About Alexa Shahrestani

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As Schools Reopen, the Lower Eastside Girls Club Prepares For a Return to Semi-Normality

(Photos courtesy of Lower Eastside Girls Club)

Thousands of New York City high schoolers returned to in-person classes on March 22, nearly a month after middle schoolers did the same. As classrooms reopen, high school sports are finally resuming this month, and after-school programs that transitioned to online learning last year — or that went dark entirely — are also  reevaluating their services. One of those programs, the Lower Eastside Girls Club, began a new session of online classes last month. Now, it plans to resume limited in-person classes in May and full in-person activities by the summer. It will be a return to semi-normality after a year of constant adaptation. More →

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The ‘Magician’ Who Makes Art Appear On East Village Walls

Art by BKFoxx, Katie Reidy (@RARiGRAFiX), and Urban Russian Doll. (Photo courtesy of East Village Walls)

Dive bars, vintage boutiques, and locally owned restaurants have long occupied the East Village’s streets, but one feature of the neighborhood stands out – the art up on its walls. A highland cow for the Year of the Ox and two purple faces fashioned into the likeness of Kobe and Gianna are only some of the images painted on a variety of buildings, with new murals replacing them every few months. More →

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Bushwick Collective Aims to Bring Block Party Back to Brooklyn

(Photo by Moiz K. Malik/NOOKLYN)

The Bushwick Collective is well known for putting up murals around the city in collaboration with artists from around the world. But the Brooklyn-based project is perhaps most notorious for the event that started it all in 2011: its annual block party, a celebration combining street art, local vendors, and performances by musicians that draws a crowd of thousands each year. More →

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What It’s Like to Start a Nursing Career During the COVID Crisis

(Photo: Alexa Shahrestani)

After witnessing the extreme stress on health care workers, you might wonder if the pandemic is discouraging prospective doctors and nurses from pursuing such careers. For Joanne Santiago, the opposite was the case. Santiago, a Brooklyn native, graduated from nursing school during the early stages of the pandemic, last spring. The challenges presented by COVID did not intimidate her, but rather catalyzed her to remember that such crises are what she and her peers had signed up to combat. With no second thoughts, Santiago began her first health care position as a registered nurse in the emergency department (ED) of Bellevue Hospital this past November. More →

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Lunar New Year Kicks Off in Chinatown Without Quite as Much of a Bang

(Photo courtesy of Better Chinatown USA)

The Lunar New Year usually draws thousands to Manhattan’s Chinatown to watch the annual parade and partake in cultural festivities. Participants and spectators questioned whether they’d be able to celebrate this year, but a muted version popped off in Chinatown this afternoon — with confetti in lieu of fireworks. More →

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Once Again, an East Village Vintage Shop Tries to Avoid Becoming a Relic

It takes about 30 seconds to walk through the shoe-box-sized space that houses Honeymoon Antiques on 6th Street, but owner David Brockman, 60, has managed to fit hundreds of clothing items onto the racks. At each step, you can feel the chiffon, lace, and silk brush against your arms. And when you speak to David, the inside of the store sways from feeling cramped to cozy. More →