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The Why Reading Matters Conference 2017 Coming to NYC

The National Book Foundation’s Why Reading Matters Conference 2017 focuses on building a new audience for books

The National Book Foundation is hosting the Why Reading Matters Conference 2017 on Thursday, June 15, 2017, at the Frank Sinatra School of Arts in Long Island City, NY.

The theme this year is Why Reading Matters: Building a New Audience, and the conference will feature a full day of presentations focused on building a new audience for books.

Check www.nationalbook.org, for more information


  • Published in Authors

NYC’s Easter Parade of Images As Narrative?

When New Yorkers Tell Their Stories: From Top Hats & Bonnets to Kooky & Outrageous

When I was a child, I thought Easter was one day: Easter Sunday, when I was decked out gloriously with new dress, shoes, and hat. Such finery, of course, was to be worn only once -- on that special Easter day. As with so many things in life, I've come to understand Easter as being more expansive. Indeed, rather than being limited to only one day, Easter is a season. In the liturgical calendar, the season of Easter lasts seven Sundays, beginning on Easter Sunday and spanning to the Day of Pentecost. That adds up to 50 days of Easter!

Of course, we humans have found ways to express not only our faith or spiritual traditions of Easter, but also to express our joy and playfulness as Spring returns. Enter, the Easter Parade!

After a New York winter that was especially challenging , seeming never to end, we may have been even more excited than usual to shed our protective, multiple layers of clothing. And, what better way to show off our bright new Spring outfits -- topped off with spectacular bonnets and sophisticated top hats -- than to strut down Fifth Avenue in the Easter Parade on Easter Sunday? Perhaps strutting our finery in procession for all to see and admire is a way we choose to tell our story of joy – even exuberance – about Spring's arrival, at long last!

In my new, more expansive view, perhaps each of us becomes the author of our Spring or Easter or whatever story we choose to tell, as we gather with thousands of other "storytellers" in the Easter Parade. As you can see, even the most outlandish hat-creations are part of the story. I'm guessing that it's just these kind of broad-ranging, diverse expressions I find in the procession every year that keep me coming back.

At about 11:00 am or so, a group of friends and I head to 49th Street & Fifth Avenue, decked out in our bonnets. I make certain to look for Fred Moody, a gifted photographer, who's always in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral at about that time. This year, at 53rd Street & Fifth Avenue, TheRoot.com captured my bonnet along with Marie Pierre; Lisa McFadden; Twila Perry; Paula Pelliccia and her fashion designer daughter, Lisette Ffolkes, who works for Tracy Reese; and many others. It's taken us about an hour to walk four blocks!

Marie Pierre-at-Easter-Parade-on-NYC-Fifth-Avenue Derrick-Davis The-RootMarie Pierre at the Easter Parade on New York City's Fifth Avenue  Photo credit: Derrick Davis for The Root

lisa-mcfadden-at-Easter-Parade-on-NYC-Fifth-Avenue Derrick-Davis The-RootLisa McFadden at the Easter Parade on New York City's Fifth Avenue  Photo credit: Derrick Davis for The Root

twila perry-at-Easter-Parade-on-NYC-Fifth-Avenue Derrick-Davis The-RootTwila Perry at the Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue in New York City  Photo credit: Derrick Davis for The Root

Paula-Pelliccia Lisette-Ffolkes Photo Derrick-Davis 600x338Paula Pelliccia and her daughter, fashion designer, Lisette Ffolkes. Photo credit: Derrick Davis for The Root

Lana-Turner-of-Harlem-at-the-2015-Easter-Parade 20150405 133117 600x883Lana Turner, Harlem real estate broker & fashion-setter, at  NYC's  2015 Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue. Photo Credit: T. Perry

As my friends and I slowly make our way to the Parade's end at 57th Street & Fifth Avenue, we're stopped dozens more times by other Easter paraders – or professional photographers -- who want to take our photo. However, we're not merely subjects; we are active participants in these "stories," as we also ask even more folks to pose so we can capture their Easter creativity with our cameras and smartphones.

Indeed, there's no such thing as an on-looker, because even those who aren't decked out in Easter bonnets are part of the Fifth Avenue procession. Maybe you'll consider this pageantry as narrative. Maybe you'll join in next year's Easter Parade on "The Avenue"!

Each month, I’ll share images of books and authors that I come upon in unexpected places. It’s all to inspire you to experience, as if for the first time, the wonder of books and their creators.

