TRACK 1: “You’re listening to the second episode of What We Do To… and by now you should know what this podcast is about. If you didn’t get the hint, I’ll explain. It’s about what we do to survive, how the struggles in life push us to accept certain jobs, or why we look for gigs for the fun of it. We want to hear stories that are about crazy experiences at the work place and how these experiences shape us a people and how we view society.
In today’s episode, I’m talking to Christian. A 39-year-old who was born in Bakersfield, California. A small town located in the north part of Los Angeles. Cristian has been working as a cook for years, bartending, server, bus boy, manager, he has done it all in the service industry. And as Cristian describes himself, he has been having fun most of his life. At the age of 20 he moved to LA, and for the past 20 years he has been finding himself in big cities, moving back and forth between LA and NY.
Cristian has crazy experiences regarding the Hollywood life, and he has some crazy characters that he came across to.”
TRACK 2: “So, have you ever done any weird gigs?”
CHRIS: “Yes, as a matter of fact I have. I had a friend who owned a strip company, like, called Crazy Like Fucks, and one time he asked me if I would do a Bachelorette party for him. I was 18 at the time, I go “yeah, of course, why not?” who wouldn’t? I was a skinny little tiny white boy, you know what I mean? You know what I mean? Being polled legs, and no rhythm and the house I went to, it was in a rather undesirable neighborhood, but it was a little bit more fun I guess. I took a couple shots of whiskey, smoked a little rocky tabaqui and next thing you know I’m dancing for a bunch of old housewives. Well, the place, where the dancing was in a town called Oildale, California, which is the armpit of the world. It’s white trash guetto, and the ladies there were a little bit more mainly than me, but still interested in men. The amount of teeth between them, probably didn’t equate the ones I had in my own head, so it was a little bit more, you know, upscale if you will. Danced with them all that night, I met two ladies that were friends, met two friends that were moms at the party, I ended up exchanging phone number with them and for the next couple months enjoyed a very fun time with two friends at the party. It was very wonderful.
TRACK 3: “So what else have you done that you’d call peculiar.”
CHRIS: “Peculiar? Well, I transported…”
VIC: “Oh my god, I don’t think I wanna hear anything illegal.”
CHIRS: “A product from Los Angeles to Bakersfield quite a few times, nothing, nothing dangerous, but you know, it was just one or two times, you know what I mean, we were young, young, fun, doing things that were interesting, you know?! We changed jobs quite a few times, so, everything’s been fun. It’s been enjoyable, life’s experiences.”
VIC: “Tell me a little bit about the party you met Big, maybe that’s something we should talk about! Something interesting”
CHRIS: “So, yeah, I was running a café in Los Angeles, with, at the time, I was the baker chef and front of the house man which I ran the whole thing, the owner was a good friend of mine, I’ve been working there about three years by this point. And Mr. Big, who lived right up the street from us, cause he was in Sherman Oaks, California, which all the actors were at the Universal Studios, and all that fun stuff is, his wife came in all the time, and he came in, he was doing, his 50thbirthday party, and he asked us to cater it, so we went up there and catered his party. Really nice little house, awesome swimming pool, outdoor barbecue, we were there, you know, before the party, starting, you know, meeting his wife, we had a good time, everyone just laughing, joking, really good time, you know, he’s a really nice guy, interesting, wife had just had a baby, so she was, you know what I mean, in that great mother glow, it was a fun time. Met a lot of fun people in my life. And here I met, in New York, I met Uma Thurman, Jennifer Aniston, LA, a couple years back, I was working on the same café, Ben Stiller came in and it was right before the Oscars, I believe it was the Oscars, when Avatar came out, and he was sitting there, I made him lunch, we sat down, and we befriended each other a couple times, you know what I mean, because we’ve known each other for a couple years, him coming in and out, and he was telling me that, I was asking him if he was ready for the night, you know, Oscar night, he’s like “yeah, you now, they’re making me…” he goes, and he’s sitting there eating a salad, we’re talking, no one’s in the café, and he goes “they’re making me dress up like a god damn Avatar tonight. And you know what I mean, he goes, but he’s Ben Stiller, and the next thing you know, later that night, I’m watching it, there he comes out on the stage dressed up like an Avatar, smiling and stuff like that, so it’s kinda funny, but yeah, it’s been an interesting time. You know, now I’m working in, like a said, I was working in this little bar in Harrison now, and just enjoying my life.
VIC: “And how would you say is the transition from doing these crazy events and working at the bar that you are now?”
