Leslie Greenwood from Staten Island’s Move On council
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — November 19, 2011. A group of sixty protesters gathered in Silver Lake park Saturday to celebrate the Fall color, and to oppose hydraulic fracturing, aka “fracking” — a term that encourages poetic license and colorful metaphors when it comes to protest signage.


A member of United For Action at the protest
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Sixty people rallied with New Yorkers for Clean Water Inc. on Saturday, November 19 at Silver Lake Park. The group aimed to send a message to their elected officials in Washington, DC, and Albany that they are opposed to the inherently-contaminating and unconventional drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Fracking involves the injection of a pressurized, toxic liquid into rock strata in an effort to extract methane gas.


Dominick DeRubbio of the Young Democrats of Richmond County
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Silver Lake was chosen as the site for this rally as the reserve tanks of water are the “last stop” in the New York City reservoir system, one of only five water systems in the country not mandated for filtration by the EPA. In states where fracking is performed — most notably in our neighboring state of Pennsylvania — water near fracking sites is being poisoned at an alarming rate.


A young environmentalist airs his views
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

The response from the public was overwhelmingly supportive, as the issue of water contamination from fracking can no longer be hidden from the people of New York by those who engage in the practice — in pursuit of short term profit.


Protesters got a very supportive response from motorists
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Cars passing by honked in support and drivers eagerly accepted fliers from the protesters, some of whom carried signs reading, “Cuomo, You Frack Us We Will Frack You,” and “Destroy NYC’s Water Supply? Get The Frack Outta Here!”


Food And Water Watch was one of several groups supporting the protest(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

New Yorkers for Clean Water Inc., a Staten Island-based non profit organization, and its supporters want their elected officials to know that they expect that the people who represent them will, first and foremost, protect their health and well-being, and that fracking is not compatible with this expectation.


Richard Reichard from the Staten Island Democratic Association (SIDA)
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

New Yorkers for Clean Water is urging the concerned citizens to write to the Department of Environmental Conservation. During a brief “Public Comment Period” — that ends on December 12 — individuals may submit their comments either electronically or in written form.

To submit your comments via the web, visit: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838.html

Paper submissions should be mailed to:

Attn: dSGEIS Comments, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-6510.

The comments must include the name and address of the commenter.

Paper submissions will also be accepted at two upcoming public hearings, both being held on November 30, 2011 at the Borough of Manhattan Community College Tribeca Performing Arts Center located at 199 Chambers Street, New York, NY. The hearings are at 1:00 p.m. and at 6:00 p.m.

To read the proposed regulations go to http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/77353.html


Click HERE to see video footage from the anti-fracking protest…

View Photos/Videos From The Event…


(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

NEW YORK — November 17, 2011. On “N17″, Occupy Wall Street protesters returned to the Brooklyn Bridge and crossed the span singing: “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, occ-u-py” — inspiring one community affairs cop to sing along.


A protester checks his mail as police barricade Zuccotti Park — again
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

***

For OWS Thursday was a “day of action” — marking the two month anniversary of the occupation. The day started with a thousand-strong effort to shut down Wall Street. Police responded with clubs and plastic handcuffs. At lunchtime, protesters performed signature “mic checks” in subway stations throughout New York — without disrupting subway service. The final N17 action came as night fell. OWS protesters, labor activists and members of various community groups gathered at lower Manhattan’s Foley Square at 5 p.m. An hour and a half later tens of thousands of protesters crossed the Brooklyn Bridge — 99 of their number sat down on the roadway and were arrested. Other than the one act of civil disobedience, there were no incidents or arrests.

***

I traveled to the late day labor march via the Staten Island Ferry, accompanied by my daughter. On board the ferry, we heard a drunk tell a cop, “Hey, I need help.”

The cop said, “You need help? Go to Zuccotti Park, they’ll help you.”

Apparently there was some truth to what the Daily News has been reporting — that police are telling substance abusers to go to Zuccotti.

On arrival at Whitehall we got off the ferry and walked up to Bowling Green where four cops guarded The Bull. The uniforms looked bored. I shot a few frames with my battered Nikon D50, then moved on.


OWS press liasion Mark Bray, a Wobbly at heart
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

At Zuccotti we saw police in riot helmets using white cable ties to lash barricades together as they encircled a small number of protesters still in the park. What purpose this served was unclear. As we left the park my old friend Mark Bray said hello. Mark is an OWS press liasion and a Wobbly. I asked if he was still in the Union and Mark said that he was a little behind on his dues, but still a Wob — as he opened his jacket to show me his IWW t-shirt.

I told Mark that on Wednesday, as I was having dinner with my 17-year-old son, I had asked my not-so-little-guy, “Did you hear what the police did at Zuccotti Park? They beat protesters and a city council member, blocked journalists from access, and then arrested people and dragged them from the park.”

I told Mark that my son had seemed surprised by the news. “I thought they said they weren’t going to do that?” my son said.