  • Published in Images

NBA All-Star 2015 Meant More To New York City Than Basketball

When it was announced last year that the NBA All-Star 2015 would be held in New York City, fans from across the world were excited that one of the largest basketball events would be coming to the Big Apple. With the new Barclays Center in full effect located downtown Brooklyn, minutes from the Brooklyn Bridge and a new and improved Madison Square Garden, it was no question that the best city in the world could handle three days of NBA festivities. The remaining question that lingered going into NBA All-Star is whether or not Madison Square Garden is still the Mecca of Basketball and, perhaps, by extension, is New York City still the Mecca of Basketball. With the Knicks struggling to win games and the Brooklyn Nets remaining a team of overpriced players with a seemingly disconnected owner, there was only one New York born and partially raised player that made it on the All-Star roster—Carmelo Anthony. Yet despite the politics of basketball, it became evident that the events were more than just basketball.

The city had been recovering and healing after news spread on November 14 that Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old African American man who was shot to death by a NYPD officer in the stairwells in the New York City Housing Authority's Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn. The rookie officer, Peter Liang who was patrolling the dark, unlit stairwell, fired his gun, resulting in a bullet ricocheting off a wall, striking Gurley in the chest. If that wasn't enough for the city to handle, a grand jury decided on November 24 not to indict Officer Darren Wilson after fatally killing Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. Then two weeks later, here in New York, a Staten Island grand jury cleared an NYPD cop in the chokehold death of Eric Garner after the attack was caught on video. Garner was arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. To top an already bad ending to 2014, two uniformed NYPD officers were shot to death in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn execution style in the line of duty after a gunman's mission revenge for the deaths of Garner and Brown.

The NBA has always been an organization in which players were allowed to express their voices, and due to the protests over the grand jury's decisions in the Brown and Garner cases, players like LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Brooklyn Nets players Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams wore T-shirts that read, "I can't breathe," the final words of Garner before he died in the chokehold. The players were responding to the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture that had been a worldwide slogan due to the deaths of Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. During media day for NBA All-Star, Miami Heat Dwayne Wade spoke about the importance of the NBA coming together during the course of these tragic events.

Dwayne-Wade-at-2015-NBA-All-Star-Media-Day 650x650Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade at the 2015 NBA All-Star Media Day

"I think the individual guys have done a great job of [taking] a stand or getting behind on whatever they believe in. Nowadays it's obviously a lot easier because of social media...for your voices to be heard," he said. "The NBA supports us doing that....When we leave here (New York), we are obviously going to do something in the community."

Additionally, Wade revealed that he constantly talks to his sons about being "aware."

"My kids...are shielded from the real world. This doesn't happen to every kid in America or across the world," he said. "You try to show them as much as possible. I am an open book with my kids. I don't try to hide them from what's going on in the world; I try to educate them and hopefully one day if they get into a situation they know how to or what not to do." Wade's comments made it clear that NBA All-Star came at the perfect time.

New York City is labeled as one of the greatest cities in the world because the people have proven that they can and will always overcome adversity. The city has undoubtedly produced a lot of basketball talent, and the argument is still up in the air on whether or not it's still the Mecca of Basketball. However, what the NBA All-Star 2015 did do was help to unify a broken city, if only for a short while.

Hot or Not: Celebrity Fashions on the Red Carpet at New York Fashion Week

The fashionistas were out and about during New York Fashion Week S/S 2015.

Ms. Fashionista J presented the follow celebrities that hit the red carpet during New York Fashion Week to give us her take on who was HOT or NOT:

• Angela Simmons
• Joan Small
• Nicki Minaj
• Skylar Duggins
• Tracee Ellis Ross

Tell us who you think was HOT or NOT.

View the Video and Join the Conversation


Brooklyn Nets Point Guard Deron Williams in Dog House

Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams is in the What's The 411Sports Dog House more for his on-court performance than the comments he made about Brooklyn (New York City) in Resident magazine.

Many Brooklyn Nets fans are disappointed with Deron Williams' performance for the past two seasons.

Many feel the Brooklyn Nets could have gone further in the playoffs had Williams been healthy and able to perform better.

Unfortuantely for Williams, the fans don't care about his ankle issues, what they want is performance for his five-year $98 million contract.

Perhaps, the fans will get production out of Williams this season since he has had surgery on both ankles and has been given the green light to play.

For Williams' adjustment to NYC, he admits to having a hard time adjusting to life in New York, saying "I don't really feel like a New Yorker."