CHRIS: “It’s crazy, it’s just on a different scale, still the same. Like the other night, we had a private party and they pulled out a bottle of Louis XIII, a 3-4 thousand-dollar bottle of Remy Martin, start giving out shots, you know what I mean, it’s like we have guys in here dressed in, well, you would consider, a mafia style outfit, but also guys that are dressed in, one dude had boxers and white socks on, like Robert DeNiro, in Casino, you know what I mean, so last year when I first started working here, it’s snowing outside, and there’s a girl in chaps, and her butt cheeks hanging out, telling me to hug her like a man. You know what I mean, I’m like “oh, okay” you know what I mean, so, it doesn’t change, you know what I mean, maybe the certain calibers, but in this industry which I’ve learned from serving in Bakersfield with Buck Owens, country singer, in Bakersfield that I grew up with serving him at his table to Los Angeles, Ben Stiller, Bobby Brown, I was right next to Doctor Dre’s record one studio, he’d come in, you know what I mean, and to NY, it’s all the same, it’s just where you are, the time, you meet, really meet people. It’s a fun industry, I love it cause it’s never changing, always changing.”
VIC: “What are your aspirations in life?”
CHRIS: “To enjoy myself, that’s about it. Hopefully, I have a couple friends, one’s gonna be here later tonight, two of them actually, they want to invest in the bar and I’ve done bartending or cooking, so either way, either being a chef in the city, or owning my own bar, hopefully one day.”
VIC: “See you next time!”
SHAN: “I don’t know what you would call that, it was interesting and after it, he asked me, he asked me if I would’ve wanted to ever walk him around on a leash, that he has just ordered his collar.”
TRACK 1: “I’ve been broke a few times. College life, you have to pay rent, eat, survive. You know the deal. I’ve looked into some alternatives to make money. I would help friends with their homework, pick up some extra shifts at my job, sell clothes or other things I haven’t touched in years that I could find in my closet, but somehow I could always make some money. And everybody experiences struggles like that. But the problem with society, or with my little bubble world, is that we know that there are so many interesting things out there, and we’re okay with that, you know? We’re pretty open minded. Until you realize that these interesting things are happening right in your circle. Then they go from interesting to “wow, tell me more about it”. We are looking for pleasure, what makes us be who we are, and our unique way is what makes us incredible individuals. However, we still don’t like to talk about what makes us happy because you know, many people would see that as something weird. And that was my reaction when my friend Shan told me about her world of hustling. This is the first episode of What we do To…, and Shan is gonna tell us the exotic gigs she’s been through.
TRACK 2: “So, Shannon, you, being my source, you opened a portal for the unknown world of interesting, pecualiar, exotic gigs.”
SHAN: “I don’t think you even know these gigs existed until I started talking to you.”
TRACK 3: “Shan was right, I had no idea that gigs like that existed for what I judged to be a regular shift to get some extra money. So, I wanted to know more about what led her to discover this unknown world.”
SHAN: “I don’t remember which came first, but it was when I was about 18 I started like really digging deep into the craigslist gigs section. And I always been like really open and everything. There was one I did, what is this rated? This podcast? So I did, I was 18, and just like curious, you know obviously not gonna do anything that I regret. So, it was this swinger party that they wanted hostess to make other people feel more comfortable, and of course someone who’s never been to a swinger party, I got hired! So I really just had to be there, we ended up being topless and I was just serving drinks and massaging people exploring their, their lifestyle, which I’m totally fine with anyone’s lifestyle. But that was definitely was a shocker into my world of weird.”
TRACK 4: “Shan was new to the swinger world. Apparently, the party was too. They were looking for comfortable girls, and Shan was always comfortable with her body. What excited her about this gig? She was curious about what a swinger party was, and glad she didn’t have to participate. She would only work and observe.”
SHAN: “I don’t know, it really opened up my world to what was out there and I’m not gonna lie, it was easy money. 3 hours, I love being naked, we got to drink, smoked a little of the funny grass. It was a very cool atmosphere and you know, I got paid for. So at that time, and even now, it was fun for me. And you know, extra money, but there was one after that, that it was weird and showed me into the true like “wow, people have some weird fetishes. So, the odd was girls who look good in leggings and I have a great ass, so I said “oh, I can do this job, it’s a 100 bucks for an hour” to film me snapping leggings on my skin like in totally clothes, but to just be filmed, no face or anything, just of the leggings, and I had to say certain, a scripted thing, but that was an odd thing that I realized “wow!”
TRACK 5: “Shan’s list of weird gigs is very interesting. From an early age, she has experienced some crazy gigs. So, I wondered, how wasn’t she afraid of what was out there?”
