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Tracy Morgan, Last O.G., Returns to Bed-Stuy to Show Off New Basketball Courts

Tracy Morgan at Marcy Playground (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for TBS)

Bed Stuy has new hoops thanks to comedian Tracy Morgan, who returned to his childhood neighborhood yesterday to unveil new basketball courts at Marcy Playground.

The $215,000 park renovation was funded by TBS in conjunction with The Last O.G., in which Morgan’s character returns to the once hardscrabble streets of Brooklyn after 15 years in prison, only to find moms “alkalizing” their tots with seaweed and hipsters expounding on Michelin starred vs. Michelin rated. 

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Buy a Senator(‘s Portrait) Just Like the NRA Does!

Susan Collins by Kim Do.

“The NRA knows how easy it is to buy a senator,” says Kim Sillen, “So we wanted to offer everyone the same opportunity.”

On Saturday, you’ll be able to do just that, as works from the Senator Portrait Project will be auctioned off at BestWorld Gallery, on the Lower East Side. Among the 50 portraits of representatives who’ve voted against gun control: Micheal Bennet Senator of Colorado who paradoxically supports both marijuana and guns and Senator John McCain anxiously clutching a pair of rifles.

“There are humans who voted to allow children and other Americans to die,” says Sillen. 

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City Reliquary Unveils a Sculpture Garden That’s Pure Garbage

(Courtesy of City Reliquary)

Many art shows can be classified as “trash” but a new sculpture garden takes it a step further. Part of the ongoing “NYC Trash!: Past, Present, & Future” exhibit at the The City Reliquary, the new garden features creations made from garbage by 10 local artists to show that trash “can and should be reused.” Global warming permitting, an opening reception will take place in the Williamsburg museum’s back garden on Saturday, April 7, at noon. 

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Enter the Kosmodrome: Part Rave, Part Self-Help Seminar

If your health insurance stopped covering your favorite therapist and your ex changed their Netflix password, consider the Kosmodrome, a one-night motivational and immersive theater event happening next month. It combines “elements of science fiction cinema, light, and sound for people who desire complete enhancement of their capabilities to unlock life’s full potential.” And it’s free.

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Twins Who Grew Up in Queens Together May Be Split By Deportation

(Photos by Ben Toren)

After living undocumented in New York City since they were two years old, Juan Esteban Barreto and his twin sister Daniela both applied for protection under the DACA act. Daniela was approved, but Juan was not so lucky. He was denied, his family believes, because he shoplifted from a bodega when he was 17. If Juan is deported, a bottle of soda will have sent the twins on completely different life trajectories.

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LES Buildings Evacuated After Manhole Fire and Gas Alarm

While the rest of New York basked in today’s eerily warm weather, one block on the Lower East Side was feeling a different kind of heat. Four buildings were evacuated after a manhole fire erupted on Rivington Street, between Essex and Ludlow Streets, at around 10:55 am. The fire was likely caused by the abrupt melting of last Saturday’s snow and salt, according to a Con Ed spokesperson. Con Edison and FDNY responded to the call and high levels of carbon monoxide were detected on the scene. Residents of 107, 109, 111 and 113 Rivington were evacuated, and were allowed to return shortly before 2pm.

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Common Will Open the 2018 Season of Celebrate Brooklyn!

Just a week after SummerStage announced its first headliner, another one of the city’s summer staples, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, has announced Common as its season opener. The rapper, actor and activist will play a free show on June 5 at Prospect Park. The event kicks off a year long celebration of 40 years of BRIC, an arts and media organization dedicated to free cultural programming in Brooklyn.

Last year, Common won an Emmy for his track on Ava Duvernay’s Oscar-Nominated documentary 13TH. After collaborating on the 2016 album Black America Again, Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins have formed the group August Greene and will be releasing their first joint album on March 9.

The BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival draws an audience of 200,000 each season and has featured a diverse roster of more than 2,000 artists such as Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Chaka Khan, David Byrne, Jimmy Cliff, and Janelle Monáe.

Although the lack of entry price is a strong part of the festival’s appeal, season memberships are available starting at $60. These are perfect for those who don’t appreciate a nice wait in line, and like to sit in chairs while they eat, as it offers express entry, access to member tents with food, seats and beverage service. 

 

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Rachelle Robinett Studied Witch Elixirs Before Opening Supernatural Health Cafe

(Photo: Summer Eldemire)

“Wellness has become another way to display wealth,” holistic healer Rachelle Robinett recently wrote. In the piece, Robinett wryly points out the aspirational nature of the health trend, where stylized breakfast bowls “are the new handbags” and “instead of planning fashion shows, we produce cacao ceremonies at Saks Fifth Avenue.” The golden ticket? “An ayahuasca experience in a Soho loft.” A few weeks after her health world takedown was published, she opened the doors for her wellness cafe Supernatural, at the Woom Center, an “avant-garde yoga studio” on Bowery offering “4-D multi-sensory yoga” and sound healing sessions.

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Airbnb Drives Up Rents in Gentrifying Neighborhoods, New Study Finds

Is Airbnb as a gentrifying villain or a neighborhood ally? The ongoing debate rages on with a newly published report from McGill University. The study found that in New York, Airbnb increases rent, quickens gentrification and makes most of its revenue from listings that are likely illegal. Airbnb questions the legitimacy of the report, which was funded in part by the Hotel Trades Council and cosponsored by housing advocacy groups like the Cooper Square Committee.

Analyzing housing data from Sept. 2014 to Aug. 2017, a team led by professor David Wachsmuth concluded that Airbnb has caused a $380 yearly rent increase for the median New York tenant. The report estimates that the home-sharing company caused the removal of between 7,000 and 13,500 units from New York City’s long-term rental market, causing housing prices to go up. Airbnb caused a $610 increase in the median East Village yearly rent, a $510 increase in Lower East Side median yearly rent, and a $330 increase in Williamsburg median yearly rent, the study claimed.

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Protesters Decry ‘Racism Disguised as Art’ as Controversial Chinatown Show Closes

(Photo: Summer Eldemire)

Most artists would be happy to have a closing party thrown for their show. Not Omer Fast. On Saturday, activist groups held a protest to celebrate the end of an exhibition they deemed “racism disguised as art.” Fast’s work was an insult to native Chinatown residents being pushed out by galleries, critics argued.

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Hear Syrian Activists Tackle the Problem of ‘Hell On Earth’

When Radwan Ziadeh was living in his hometown of Daraya, southeast of Damascus, its population was 300,000. Now, he says, the population is zero. Ziadeh, a political opponent of the Bashar al-Assad government, came to the U.S. after his outspoken belief in democracy made it unsafe for him to remain in Syria.

But after 10 years, the U.S. may no longer be an option. In June his application for political asylum was revoked because of a conference he organized between Syrian opposition groups. The State Department saw the conference as offering “material support” to terrorist groups despite the American government providing aid to several of them. During his 10 years in the U.S., Ziadeh has been a fellow at Harvard, Georgetown and the congressionally funded U.S. Institute of Peace.

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