"I grew up in an apartment in Texas where you could send your kids outside like, 'Yeah, go play in the sun.' Here it's more challenging," Williams said.

Williams lives in a fabulous pad in the Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal Street) area in Manhattan, which is home to Robert DeNiro and the Tribeca Film Festival.

It is asphalt and concrete and a far cry from Utah or parts of Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester, Nassau or Suffolk counties areas in New York with trees and grass.

For a person who likes grass and outdoor living, why Tribeca over areas he finds more favorable?

Just asking?

New York FC Soccer Club Adds Two Euro Players to its Roster

The New York FC Soccer Club signed two well-established Euro stars in Spanish striker David Villa and Chelsea mid-fielder Frank Lampard.

Will soccer ever steal headlines in New York City?

Will soccer ever become as popular in the U.S. as it is around the world?

Also is there an American that could have been drafted first?

Watch this video, as the What's The 411Sports team weighs in on soccer in NYC.


  • Published in Soccer


With the specter of the New York City mayoral election looming, demonstrators gathered for a march at City Hall last Sunday and demanded that the city invest in neighborhoods still reeling from Superstorm Sandy one year later.

None of the mayoral candidates were present but Bill de Blasio's catchphrase, "a tale of two cities," resonated strongly with the participants.

"We've heard a lot about a tale of two cities and confronting inequality in this city, all of us are here today to build back one city for all of us. We do not want a tale of two recoveries," said Matt Ryan, executive director of ALIGN: Alliance for a Greater New York.

ALIGN organized the march, which brought together various union and community groups, including 32BJ SEIU, Make the Road NY and Legal Aid Society.

Some of the groups (hailing from areas hardest-hit by Sandy) organized residents who traveled to City Hall together.

Toni Khadijah James made the trek with Red Hook Initiative. She wanted to keep pressure on government officials to finish the job of recovery so that when the next storm washes ashore, her community won't be left out to dry.

"We are still in danger, nothing has changed," Ms. James said. "We need jobs, we need money, [we need] the infrastructure to be taken care of correctly. We need to know that we're safe in these buildings where we occupy, we live here, [and] we have our children here."

One year after the storm, temporary outdoor boilers are still being used at the Red Hook Houses where James lives. Some apartments have lost the battle against mold, while others have leaky roofs, all of this on top of the repairs that needed to be done before Sandy.

Red Hook Houses is the largest housing project in Brooklyn and the second largest in the city with about 6,000 residents, but community organizers say the neglect and lack of repairs is common throughout all of public housing.

"We want the next mayor to understand that the repairs here in public housing should be at the top of the list," said Julian Vigo, community organizer at Red Hook Initiative and Community Voices Heard. "The apartments are in pretty bad shape, the buildings are in pretty bad shape and there's no way we can talk about rebuilding the city if these communities don't get the repairs they need."

But repairs are just the beginning. United by the march's motto, "Turn the Tide," speakers at the event also called on the next mayor to turn the tide on rising inequality by investing in job creation, more affordable housing, sustainable energy and health care.

Iona Folkes, a nurse at St. John's Episcopal Hospital made an especially impassioned plea about the importance of good healthcare and hospitals in the fight for a fairer New York City. Citing the role of St. John's (which had been threatened with closure) in caring for Far Rockaway's patients immediately after the storm, she implored government to keep hospitals open and support healthcare citywide.

"I'm here to ask the elected officials, don't forget the community, don't forget the disenfranchised," stated Ms. Folkes. "Don't forget that the community that needs healthcare the most is the underserved community."

Whoever the city chooses to elect on Tuesday, November 5th, the new mayor will have to decide how to uplift downtrodden neighborhoods with limited resources—no easy task in a city as big as New York, but one that's fairly simple James believes.

The key to banishing a tale of two cities comes down to equal spending.

"Money is the key to everything, you just have to make sure that it's divvied out correctly, that no one gets more than the other one, that it's all split up evenly so everyone gets a chance to expand and make it a better place to live," Ms. James added.

CUBA GOODING JR Honored with Sardi’s Caricature

WATCH VIDEO: Sardi's Bestows Caricature Upon Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr.

What's The 411TV was in the house for the unveiling of a Sardi's caricature for Academy award-winning actor, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Cuba Gooding Jr was joined by Sardi's president Max Klimavicius and cast members of the Broadway production, THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL.

  • Published in Theatre
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