SHAN: “I was always very safe about it, you know, send addresses and names and number to my friends before I went anywhere, just make sure you’re in a safe environment, but I’ve always been, you know, pretty open to doing things is why I guess I just kinda went for it, but yeah it was funny because the swinger gig I’ve had also done kid’s parties where I dressed up, painted faces, did balloons and there was one night where I was like Ariel in a kid’s party and then had to run from there to catch a train to the city and to go do the swinger party. Just the total 1-80 of side hustles, so that was always a funny thing I remember.”
TRACK 6: “We then got to the point where with one gig, Shan was able to actually learn about herself.”
SHAN: “My most recent weird gig was this foot fetish party, which I’m like “awesome, I get to keep my clothes on,” you know, I actually ended up liking it. You know, I was always interested in what the whole thing with foot fetish was or the psychology and I’m very interested in just humans in general, that’s why I also like these strange gigs. You see an inside into these little worlds, but it was so empowering actually because guys that are into that are very submissive and it just, I felt like I had the power, even though, you know, and I was being paid for all of, whatever, nothing that really, I was subjected to having to do things I didn’t want to do. Just to be worshiped pretty much, so that was like a “wow, I could maybe do this again” type thing. Is that weird?”
TRACK 7: “This foot fetish party was for club’s members only, and according to Shan, many of the guys didn’t want people to know about this wild side. They had almost 35 girls working, all dressed up in sexy lingerie or costumes. Because of the nature of the party, Shan had to approach many of the guys. And the man with that had just ordered the collar, met Shan at this party.”
SHAN: “I love to be slapped or talked down to” like that is wild to me. And, you know, so the setting was couched, you know, everyone you see sit there, and obviously they like the conversation too, everyone likes that whole companionship to go with it, but you know, as I’m sitting and talking to one guy I would see a girl walking on other guy’s face. You know, it was such a “what a time to be alive.” No, it was interesting, open space though, nothing was what I would ever felt in danger or anything, but…”
TRACK 8: “Business talk now? In 5 hours Shan left with a little over a hundred dollars. She sat down with 3 guys only, but unlike previous gigs, she didn’t mind not making a crazy amount of money, she cared more about the experience. And how do you find these jobs? Do you think it’s safe enough, like do you do your own research before it?”
SHAN: “All of my friends ask me where the fuck I find these jobs. Craigslist. I’ve been a Craigslist hustler since I can’t remember, and you don’t go on the jobs of Craigslist, you go to the gigs, you go to the talent, you go to events, creative events, and you know, I’ve done modeling for live body painting even. I mean, and again, these I take because I am just comfortable with myself, but, you can kind of tell in the wording of certain gigs if you should totally not respond to that, but just to be safe I make sure, it’s you know, something public place at least to meet anybody if it’s a meeting before and send address, name, phone number to your friends, and again, I’m very comfortable person and carry pepper spray, but that would be my only advice in that regard.
TRACK 9: “What is the craziest thing you’ve seen in one of these jobs?”
SHAN: “You come across too many interesting people, but the craziest recently had, like was it put it at the top a little bit because I’ve never actually seen this. So, at these parties all the men are submissive and I was watching this one guy’s laying on the floor almost and the girl is just talking to him like he is dog shit, pretty much. “Idiot, stupid,” smacking him and just seeing the joy in his eyes, I’m like “this is some deep rooted issues” like, she might had even spit on him at one point.”
TRACK 10: “From these gigs, do you see society different now?”
SHAN: “That is a great question because it could be anyone, it could be anyone, you know, you have first these guys who at these fetish parties are telling you their personal lives and what they do, cause I kinda asked them, you know, you’re conversating with them so, what are we making conversation over, the whole reason we’re here, and one guy said yeah, he’s the, and he was a big guy too, you know, muscular you’ll be scared of him if you saw him walking down the street, and, he said “yeah, I’m the supervisor at my job and deal around bossing guys around all day” so the end of the day he likes to be bossed around and you know, kinda treated lessely, and so, that just, after even hearing that was like “wow, anyone, anywhere can have any type, you know, and it’s all very secretive too so you would never know. Sometimes I kinda look at people and try and guess, it’s a fun game I play with myself, but yeah, yeah, I guess you would look at the world very differently.”
TRACK 11: “What did you learn about yourself?”
