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Last night was the kind of evening when most people want to curl up under a blanket watch the latest episode of 106 & Park or 30 Rock. With temperatures in the lower teens, I wondered how many of the new Radio Rookies would make the 1.5 hour trek from their neighborhood down to Soho to visit WNYC Radio for the first time.

Those new Bronx Rookies showed me--all 7 made the trip! While at the station the Rookies listened to Rookie graduate Keith’s Valentine's Day story, had a chance to sit in Leonard Lopate’s studio and get the behind the microphone, and a Daily News reporter interviewed them for an article.

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    Our year-end photo project asked you to submit your best cell phone shots of the year. We got hundreds of submissions, and now New York Times senior staff photographer and Lens blog co-editor James Estrin picks his favorites. See Jim's favorites below, and be sure to check out all the submissions here.

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    On the three-month anniversary of Sandy, WNYC took a week-long road trip from Cape May, NJ to Montauk, NY to visit coastal communities and see how their recovery is coming along.


    Despite the snow and wind, people in Cape May, NJ are looking toward the summer. With little or no Sandy damage, they expect a busy season.


    Will Tirri runs crab traps in the Stubborn One out of Cumberland County near Cape May, NJ. In the winter he works at welding at Fisherman's Wharf. He hasn't felt the effects of Sandy.


    We won't know what effect Sandy had on the scallop fisheries until the season starts again in March.  The Cold Spring Fish Supply Co. is a major scallop supplier.  coastcheck


    Cape May, NJ, known as Exit Zero because the Garden State Pkwy. ends here, escaped damage from Sandy and is expecting a busy summer. Many of the top hotels in town are already booked solid. coastcheck


    Even in late January, when night falls fast, Cape May, NJ is a busy place. The seaside resort was not damaged by Sandy and is looking forward to a busy summer season.


    John Cooke and his dog Joy greeted us at Victorian Motel where they are starting to fill up for July and August. Sandy left Cape May mostly undamaged. coastcheck



    Joe Wright owns Scojo's restaurant in Surf City, Long Beach Island. He says if he has to raise up his restaurant, as new federal and state rules could require, he's putting a for sale sign out front.



    John Pulaski, the manager of the Leonardo Motel in Monmouth County, NJ says he has mostly weekly bookings now for families made homeless by Sandy.



    Frank Bain of Bain Hardware in Sea Bright, NJ says as a 10-year open-heart-surgery survivor, he has to be optimistic. "You want to hear God laugh? Tell him your plans for tomorrow." coastcheck



    "Bye Bye paradise, it was nice while it lasted" is scrawled on an abandoned mobile home at the Paradise Park trailer park in Highlands, NJ.


    Chris Curtis uses a heater to thaw out some drywall compound as he works on a house on Locust St. in Highlands, NJ. His dad lives on the same block and worries how he will afford to lift his home.


    Barry Heffernan and Al Homan of Tri Bar Demoliton take a look at a Sandy-devastated home in Highlands, NJ. Heffernan has been contracted to raise the house up.



    On Cedar Grove Ave. in Staten Island, an uninhabitable home wears bright, patriotic colors three months after Sandy.


    Tim Chen is the volunteer coordinator at the relief hub in Cedar Grove, Staten Island. He is there 24/7, sleeping in a tent at night. They start serving at 9AM. Sundays, there is a bonfire.


    Kayla Mitchell, 23, has been volunteering in Cedar Grove Staten Island since about 2 weeks after Sandy. Now, three months out, she's still there serving hot meals to residents and workmen.




    Andrew Lennon of Glen Oaks Electric “It’s been good for business, but the island’s not gonna be the same for years."



    Home owner Martin Dobransky in Broad Channel  just got electricity this week, but not before his pipes froze from the extreme cold earlier this week, adding to his difficulties.


    Tools in the mailbox in Broad Channel, Queens where residents are still struggling back 3 months after Sandy.



    A sand-sifting operation is visible in the fog beneath the torn-down boardwalk at Edwards Blvd. in Long Beach, Long Island


    Two Small Business Administration workers walk under the torn-down boardwalk into the fog on Long Beach in Long Island at Edwards Blvd.



    Frank Bracco behind the counter at his fish market. He says the last three months feel more like a year as he struggles to repair damage after Sandy.



    Asa Gosman's family owns Gosman's Dock in Montauk. He said they were lucky and the damage at Gosman's was nothing compared to what happened down the coast.


    State employees Bob Mullens and Tom Rutkowski work to shore up the beach at Montauk Point State Park.


    The lighthouse at Montauk Point used to have 300 ft. of beach in front of it. Now it has 100 ft. of beach.


    The moon hangs over the beach just after sunrise on Montauk.


    A sign reading "do not enter" marks a badly eroded public stair at the beach in Montauk.

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    "Chemical plants on shore are considered prime source of pollution." (Marc St. Gil, Lake Charles, Louisiana, June 1972. National Archives, EPA Documerica Project)

    These photos are beautiful. They're also sad, and hopeful, and quaint.

