It’s not a bird, or a plane… it’s a space shuttle!

I was able to drag myself out of bed and brave the cold yesterday morning to spot the space shuttle Enterprise flying by the State of Liberty in Battery Park.

It really was quite a sight to see.

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Recap: My night reporting from the “We are Travyon Martin” chaotic New York City march

Wednesday night March 21st 2012 brought a planned “Million Hoodie March” in honor of Trayvon Martin, a teenager who was shot in Florida by a street vigilante for looking “real suspicious.” A Florida state law, Stand Your Ground Law, would let the shooter Zimmerman go. The law and the facts behind the murder itself is bringing up a huge national controversy over racism and other issues.

The African-American was killed while only wearing a hoodie and carrying Skittles and iced tea. These facts brought hundreds of sympathizers in hoodies with Skittles and iced tea in hand. Marchers all gathered in Union Square in force at around 6 PM. Shortly afterwards, Trayvon Martin’s parents showed up to give a speech to the masses at the park. The movement Occupy Wall Street had started a small occupation at Union Square earlier that week and joined the rally with their large number of protesters, shared their experience in city marches and, last but not least, used the human microphone for relaying information.

At approximately 7 PM, Martin’s parents were set to leave the park when the marchers were heading out onto the street. NYPD wanted all the marchers to stay on the sidewalk, but as Union Square was already overflowing, there was no place for marchers to go.

Also noteworthy: The march was supposed to go to the United Nations uptown as it was the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, however, marchers decided to go West, after Martin’s parents left in a black SUV on E.14th in that direction. Perhaps there was some confusion or loss of leadership there.

The marchers took E. 14th street and walked West over to 6th Avenue where there was a little confrontation with a NYPD motorcade at the intersection there. This frustration led to chants of “Let us march!” Then after a few minutes of chaos, marchers decided to take the entire 6th Avenue uptown.

NYPD constantly tried to keep up with their motorcade and they kept attempting to redirect marchers onto the sidewalks. Given the huge number of walkers, people weren’t going to let the police tell them they couldn’t take the street as they chanted, “Whose streets? Our streets!”

At 19th and 6th Avenue, NYPD tried to use their entire motorcade to block the street as three white NYPD vans came to block it as well. The vans were late to the party when marchers walked around the motorcade and took 6th Avenue again. NYPD attempted this again at 23rd and marchers reacted to this move by turning East into the narrow street. They lost the NYPD there.

When hitting 5th Avenue, they marched up to Madison Square Park. There, they walked through vehicular traffic and amassed at the southwest corner of the park. Marchers couldn’t make a decision on what to do next and the march split for a minute or two. And this brought NYPD time as they caught up with the march at the park. When they arrived, marchers then took all of Broadway and walked back down south to Union Square. The energy from the marchers was pulsing as they chanted and took the streets.

The large marching group took over Union Square again. I was at the park’s southeast corner where there was an argument with a few of the rally organizers; a few wanted to keep marching in honor of Trayvon Martin where the main organizer wanted to tone things down. The marchers took things into their own hands and marched South on Broadway. I went with this march for the chunk of the night. Back at the park, Occupy Wall Street protesters stayed at the square while another large march went to Times Square.

The march that went downtown took the streets with their strong and powerful energy as they went all over downtown:

The 200-250 person march reached Canal Street and marched even further downtown on Broadway. Shortly afterwards, the march turned East at City Hall Park to enter One Police Plaza. There, they scaled the barricades to enter the plaza.

After entering, there were loud cheers before quickly turning to enter the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway. When they did this, a group of 20-30 NYPD vehicles with sirens and lights drove onto the Brooklyn-bound lane of the bridge to only be fooled by the marchers. They went even further South on Broadway. The energy was strong.

Marchers passed by Zuccotti Park, home of the Occupy Wall Street movement, to only see it still barricaded and guarded by officers with batons. I asked a marcher, “where is this march going?” And she responded with a, “no idea!” They went further South and they reached the Wall Street bull. Participants scaled and knocked over the barricades. Two protesters stood on top of it with their fists in the air as the crowd shouted, “No justice, no peace!”

NYPD then moved in and the march walked on to Battery Park. At the park, they turned and went uptown on Washington Street. NYPD came in force with riot police and 20 somewhat vehicles. The marchers maneuvered through a park to get on a smaller street where the cop cars couldn’t get access. They took the street on Greenwich and ran as a huge group to the West Street avenue.

Then they met more police at Battery Park on the other side of Battery Park City. The energy was still strong with the police coming in force.

