De Blasio Urges New Yorkers Not to Buy Vehicles

12 hours ago
Wikimedia Commons

The number of people buying vehicles in New York City is surging but the mayor advises against it.

Motor vehicle stats show there were 40,000 vehicles registered in the month of July, about a 25% jump from July of last year. Whether people are hesitant to use public transportation because of coronavirus, or whether the increase is a result of car dealers being closed for a bit in the spring no one can say for sure, but regardless, Mayor de Blasio said he does not like it.

NYC Boosting Quarantine Enforcement

13 hours ago
Wikimedia Commons

New York City is ramping up enforcement of the out of state quarantine rules.

There have been more than 1300 out-of-state drivers stopped trying to cross into Staten Island. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the checkpoints are concentrated there because a lot of people come up 1-95 into Staten Island.

“These checkpoints, you will start to see them more and more and they are going to keep rotating around," he said, "and the idea is to educate people that the quarantine is the law.”

New Jersey reported another 585 cases of coronavirus on Friday, bringing the state to a cumulative total of 187,164 infections.

Another 10 residents died from complications of COVID-19, meaning the state has seen some 14,064 confirmed fatalities and another 1,839 probable deaths.

The statewide rate of transmission was 0.92.

General election to follow ‘hybrid’ model used in primary

Like scores of other students this spring, Halimah Herbert’s graduation ceremony from Newark Tech High School was virtual.

That was disappointing enough, but Herbert said her shoddy Wi-Fi made it even worse.

“I missed half of my ceremony because of my internet connection,” Herbert said.

An American Pickle
Harlan Jacobson

An American Pickle is a Seth Rogen summer comedy, written by ex-SNL writer Simon Rich from his New Yorker story, Sell Out, in 2013. Our film critic, Harlan Jacobson, takes a dive with Rogen into the brine.

HJ: It is Schlupsk, Northern Poland, 1919. Look it up--it exists. Herschel Greenbaum is digging a ditch. His life is not so great. When he sees Sarah, a girl who is probably too good for him, he woos her with a smoked fish. A brief role for Succession’s Sarah Snook, Polish Sarah smiles and bites the fish’s head off.

Harlem Week Begins Its Virtual Celebration This Sunday

21 hours ago

Usually during Harlem Week you can hear the sounds of live music and the smell of sweet barbecue wafting through the streets, but COVID-19 halted this year's celebration — but not completely.  

Harlem Week IS happening — but instead of the world coming down to the streets of Harlem — organizers are taking the streets to the world — virtually by going online.

MSU PSEG ISS Green Teams Making an Environmental Difference in Newark

22 hours ago
Montclair State University PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies

Community gardens where there used to be vacant lots, legislation that regulates greenhouse gas emissions, and more energy efficient power companies. Three groups of college students have dedicated their summer to bringing these visions to life in Newark.

The Montclair State University PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies has just wrapped up their 2020 Green Teams program.

Emma Lee/WHYY

An advocacy group has issued a report saying sexual harassment and misconduct is “everywhere” in New Jersey politics.

The N.J. Coalition Against Sexual Assault on Thursday released the results of its survey on sexual harassment and misconduct in Garden State politics. It revealed that nearly two-thirds of the more than 500 respondents — 62 percent — believe that sexual harassment is prevalent in state politics; 26 percent believe it is “extremely prevalent.” NJCASA Executive Director Patricia Teffenhart says the report shows why state leaders must stop excusing bad behavior.

Mayor De Blasio Sticks to Sept. 10 School Opening

Aug 13, 2020
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is insisting the plan is still to have school open as scheduled September 10th as principals ask for in person learning to be delayed.

Principals and administrators have a lot of unanswered questions and concerns related to the coronavirus. They feel they may not be ready for schools opening in time but Mayor de Blasio says there’s still a month to go.

“The fact that there is a lot of outstanding questions doesn’t scare me. We are going to deal with the questions. We’re going to keep making progress everyday,” he said.

Some NJ Schools Could Start Year Remotely If Health and Safety Standards Aren't Met

Aug 13, 2020

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced Wednesday schools that certify they cannot meet health and safety standards by the first day of class, must start the year with all remote learning. 

The announcement comes a couple of days after the board for the Elizabeth School District in Union County voted to start the school year remotely; counter to Governor Murphy’s insistence that some form of in-person learning take place.

Sunset Park

There’s concern about a surge in coronavirus cases in part of Brooklyn.

The City’s Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi says Sunset Park now has a roughly 7 percent infection rate, way above the citywide average of one percent.

“228 positive cases. In a way, the zip code wide rate was like a beep of a metal detector that told us where to dig.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio says officials will be knocking on doors and making phone calls.

“With a simple message. Everyone needs to get tested. We want to get everyone tested as quickly as possible.”

A New Jersey law that would let the state borrow $9.9 billion to stave off the fiscal emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic is constitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The opinion will allow Gov. Phil Murphy to borrow billions of dollars to spend on recovering from the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused state tax revenues to nosedive and produced record-high unemployment in the state.


One year ago, WBGO bid a reluctant farewell to Rhonda Hamilton, whose voice has been a beacon for our audience since Day 1. 

Jené Elzie
Jené Elzie

Jené Elzie is the Chief Growth Officer for Athletes First Partners and has more than two decades of experience as a global sports and entertainment executive. Elzie, a former All-American gymnast at Stanford University, is charged with developing and implementing growth strategies across international and other non-traditional revenue streams for the agency.

Prior to A1 Partners, Jené served as Vice President of International Marketing for the NBA, where she oversaw the league's marketing endeavors oustide of the U.S.

