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Category: New York Stories of Fascinating People, Fall 2013

“Renegade Market: Robert LaValva and the battle for the New Amsterdam Market” by Skyler Reid

Robert LaValva is campaigning to keep the New Amsterdam Market up and running at its current site by the old Fulton Fish Market. The site is slated for residential development, but LaValva is hoping for a change with the upcoming elections.



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Fashion Over Biking by Áine Pennello

Joined by bike lanes, hipster and Hasidic Williamsburg fight over biker fashion in Mayor Bloomberg’s gentrified New York.



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Breaking The Cycle- by Nadja Thomas

Young minority single fathers are determined to break the stereotypes that have been placed on them. With the aid of Mayor Bloomberg’s Fatherhood Initiative they have set out to break the cycle of lifestyles they have adopted as a result of their absentee fathers.



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Building Minds in East New York – by Sofia Perpetua

A school marching band teaches East New York children focus, perseverance, responsibility and discipline while it keeps them safe from the violent streets of this Brooklyn neighborhood. Their mentor is Kenyatte Hughes, an ex marine whose goal is to help the children find their way to college through the Soul Tigers Marching Band.


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Transcript :

TRANSCRIPT
If I’d tell you about East New York you wouldnt come back.
We got gangs all around us.
I just rather rather not go outside, I dont feel like explaining to anybody’s parents why they got shot.

Getting to school is an issue, leaving after band practice is an issue, getting home safely…
The park is the biggest space for us to practice in but we cant use it.

Soul Tigers is a catalyst to get into college.
We have the regular 292 kids that are coming.
Given the opportunity these kids can do anything.

Kenyatte: Left, left, left right. Ahh..I see somebody doing one, two, three…

They know there is more to their world than what’s going on in their hood.

Kenyatte: Heels?
Girls: Together.
Kenyatte: Toes?
Girls: Apart.
Kenyatte: March time. Did I show you that?

We’ll see what they’re talented to do. They might better fit an instrument because of their height or their size. You know everybody wants to play snare but they cant.

The Soul Tigers originally started over at PS 137 over in Brownsville. My Pops said, you’re going to join the band, you need something to do. So he put all three of us, all my brothers in it, and so it started from there. I remember doing parades in East New York, Down Picking…

Kenyatte: Lets go. Be still.

An musical instrument teaches you various disciplines, teaches you perseverance, teaches you responsibility, having to have your mouthpiece, having to have your reed, having to have your instruments that you need to be able to play that instrument.

I try to explain to them that it is a build up. It’s not just one day out of the blue I wanna go to college. You gotta work to go to college.

You have to do this, this and this but in order to get there you gotta excel in what you’re doing right now.

In life you need different tools.

In life your tools will be your education, your discipline that you learn either at home or at band. Everything that you learn here at band you can take and you can direct it toward different aspects in your life.

Someone to introduce them to something new, something different… sometimes is all that takes to change that kid’s life forever.

Drum player: Thank you!
Kenyatte: Sticks up!

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BEHIND-THE-SCENES STORY
When I heard Jeanette pitch this story in class I knew I wanted to film this marching band. Kenyatte Hughes is a very dedicated mentor to these East New York children. First time I visited the school, Kenyatte was waiting for me to show me the way to the practice room. He was more than happy to answer all my questions and to help me with everything. The children paid close attention to their teacher, they followed instructions, laughed, played, failed, tried again, played, failed, tried again until they they got into the rhythm. Their dedication to the band and their efforts to learn to play an instrument were inspiring.

Division underneath the Manhattan Bridge: Hipsters, Hasidim clash over bike riding by Jillian Eugenios

Bike lanes remain a contentious topic in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but one man is working to bridge the gap between the hipster cycling culture and the Hasidic community around it.



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The Cyclebreakers by Anne Lagamayo

This is the story of Jesus Benitez, who grew up in the Bronx next to a Bloods block, who was a single father at 17. Refusing to settle for a life of low wages and long hours, he joins a fatherhood program to fight for a better life for him and his son.



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“Fighting for a Market” by Irina Ivanova

One man has been trying to hold an outdoor market for six years—against the Bloomberg administration’s development policy. Robert LaValva and volunteers stage a renegade market every month on land that’s waiting to be turned into condos.


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The Last Dance- by Tanisia Morris

Brooklyn-based choreographer Alexander Beller recalls the triumphs and challenges of a defunct Dance New Amsterdam. The 29-year-old dance organization closed its doors on October 15, 2013 after years of financial troubles.



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Marching Up: An East New York drum line keeping kids off the streets by Jeanette D. Moses

Kenyatte Hughes keeps children safe in Brooklyn’s most dangerous neighborhood by teaching them to march. Hughes has led the Soul Tigers marching band for a decade, giving children in the gang saturated neighborhood of East New York an opportunity to excel.



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Blood Gang Member Turns Away From Violence To Mentor Kids by Eric Jankiewicz

Thomas Angel Porter spent 8 years in prison for assault and when he was released he decided to help young people stay off the path to prison.



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Nov 06, 2013 | Categories: 2013 Fall, New York Stories of Fascinating People, Fall 2013 | Leave A Comment »

A Dance Space Lost & Found By Erica Hochstedler

Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) home to dancers, choreographers, teachers and administrators, filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors on Oct 15, 2013. Teacher, Alexandra Beller, is not letting the loss of a space fragment the dance community.


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Nov 06, 2013 | Categories: 2013 Fall, New York Stories of Fascinating People, Fall 2013 | Leave A Comment »

An Unlikely Leader by Tara Bracco

A Bloods gang member in New York City mentors youths on probation to help keep them away from crime and prison.



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Nov 06, 2013 | Categories: 2013 Fall, New York Stories of Fascinating People, Fall 2013 | Leave A Comment »

Apollo: The God of Music by Heather Martino

From rags to riches, a young man from the projects goes from running the streets of New York City to partying in the Hamptons. After college and fraternity life, Apollo, 23, finds a lucrative career in nightclub promotion. Through this experience, he’s able to raise money for his mother’s cancer treatment, and make a better life for his family.



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Nov 06, 2013 | Categories: 2013 Fall, New York Stories of Fascinating People, Fall 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave A Comment »