April 24th, 2014

Get Lost: Greenpoint

We get it. You relate to “Girls.” You want to be the voice of a generation. So, naturally, you set your eyes to Hannah Horvath’s stomping grounds to get your journey underway: Greenpoint, Brooklyn. But as you step off the G train and out into Little Poland, you quickly realize that there’s more to Greenpoint than what you’ve seen on TV—or on your laptop using your friend’s cousin’s roommate’s HBO Go account. You’re not in Manhattan anymore, and you’re feeling a tad overwhelmed. You’ll first curse the G train, because it’s the G train. Next, you’ll aim a couple of snarky tweets at Lena Dunham for drawing you away from your 32-hour “Game of Thrones” binge and out into the real world. Then, you’ll finally open up Google Maps.

Now before you go any further, pause. Look up from your iPhone for a second, and take it all in. The sights. The sounds. The smells. Do you feel that? It’s time for an adventure.

You’ve accompanied us to Battery Park City, to Brooklyn Bridge Park, to Coney Island, and to Staten Island. You know the rules. Put that thing back where it came from. Grab a bottle of water and a disposable camera. Tighten up your shoe laces, because today, NYU Local gets lost in Greenpoint.
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What Does It Mean For Society At Large When Leggings Are Banned In The Classroom?

In late March, word got out that an Illinois middle school that had banned leggings (a fairly common practice), openly cited the primary reason as being “distracting” to male peers.

The school is yet another entry on a long list instances in which academic institutions are tightening up their dress codes. Asides from the obvious issues of both sexualizing middle school girls’ bodies and placing blame upon them for something out of their control, what is this telling us about the bigger picture? Or about society’s willingness to objectify females, even in the classroom? NYU Local spoke to Margaret C. Smiley, president of the Feminist Society at NYU, and she offered up some insight on why the problem seems so prevalent lately, how it affects those involved, and ultimately, how to fix it.

NYU Local: Why do you think schools are taking such particular interest in their female dress codes and becoming so strict?

Smiley: I think there has always been strict policy on girl’s clothing across the nation, but it adapts with changing times. If it’s not mini-skirts, its tube tops, and now leggings…I think what has changed this time around, though, is the dialogue surrounding these events. We now have the proper words and vernacular, such as slut-shaming to point out why this is such bad policy. Read more…

Landlord Bans Owner From Making Lulu’s A Gay Bar

John McGillion, the owner of Lulu’s, wants to make a few changes to his business. The gay and lesbian population in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where Lulu’s is located, has been growing steadily for years. Lulu’s has been losing money, and McGillion claims that he is currently “barely scraping by on the proceeds of the bar.” So, he thought, why not turn Lulu’s into a gay bar?

McGillion estimates that he could bring in “40 to 50 percent” more money if he makes the change. “I believe that I will be able to make a considerable profit,” McGillion told The New York Post. However, one major obstacle stands in McGillions way: his lease states, in no uncertain terms, that he may not operate a gay bar on the premises. Read more…

New York City’s Current Art Scene Leaves Richard Serra Unimpressed

Sorry, Jay-Z and Marina Abramovic, but Richard Serra probably isn’t a fan of last summer’s performance of “Picasso Baby” at Pace Gallery.

Last night at a signing hosted by the Strand for his newly released monograph Early Work, Serra, one of the most well-known sculptors in the world, expressed a tinge of disappointment towards the creativity of today’s art world. He particularly emphasized his apprehension about fostering an inspired and innovative artistic community in the city.

The statements by the 74-year-old artist—known for his site-specific and minimalist sculptures, drawings, and prints—came in response to a question posed by an audience member, who wondered “if it is possible to find a group where you can grow and find your own voice.” Read more…

These Women Started A Burger Stand In Shanghai, What Did You Do On Your Semester Abroad?

Entrepreneurial inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places. For Phoebe Tran, sophomore studying Media Production and Food Studies in Gallatin and Renel Sun, a junior concentrating in Food Design and Entrepreneurship in Gallatin (both of whom are finishing up a semester in Shanghai), inspiration came from a sketchy street food burger stand outside of a club. When a friend jokingly asked them why they didn’t open their own burger stand, they said “fuck it, let’s try it.”

Two stoves, two skillets, one tall metal fold-up stand and a piece of wood from the back of a bicycle later, the Burger Babes (their self-appointed title) were nearly in business. They chose to sell burgers because “burgers are the quintessential American food that everyone misses, and you can typically only find them at upscale American restaurants that charge you $15 for a burger,” said Tran. Once they got their ingredients – hamburger buns from a bakery by their apartment, meat from a butcher shop that imports ground beef from Australia, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese from the wet market (a Chinese farmers market), homemade sichuan pickles, thousand island dressing and caramelized onions – all they needed was a place to sell and people to feed.