SHAN: “What did I learn about myself? I’ve learned that depending how broke I am, my standards… no, I’ve learned that I love to be worshipped, maybe. I’m already a little narcissistic in real life, and I think doing certain parties where, you know, they’ll show such admiration towards you, and what not, it brings me this like rush and high almost and, you know, maybe that’s dangerous, but I don’t know, I like, I love control, I’ve kinda always known that, but this recent event that I did, it was like wow, this is almost like I could do this all the time.
TRACK 12: “So what’s coming next?”
SHAN: “Honestly, I was gonna deep dive into the old craigslist’s gigs after we end this, so maybe I’ll have an answer for you next time we meet.”
TRACK 13: “Thank you.”
Shan: “You’re welcome!”
INTRO: In August of 2019, a new Little Roy’s coffee shop opened up in the Church Avenue community on Nostrand Avenue between Linden Boulevard and Martnese. The coffee shop chain was first opened in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn in 2017 and has been a big success with the community. As a result, the owner of the chain decided to open up another to see if the success can be repeated. We traveled to the little shop in a big neighborhood to get the scoop. Our reporter, Matthew Hull, has the story.
Ambi: (Natural sounds)
TRACK: The moment you walk into the coffee shop, you can smell the grinding of the coffee beans and sweetness of the latte’s being made. The barista’s all greet their customers with a smile, even knowing the name of several people in line. The shop seems to be buzzing around midday as people come on their breaks from neighboring companies and also as people come to get some midday work done. The sight of laptops, avocado toast and laughing fills the room. We stop by the counter and ask for a quick interview from Dillion, a barista who has been working there for quite a while. First he speaks on his time at the coffee shop.
ACT: Dillion: The coffee shop opened three or four months ago. And that’s when I started. Yeah it’s good. It’s-It’s started our slow but people have started to notice since we’re so close to the 2 train, people walk by it all the time. So it’s slowly ramping up.
TRACK: He quickly steps away to make the coffee of a waiting customer. I, then, ask him quickly to express how he feels about the community
ACT: Dillion: Yeah, people-people are cool. I-I like the culture of the neighborhood for sure and I think we are trying to maintain that and not in the way of it.
TRACK: As I left the counter in order to let Dillon to get to his final customers as it was nearing the 3pm closing, I noticed a young man who looked to be in college. I politely sat next to him and asked if he could give me just a little of his time after 3pm for a quick interview on his experience with the shop and it’s introduction into the community. He introduced himself as Joshua but declined to give a last name. I first asked him whether or not he lived nearby.
ACT: Josh: I moved to the Church Avenue neighborhood when I was in third grade and I’m still living there now so it’s been like 10 years since I moved.
Track: With the controversies surrounding gentrification, i was interested to find out his opinion on whether the introduction of Little Roy’s into the community is a positive or negative one. His answer pleasantly surprised me.
ACT: Josh: Honestly, I think it’s a positive thing to see a new business join the Church Ave neighborhood. Since I’ve moved, I’ve been seeing the same places every day. Got to a point where I wasn’t even looking at the sides of the sidewalk, I already knew what was on the sides. And now, it’s different and I see more people and I just like the change we are seeing in the Church Avenue neighborhood. It shows that our neighborhood is flourishing and it’s an introduction of new people and that’s always a great thing.
Track: He mentioned to me that he had class attend soon so I tried to fit in one more question. I asked him about his overall review of the coffee shop and what he thinks of the place.
ACT: Josh: I think Little Roy’s is a great place. When I first went with my brother, I was shocked when the barista memorized his order, you know? That’s something that I don’t really see when it comes to the places I’ve even gone often. And inside, there’s a lot of work going on. It’s very quiet. The space is very ambient. It’s a good atmosphere. The coffee’s amazing. The hot chocolate’s amazing. I think that overall, the culmination of both aesthetic and the passion that goes into making the coffee and other items on the menu is truly outstanding and I think it’s a really great place.
Track: After I finished recording, he shook my hand, picked up his bag and left the shop. I sat there for a bit, listening to the interviews I had got. I also had a nice chat with the owner who stated that he also lived in the community and had been looking to expand the shops for quite a while. Unfortunately, he declined a recorded interview but from his confidence, I can tell that Little Roy’s may continue to expand as time passes.
AMBI: (Street sounds)
Track: From Baruch, Matthew Hull signing off.
