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New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez delivered his third State of Northern Manhattan and Marble Hill address yesterday, at Columbia University Medical Center on 168th Street. It was standing room only, and speech-watchers that didn't arrive early were still able to watch the event in rooms that were live-streaming the event.

The audience of local residents, community leaders, and elected officials gave a standing ovation to Rodriguez after he outlined his vision for 2014, as well as his vision for the coming two decades. 

Watch the full program below:

Democratic Mayoral Forum Hosted Uptown (Full Video)

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Several weeks ago the democratic candidates for mayor made their way uptown to speak to voters about why they believe they are the best pick. The January 31st event was held in the former Audubon Ballroom, now the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center.

The forum organizers that booked the event's above venue was comprised of a group of local democratic clubs & leaders:

The Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan, the Northern Manhattan Democrats for Change, State Senator Adriano Espaillat (31st), New York City Council Members Robert Jackson (7th) & Ydanis Rodriguez (10th), New York State Assembly Member Gabriela Rosa (72nd), and Democratic District Leader Mark Levine (71st) were behind coordinating the participation of each candidate, and reaching out to the press panel that moderated the event.

District Leader Mark Levine was unable to attend the forum because his father had passed away shortly before it. State Senator Espaillat offered a moment of silence as the event began, in remembrance of Levine's father. (Which sequentially is where the videos below begin.)

And a point worth noting, former Mayor Ed Koch passed away several hours after this candidate forum, in the hospital across the street. Despite Mayor Koch's sudden readmission to the hospital (which alone was breaking news during the forum), there was no indication of the severity of his condition by any (panel/speakers/audience) in attendence.

Below is the full video of elected officials and forum speakers. (Running time is approximately three hours! Get some popcorn, it's well worth watching.):

"Washington Heights" Quick Review (Episodes 1 & 2)

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Okay, here it is. The "Washington Heights" (reality show on MTV) review. I was able to watch the first two episodes last night.

The good:

-Has a lot of Spanish-speaking Dominican abuelas who know how to get their cook on. 

-Stunning commercial break bumpers/scene change cutaways. Good stuff. 

-The show, in general, is Latino > other, which is long welcomed.

-Shows off Inwood & Washington Heights' geography.

-A good highlighting of Washington Heights & Inwood businesses. 

-Shows off how much parkland is uptown. Like 1/2 the scenes in episode 2 are in parks. 

The bad:

-The plots are glacial.

-Slow character development, and stories.

-The kids are "nice" people. But nice isn't good TV. I'm at a conflict, because I'm really happy with how all are portrayed as far as the neighborhood is concerned, yet recognize that this show is doomed if these kids don't start stepping up the drama. And drama doesn't have to mean violence/fights. But we need some type of conflicts that engage the audience. 

-Doesn't recognize Inwood directly, other than landmarks, as far as I can tell. But a lot of it seems to take place in Inwood.

-Not really clear to people who aren't from NYC that the downtown scenes at the art store and poetry club aren't uptown. 

-Jimmy takes the Henry Hudson Parkway to the Saw Mill, to 87 across the Tappan Zee.... Really what you should do from Washington Heights is take the upper level of the GWB, then immediately get on the Palisades to 87, or if not head across Route 4 until you hit 17, and then start north to 87. But this kid takes the Saw Mill?

In total: 

-The exterior shots, cutaways, and so on gives our neighborhoods a good look.

-The characters seem to care a lot about each other, and the neighborhood. That is endearing, and resonates well.

-Fun to watch for locals. Spotting familiar sights could make a great drinking game for residents. First to spot it is safe. Everyone else takes a swig.

-Sadly the show, so far, is boring....

It's a slow show as of Ep. 2. Way more drama / plots / etc. needed between the kids. And the potential is there. 

I hope it does well, it's great for the area.... Really not clear to me how this lands with the rest of the country.

This evening Adriano Espaillat's campaign began posting YouTube videos with testimonials from voters who had trouble voting on June 26th. They also tweeted links to each video. 

The election has become national news.

Here are the videos that the campaign posted this evening:

Additionally the campaign issued Facebook requests, in both English and Spanish, for people who had trouble voting. They are encouraging submissions of more testimonials via a YouTube video, or as an attached file to an email or tweet.


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I produced this video for New York City is Not For Sale this week, as part of an effort to draw attention to Mayor Bloomberg for his proposed budget cuts. We had a lot of fun putting this together.