Writer & Journalist
The Quadrangle, Manhattan College weekly student newspaper
While an undergraduate student majoring in Communication at Manhattan College, I was a senior staff writer for the Manhattan College weekly newspaper, The Quadrangle.
See below for some samples.
New Commanding Officer in the 50th Precinct
By: Annie McCarthy Issue Date: 2/11/04
Captain Timothy Hardiman began his new assignment as Commanding Officer of the 50th Precinct, which covers Riverdale, on Jan. 5. Previously, Capt. Hardiman had taught at the police academy in Manhattan for nearly two years, overseeing and teaching sergeants and lieutenants. "I was the C.O. [Commanding Officer] of leadership development," Hardiman said.
Capt. Hardiman joined the NYPD in 1986 at the age of 25. His first command was at Midtown South Precinct in Manhattan. A former Marine, Hardiman says, "My father was a cop. It was assumed I would become one too." His wife is also a police officer; she works in the Special Operations Unit. They have two young daughters.
In the 50th Precinct so far this year, Capt. Hardiman says, "Crime is a battle, but overall it's down."
The former Commanding Officer of the 50th Precinct, Inspector Thomas Dirusso, lowered crime during his three-year tenure. Capt. Hardiman said, "Inspector Dirusso did a great job."
Although crime overall is down, Capt. Hardiman said, "Grand Larceny is up, theft in cars are up." These break-ins of cars include theft of valuables left in plain view. Hardiman said, "Do not leave property in cars." Raids used to be very common at bars in the area, but as most of the residents and students are aware of, there are not many bars left to choose from. Capt. Hardiman said, "We send cops into bars undercover."
Joining Capt. Hardiman's interview with The Quadrangle was Lt. Nicholson, who assists Captain Hardiman. "There are not many Manhattan College students going out around here anymore," Lt. Nicholson said. Hardiman said, "We summon students and notify the school if an underage person is caught with a fake ID."
Although life in the 50th Precinct is fairly tranquil compared to the rest of the Bronx, the 50th Precinct still deals with numerous calls a day. The theft from autos and domestic assaults are commonly reported. Hardiman said, "Each platoon has its own problems." The platoons are each tour, day tour, afternoon tour, and night tour that police officers are scheduled for. "The platoon commander tells the Sergeant what to do, and they are the key players," Hardiman said.
Capt. Hardiman and Lt. Nicholson encourage Manhattan College students and members of the community to contact Police Officer Santos at the precinct to etch their valuables with identification numbers to protect them. "These includes laptops, cell phones, stereos, DVD players, and any other valuables," Hardiman said. If you wish to do this, Officer Santos can be reached at 718-543-7341. You can also put a special identification number on your car in case it gets stolen.
"Usually the Commanding Officer position lasts a few years, and you don't have to retire until you're 63 in the NYPD." said Captain Hardiman. "I have 20 more years to go." The new Commanding Officer is upbeat and willing to help the community. The 50th precinct is located at 3450 Kingsbridge Avenue.
New Faces on Basketball
By: Annie McCarthy Issue Date: 10/29/03
After a successful 2002-2003 basketball season, the Jaspers have added two new coaches to replace Coaches Mike Bramucci, who is now an assistant coach at Columbia, and Travis Lyons, who became an assistant coach at Fordham. The new Assistant Men's basketball coaches are Kevin Murphy and Kevin McClain.
Kevin Murphy, a native of Portland, Maine, graduated in 2000 with a degree in Communications from the University of Kentucky, as did current Assistant Men's Basketball Coach, Steve Masiello, who is entering his third season with the Jaspers.
For the past two years at Kentucky, Murphy served as the Special Assistant to Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith. While there, Murphy's duties included film exchange, official visits, administrative tasks, as well as working with Smith in various aspects of his Summer Basketball Camp.
Murphy's volunteer work includes the 2002 World Championships of Basketball in Indianapolis, Indiana for Coach Newtown, the CEO of the Indiana Sports Corporation. While an undergraduate student at Lexington, Murphy served as the men's basketball team manager for four years.
Coach Kevin McClain, a native of Baltimore, MD, comes to Manhattan from Casper College, in Casper, WY, where he spent the last eight years as an assistant coach.
He became the top assistant for the Thunderbirds after his second season, and his responsibilities covered all areas of the program. At Manhattan, McClain's duties include on-court coaching, recruiting and player development.
He began coaching in the Baltimore City Parks and Recreation League, where he coached youth teams in all sports ages 9-17. Among those he coached includes current Jasper Kenny Minor. He also coached Carmelo Anthony, former Syracuse star, and current member of the NBA's Denver Nuggets.
McClain played basketball at Dunbar High School in Baltimore, MD, and received his degrees in sports management and sports coaching from the University of America in 2003.
Coach McClain and Coach Murphy were unavailable for comment for this article.
London Trip for International Field Study Seminar
By: Annie McCarthy Issue Date: 2/4/04
Over winter intersession, 35 Manhattan College students travelled to London, England for the International Field Study Seminar trip. Professor Manduley oversaw the program. All of the participants participated in a well-managed itinerary.