AMBI: (natural sounds and room tone go here)
TRACK: In the first part of this two part series, we learned about three immigrants and their view of the past and present climate around immigration in NYC. Today we will be exploring Brooklyn Bridge Park which is located on the piers near Brooklyn Heights. The park became available to the public in 2008 as it looked to be a fresh, new safe space for people to come and enjoy themselves. Welcome to the People and Places in NYC and I am your host Matthew Hull. In this episode, we will be hearing from two people, one is a worker named Herold who has recently started working there and the other is a member of the community named Shelton who has lived in Brooklyn Heights for a long time. I, first, caught up with Shelton to ask what it’s like being a part of the community with the park growing over the past few years. The first question I asked him was the frequency of his visits.
ACT: Shelton: I come here several times a week.
TRACK: He had his friend with him also but he was from Connecticut and didn’t want to be recorded. I, then, continue to ask him what it’s like on a typical day at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
ACT: Shelton: Well… you know, I- I assume you’ve been out here also. You know how it is in the summer, it’s like crazy, people cooking out and that kinda thing. Most-Most days you have it to yourself, like this right? So I would say… Where we live is on Warren Street between Hicks and Columbia and when it’s warm, people park their streets so that they can walk down here. There’s a lot of foot traffic, people making their way down Atlantic or whatever.
TRACK: As he talks, you can see the smile on Shelton’s face and the joy in his heart. You can really see what the park means to him. After explaining what it was like being a member of the community during the rise of the park, Shelton then goes on to estimate how much he has seen the park grow over the last 10 years.
ACT: Shelton: I-I think it’s got like 50% more popular year after year. It seems like the crowds are getting bigger. People coming down our street to get here. I’d say it’s more and more popular every time. It was kinda like the best kept secret for a while. And now I think it’s kinda like a destination for a lot of people.
TRACK: Not wanting to hold him up much longer due to the rain and the look on his friend’s face seemingly wanting to go, I, finally, asked Shelton to elaborate on what the park means not only to the community but also to him and his family throughout the years.
Track: Shelton: Well that’s a good question Matthew. I’ve lived here since 2005, over there right on Columbia. And so, we sorta saw this get built right? Before obviously when the-the park was down in Dumbo, there was that. But when we first moved to that apartment, now that’s 14 years ago. We didn’t have access to the water, uh- alright, cause it was just the piers. Just the industrial piers, right? We live in a small apartment, I have an 18 year old kid. He was, you know, that much younger, 14 years ago, whatever. So really this has kinda been our backyard since it’s been open, you know what I mean? Like without-with, in an apartment without a yard, all of sudden now we have all this to come to and barbecue and do that. So it’s been p-pretty meaningful for our family being cooped up in a little, you know, really dinky apartment.
TRACK: After this, we went on to exchange contact information as he told me he was an artist and a photographer here in NYC. As I stood over the pier, seemingly unable to get interviews, I turned and I looked and I see a standard golf cart driving. I waved it down and asked if they can stop for just a second to give me sort of a perspective on what it’s like being a maintenance worker. His name is Herold and he currently works as part of the park maintenance crew. I asked him to give his perspective of what Brooklyn Bridge Park means for Brooklyn as a whole.
ACT: Herold: Well to me, I think, Brooklyn as a whole, Brooklyn Bridge Park is the best part of brooklyn. One of the best parts of Brooklyn because this park itself, we have about five million visitors coming to this park every summer. Tourists, people in the neighborhood, people from my neighborhood, your neighborhood, want to come here and have a beautiful picnic, barbeque because we have the waterfront. There’s no other park with a waterfront in Brooklyn but us. Um, it’s always clean down here as you see it, right now. Everyday we clean this, everyday, seven days a week, two shifts per day, eight hours a day. So we have the cleanest and the best greenest park in the world. Well, in Brooklyn.
TRACK: Brooklyn Bridge Park is still growing and judging by the interviews in this episode, it will continue to be a staple in the community for years to come. As Shelton said, Brooklyn Bridge Park has been sort of a backyard for many people including myself. I went to school almost up the road at Packer Collegiate Institute where we utilized the park for soccer practice and other activities. From Smorasburg taking place, to celebrities coming to play basketball and soccer to the Volleyball court, Brooklyn Bridge Park has become an unexpected rock within Brooklyn and I fully expect it to grow and flourish throughout the years. For anyone listening to this podcast, I really recommend seeing the park for yourself. It is easily accessible by train such as the 2,3,4,5 or even the A,C,E. All it is, is a walk down Joralemon and you get to see the beauty of not only the neighborhood but the journey it takes to get to this park. As you walk along the park, you will have a lot of time to think, take in the environment and really see a new part of Brooklyn that you might have not seen before. I am your host Matthew Hull and I really hope you take a stroll down Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Intro: You are now listening to the alternative perspective podcast where we explore the stories of the less fortunate people who are battling with homelessness. I am your host Tevin Fairclough.
