Health & Wellness

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Bike Ridership Continues to Rise During the Pandemic, Despite Road Blocks

Photo courtesy of Rafael Daher.

If there’s one thing Cris Matos doesn’t miss about her life before the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the way she moved throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The subway, Uber, and taxis used to be her religion. “Now, I can’t live without my bicycle,” said Matos. “I’m afraid to use the subway and I’m still concerned about getting inside a car with a driver I don’t know.” Whenever she needs to leave East Harlem, the first thing she does is plot bike lanes. More →

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Behind Closed Gates, Brooklyn Community Gardens Continue to Plant Seeds of Change

(Photos: Marialexa Kavanaugh)

On the corner of Hancock St. and Marcus Garvey Blvd. is a small patch of earth called the Hancock T&T Community Garden. A wooden sign protrudes from behind its fence, displaying portraits of iconic Black change-makers like Angela Davis, Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass. In large, bold letters are the words “The Gateway To The Ancestors,” which hang above these lines. More →

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In Virtual Dungeons, Less Flogging and More Key-Logging

Charlotte Taillor. (Photo: Julia Assis)

I first met dominatrix Charlotte Taillor in February at her home in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, where her male submissives were curating pastry spreads and rolling her spliffs. While she usually sports a leather catsuit, this day she wore sweatpants and a t-shirt reading “sex worker rights are human rights.” 

Charlotte runs The Taillor Group, a feminist kink collective that encourages explorations of BDSM and other fetishes. The operation is entirely female-centric, comprised of about 30 dommes, and rather an anomaly in the world of kink; dominatrixes usually fly solo. “BDSM is the only way I’ve found for women to achieve the agency we’ve been striving for,” Charlotte told me confidently, before bellowing at one of her subs: “Roll me more spliffs!”  More →

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‘Make It a Little Kinky’: City Updates Its Viral Sex Advice

As New York was hunkering down for the Covid-19 pandemic on March 21, the city Department of Health released a statement advising New Yorkers on how to have sex while saying safe and healthy. The guide, which advised residents to abstain from rimming and to engage in virtual sex, circulated widely on social media. Now, as we’ve entered phase 1 of reopening and New Yorkers are looking to restart their romantic and sexual lives, the Department of Health has updated those guidelines. More →

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These Bikers Wear Masks, and Distribute Them

(Photos courtesy of Engines for Change)

When Kirsten Midura started Engines for Change in 2019, she was merging her love for motorcycle riding and environmental activism. The nonprofit started off hosting beach cleanups. But as times quickly changed and the coronavirus pandemic hit New York City hard, Engines for Change volunteers began using their motorcycles to transport groceries to those who are unable to leave their homes, and they delivered Personal Protective Equipment to hospitals and health care centers across the city. With times changing yet again, the group is once again shifting gears – this time to support New Yorkers protesting police violence against black people. More →

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Birders Watch Warily as Parks Become NYC’s Living Room

Birdwatchers in Central Park. (Photo: Ralph Hockens via WikiCommons)

Late last month, video of a confrontation between an avid birder and a dog walker in the Central Park Ramble went viral. While Twitter and the op-ed pages rightfully prioritized the degree to which white privilege, prejudice, and misplaced fear motivated the dog walker’s more than inappropriate response, the exchange also underscored long-standing tensions between birders and dog walkers in the Ramble, and sparked broader conversations about city park usage in general. That conversation has become all the more timely now that parks are playing host to massive protests against police brutality and systemic racism. More →

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Doulas Take Deep Breaths Before Heading Back into Hospitals

(Photo: JennaRich via WikiCommons)

Three weeks ago, Anna Dejesus’ water started leaking. It was two months before her due date, so she was rushed to the nearest hospital. Her medical team immediately began trying to halt her premature labor, with hopes of keeping it on pause until it was safe to give birth. Her hospital stay was expected to stretch up to a month, and with the Covid-19 crisis restricting visitors, she was told it would be a solitary one. In search of solace, support, and skills for braving the weeks to come, she decided to call her birth doula, Melissa Murphy. More →

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Can You Treat Coronavirus With Magic? Depends Which Spiritualist You Ask

Temple of Hecate Inc. High Priestess Laurie Bizzarro at a recent Saturday Zoom ritual. (Photo courtesy of Laurie Bizzarro.)

During a Saturday Zoom ritual for “World Healing” run by The Temple of Hecate Inc., the ancient Greek goddess spoke through High Priestess Laurie Bizzarro’s lips: “Use this time in quarantine to dig deep within yourself! Wait for the spring, the eternal spring that will come!” Laurie’s head dipped down, her sleek ash-blonde hair shot off her shoulders, her black bell sleeves slid down in waterfalls at her elbows. She took a deep breath before adding: “I will bring you through and have faith!” The ritual-goers murmured, mouthed, and shouted, “Hail to the Hecate!” in echoing rounds.  More →