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Skate Scene Ramps Up in Tompkins Square Park, But Is the City On Board?

Tyson McGrew at TF. (Photo: Ari Adams)

On any given day at around 10  a.m., skateboarders slowly begin to trickle in and out of the northwest corner of Tompkins Square Park.  By around 4 p.m., the corner is bustling with young people skating, socializing, and quite often smoking marijuana.  The flat, rectangular piece of asphalt which regulars refer to as TF (short for Training Facility) has long been a home to both the East Village’s most seasoned and newest skateboarders.  Last year, the skateboarders at TF—with the help of an online petition—successfully battled the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation over a proposed plan to fill in the asphalt lot with AstroTurf.  This summer, improvements were made to the space after three ramps were donated by the skateboard and fashion company Supreme.  While many skateboarders are under the assumption that the ramps are permanent additions to TF, the Parks Department has different views on the matter.  More →

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How a Brooklyn Couple Started Running a French Bakery Out of Their Apartment

(Photos via @l’appartement4f)

Americans have long obsessed over the French way of life: the blasé attitude, classic style, and, most importantly, the bread and butter. Newlyweds Gautier Coiffard and Ashley Breest have given New York City another bakery to drool over. The difference, though, is that their shop is based entirely in their Cobble Hill apartment, you can only order through Instagram, and they started the business as a side hustle during the pandemic. More →

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Tattoos Have Gotten ‘a Little Bit Bolder’ During the Pandemic, This Artist Says

“Come up on the second floor, and then it’s the second door!” Juju told me over the phone when I asked how to get to The Secret Door, the Williamsburg tattoo parlor where she worked. Outside, the grey, graffitied warehouse had barren walls; inside, dim-lit corridors and innumerable doors made it look like a maze. Ironically, “The Secret Door” was printed in small characters on the heavy metal door in question. Inside, a few green plants and some vintage pieces of furniture here and there worked as a bright frame to all the art, in sketches or framed, that lived in the open-space loft-style studio. Above Juju’s station, outlines of abstract faces, minimalist moons and elegant designs mapped the wall and welcomed every client into Juju’s world.   More →

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COVID-19 Could Leave Lasting Effect On Mental Health In City Jails

(Photo: Tdorante10 via Wiki Commons)

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, jails and prisons have become hubs for infection, with crowded conditions that leave few opportunities for social distancing. The spread of the coronavirus in New York City jails has been well-documented, including at the city’s infamous Rikers Island jail complex, which has been called the “epicenter of the epicenter” of the pandemic.  More →

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Tompkins Halloween Dog Parade: The Show Mutts Go On!

Houston and Hester, dressed as the Greyhound Buses, were winners at the in-person event. (Photo: May Chan)

On the debate stage last week, President Donald Trump called New York a dying city. And yet dog lovers and their little ones– some dressed as Ruth Bader Ginsburg– gathered Saturday afternoon for the 30th annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade. Not even coronavirus could stop the community from getting decked out in their most creative and glitzy costumes, which this year also included a number of Tiger King-inspired getups.  More →

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A Lyft-Like Pilot Program Was Making NYC’s Transit System More Accessible; Budget Cuts May Put the Brakes On It

(Photo: Diana Kruzman)

When Eman Rimawi needed to get to a meeting or run an errand, she used to have to schedule a ride to pick her up a day or two in advance — a blue-and-white van provided through the MTA’s Access-A-Ride program for people with disabilities. She experienced long waits for the vans to arrive and was often late as the vans stopped to pick up other passengers along the way. More →

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LES Galleries Band Together During an Especially Slow Summer

“Companion Species (Speech bubble)” by Marie Watt

Foot traffic to Lower East Side art galleries is usually stagnant during the summer months, and it has been even more so during the pandemic. Marc Straus, owner of the Marc Straus gallery on Grand Street, decided to do something about that. He partnered with other galleries in the neighborhood and last Thursday, more than 45 of them opened in the evening to showcase their exhibitions.  More →

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A Food Pantry That Weathered the Height of the Pandemic Is Bracing For a Second Wave

A volunteer at the check-in desk in front of Church of the Village. (Photos: Trish Rooney)

On a gloomy Saturday afternoon, The Church of the Village’s sanctuary is a beehive of activity. Fifteen volunteers in masks, hairnets, and aprons unpack boxes, bag food, and move bins the size of bathtubs through the room and down the line, onto a conveyor belt to the volunteers at the entrance. It’s the last stop before the food is passed to patrons waiting patiently on the sidewalk. There’s a shelf of Gatorade, jumbo boxes of raisins, bags and bags of bagels. The food shelves stretch from the bottom of the steps by the altar, down the length of the nave, right to the door. More →