By Guest Contributor Dallas Penn, cross-posted from Dallas Penn
I can remember the first day I ever wanted to wear a piece of Ralph Lauren clothing. I was with a group of friends on the subway heading to Manhattan one morning on the way to high school. I spotted a teenager in the car next to ours wearing a color-blocked windbreaker. The vibrant colors of the jacket resembled the packaging from the Lifesavers candy roll. Everything else in my eyesight turned to grayscale as I went into hunter mode to acquire the jacket.
When the R train pulled into Lexington Avenue, I went after the dude like a wild animal. I ran down the morning rush-hour platform with reckless abandon, people screaming in my wake as they were almost pushed onto the train tracks. I chased dude up the escalator, nearly knocking people over the edge as I pursued him relentlessly. The kid in the windbreaker jacket disappeared from me at the landing, but my obsession with Polo by Ralph Lauren has stayed with me since.
This was in 1986 and here I stand 25 years later with over 1000 pieces of Polo by Ralph Lauren clothing and gear in my archives. What made me give over half of my life (and frankly, over half my net wealth) to the loyalty of this brand? It is more than Ralph Lauren’s slick marketing efforts which describe his Polo brand as the ultimate in luxury lifestyle apparel. It is that kid’s efforts and mine–and all Black kids’ efforts–to retain the Polo pieces they wore on their backs. This was the New York City I grew up in. Continue reading →
Antron McCray climbed on stage in a Manhattan theater one night last week and stepped into the kind of spotlight that, until now, has almost always meant trouble for him.
Exiled from New York, his hometown, Mr. McCray was last seen in public two decades ago as a skinny 16-year-old, practically drowning in a suit that he wore to the Manhattan courthouse where he was tried on charges that he was part of a mob that raped a jogger in Central Park and beat her nearly to death in April 1989. In the television news footage, he often held his mother’s hand as he walked past screaming demonstrators.
The audience that had just seen him as a boy — in a baseball uniform, in a police precinct station house being interrogated, in the too-big suit going to court — and had listened to his voice throughout the film could now see him as a man. At 39, his shoulders were broader, and his waist a bit thicker.
There was something he wanted to tell the audience about his anonymity.
“Here’s the reason why I escaped New York: I just had to get away,” Mr. McCray said. “Start a new life.”
That logic took him to a shocking place.
“Actually, uh,” he said, “I don’t even go by Antron McCray no more.”
Saying that out loud seemed to take even Mr. McCray by surprise, a sudden tolling of what he lost. Words thickened in his mouth. On either side of him, two of the other men, Kevin Richardson and Yusef Salaam, squeezed his shoulders and patted his back.
Mops Buckets Brooms Clorox cleaner (for molding) Lysol Febreeze Face masks for cleaning Plastic gloves for cleaning Plastic gloves for serving food Styrofoam food containers with lids
The group also said volunteers are needed to help local senior citizens clean up their homes and get them to voting locations on Nov. 6.
Speaking of Election Day, Gothamist has a list here of 60 voting sites in New York City that have been moved. Residents’ voter information can also be checked at this Board of Elections website or by phone at 1.866.VOTE.NYC (866.8683.692).
The Ali Forney Center, which provides shelter for homeless LGBT youths, is asking for donations after its’ drop-in center in Chelsea was rendered “uninhabitable” by the storm.
The Red Hook Initiative in Brooklyn has posted an extensive list of supplies needed, and has information on where and how to donate food and volunteer services.
CBS New York also has this roundup of American Red Cross and Salvation Army chapters in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
Journalist Mona Eltahawy was arrested in New York City Tuesday for defacing one of several Islamophobic posters paid for by right-wing radio Patricia Geller. Though the arresting officer never answered her question, Eltahawy was indeed charged–she revealed on Twitter that she was booked for criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.
Geller, who helped popularize the “Ground Zero Mosque” myth, has been shown by at least one study to be part of the dog-whistle playlists that make up much of the conservative airwaves.
And if you thought photographer Patricia Hall’s attempt to block Eltahawy in the name of “free speech” was dubious, you’re not wrong: Reuters columnist Anthony De Rosa pointed out that last month, Hall posted a bizarre photo essay trailing Muslims in Times Square asking, “Is Sharia coming to America?”
You might also recall Eltahawy gaining attention earlier this year for “Why Do They Hate Us?,” her cover story for Foreign Policy magazine:
Name me an Arab country, and I’ll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt–including my mother and all but one of her six sisters–have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme.
On April 19, 1989, a young woman who was jogging through Central Park in New York City was found badly beaten. She had also been raped.
I have written briefly about the case before in comparing it to Scottsboro. However, I want to return to it today because I just saw the trailer for Ken Burns’ upcoming documentary about the case and it brings back terrible memories for me.
I was living in New York City at the time of this incident. I was 17 years old, a senior in high school. My school was across the street from Central Park and I was terrified. Just a few months before, I had been sexually assaulted (not in the park) and now I was certain that I would be targeted again. Continue reading →
My middle-school basketball team dominated the Seattle Catholic Youth Organization league but that was due to the AAU players on my team: Megan, petite with Chris Paul’s smarts and speed; and June, a Russell Westbrook-esque scorer.
The Thursday before The Avengers premiered, I put on my Captain America USO Girl costume and headed down to Madame Tussauds in New York’s Times Square. I had very little idea what I was going to be doing there and only went initially because a call for Marvel cosplayers (people who dress up as various characters) had been put out for a photo-op by the museum. They were about to open their Avengers exhibit. Admittedly, I was nervous, as cosplaying without the guarantee of a friendly face in your corner can be nerve-wracking. Fandom doesn’t always have its head screwed on straight when it comes to the touching, ogling, and respect of female cosplayers.
The crowd wasn’t exactly what I was expecting–and I mean that in the best way possible.