Horse-Drawn Carriage Drivers Tell De Blasio And His Proposed Ban To Clip-Clop To A Stop

Horse-drawn carriages have drawn tourists to Central Park like flies to horse poop since at least World War II. Mayor Bill De Blasio, however, has been galloping towards ending the industry since the early days of his campaign on the grounds of inhumane treatment and animal cruelty. But four months after being sworn in, De Blasio has yet to pony up any legislation.

In a Google Hangout (can you believe that’s actually the technical term?) on Friday, De Blasio said he expected the ban to go into effect sometime this year, saying that “a humane society doesn’t do that to animals.” 

But despite De Blasio’s vow to pass ban within the year, the proposal seems to continuously stirrup (Get it? Stirrup? Like on a saddle?) controversy. 

In response to the claim that the industry was inhumane, longtime carriage driver Joe* said, “That’s a malicious, hallucinatory lie.” Read more…

Crowd-Funding Can Make Your Dreams Come True

Do you ever dream of turning that ingenious app idea you’ve had for years into a reality? Are you struggling to finance your latest film project or solo hip-hop album? Maybe you want to conduct a ground-breaking investigation of who really invented Margherita pizza and you need to travel the world to make it happen. Whatever your personal mission may be, money could make or break its execution.

There are scores of ways to raise money to get your project on the road.  The most popular one to date has been to first seek out initial or seed capital from “angel” investors, individuals who provide capital to nascent companies in exchange for stakes of ownership. The next step is typically to turn to venture capital funds (VCs), or private equity firms that invest in companies to stimulate growth so that they can gain returns on their investment.

If you wanted to go a more personal route, you could ask friends and family to donate to your project, enabling you to retain full ownership of your venture. But things could go sour if they expect you to pay them back in full one day, you end up not being able to, and you’re sentenced to a lifetime of awkward holiday conversations about how you “owe them for life.” Yikes.

Luckily, it’s 2014 and there’s a better alternative. So if you’d rather not call Grandma, harass your friends or slave away at an earnings projections spreadsheet to impress investors before you even have a finished product, try a much simpler (not to mention explosively successful) online alternative: crowd-funding.

Read more…

Ditch The Popcorn Fare For These Sophisticated, Food-Centric Films

As if eating wasn’t enough (it’s not), we’ve been compelled many a time by so-called “food movies” to watch beautiful people stuff their faces. While food is often displayed in films just to make you hungry, it sometimes has a deeper purpose: to subtly communicate a hidden message. For all the movies that tempt our impressionable taste buds, there are a few that will make you set your popcorn aside with disgust. It’s not all fun and games and cute rats who cook gourmet french cuisine. For your potential viewing pleasure, here’s a list of “food movies” that will certainly make you think a bit more about your next meal.

Read more…

Hey NBA, Give Us The Playoffs We Really Want

The NBA’s regular season ended last night, and, subsequently, seeding for the 2014 NBA Playoffs is now set in stone. The first round begins this Saturday, but the quality of series varies heavily depending upon which conference you’re looking at.

On the West Coast, the schedule is an NBA fan’s dream. It starts with San Antonio and Dallas, who slid into the eighth seed after losing the Memphis Grizzlies last night. Tim Duncan vs. Dirk Nowitzki, two of the best modern, big men? I’ll take that. Then there’s Oklahoma City and Memphis, two teams that have gone at it before in the playoffs: OKC pulled out a tough second round series that went seven games in 2011, and the Grizzlies won in five games in the second round last year after Russell Westbrook was injured. It’s going to be fun to watch these two go at it again. The other two series are the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State (Paul vs. Curry!) and Houston versus Portland AKA the We’ve-Never-Seen-This-Many-Points series.

The East playoffs? I wouldn’t exactly refer to them as “enticing,” or “good” for that matter. There’s Indiana-Atlanta (the series that you couldn’t pay me to watch), Miami-Charlotte, Toronto-Brooklyn, and Chicago-Washington. The Raptors and Nets might put on a decent show with the youngster from up north and the wily veterans in our favorite hipster borough going at it, but that’s literally the only storyline you can squeeze out of this set of series. Read more…

How We Really Feel About Easter Candy

Easter is an important holiday. With it comes eggs (real and candy-versions) and springtime (or so we thought). But most importantly, as with every holiday, Easter is probably mainly about all of the sweet, delicious, jumbo-sized bags of candy sitting on the shelves of convenience stores nationwide.

From Cadbury Creme Eggs to Starburst Jellybeans, there’s just a lot going on in the world of Easter-themed candies. Have you seen those massive chocolate bunnies? And of course, we can’t forget one of the most disputed Easter sweets, Peeps. Peeps are kind of a “love them” or “hate them” thing, like candy corn.