The march then decided to head back to Union Square. It was a slow moving march, however, people kept their energy up with singing, chants and some moments of silence. NYPD had riot cops with batons and zipcuffs alongside the march and everyone stayed on the sidewalk at this point.

With reports of hundreds of rally members at Union Square, the downtown marchers kept their pace to meet them at the park. The Times Square march had already returned before the South march made their descent.

Everyone dispersed into their little groups. Occupy Wall Street had their signs and tables. Occupiers laid around and chatted. Trayvon Martin focused protesters had a few small groups doing the human microphone where speakers could share their feelings and thoughts on the murder case. Later that night, NYPD closed the park with barricades and Occupy Wall Street reacted with a march and some activity of their own.

Here’s a photo of the crowds at Union Square before the police closed the park:

*All photos are mine

The Bigger Picture – “Kony 2012”

Because of my new major change to Communication Arts and Journalism, strong interest in journalism and ambition to just start in the field right away, I will be publishing my own original work here. This March 14th, 2012 article was originally posted on my news Tumblr page.

Topic: The “Kony 2012” video released last Tuesday by the charity organization of Invisible Children.

For those who still don’t know who Joseph Kony is, he is without a doubt a bad person.

And if you still haven’t seen the video, here it is.

If you want more information on the LRA/Kony, The Guardian’s Simon Rawles and Christian Bennett released a 9 minute video last year here.

I’m not here to talk about the charity, Invisible Children, itself, we all know about the skepticism about the financials there and it has been addressed multiple times, especially when it has been corrected by one of the founders of Invisible Children on CNN. And how there has been a photo found of the Invisible Children posing with guns, the photographer has responded with his own opinion as well – interesting interview by the Washington Post, I may say.

However, I’m here to address how this situation is very much a complicated one, and to share all the resources I’ve found. I hope to clarify and bring up other aspects of this conflict to my readers.

Continue reading “The Bigger Picture – “Kony 2012””

hello

I know, I had a bit of a long hiatus posting here. I’m embarrassed for it, but I’m back.

Some highlights:

  • Busy being a Resident Advisor at Pace University!
  • Changed my major to journalism
  • Got a few articles published and some pretty awesome Twitter followers (@patrickdehahn)
  • Turned 21!
  • Planning for a summer in the city with an internship!

Here we go, I’d be glad to have you join for the ride.

apologies for my disappearance.

I do realize that it’s June and that I haven’t written since March.

A lot has happened since my last post in March and I apologize for my, should we call it, unannounced hiatus. Life just swept me by my feet and a lot has occurred.

Ever since my last post back in February, I’ve done a lot! I accomplished my first year of college. I made friends that I know I will keep in touch with the rest of my life. I will never forget those countless walks on the Brooklyn Bridge, late night Dunkin’ Donuts runs, movie nights in the dorms and those midnight/1 AM meals. I won’t forget the subway rides, and that 40 block walk with a friend. I won’t ever forget the adventures in Brooklyn with two of my closest friends. And those countless times when I succumbed to my addiction to Chipotle every single time when any friend mentioned going to the fast food restaurant. I mean, where else can you take a walk uptown, get Cold Stone ice cream, walk through Times Square at whatever time at night when it looks like it’s midday. That’s special. That’s what I love about being in the city, and what I love about my college experience so far.

Other notable experiences: St. Patrick’s Day in the city, ventured into Long Island for the first time (Hoboken too!), saw Bethenny Frankel at Barnes and Noble in Union Square, went to the National Museum of Natural History, and to Central Park as well! Also walked through Little Italy in the rain, and saw two apartments in the luxury apartment building – New York by Gehry.

Definitely notable experiences: Witnessed and was a part of the gathering of people at Ground Zero after Osama bin Laden’s death was confirmed. Also was within a block radius of the President of the United States when he visited Ground Zero a week later. I can now say I was a part of history.

A milestone that occurred down the end of the semester was my acceptance as a resident advisor at Pace University for this coming school year! I still cannot believe that I was hired as one;  I am really looking forward to the two-week training program in August and my job as an RA! It will be a lot of work, time commitments but I am so excited to start. At this point, I know I am placed on the 5th floor in the freshman dorm at Pace, which was my first choice! I cannot wait to meet the other RA’s, get to know them and my residents and get started with my sophomore year of college.

