The Lower Eastside Girls Club aims to educate future leaders, politicians and thinkers about their rights, social justice, and skills like podcasting and catering. So, when prison abolitionist and artist Jackie Sumell— a longtime friend of the Girls Club—unveiled her latest project, it seemed like a perfect fit for the organization’s rooftop garden.
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It looked like any other Friday on the Bowery until I came upon the three bodyguards, dressed in all black, protecting a door FBI-style. Behind the door at 138 Bowery, a pink light emulated a serene sweetness meant to evoke kindness and femininity. Countless young women stood eagerly in a velvet-roped lineup, waiting excitedly for a chance to be absorbed in the glow of Ariana Grande. The #1 pop star in the world had built this space, just for the weekend, so her fans could experience her music the same way she does.
With his grown-out hair and trimmed beard, Andrea Calstier looks like many of the 20-somethings who come to the East Village to party. But that’s not what the 24-year-old chef and his 23-year-old wife, Elena Oliver, are here to do. Just a year after moving to New York City from France and seven months after getting married in a small ceremony, the young couple has opened an ambitious restaurant, Papilles, in a small nook on East 7th Street.
Mark Denny went to prison when he was 16, for the robbery and gang rape of an 18-year old inside a Burger King in Brooklyn. He spent 30 years behind bars before he was exonerated, and the Innocence Project proved he wasn’t involved. “All the proof was right there, it was there that I was innocent,” Denny says. “But the prisoners, the guards, the judge and the jury, they’re so blinded by the awful crime that they don’t see innocence.”
In 1989, Donald Trump wanted 14-year-old Santana dead. In fact, he took out several full-page advertisements in New York publications advocating for the death penalty for Santana and four other young men, known as the Central Park Five. He even went on Larry King’s CNN show to express himself, saying that “maybe hate is what we need if we’re going to get something done.”