Clinic Protests Continue as Abortion in NYC Plummets

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J. Murphy/City Limits

Source: DOHMH
When I was a sophomore in college, I helped try to start a campus pro-choice organization, which wouldn't have been a big deal if the campus in question weren't steeped in Catholic tradition. Unable to gain traction on school grounds, we looked beyond the gates, and three of us became regular volunteer escorts at a women's clinic down around 149th Street in the Bronx. Every Saturday morning, we'd don orange vests and head to nearby street corners to watch for clients and offer them an escort if our counterparts, the anti-abortion rights protesters, seemed to distress them.

Cloudy Views On Broken-Windows Policing

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Tomas Castelazo/City Limits

Everybody knows what Immaculate Conception is. They must because they reference it all the time. Except they often get it wrong. People will jokingly allude to Immaculate Conception when describing someone being born without their parents having, you know, done it. But that's not Immaculate Conception, it's Virgin Birth, which the Bible says occurred in Jesus's case. Immaculate Conception refers to Mary—that's Jesus's mom, for the uninitiated—having been born (after being conceived the traditional way) without original sin. The confusion is enough to drive an ex-Catholic to prayer.

Report: Housing Construction Could Tamp Down City Rents

Well, here’s a case in point of how where one sits determines where one stands: While many of us spend our days decrying rising rents in the city, one real-estate research firm is cheering it—and expressing concern that new housing now being built could force rents lower.

The report from Axiomatics finds that rent in the metro area grew 2.2 percent in June, higher than the 1.7 percent found in June "considerably higher than the -1.3% reported in December 2013."

But the firm believes that there were"“4,704 new units delivered in 2013; that total is anticipated to ramp up to 7,879 this year. By 2015, Axiometrics forecasts 16,469 units to come online."

Several Members of Queens Library Board Forced Out

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Padraic Ryan/City Limits

The Broad Channel library, part of the Queens network.
The Queens Borough Public Library announced late Wednesday that "notices were received by several Queens Library trustees, removing them from the Board." A spokeswoman for the QBPL, which has been under fire for perks awarded to director Thomas Galante, would not divulge the names of those ousted, but the Daily News has them as Joseph Ficalora, William Jefferson, Grace Lawrence, George Stamatiades, Jacqueline Arrington, Terry Mangino, Patricia Flynn, Stephen Van Anden.

"Throughout the history of the Queens Borough Public Library, the people of Queens have benefitted enormously from a highly committed library Board of Trustees whose leadership has helped keep libraries open and free," the QBPL said in a statement. "They have helped make Queens Library a recognized national model of excellence. The Board consists of volunteer high-profile professionals and community activists who make time out of their busy schedules. Every one of the tens of millions who has enriched his life through Queens Library owes them thanks for their service."

Some Police Agencies Revive Restraints Involving Neck

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USMC/City Limits

Troops in training demonstrate a lateral vascular neck restraint, or LVNR.
Outrage over the death last week of Eric Garner while in police custody hasn’t been echoed on listservs and bulletin boards frequented by police officers and their supporters. "Looking at this video, there is no criminal action on the part of the officer(s) in my opinion," wrote one poster at Thee Rant, where some posters disparaged the dead man and there was general concern that the cop at the center of the case might be unfairly blamed for Garner's demise.

There’s no way to tell whether the posters at sites like Thee Rant are cops, retired cops, wannabes, buffs or trolls. But one post raised a question that may resonate as the uproar over Garner’s death lives on.

Mayor's Trip Raises the Question: Who Does No. 2 Work For?

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Library of Congress/City Limits

Mayor James Walker left office in 1932 amid a corruption scandal, one of the few people to leave City Hall ahead of time.
For fans of administrative minutiae, the dust-up over whether Public Advocate Letitia James would take on some mayoral powers during Mayor de Blasio's trip to Italy might recall those heady teenaged days when you memorized the presidential order of succession right down to the secretary of education, batting 15th. (It's remarkable I wasn't more popular in middle school, isn't it?)

NYC Pols React, Unevenly, to Mideast Violence

New York City—a tourist magnet and center of global finance boasting a large immigrant population, a number of major international organizations and a history of being targeted by foreign terrorists—is a place where international politics and local sentiment regularly run into each other on the sidewalk.

This is especially true when it comes to Middle Eastern affairs. Rudy Giuliani once threw PLO leader Yasser Arafat out of a concert at Lincoln Center. Mike Bloomberg had to retreat to a Sderot bomb shelter on a mayoral visit to Israel. Shortly after taking office, Bill de Blasio told a pro-Israel lobby group he saw defending the Jewish state as one of his duties as mayor.

In Quest for Art Supplies, Teachers Get Creative

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MFTA/City Limits

The warehouse in Long Island City.
At the height of summer the school art projects that will decorate classroom walls and refrigerator doors next fall were already taking shape this week in a warehouse in Long Island City.

There, a teacher from the Bronx picked up lids for students to draw old-fashioned portraits. Another, from Brooklyn, walked down aisles to find the perfect chains for her school’s jewelry club. Hundreds of other teachers roamed the shelves.

The warehouse of Materials for the Arts (MFTA) is a creative reuse center, where donated supplies are distributed to thousands of New York City public schools and non-profit organizations for free. This center saves teachers money out of their own pocket, while helping them tap into their creative side and invent new projects that integrate art into the everyday classroom. "What we are trying to do is really trying to bring art into subjects such as math, science and social studies and promote ourselves as the resource to do so," says Rachael Kuo, Materials for the Arts' communication coordinator.

The Bigger Picture on School Crowding

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Jim Henderson/City Limits

The former Theodore Roosevelt High School on Fordham Road now contains for high schools. One operates at 74 percent of capacity, one at 105 percent.
The city's school system does a poor job of tracking its efforts to alleviate school crowding, resulting in a lack of progress in reducing the space squeeze in overcrowded buildings, according to a report from the city comptroller released Wednesday.

“According to DOE's own statistics, overcrowding in primary and middle school buildings
appears to be worsening, despite the fact that more than 16,359 seats were created in Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012,” concluded the audit from the office of Comptroller Scott Stringer. In its response to the findings, the DOE took issue with the approach taken by the audit, but didn't dispute the numbers themselves.

Race, Fear and the Risk of Drowning

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Global Jet/City Limits

The public pool in Astoria Park.
As the weather heats up so does the concern for water safety around pools and waterfronts. On Monday, Brooklyn's borough president reminded parents to supervise their children closely after Ruhshona Kurbonova, a two-year-old, drowned in Prospect Park Lake this past weekend.

"A city that is surrounded by a body of water shouldn’t lose human bodies to swimming incidents or water-related incidents," said Eric Adams.

To prevent further drowning occurrences, Adams plans to sit down with all stakeholders to get across the importance of water safety for all citizens and also he expressed the need to get the word out to parents on educating their children on what not to do when near water. Adams's goal is to prevent "family gatherings turning into family tragedy."

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