Track: While interviewing the subjects for the first episode of the alternative podcast I was approached by a thin and frail older man who was in or around his 70s who hauled behind him a suitcase and a beautiful furry Golden Retriever who he later likened to a medical device such as a wheelchair or an oxygen tank.
Track: He wore a gray hoodie that was slightly oversized with his sneakers clean in a neon green color. He introduced himself as Pastor Michael Vincent Crea.
Track: He gave his dog the name Taranga which he States is a warloff word from Senegal West Africa which means hospitality he said they’ve been together since 2015.
Track: From the conversation we had, I gathered that his battle with homelessness started around the time the building he was living in was sold.
Act: They lost the house that I was in again that was bought from Istan LLC, a bunch of gangsters who have their offices at 40th and Madison, who knew they were selling it to Dr. Harry Merryman who is a psychologist and he runs Lakeview Community Services resources out of gym Geneva New York. Dr. Harry Merryman of Lakeview Community Resources AKA Lakeview Mental Health Services AKA Lakeview Health Services so God knows where his taxes are going since he keeps switching his name. He started out two years ago he said do not move he said when his project is done he’s going to give me a new place, when construction begins they will move me to an apartment and so I waited.
Track: He claims that his living space was substandard
Act: We were living at 713 Court Street. It was two bedroom house we had a backyard for my service dog to to go out and rest we had a driving/parking spot, the driveway was never repaired, the water from the rains came down into the basement, he never cleaned out the gutters, the gutters overflowed and went right down into the foundation. Last Summer in 2018, the basement flooded 3 times I had to move everything out I bought everything back in three times put it on wooden skids but got a hernia. I asked for reasonable accommodation under Americans living with disabilities law to have the stuff in the basement move into the garage where the people had already moved out since he didn’t proceed with his project in a timely fashion, instead of giving me that option which was right there he gave me a retaliatory eviction and within six months if someone ask for their rights to be upheld or a repairs to be made a retaliatory eviction can be claimed by the tenant against the owner of property this was done just 33 days after I make my request and after he had failed 4 federal inspections.
Track: Crea sought refuge in Staten Island but had some issues when he tried to get his things back.
Act: So what happened was not only did they evict me and my service dog but when we went back in for her protocols and my health protocols when I went back to try to do a T.R.O because they weren’t giving me the 30 days to remove my property as required by law we were arrested and when we were arrested I was separated from my dog.
Track: He explains that Tarango was held in terrible conditions at the ASPCA.
Act: When she was separated from me up in Ithaca they held her in terrible conditions at the ASPCA because a neighbor of mine who knows her visited her and said she was in trauma and peeing on herself. She’s never done that she’s never peed inside the house and she won’t even pee on cement.
Track: When he got to his arraignment he was met with a Professor at Cornell University to represent him he said that this representative said to him:
Act: I am not your lawyer I am only here for the arraignment. I said to him three things:
1) I need my dog returned immediately.
2) I need a lawyer and
3) I need my property protected
Track: He was released according to him. The ADA stated that he should be released based on his own recognizance.
Act: The judge thought I spoke out of turn when I asked for my dog to be returned. He put me in Tompkins County Jail without the dog, without a phone call and without a lawyer that was on the 9th of July 2019.
Track: In jail he found that another inmate was waiting 25 days for a psych evaluation and that the judge had ordered the same for him as well.
Act: I had already started my Irish hunger strike not drinking a drop not eating a bite and when I heard that, I did what the Irish did against Margaret Thatcher when she criminalize free speech and political speech. I ripped up the orange suit I put on the blanket and I said I am innocent until proven guilty in a trial by a jury of my peers Beyond reasonable doubt.
Track: He claimed his innocence and refused to wear the jumpsuit he was given.
Act: Someone there ended up knowing the history and I had my psych eval the next day now this is the 11th of July and the two psychologists said Pastor Crea knows what he’s doing. so I had the get-out-of-jail-free from the district attorney. I have a get-out-of-jail-free from the psych Tompkins County mental health personnel and now the judge orders the chief of the 18-B lawyers to be my lawyer he should have had me out that afternoon on the 12th of July instead they kept me in the house until the 17th the original date that they had said.
Track: When Crea was released all his belongings were thrown out and they ended up in the Ithaca dump.