    In the 1970s the EPA commissioned photographers to roam the country and document daily life in places like coal mines, riverbanks, cities, and even an early clean tech conference in a motel parking lot. The images were meant to be a baseline to measure change in the years to come, but there was no funding to go back to the original places.

    The Documerica project photos are up on Flickr now (hat tip to FastCoExist for posting some of these gems). It's an overwhelming album of nostalgia for everyday life, but also, devastatingly depressing to see how dirty and toxic so many inhabited places could be in the 1970s ... and how little has changed in some places today.

    What makes the project so powerful though, is how beautiful the photography is, even of the mundane moments, or tragic scenarios like kids playing in a river next to a power plant.

    Strum through the albums yourself and share your favorites with us on our Facebook page and we'll add more pics to this post later on.

    In the albums, there are also early editions of clean technology, like Frank Lodge's photos from the first First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems held at what seems to be a motel parking lot.

    Exhibit at the First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development Held at the Marriott Motor Inn, Ann Arbor, Mich. Vehicles and Hardware Were Assembled at the EPA Ann Arbor Laboratory. Part of the Exhibit Was Held in the Motel Parking Lot the Ebs "Sundancer", an Experimental Electric Car, Gets Its Batteries Charged From an Outlet in the Parking Lot 10/1973 (Frank Lodge. National Archives, EPA Documerica Project)


    "Children play in yard of Ruston home, while Tacoma smelter stack showers area with arsenic and lead residue." (Gene Daniels. Ruston, Washington, August 1972. National Archives, EPA Documerica Project)


    David Falconer documented the fuel shortage in the west during the 1970s, as well as water pollution in the area at the time.  (David Falconer, National Arcives, EPA Documerica Project)


    Miner Wayne Gipson, 39, with His Daughter Tabitha, 3. He Has Just Gotten Home From His Job as a Conveyor Belt Operator in a Non-Union Mine. as Soon as He Arrives He Takes a Shower and Changes Into Clothes to Do Livestock Chores with His Two Sons. Gipson Was Born and Raised in Palmer, Tennessee, But Now Lives with His Family near Gruetli, near Chattanooga. He Moved North to Work and Married There, But Returned Because He and His Wife Think It Is a Better Place to Live 12/1974 (Jack Corn. National Archives, EPA Documerica Project)

     Follow Alex Goldmark on Twitter @alexgoldmark

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    Justin Helzer died Sunday night, April 14th. He committed suicide inside his cell on San Quentin's Death Row (the cell in this photo). If you look closely you can see him sitting on his bunk, leaning against the door.

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    Watching music being made is as much a delight for the ears as one for the eyes. Here are our favorite collections of photographs featuring classical music performers, performances, and venues from across the web.

    1. David Leventi

    David Leventi, a New York-based photographer with an appreciation for opera’s past, captured the gilded grandeur of empty houses in his series Bjoerling’s Larnyx. The project is a tribute to Leventi’s grandfather, an operatic tenor whose dreams of singing on the world’s great stages ended when he was interned in one of the Soviet Union’s POW camps during WWII. Leventi writes in his artist’s statement: “Though at first glance these photographs appear to be scientific and categorical, it is the details included in these images that make them more than sterile architectural interiors— they become portraits of spaces with remarkable depth and history.” 

    2. Nikolaj Lund

    Nikolaj Lund is breaking down the conventions of the musician’s portrait. Rather than a take a staid headshot, he photographs cellists flinging instruments across desert dunes, violinists playing upside down, and accordionists falling backwards on cobbled streets. These fanciful but arresting images capture the intensity, artistry, and often humor in Lund’s musician subjects. Lund, a cellist himself, doesn’t manipulate the photos, but uses less expensive instruments—rather than the performers’ valuable ones—as props for his shoots.

    3. The New York Philharmonic

    Among the approximately 1.3 million documents that the New York Philharmonic has digitized and made available online are more than 16,000 images of musicians. There are images of them performing, traveling, meeting dignitaries, and prepping for concerts. The database can be a little difficult to browse, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for (check out the Library of Congress if you’re searching for photographs of Leonard Bernstein). However, the Phil frequently digs up gems to feature on its Digital Archives blog.

    4. London Symphony Orchestra

    Symphonic music and Star Wars fans will get a kick out of the London Symphony Orchestra’s well-curated gallery of photographs from its archives. The collection of images of the ensemble’s distinguished leaders is particularly fascinating, capturing portraits of the first principal conductor, Hans Richter, Pierre Monteux, André Previn, Michael Tilson Thomas and even the gold-plated android C-3PO on the podium.

    5. Lebrecht Photo Library

    With archival images of Enrico Caruso posing as Pagliacci to a disheveled Valery Gergiev conducting at the Proms, the Lebrecht Photo Library was founded as an archive for images of classical music. Since then it’s expanded its scope to include images from across the humanities, including a large collection of author portraits.   Though the site charges to license the images, anyone can click through the thumbnails of opera productions and composers at work.