Also, in the spirit of Easter, comedian Billy Eichner did a “Billy on the Street” episode this week where he dressed as the Easter Bunny and asked people how they felt about Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ.” To get our staff in a similar Easter spirit—but mostly to get people’s opinions on candy—we asked them about their feelings on various bunny-themed treats. Here’s what they had to say about it all: Read more…

Peruvian Government Arrests 28 Linked To Shining Path Guerrilla Group

    Twenty-eight people linked to the Maoist guerrilla group “Shining Path,” (Sendero Luminoso) were arrested in Peru on Thursday. They are suspected to be involved in terrorism and drug trafficking, according to Reuters.

In the 80′s and 90′s, the Shining Path engaged in a war against the Peruvian government with the aim of replacing it, to create a new communist society.

They were inspired by Mao’s proclamation of the Republic of China in 1949.  The main leader of the Shining Path, Abimael Guzman, even traveled to China to follow courses on “popular war” and to see how the Cultural Revolution was being enacted, before he founded the Peruvian guerrilla group in the 1960′s. He declared himself the “fourth sword of communism” after Marx, Lenin, and Mao.

The US identifies the Shining Path as a terrorist group. It is estimated that it caused 35 thousand deaths between 1980 and 2000. The group’s strategy was inciting genocide to show the “intrinsic fascist side of the government,” which would move the masses. Read more…

NYPD’s Controversial Demographics Unit Finally Disbanded

Yesterday the New York Police Department officially disbanded its Demographics Unit, a secretive program that sent undercover officers into Muslim neighborhoods to monitor popular meeting places and sermons at local mosques. The undercover officers, called “rakes” or “mosque crawlers,” were dispatched into these neighborhoods without any previous evidence of terrorist or criminal activity. The officers were reportedly instructed to look for “hot spots” of Muslim activity and “gauge sentiment” about the United States.

Since the Associated Press first revealed the existence of the Demographics Unit in August of 2011, the program has been under fire from New York Muslims and human rights activists. According to documents obtained by the AP, the NYPD performed surveillance on American citizens based on their ethnicity. Muslims who either adopted Arabic names as a sign of respect for their faith or who changed their previously Arabic names to sound more American attracted special interest from the Demographics Unit. Apparently, changing your name is considered suspicious criminal behavior. Read more…

We’re Obsessed With 2048 Because It’s Nice To Us

With the rise of smartphones, iPhones in particular, there’s always been one game it feels like everyone’s playing; comparing scores, bragging about passing levels. The first one I remember was probably Words with Friends, then Angry Birds, then Flow, Candy Crush, Flappy Bird (what’s with this bird obsession? Someone should look into that).

Flappy Bird was particularly interesting because no one actually liked it. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It was the height of condescending games. My high score was four before I deleted it off my phone out of fury. Candy Crush was its own breed, prompting constantly for your money unless you could manage to be patient. I got to level 74 before getting rid of that one.

Read more…

We Tried Out CUPS, The Unlimited Coffee Subscription App

What if all of your wildest dreams had come true? You paid off all of your student debt with a snap of your fingers, you landed that dream job you’ve been vying for, and you had unlimited coffee. Now, a third of your dreams can come true. Well, kind of.

CUPS, a mobile phone app for coffee subscriptions, has made its way to New York City. For only $45 a month you can get as much coffee (or tea!) as you want from the shops that use the app. For $85 you can get unlimited espresso drinks. The only rule? You have to wait 30 minutes between drinks.

For the last two days I’ve been using the app myself, seeing how much I’d use it with the options provided around NYU’s campus. If you live near Washington Square Park, you can choose from UR CUP, The Uncommons, and Dub Pies for some of your subscription coffee. If you’re in the East Village you can go to The Bean, Tarallucci e Vino, and La Belle Crepe. If you’re in the Union Square area you can try out The Bean, O Café, or Taboonette.

Read more…

Gallatin Musician Thaddeus Strauss Has Cats On His Mind And Funky Beats In His Heart

Dorms at NYU often get a bad rap, but Jake (stage name Thaddeus) Strauss is making do splendidly. He’s stuffed about as much music as you can in a bedroom: a stand up bass nestled in one corner, a guitar in a stand near another, a midi keyboard on his desk and a trombone on the shelf above it. He’s got a solid stereo/turntable set up on his dresser above a cardboard box chock full of vinyl. There’s a few outliers like some mysterious bags of rice and beans on his windowsill, but it’s definitely the room of a musician.

As his the objects in his room hint at, Strauss isn’t tied to one instrument in particular. Though he started making music as a bassist in Connecticut Hip Hop/Funk group The Interstellar Elevators, Strauss is now a fully-fledged multi instrumentalist in his own right, dedicated to neo-soul Hip Hop revival. His room seems lived in but he’s has been out and about, playing shows all over New York and elsewhere. We sat down with Jake, a sophomore in Gallatin, on a rainy evening Tuesday and had a jovial chat about his music, recent gigs and of course, cats.

Read more…