Act: I can get back Furniture anytime I can get back clothing anytime. Can I get back the film that I did of my African father and his family in Senegal to hear that Africans defended and got Europe free in the second world war as the Senegalese did only not to get paid as Usman Sen Bene’s film shows in Liberation 1994. Can I get back the original photographs that I had from working with the Rwandan refugees in a mess unit after 10,000 people in the camp after 800,000 Africans were slaughtered and we gave little notice to any here and we still don’t. When two people died in the Middle East it’s all up in arms and when 800,000 – 1 million afterwards of casualties die we don’t give them credence. I had records of that those are destroyed, all of my life’s work was destroyed my writings, my poetry , a screenplay I was working on.
Track: He also mentioned the discrimination he faced when he tried to get housing in different housing arrangements as a pet owner.
Act: Every single contractor that they are dealing with is discriminating against my service dog’s rights and my rights as American living with disabilities. They are paying people and allowing these folks that are getting taxpayers money through the contracts the cities are using to make up their own rules.
Track: He mentioned this isn’t the first time he has been displaced.
Act: And this isn’t the first time when I was on Staten Island Reverend Terry Troia – The president and the chief executive officer Project Hospitality, an organization that strives to meet the needs of the homeless and hungry – was given a contract by Letitia James – Attorney General of New York- to house me in the Cosmopolitan Motel and I come back to find out I’m not allowed to go into the room after 4 months because she didn’t pay the rent. What happened to the $10,040 that wasn’t paid. $2,510 was not paid every month to this hotel Terry Troia was getting $3,500 for Project Hospitality in a sweetheart deal and so you have to ask as I asked on a video that I made myself with Mr. Zishon Ying a filmmaker from NYU “where is the money going?” and that’s what’s happening now. Why am I not housed? Because due to disability I cannot go to a group living situation I cannot go to a shelter I cannot go to any shared apartment because of the esophageal cancer, because of being raped in the New York seminary and accosted at another seminary in the Catholic church after leaving Cornell I cannot go into any group living situation.
Track: I asked if he was able to find work and provide for himself during this dilemma and he replied.
Act: I cannot be employed and it’s cost me not only all my life’s work has been thrown out, I have been unemployment since 2006 by Social Security Administration in a writing my claim to be unable to work or credible and that’s in their own statement from the 11th of August 2006 awarding me my social security disability and I’ve been on disability since 2006 it’s now 13 years later and my section 8 hasn’t even been used now because of being displaced. But the taxpayers paid for three years I paid for three years every penny on time
Track: I asked how do they expect him to provide for himself if they considered his claims to be unable to work credible.
Act: They don’t they don’t expect- they don’t see us because the system dehumanizes anyone just by the way it’s set up and right now I’m shivering my dog is shivering and we’re on the streets shivering with these folks here because the system is made to be cookie-cutter rather than what the law states is to take every person individually according to what their situation their needs are and then provide.
Outro: You have now reached the end of the alternative perspective podcast I’m your host Tevin Fairclough.
Freeni: Hey listeners this is Freeni Aragones, I recently participated in a vegan cooking class hosted by Michaela and her team from Riverdel, a vegan cheese shop with a location in Brooklyn and the Essex Market in Lower East Side of Manhattan. We’ll talk about what she hopes the participants learned from her class, companies expanding the vegan market to non-vegan consumers, what advantages being vegan can have on the world, and how we can use our power as consumers to change the market shape.
Freeni: When you’re making your classes, when you have your ideas, what is it that you want people to take out from it? Besides the cooking what is that you want to give to people?
Michaela: Besides the cooking, which is the essential part, I want to teach people to not be afraid, if you want to explore these options you’re still going to eat well, you’re not going to starve and also I want to keep it simple, because I’m not one who likes to follow a recipe precisely, I like to improvise a lot. I kind of want to give people that option too, for example this cheese sauce recipe that we use, you can use as a sauce, you can use it as a spread, you can add herbs to it, it’s very basic recipe, you can use in many variations, the idea behind it is I want to help people not be afraid of this, even if you don’t cook, you can do a vegan turkey roast, I mean you didn’t think that was going to happen.
Freeni: Some of us might be afraid to change our eating habits because we don’t know how challenging the adjustment could be, making food we have grown accustom to becomes easy to make, and part of our culture. When we go to bar-be-ques a ton of easy to make food is there from hot dogs, to burgers, grilled chicken. So, I wanted to ask Michaela about Beyond and Impossible meat, two vegan options entering the meat industry.
Freeni: Now that I think about it, I want to ask what do you think about the beyond burger and the impossible burger?
