semi-serious workshop that discusses the singer’s unique role in feminism, sexuality, and pop culture. Call it nostalgic, call it crazy, but it keeps selling out.
Thursday, March 26th, 2015
If you tell Big Herc that you want to become a Blood he will stretch his palm out and kindly ask you to repeat yourself. If you are stupid enough to do it, he will slap you in the face. “You still wanna be a Blood?” he’ll ask, and then keep slapping if he senses you can’t make up your mind. “I want to see where your heart is,” he might say.
Herc is short for Hercules, but his real name is Shamar Thomas. He’s a 29-year-old former marine who did two tours in Iraq, including a stretch in Fallujah in 2004. According to Herc, it’s those with weakness in their eyes—”The ones with no hearts”—who go out and commit most of the senseless shootings that kill so many people in his neighborhood of East Flatbush.
Wednesday, March 25th, 2015
Standing at the pulpit, Nancy Baptiste led her congregation in reciting not amens or hymns, but the number most public housing tenants have committed to memory:
That’s the phone number New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, tenants call when something needs to be fixed. Too often, Baptiste said, no one shows up, the wrong work gets done, or the maintenance crew makes the problem worse.
“Enough is enough,” said Baptiste, who lives in Canarsie’s Bayview Houses. “It’s time for the mayor to show up and be accountable. Give NYCHA the money it needs to finish the work, hire enough staff to get the job done right, and make sure they’re properly supervised so the work is completed.”