The group arrived on January 5 at London's Heathrow airport after a red-eye flight. Upon arriving, the students journeyed to Windsor Castle, where they took a tour of the ground capturing sights of the town including Eton College's fields, where Princes William and Harry attended.
After visiting the Castle, the group arrived in central London at The Thistle Bloomsbury Hotel where they would stay. Senior Fiorella Torres said, "The hotel was very close to everything; it was central to shops and places of interest."
Much of the trip included rides on the bus to the various historic sites, but many students felt it was well worth the journey. Some other sites included Buckingham Palace and a panoramic tour of London, including Tower Bridge. Despite early morning wake up calls, students enjoyed the trips to Stonehenge, Bath, and Stratford-upon-Avon, where William Shakespeare lived. During the day they were not in London much, except two free days they had, where the group could venture into the shops, including Harrod's. However, as Torres said, "The pound to dollar ratio was very upsetting, it doubled what we bought." (One pound during the trip was equal to $1.88.)
Senior Stephanie Wyand said, "The seminars [we took in London] were great and overall the tours were very good." Another day they spent at J.P. Morgan Chase in London, during which they toured the trading floors, and met one of the CEOs, Bill Winters. Torres said, "People were really nice at the seminars, and there are possible job opportunities in the foreign market."
There wasn't all work and no play, however. Torres said, "The nightlife was great, even though there were not too many English men to chose from." London is similar to New York, but even more diversified. Senior Nehcole Felix said, "Europe has more history than we do. You can go to the J.P. Morgan building, [but] also to places that are 2,000 years old." When they went to Stonehenge some thought it was empowering, even though some perceive it as just a pile of rocks, the significance of what they saw was educational and entertaining.
During the finals days of the trip, the students toured Dover, and saw France across the English Channel. Under the white cliffs of Dover are underground tunnels, which Napoleon used, as did forces during World War II.
The group toured numerous cathedrals, including excursions to Salisbury and Canterbury. In London itself there was much to see. The British Museum is home to the Rosetta Stone, which was used to decode hieroglyphics. They also saw the changing of the horse guards, which is close to 10 Downing Street, home of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Many of the participants in the group enjoyed riding the red double decker buses, and going in the "tube," London's subway, to get around town. The weather in England was very enjoyable, being 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit most of the time, compared to the return to New York that welcomed the students with a chilly 12 degrees.
With all the tours, sightseeing, shopping, and the dive the dollar took the group was happy to return back to the United States on January 15. However, the trip to London was generally perceived as well worth the investment they all made, as well as memorable.
Woman Arrested For Selling Sex Toys
By: Annie McCarthy Issue Date: 2/25/04
Joanne Webb is a mother of three from Burleson, Texas. In November 2003, she was arrested by undercover police officers for selling sexual toys and charged with violating Texas obscenity laws. Webb is a representative for Passion Parties, a California company marketing lotions, lingerie and sexual toys that mimic Tupperware parties.
According to local media, police said a few residents logged complaints. Webb and her activities angered a few citizens with strong Christian beliefs. These citizens asked the police to investigate, according to the local media.
Webb sold a vibrator to two undercover police officers, posed as a couple trying to spice up their love life. When Webb got into trouble, not because she sold the vibrator, but because she instructed the woman how to use it and explained how it can enhance lovemaking.
"Texas law allowed for the sale of sexual toys as long as they are billed as novelties," BeAnn Sisemore, Webb's attorney, told the Houston Chronicle before a gag order on the case was issued.
Webb told the Dallas Morning News, "For women to become self-confident in their sexuality...that's what I'm in this for." The New York Times reported that Sisemore plans to challenge the law as unconstitutional. Sisemore also told them that even condoms could be considered an obscene device by the logic of the law. Texas state law prohibits the sale of obscene devices defined as items, "designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs."
A New York City police officer in the 6th Precinct, who is also Manhattan College alum and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, "Sex stores can't advertise in a lewd manner." The laws in New York are more liberal than those in Texas. When police officers in New York were asked of the obscenity law in New York City, no one was clear on what it is. Rarely in New York City would undercover officers attend a private sex toy party in someone's home and arrest them. A NYPD Detective Sergeant in Manhattan South Narcotics, who also wished his name not be disclosed said, "It is not illegal to sell sex toys depending on what you're selling and who you're selling it to. However, if you are selling illegal material it is illegal no matter what." Webb was selling sex toys to customers over age 18, but in Texas, again, the law is more conservative.
Webb is currently awaiting trial. If convicted, she could face up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine. In June 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision striking down a Texas law making homosexual sodomy a crime. In the course of the decision, the Court recognized that according to the constitutional Due Process right to "liberty," adults have a right to "enter into [an intimate relationship] in the confines of their homes and their own private lives. . . ."
The Texas law may also violate Webb's own free speech rights under the First Amendment. Adult stores in Texas sell the same kind of products Webb sold. According to findlaw.com, the stores deem them "novelty items" and provide no information about their intended use. This leads to an ironic situation: Employees of adult toy stores may be less vulnerable to prosecution than an individual who gives a prohibited device to a friend, and suggests that she use it, findlaw.com said.