Michaela: Their great substitutes, just like you said, they are easy. Burger is already there, you put it on a paddy, and you are done. Don’t have to think about it. Same for impossibly meat. What I like about these two companies in particular is that, their target group are not vegans actually, their target groups is everyone. They are sold in the meat aisle, they are in burger king and places like that you know, places vegans wouldn’t go to cause there’s nothing for me. Their approach is really about, ok, the way we eat right now is not sustainable. How can we fix that? It wasn’t about, oh, here is another product for vegans. They are really targeting a bigger group, that is aware they should be doing something, but doesn’t know how or it’s inconvenient. I do like that approach a lot because it makes people more comfortable with the fact that if I don’t have meat, then what am I going to eat? That’s what people think, you look on your dinner plate and there’s always a piece of meat in the middle. And there are a few sides, then you take the piece away and then it’s like oh, what am I going to do? I think that’s where people need kind of, they need a little help to get over that hurdle.
Freeni: A lot of us consider meat our main source of protein, but Micaela gives us a great term into understanding that we could be selling ourselves short and might not be aware of the effects happening to others around the globe. To produce meat, plenty of resources and land is needed, but other people are being affected because their resources might be used for animals instead. Additionally, most of us might be blind to what is occurring because of the way meat is presented to us.
Michaela: Animals are really the middlemen, we consume them because they have protein, but how do they get their protein? They get it by eating plants and we can do the same. Cutting out that middleman and going to the source, you don’t have to raise an animal to get food and have a healthy life. It’s very sad to see things like the rainforest, the fires that are burning down the rainforest these days is largely due to animal agriculture.
Freeni: The biggest one right now is Brazil.
Michaela: Which is one of the biggest meat producing countries, we don’t even see it here, it’s the people in those countries and in those poor areas that actually get the worse deal of it, we just get the meat shown up in our supermarket, we don’t even realize what’s behind the package of meat.
Freeni: I think the biggest reason for the meat being packed the way it is, I mean besides efficiency and stuff like that, I think people want to create a disconnection from the fact that their killing all these animals, for example chicken is poultry, cows are beef, pigs are pork. You make a disconnection and it helps a little bit.
Michaela: And veal is not a baby cow, but they are baby cows. Or lamb chops, that’s a tiny little…
Freeni: Meat is presented to us in multiple ways and it’s up to us to decide whether we will accept it or slowly start making changes, Michaela helps us have a look into some places already making a change and how small changes can eventually make vegan lifestyle mainstream and show why it’s possible.
Michaela: You always see other countries such as Europe or also here in the U.S. where you see numbers of vegetarians or vegans or plant-based consumers increasing. Hopefully it’s reaching a point where it will become more mainstream, think about burger king and dunkin donuts having vegetarian and vegan sandwiches, that reaches so many people. I think it’s going to show people “hey its possible, I’m not missing out” and going back to the classes, I want to show people that it’s possible, you don’t have to be afraid, you do have a choice and you can make the choice. You are going to save an animal; you are saving the planet and you’re doing so much better for yourself. I think once people start realizing that it isn’t just steamed broccoli and tofu that I’m eating, I hope that more people will take that step.
Freeni: Voting is always important and it’s easier to witness its effects when it comes to food, because our choices make votes all the time, shaping what our supermarkets will provide for us. They always seem to have what we want, but when see new choices appear, we know someone out there has a demand for it, making us curious. When we are presented with new options, we might we make new decisions.
Michaela: So meat companies are starting to realize that, the smart meat companies are the ones that get on board now to support companies such as Impossible, that buy the vegan product companies, because they do start realizing that they have to go that way. That’s the power of the consumer, you vote with your dollar, every dollar you spend you vote with it. So if you buy that vegan product, you are voting for it, you’re increasing demand for it, then companies say ‘hey wait a minute there’s a demand now, and it looks much better for us. You also have those optics; the future generation is looking for that.
Freeni: If there is a demand by them, there should be someone working on the supply.
Michaela: I mean it’s also nice that generation has options now, my parents never said to me “if you don’t want to eat the meat it’s okay.” It was always, this is what you’re eating, what else are you going to eat? We never had that choice, it was never like, oh sure I’m gonna make a black bean burger for you. No, its here you go, this is what you’re eating. My parent’s generation certainly didn’t know that there was an option, now we see that we now have options and you can make that choice and not starve.
Freeni: There are tons of options one can choose to consume if looking to change their way of eating. And if you don’t want to change the way you eat that’s ok, but know there are benefits to this planet, others, and yourself, by expanding the options you eat. A huge Thank You to Michaela and the entire Riverdel Team, for Baruch Blogs this is Freeni Aragones.