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No TV for me. Well, maybe a little.

Posted on 17. Dec, 2009 by .

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Now that my first semester of journalism school is over and I have a month-long break approaching, everyone has been asking me, “What will you do with your time?”

My response has been two-fold: sleep and watch television (or movies on DVD). I even had developed a growing “must-watch” list: “Freaks and Geeks,” the HBO “John Adams” miniseries, season one of “The West Wing.” Add to that an even longer list of movies and documentaries I’ve held off from watching because of a demanding graduate school schedule, and my month off was pretty much booked.

That is, until I read a health article in The New York Times yesterday that made me reconsider my scheduled laziness.

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Slideshow: an artist at work, with ink

Posted on 17. Dec, 2009 by .

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Robert “Chance” Molina’s tattoos look like the work of a lifetime. His parents’ faces stare out from his stomach. His arms are layered with intricate designs of skulls, flames, the Grim Reaper, and his daughter’s name, Bianca, to name a few. The tattoos are so interwoven it’s hard to tell when one ends and the other begins. Two immobile tears sit under each of his eyes.
Molina, 35, did not get his first tattoo until 2001. He tattooed eyebrows on himself and developed an immediate ink addiction. Since then, he has gotten about 500 tattoos, and he has tattooed them all himself, he said. “I’m actually at the point where I’m doing things in between tattoos. I’m just filling in spaces,” he said.

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Bronx teens have their own holiday business

Posted on 14. Dec, 2009 by .

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Alongside Gucci, Hermes and high-end shops, a new, and perhaps unlikely, group of retailers cropped up on Madison Avenue this holiday season: young women, mostly teenagers from the South Bronx, who sell holiday cards featuring their own artwork.

The young businesswomen quickly learned the secret to a good sales pitch.

“If I talk more, people will buy more,” said Farah R., 22, of Brooklyn. As potential customers hovered in front of their table she got to work. “We actually designed them ourselves,” she told them. “They can also be used as thank-you notes.”

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Travel: Holiday cheer in Massachusetts

Posted on 08. Dec, 2009 by .

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Travelers might not think of Western Massachusetts as the ideal holiday destination, but they would be surprised. If you want to get into the holiday spirit, and can’t afford a trip to New York City, Springfield, Mass. and surrounding towns might be the next best bet.

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Video: "We still got to survive." The recession in the South Bronx

Posted on 29. Nov, 2009 by .

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Jose Martinez, 58, has not had an apartment for the past two years. His only income is a disability check every month. His friend owns a parking lot in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, and he lets Martinez sleep there. Otherwise, the former auto mechanic sleeps in shelters or wherever he can. He does what he must to survive, he says, with a little help from people in his community.

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Out-of-state fans travel to see their Yankees

Posted on 12. Nov, 2009 by .

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New Yorkers weren’t the only ones celebrating the Yankees’ World Series win last Friday. Fans from Pennsylvania and New Jersey filled the streets of lower Manhattan for the team’s ticker-tape parade. Thousands of out-of-staters headed into New York City on the PATH train to revel in the New York Yankees’ 27th World Series championship.

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Video: A family brought together. The recession in the South Bronx.

Posted on 05. Nov, 2009 by .

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Daisy Moran, 42, works in the maintenance department at Crotona Park in the South Bronx, but not for long. Moran, who lives in Morrisania, participates in a job-training program with the city’s Park Department so she can support the eight children in her household. The single mother will soon be back to square one: the job-training program lasts only six months.

In part two of my video series on the recession in the South Bronx, Moran shares her struggles and one surprising upside of the recession.

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Video: "I'm used to the struggle." The recession in the South Bronx.

Posted on 04. Nov, 2009 by .

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The recession has not affected all South Bronx residents, I reported in a post last week. Eurice Jackson, 44, a hair stylist and artist, was one such resident. Finances have always been a struggle for him, so the recession has not changed an already difficult situation, he said. Jackson, who lives in the Crotona Park East section of the Bronx, has always used his creativity in order to survive. In the video below, Jackson tells his story in his own words.

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Slice of Life: The Boardwalk Garden

Posted on 28. Oct, 2009 by .

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The Boardwalk Garden in Coney Island is just a minute away from the wooden planks of the neighborhood’s famous boardwalk. Turn the corner and one enters a quiet world of red peppers, roosters and rabbits. Rosa Serrano, 55, helps her father run the garden. The garden is open to everyone in the community, she said. […]

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"I'm used to the struggle": the recession in the South Bronx

Posted on 25. Oct, 2009 by .

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When I was recently in the South Bronx, I was surprised to hear a number of residents say they hadn’t been affected the recession. I had imagined that one of the country’s poorest counties would have been hit the hardest, not left untouched.

But for some residents in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, their lives haven’t changed because, really, they didn’t have much else to lose in the first place.

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