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Graduation Selfies Are Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

In case you haven’t heard, Rhode Island’s Bryant University made some pretty big headlines earlier this week for their newest policy: banning selfies at graduation.

As far as the reasoning is concerned, Sheila Guay, Director of Conferences and Special Events told USA Today, “This is a special day for students and family. Selfies would slow down the ceremony.” (It’s important to note that this ban only applies to the graduates’ time at the podium, when they’re accepting their diplomas and shaking hands with University President Ronald Machtley.)

But here’s the big question: Why is this even a story? I’d argue that the more noteworthy aspect of all of this whole hullabaloo is that there must be a precedent to warrant an official graduation selfie ban. Machtley and the rest of his staff made no mention of any issues in past ceremonies, but given the proactively defensive approach that the university has taken, it’s clear that the administration knew that it would be receiving less-than-approving headlines. Read more…

Can You Survive College Without Using Facebook?

What’s the longest you’ve gone without Facebook? A few hours? A few days? A few weeks? Shockingly, I talked to two NYU students who have gone without Facebook profiles for over a year.

To be honest, I wasn’t even sure it was possible to survive without a Facebook. How would I know when I friends’ birthdays are? How would I get invited to parties? How would I keep in touch with friends from high school or abroad? How would I know which of my kindergarten classmates now have two or more children?

I wasn’t even sure where to start. How do you contact someone without a Facebook? For my first interview, I trekked through the deep, dark, digital forests of Twitter to find John Dewar, NYU senior. He insisted that I refer to him by his Twitter handle, @JohnnyDewDew, for the entire article (I won’t). I initially contacted John by sending him a “direct message” on Twitter. It’s a lot like a Facebook message, but they limit you to 140 characters per message. Wacky! I asked John if he thought he was missing out on anything because he didn’t have a Facebook. “Do I feel like I’m missing out on social events planned solely on Facebook? Yes, I suppose,” he told me. “But then again, I’m not on Facebook to see the obnoxious status updates and photo albums containing 400+ terribly lit candids and selfies.”

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Six NYU Students In Support Of Occupy Wall Street Activist Cecily McMillan

Two years after a young woman was allegedly sexually assaulted in a Manhattan park and later accused of assault herself, a group of NYU students have come to her defense.

Amidst the Occupy Wall Street craze in March of 2012 was St. Patrick’s Day. Cecily McMillan, now 25 and a prominent Occupy activist at the time, was taking the day off to celebrate the holiday in Zuccotti Park when a figure allegedly grabbed her breasts from behind, causing her to elbow him in self-defense. The man turned out to be a cop. Now, McMillan is in court facing a seven-year imprisonment charge for Felony Assault of a police officer.

While the case, which is currently being fought in court and has appeared in large-scale national publications, undoubtedly brings about issues such as gender, race (the officer in question is black), police brutality, and law enforcement effectiveness to the table, the team of individuals supporting McMillan’s plight, including some NYU students, have also received their fair share of attention. Read more…

Local Stops: Matt Harvey’s Finger And Tomas Hertl’s Minions

Complex sat down with Big Body Bes, Action Bronson’s Albanian cousin, for an insane interview that goes from stories about selling crushed up Alka Seltzer to kids on St. Marks and Biblical references.

It’s the NHL playoffs so of course two hockey writers made a song about fighting to the tune of ‘Iris.’

Matt Harvey tweeted a picture of himself giving the middle finger, then deleted his entire Twitter account. Your 2014 New York Mets, folks.

Tomas Hertl is a 20-year-old Czech player on the San Jose Sharks. This week he took his first trip to Dave & Busters and  went back by himself the next day to win some stuffed Despicable Me minions.

Photo of the Day by Caleb Savage.

Pakistani Journalists Protest Decades Of Violence Against National Media

Although Pakistan is a democratic state, the plight of the nation’s trampled journalists and press evokes the term “militocracy.”

Following an alarming trend of increasing violence against national media, prominent Pakistani journalist, security analyst and political talk show host Hamid Mir was shot three times on Saturday by unknown gunmen by an airport in Karachi. After being treated in a hospital, Mir’s condition has since stabilized. His family suspects that the shooters were members of Pakistan’s central intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), who are said to have attacked him for criticizing the institution and aimed to scare him into silence.

Mir is best known for interviewing Osama bin Laden after 9/11 and for covering the Israel-Lebanon conflict. His work also earned him Pakistan’s highest civilian award. Despite his journalistic achievements, Mir has evoked the ire of the nation’s powerful military for his attempts to expose human rights and security violations in the country. Specifically, one of his colleagues reported, the ISI apparently has been targeting Mir ever since he covered missing persons in the Balochistan province, many of whom had allegedly been killed and kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence agencies. The Taliban has also targeted Mir for some time, having attempted to assassinate him in 2012 by tying a pound of explosives to his car which failed to detonate. Read more…