On that note, it still hasn’t hit me that I’m going to be a sophomore in college. But I’m going back with a really good outlook. I currently have four goals for myself, to focus on being an RA, crack down on my studies, get deeper into New York and learn more about myself and what exactly I want to be doing for the rest of my life. I am especially excited for this coming year because I now have one year of college behind me and I am ready to tackle all these goals in order to maximize the level of success for myself. It’s going to be a great year!

Two pictures to end with this post: 

running with sheep in times square.

A flock of paper sheep in Times Square?

I came across a tweet sharing an exhibit in Times Square, called Counting Sheep, by Brooklyn artist Kyu Seok Oh. It was set up through the Times Square Alliance. (Other pieces of art were also on display in the Square as well.) It struck my interest and I just had to see it in person. It was only a week long exhibit during the first seven days of March and it made big news within that short week.

I thought it was really creative. It was made out of thick paper, almost like canvas paper. And it was an interesting contrast to the bright lights and fast moving multitudes of people. It could symbolize a few things. One being the whole counting sheep to sleep method; it’s quite contradictory since New York is known as the city that never sleeps. Another being that when New Yorkers go to Times Square for their very first time, they walk in packs of people, with their eyes only focused on the big billboards getting lost in the crowds. I remember when I first went to Times Square at the age of nine. I walked with my family but I got lost as I just starred upwards, with my eyes focused on the billboards, the lights and the skyscrapers all while still moving with a huge multitude of people pushing me forward. (My father grabbed my hand, don’t worry, I didn’t get entirely lost.) It was a beautiful and creative piece of art. I applaud the artist and I really enjoyed seeing it!

“I like to think that both paper and wood, though processed to be used as structural materials, are in fact very much alive as part of nature. A group of white paper sheep suddenly emerging from a corner of Times Square will create a contrast to the intimidating, chaotic atmosphere associated with that sleepless corner of the world. Soft, white, and standing together these sheep will invite the neon covered surrounding buildings and large excited crowds to relax, count the sheep and even doze off a little.”

– Kyu Seok Oh

MoMA

I have been spending time at the Modern Museum of Art in New York City lately!

I first went with an art student friend of mine from high school; she is currently attending Parsons and she needed to go there for school, while I just wanted to go for fun and see her! We both went on a Friday morning, when it first opened and spent close to two hours strolling through Picasso, Gogh and Warhol. It was an incredibly amazing morning of art.

Some of my favorites:

We got a kick out of the last one – it’s currently my cell phone background. I love it.

I went again with my high school journalism group, who were in the city for a high school journalism conference at Columbia University. Spent another hour there! There’s still so much more to see. I want to go again during Target’s Free Fridays! Believe it or not, with MoMA’s student discount, it’s still a bit pricey to get in ($12), at the MET, it’s only $10, plus an optional donation.

MoMA is my favorite museum so far – I mean, I enjoyed the MET, but I’m more into the modern art aspect of the art world. It makes you think. It’s beautiful and simple art without explanation. It’s geared towards your thought and opinion, and it’s beautiful inspiration. I haven’t taken an art class in forever. I did take a painting class last semester, but we didn’t have the freedom to do whatever we wanted – and I really enjoyed being inspired by all the art in MoMA.

twenty years old.

Yes, this is late. Very late.

I spent my special day with my mother in the city! She came down to visit me! She gave me some presents in the dorms and afterwards, we headed to Soho for a very delicious brunch. We then met with my aunt and uncle and we walked around the shopping area, stopping into some stores along the way. We went to the Baked by Melissa cupcake stand (pictured above) and got a bunch of bite size cupcakes. After eating some cupcakes, we went to a small diner and had coffee and such.

My uncle offered to drive me and my mother to Grand Central… well we barely made mom’s train back to New England after a crazy drive uptown. My mother and I hugged after spending a great day together and I waved her off as her train departed. Her coming to visit was the best birthday gift imaginable!

I went back to the dorms and relaxed for a bit while I chatted with some friends. A friend of mine, Sam, took me out to dinner to Lanterns on MacDougal Street by Washington Square. Delicious! I had pesto lasagna and it was amazing. We had a great dinner and we walked through Washington Square. We actually became official New Yorkers by giving directions and activity advice to tourists! At Starbucks, we got some drinks to warm ourselves up. I got interrupted by a call from my mother and sister to sing me happy birthday! It was special, having my family sing me happy birthday while being in the city of my dreams.

Sam and I got back to my room and we celebrated by having a small dance party in my room – and with her ice cream cake that she got me! It was a great day and weekend in overall. I’ll never forget it and I still can’t believe I’m 20. Really, am I 20?