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    In our Animal Minds show, we talk to the author of a clever study that calls into question what's really going on in a dog's head when it looks "guilty." Hint: even totally innocent pets make dejected, hangdog faces -- meaning those expressions may not have anything to do with owning up to bad behavior.

    Dog owners, we'd love to hear your reactions. (If you haven't listened to Animal Minds yet, do it now!)

    We're especially curious if, after listening, you still think your dog looks remorseful when it does something wrong. Send us a photo!

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    Nothing says high school rock n’ roll better than torn jeans and a flannel shirt. Unless it’s a mohawk and a chain wallet. Or a red-white-and-blue tank top. Excellent.

    As part of our celebration of high school bands, we want to see the photo that captures your glory days as a high school rock star, whether you favored grunge, emo, hip-hop, or something in between — the more self-consciously cool, the better. 

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    We ended 2013 with a Singles Holiday Mixer in The Greene Space at WNYC/WQXR. We had food, drinks, a holiday sing-a-long and lots of cheer. Enjoy!

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  • 02/27/14--06:25: New York Is Gross
  • A new blog called New York Is Gross catalogues the gross landscapes of New York City that we usually do our best to ignore: dead rats and roaches, frozen rivers of trash water, splintered bones.

    (Full disclosure: a friend from real life started this thing, but wants to remain anonymous)

    What I like about this is that it fixes this problem that I'd forgotten I had with living in New York, or, really, any city. Every day, there's a certain amount of filth that you see and then expend a tiny bit of psychic energy ignoring. (Think about summer's hot garbage smell, the great dog poop thaw of Spring, or Winter's frozen, fused together trash landscape.)

    You'd think that inspecting those things more closely would feel worse, but actually, actively looking for the grossest stuff has improved my experience of daily city life. When I see a pile of particularly gross detritus, I now get a thrill of a hunter who's just stumbled on game. It could be a submission.

    I bounced this idea of New York Is Gross's owner:

    "I agree so completely about seeing filth. Which is interesting because I'm also noticing it more than ever. But despite that -- it feels better. Or manageable or something. I think it's part of why I wanted to do it. I feel like it's a part of living here that people don't process. And I think this is just kind of a bearable way to do that -- and to see it and think about it. It's also a little way to push back against all the sunsets, babies and food photos -- which I'm guilty of too -- on Instagram."

    There's a version of this blog that could scan as offensive, and maybe for some people New York Is Gross will. If you take pride in keeping your city and your neighborhood clean, it can be annoying to see the worst stuff get highlighted.

    But for me, what makes this feel good, for lack of a more specific descriptor, is that the pictures have some beauty to them. Also, while the blog's on both Instagram and Tumblr, I think there's an argument to be made that it's better experienced as an Instagram feed. Instagram is filled with so many pictures of manicured beauty, it's nice to get the occasional pee bottle thrown in to mix things up.

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    On Wednesday's Brian Lehrer Show, we're hosting a two-hour "family meeting" about travel. We'll discuss all sorts of issues related to travel, vacations, and trips. And we want to build the best travel slideshow possible -- using photos that are sitting on your cell phone. You know you have them. Maybe you posted them to a social network, but now it's time to scroll back through your camera roll and choose the single best travel photo on your phone and send it our way.

    It's easy: tweet it @brianlehrer, tag it on Instagram with #WNYCTravel, or upload it using the form below. And no cheating -- we're looking for phone photos only!

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  • 12/02/14--09:12: We Shared A Moment in Time
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    Protesters gathered across New York City Wednesday evening after a grand jury in Staten Island declined to indict a white police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, on criminal charges in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man in July. The decision not to indict Pantaleo in the July 17 death of Eric Garner has sparked outrage and drawn comparisons to the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri -- and comes just nine days after a St. Louis grand jury voted not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown.

    WNYC visited various demonstrations to capture the scene.

    On Wednesday evening, Eric Garner's father Ben Garner visited the site where his son was put in a police chokehold.



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    In anticipation of the blizzard, shoppers cleared the shelves at the Red Hook Fairway.
    Nalay is working hard shoveling his block in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.



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    'My name is Luz and I love the snow!'


    Nalay is working hard shoveling his block in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.


    Catching a cab in this weather takes a magic touch! Maybe it's the Olaf doll....


    Henry and his little sister are about to begin the long track back to Brooklyn from the West Village. But first... 'Can you help me make a snowball?'


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    The horrific images from Abu Ghraib prison still linger in America's consciousness over a decade after their release. But there are thousands more photos of detainee abuse and torture that the government has long concealed from the public, for fear of violent repercussions. Bob talks with the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer, who says the prospect of violence is a faulty argument for government secrecy about its own misconduct. 

     Song: "Magic Arrow" by Timber Timbre


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