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Local Retailers Sing Recession Blues

If you're not convinced that the economic downturn is a crisis writ large, walk down any commercial street in Brooklyn and count the vacant storefronts or signs advertising 70%-off sales.

New Yorkers Blow the Whistle on Dirty Coal

With more than eight million people packed into just 300 square miles, New York relies on resources from other areas to sustain its population. We pump our drinking water in from the cool streams of the Catskill Mountains—a billion gallons per day of water so clean it doesn’t even need to be filtered. The electricity we use is also generated many miles outside the city—far enough away that it’s difficult to mentally connect power plant to light switch.

I’ll Take My Chances on the Nightshift

“Night cab driving,” says Malik, “the first three hours is important.” Malik, 46, is at ease in the driver’s seat of his yellow cab cruising over the Triborough Bridge. He drives with one hand on the wheel, one hand on the gearshift, and talks about life as a taxi driver. As he talks, he glances up in the rearview mirror, a practiced cab driver routine that enables him to see what’s on the road as well as who’s in his cab. His large molasses brown eyes look kind, rather like the eyes a child might draw if asked to make a picture of friendly eyes.

A Filmmaker’s Journey: Brooklyn’s Lisa Russell

The trailer for Lisa Russell’s newest film opens with Ethiopian b-roll layered against ethereal chanting and birdsong—a boy drives a donkey cart, pelicans lounge in a scruffy lagoon. The camera pans from a pair of green flip-flops up a long orange skirt, to a teenage girl’s pink-and-white jacket. She strolls away, towards a thatch-fenced village. “My name is Tigist,” she tells us in Amharic.


The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2009

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