Sisemore told CNN, "Joanne Webb is a member of the chamber of commerce and very active in her city, and what she wanted to do is try to help married couples because the divorce rate is rising, and she basically she has parties in private homes, with ladies that come there, that are over the age of 18." She added, "In Texas, we're a more conservative group, and Southern ladies have been more conservative over the years, and our divorce rate is one of the highest around. And so what she tries to do is make sure that families stay together."
In our "sex sells" media world today, with shows like Sex and The City that teach women to be free about their sexuality, the stigma of toys for sexual pleasure has still not faded. Joanne Webb told the New York Times, "Most of my customers are housewives just trying to spice up their relationship. I do plan to continue to help women."
Gaelic Park Hosts Senior Night
Three guests arrested after fight
By: Annie McCarthy Issue Date: 12/4/03
On Friday, November 21, Senior Night was held at the Gaelic Park bar, adjacent to Manhattan College's athletic fields. The Senior Class and the Alumni Association sponsored the "Senior Morning" themed event. For $5, Manhattan College students over age 21 could drink, and each guest cost an additional $10. People coming in were not asked if they were Manhattan College students, they were only asked for their identification to make sure they were 21. The police were called when three guests hit a Manhattan College student in the head with a bottle.
Gaelic Park's rental hall has hosted many events other than Senior Night. "There are many events held here," John Fogarty, a Gaelic Park employee, said. "[There are] weddings, fundraisers, the NYPD rents out space, so does the FDNY," he said.
Gaelic Park was established originally by The Gaelic Athletic Association of Greater New York (GAA) in 1928. Part of Gaelic Park's original purpose was to bring a little bit of "home" (Ireland) across to New York. The GAA ran the hall for around 10 years, until they became bankrupt. The city bought the land soon after. "The MTA owns the land, they lease it to the O'Donnell family...it's been that way for at least 50 years," Fogarty said.
Gaelic Park's popularity in the community has grown. With concerts and other events, such as Manhattan College's Senior Night, the lively atmosphere has drawn many to it. At Senior Night students and guests partied, drank and danced into the morning hours.
There was commotion around one in the morning, when two boys with hooded sweatshirts allegedly pushed a couple who were dancing, and a few others. The scuffle on the dance floor was resolved in about five to ten minutes, when they were moved into the front bar room by three or four male Manhattan College students. Police were soon called.
"I saw two hooded guys, and I heard a bottle was thrown," senior Jessica Kulack said. The suspects were allegedly padded down and questioned by police outside the Gaelic Park bar.
"The three suspects were 23 years old and not Manhattan College students," Detective Rodriguez from the 50th precinct said. "They were charged with assault," he said. As a result of the fight, Det. Rodriguez said, "We know alcohol played a role, and we will notify the state liquor authority."
Since this incidence is a "nuisance" to the community, Det. Rodriguez said, "We will try to take their liquor license away."
Det. Rodriguez said, "There was one victim that I know of who was hit in the head with a bottle." Det. Rodriguez did not comment on the victim's age or name.
Senior and Student Body President Chris Nooney said, "I know that [senior] Mark Blenner was injured. I'm not sure if that was in a fight or an accident...but I know he was injured." Mark Blenner could not be reached for comment on this article, but has written a "letter to the editor" on the incident, which appears in this issue.
Despite the commotion, most students had a good time drinking for $5 and dancing. Junior Rick Malecki said, "I had a good time. I think they should try and monitor who's coming in and out of that place."
Senior Jonathan Dackow was standing at the door immediately after the fight at Senior Night. He said, "I did not see the fight, but I have heard of three bottles that were thrown. I'm standing here to make sure there are no other problems." Rumors surrounding another fight outside seem to be unfounded, as there were police from the 50th precinct outside questioning and later arresting the three 23-year-old suspects.
By: Annie McCarthy Issue Date: 10/22/03
The 50th precinct, which polices Manhattan College and the Riverdale area, has a reputation for being called "the five-slow" instead of the "five-o" by officers who work in busier precincts or "houses." These officers wish to remain anonymous. This may be evident by the fact that according to Detective Rodriguez, a Community Affairs Detective in the 50th precinct, that crime in the area is down 12 percent from 2002.
While crime is down according to Det. Rodriguez, CompStat, a computerized listing of major categories of crimes, reports that rapes are up in the 50th precinct area. So far, 17 rapes have been reported this year and 16 were reported in 2002. Felony assaults have increased; with 110 cases this year and 82 reported cases in 2002. While crime overall may be down, certain categories of crimes are on the rise.
According to Det. Rodriguez, on Friday, Oct. 10, an 18-year-old Manhattan College student went out drinking in the South Bronx near 149th Street. He fell asleep on the 1 train, and woke up later at 242nd Street to discover that his pockets were ripped open and his property stolen.
"Nationwide fraud identity is up", Detective Rodriguez said. Many go out with too many credit cards or pieces of identity with them. He suggests leaving what you do not need with you at home.