Revamped Brooklyn Basketball Courts Name in Memory of Rapper Biggie

Aug 03, 17 Revamped Brooklyn Basketball Courts Name in Memory of Rapper Biggie

Posted by in All, Society

Brooklyn honored one of its own last week when Councilman Robert Cornegy officiated at a ceremony naming a Bedford-Stuyvesant basketball court after rap singer B.I.G. The courts are within the boundaries of the Crispus Attucks Playground at Fulton Street and Classon Avenue. Their official name is, “Christopher “Biggie” Wallace Courts,” and makes good on a promise Cornegy made to the rapper’s mother, Voletta Wallace, at the time her son was killed, in order to honor him and his memory. “The feeling is surreal,” Cornegy said during the ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday. The basketball courts are part and parcel of a larger Parks Department renovation which cost the city $2.5 million and took five years. In addition to the refurbished basketball courts, the part now boasts better handball courts, a spanking new playground, and a completely overhauled safety surface. There is also a new set of stairs and beautiful landscaping all around the playground. Christopher Wallace was a frequent visitor to the park before he became famous with a few hit songs such as “Juicy,” “Big Poppa” and “What’s Beef?” Wallace had a history of dealing drugs and his songs are full of violent language, but his mother has been working hard to change his ultimate legacy, especially by creating the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation. “(His mother) changed the acronym for B.I.G. to stand for books instead of guns,” Cornegy said. “We’re in the process of redoing libraries providing books for young kids in school and that was her commitment.” Wallace was murdered in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997 in a drive-by shooting. No one has ever been charged with the...

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High School Students Learn About Holocaust from those Who Were There

Apr 27, 17 High School Students Learn About Holocaust from those Who Were There

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In order to perfect their roles in an upcoming play, Yeshivah of Flatbush students are paired with survivors willing to recount their experiences during World War II. The annual Witness Theater program brings several of the high school’s seniors together with one of eight Holocaust survivors in order to conduct research for their end-of-year performance. The students and the witnesses meet once a week, and it benefits the students, the survivors, and ultimately the audience watching the play. Survivor Ernest Biederman lost his brothers and sisters during the Holocaust, and his wife of 68 years just last year. “I lost my wife this last year, and it was very sad for me,” Biederman said. “I came here and feel like I’m alive again.” The students portray those survivors’ stories more vividly as a result of their personal connection with them. “I have brothers and sisters that I lost when they were their age,” Biederman added, referring to the students he mentored. “It’s been more than 70 years, and I never forget them.” The Witness Theater program is organized by Selfhelp Community Services, and will culminate with a performance at the Museum of Jewish...

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Brooklyn Private School Won’t Budge for Damon Kids

Aug 10, 16 Brooklyn Private School Won’t Budge for Damon Kids

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At St. Ann’s the rules are the rules, and can’t be broken even for the likes of Hollywood celebrities, even of the caliber of Matt Damon. Damon, star of the “Bourne” series and other prominent films such as “Good Will Hunting” and “Saving Private Ryan” is moving back to New York from Los Angeles, and would like to send his three daughters to a top-notch school. But Damon is out of luck, says the Brooklyn Heights elementary through high school, due to the claim that there is simply no more room. The school has the bragging rights to having taught such high profile people as Lena Dunham, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jemima Kirke and Zac Posen, and now has in attendance the children of Ethan Hawke and Maggie Gyllenhaal. “They had a conversation with the school, but St. Ann’s just won’t bend the rules,” said someone who knows. “They don’t care [who the parents of its students are]. A lot of schools will bend the rules very happily; they’ll bring celebrities’ kids in midway through the year or do whatever they want. St. Ann’s just isn’t doing it.” Tuition at the school is not for the faint-hearted, or super-rich. Depending on the grade, one year at St. Ann’s can set a family back between $36.080 and $42,555. The exclusive school has a bit of an alternative philosophy, as explained on their web site: “So that every child will flourish, we eschew grades, rankings and prizes in favor of ongoing dialogue and teacher...

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Topaz Page-Green: Model, Philanthropist, New Yorker

Oct 11, 15 Topaz Page-Green: Model, Philanthropist, New Yorker

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Originally from South Africa, Topaz Page-Green began her modeling career in London, and now calls New York City home. Along with her modeling career, she is a successful philanthropist. Topaz Page-Green is the founder and president of The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization, based in South Africa, which feeds thousands of school children every single day. The Lunchbox Fund was founded in 2005 by Page-Green as a response to her exposure to the extreme poverty she had been sheltered from growing up on the outskirts of Johannesburg. She had lived in South Africa as a small child, but moved to England as a teen, where she became a successful model. During a return visit to her home country, she was shocked to see children in school with nothing to eat, and she resolved to do something about it. Today, ten years later, The Lunchbox Fund feeds over 11,000 high school students every day. Topaz Page-Green, who now makes her home in the East Village, would like to expand her enterprise so that every one of South Africa’s 4 million hungry children receives at least one healthy, filling meal each and every...

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Cleaning Up the Gowanus Canal

Sep 06, 15 Cleaning Up the Gowanus Canal

Posted by in Gowanus, Lifestyle, Society

Many have been working tirelessly to find solutions for the long-polluted waterway along the Gowanus Canal. One organization, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, is now working with the Department of Sanitation to build a facility on Second Avenue near the canal. The intention is that food scraps and other organic waste will be turned into garden compost. The location for this plan is owned by the Department of Sanitation and is currently an empty lot that is used to store salt and sand to spread on city streets in the winter. While some compositing has already been occurring on this plot, the new plans will quadruple the size of the operation and make it more efficient, as reported by conservancy executive director Andrea Parker. As she said, “It will mean that we can process a whole lot more food scraps and provide a lot more compost for street trees in the neighborhood.” The new facility will bring the many volunteers in from the cold with an open-air shelter design and it will use solar panels to power light the location. They will also have something called “bioswales” which are small plots with plants that absorb rainwater during storms. The funding for the project includes a $1.5 million in grants from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and $105,000 from City Councilman Brad Lander’s participatory budgeting...

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Bloody Sunday Anniversary Inspires Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

Mar 08, 15 Bloody Sunday Anniversary Inspires Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

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In a march organized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, hundreds of people walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to remember the seminal walk across a bridge 50 years ago in Selma, Alabama. Known as “Bloody Sunday“ and recently made popular in an Academy Award nominated movie, March 7 in 1965 was the day when peaceful protestors were gunned down as they tried to cross a bridge as they walked from Selma to Montgomery, the capital city of Alabama. The protestors, including civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were marching as part of the struggle for civil rights and the vote for black Americans. When the attack was over 17 people were hospitalized, having suffered severe beatings leaving many with serious wounds, or beaten unconscious. The attack was covered by news outlets, with televised images of the brutality shown on television all over the United States, sparking a widespread reaction, and prompting President Lyndon Johnson to send a voting rights bill to Congress immediately. Saturday’s march across the Brooklyn Bridge was part of a wide-spread national commemoration of this important turning point in US history. Dubbed “Selma is Everywhere” participants walked arm-in-arm across the bridge, remembering that auspicious moment. “I am so proud of my friends for what they did. And what we are asked to do today, frankly, ain’t much” said former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. “Selma is no longer just a location. It is a concept, and a mindset, and a belief” Borough President Adams...

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