Center for Cooperative Media

WBGO Community Engagement Reporter Brit Harley will be a facilitator for today's virtual conference titled Assessing Newark's Information Needs and Filling the Gap, presented by the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University.

Newark media colleagues and key community leaders are gathering to learn about information needs and how they can collaboratively meet them better.  

New York City Launches Tenant Protection Portal

Aug 11, 2020

New York City is providing more help to tenants struggling to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic. The city has launched a tenant protection portal that will offer tools and legal guidance to renters.

The mayor says the city needs to be there for the so many people who can’t afford a roof over their heads.

“I don’t want to see anyone lose their apartment because they can’t afford the rent because they just don’t have a livelihood anymore. So I want to say to anyone if you need help this is the place to go.”

Wikimedia Commons

  Despite coronavirus concerns, Most New York City students and teachers will be headed back to the classroom in the fall.   

Mayor Bill de Blasio says 74 percent of parents have signed their children up for the combo of in classroom and remote learning while the rest will only learn from home.

“We can do it safely. We set very stringent standards.”

Schools chancellor Richard Carranza says 15 percent of teachers requested to work from home.

Outdoor Dining

The program allowing New York City restaurants expanded outdoor dining will continue next year.

Mayor Bill de Blasio estimates the open restaurants initiative has gotten 80 thousand New Yorkers their jobs back. The program which expands outdoor dining onto the sidewalks and streets will start up again June First next year.

Cuomo: NY Schools Can Open In September

Aug 7, 2020

Governor Cuomo is allowing schools to open throughout New York State for the upcoming academic year.   He says every region in the state meets coronavirus benchmarks for opening schools and New York’s infection rate is one of the best in the nation.

“We are going to watch the infection rate between now and the day that schools open.  If there is a spike in the infection rate, if there is a matter of concern in the infection rate, then we can revisit it.  But for planning purposes, they can reopen.”

Robert Adam Mayer

JSWISS is a hip-hop artist who’s no stranger to the jazz club.

As of Friday morning, New Jersey had a total of 183,701 cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

The state also reported 13,996 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and another 1,853 probable fatalities.

State announces $25 million landlord assistance program

Some New Jersey landlords whose tenants missed rent payments due to the pandemic will soon be eligible for financial help from the state.

Wikimedia Commons

As New Jersey continues to dig out from Tropical Storm Isaias, the question is how many more storms may hit the state especially since it’s still early in the hurricane season.

David Robinson is a geography professor at Rutgers and has been the New Jersey State Climatologist since 1991. “It’s really quite remarkable that we’ve already had two systems make major impacts on the Garden State this season and here we are just finishing the first week of August,” he said. “However, that’s no guarantee we’re going to be affected directly by another one.”

Tom Hanks
Harlan Jacobson

Greyhound is a WWII tale of American heroics in the North Atlantic , written by and starring Tom Hanks, who’s made a great career out of putting forward humble men who just want to get the job done and go home, in this case set on a naval Destroyer.

The mission given to Tom Hanks as US Naval Commander Ernie Krause in Greyhound is to safely escort a 37-ship convoy of troops and supplies across the North Atlantic in early 1942 and navigate for five days, outside of American airpower, around -- or over -- a German school of U-Boats calling itself the Wolfpack.

Pete Hamill
Rob Loud/Getty Images

Legendary New York-based writer Pete Hamill passed away this week at the age of 85.

The Brooklyn-born son of Irish immigrants dropped out of high school but went on to a career as one of the most respected newspaper columnists and editors and writers of memoirs and novels.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish got to rub elbows a few time over the years with Hamill and produced this appreciation. 

Click above to hear Jon's feature.

FDU's Plans for the Fall Semester during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Aug 7, 2020

In the final part of WBGO's series with representatives of area colleges and Universities , WBGO News intern Tyra Brooks spoke with Farleigh Dickinson University President Dr. Christopher Capuano.

Dr. Capuano talks about how online classes will dominate FDU's approach this coming semester. He became the school's eighth president in 2016.

Click above to hear the entire conversation.

Angela Hsieh for NPR News

Some angry residents in New Jersey and New York still don’t have power in their homes after Tropical Storm Isaias brought it strong winds and rains to both states, knocking down power lines and trees nearly everywhere.   PSEG officials say it's asking for help from utilities across the U.S. and Canada to help restore electricity. The tropical storm knocked out power about 575-thousand of that utility’s customers. Burlington County in South Jersey along with Bergen and Essex counties in North Jersey bore the brunt of the outages.

David Redfern / Redferns/Getty

Right about now, in any other year, many of us would be gearing up for a trip to Newport, R.I.

This year, of course, is different. The Newport Jazz Festival is one of countless pleasures put on hold, with a hopeful marker in place for next year. Which got us thinking not only about what we’re missing, but also about what the festival means — as a summer ritual, as a rite of passage, as a historical nexus, as a brand name.

Newark Public Library

WBGO's Janice Kirkel chats with Joslyn Bowling Dixon, the new Director of the Newark Public Library.

Bowling Dixon brings 20 plus years of experience with her from the latest job in Virginia.

Click above to hear the entire interview.

New York State Files Suit Seeking to Dissolve NRA

Aug 6, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

Citing what she called quote brazen illegality, New York State Attorney General Letitia James said today that the state has filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the National Rifle Association.

James said the suit follows an 18-month investigation that found evidence that the non-profit gun-rights organization was riddled with fraud and abuse, which she detailed at a press conference in Manhattan.