Mark nodded and sighed as I recounted the teaching moment. Saying farewell to my fellow worker, my daughter and I headed to Foley Square, walking up Broadway. We passed a number of cops in riot gear guarding City Hall as we made our way north.

We walked across Thomas Paine Park, at the north end of Foley Square, to Centre Street, the park’s eastern boundary. My daughter asked some cops why one of their barricades was painted purple. They laughed, telling us they hadn’t even noticed it. The four patrolmen seemed far more relaxed than their counterparts at Zuccotti.


A CBS reporter waits to do his stand up
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Centre Street was lined with media broadcast vans. I asked a reporter from CBS if I could photograph him. He said, “Sure, thanks for asking — we don’t do that.” I said, “Oh, I know..” and took his picture. This section of the square was full of reporters: My9, CNN, Noticias, Eyewitness News, etc. Many of the TV journos were doing stand ups as my daughter and I walked past. We grabbed some free t-shirts from the UnitedNY.org table and went looking for my union.


Leslie from MoveOn
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Back at Worth and Lafayette, the northwest tip of the park, I ran into Leslie and David from MoveOn, Ed and Ruth from the War Resisters League, two members of Chapter 34 of Veterans For Peace, and a group of Teamsters. Professional art handlers, the Teamsters were from Local 814, the union that is protesting a lockout at Sotheby’s. I offered my support and wandered off to find the UAW.


Jason, the president of Teamsters Local 814, the art handlers union
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Tim Sheard, a novelist and fellow member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, found me as I was photographing protesters. I fired off as many frames as possible before nightfall — not being a fan of flash photography. As darkness descended and my existing light evaporated, Tim and I found ourselves surrounded by a sea of blue UAW placards — it was an excellent turnout. A bit later, a boisterous group of Make The Road New York activists set up shop next to us. In the distance, radiating out from the southeastern edge of Foley Square, I heard the angelic voice of Laura Newman as she performed “We are the 99 Percent,” a piece that she composed for Reverend Billy’s fully landscaped gospel choir.

The march stepped off late, 6:30 p.m. or so. I found myself rubbing elbows with the IWW contingent. UAW on one side. Wobblies on the other. One Big Union indeed.


Leaving violence to its chief purveyors: Bloomberg and Kelly
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

The procession down Centre Street was the usual cattle drive. Cops flanking the roadway, herding pedestrians on to the sidewalk outside City Hall, making the usual mess of what should have been an easy march. The protracted procession didn’t dim any spirits, however, as protesters were decidedly fired up. As we squeezed past a phalanx of riot cops, their lieutenant yelling into a bullhorn, we found ourselves at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. And then the bottleneck ended. Jubilant, we ascended the bridge, flanked by still more police who were standing on the roadway. It was cold, windy, and truly inspiring. Police with bullhorns said, “You are reminded to remain on the walkway as you cross the bridge.” Protesters responded with, “Bloomberg beware, Zuccotti Park is everywhere…”


Click HERE to march over the Brooklyn Bridge with OWS

My wife, who had joined me at Foley Square, told me a story as we crossed the bridge. She said that a teacher she knew had complained that her classroom had falling plaster and mold growing. And yet, the teacher said, it was Zuccotti Park the mayor was “power washing” — using tax dollars to clean a private park while public schools deteriorated.

“Welcome to Bloomberg, New York,” I said.

I’ve been saying that a lot lately, I realized…


Protesters crossing the Brooklyn Bridge
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

On the Brooklyn side of the bridge the air was crisp, spirits high. One of the community affairs cops, a thirty-something African-American guy, sang along with us as we intoned, “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, occ-u-py…”

Another cop said, in a tone that sounded sincere, “Welcome to Brooklyn.”

“Be careful of the steps at the end of the bridge,” he added.

In the park at the foot of the bridge, members of Occupy Wall Street were thanking marchers. A nice end to a shining example of people power.


Occupy The Future
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Fast forward to Friday — a school and work day. I told my daughter, “Be sure to tell your teacher that last night you walked across the Brooklyn Bridge with 30,000 of your closest friends.”

My little girl beamed and nodded vigorously.

View Photos/Videos From The Event…

Posted by TAG - November 16, 2011 | Editorial


Ydanis Rodriguez
at City Hall in 2008.
Rodriguez was speaking against Bloomberg’s plan to overturn term limits.
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Mike Check!

Which politician, once sued for sexual harassment, went on to disparage New York’s UFT and its members: public school teachers? Teaching is a profession with a high percentage of women employees: both rank-and-file and administrators. Is misogyny a factor in Mike Bloomberg’s political decisions? It seems a fair question to ask.

Mike Check!

Who pressured city councils members to overturn term limits without a public referendum? Who set a record for spending on a re-election bid only to barely beat out an opponent with minimal financial resources? Having laid out $90 million, Mike Bloomberg, who outspent Bill Thompson 14 to 1, won the 2009 election by only 5 percentage points. Reporters interviewed voters after the election and many New Yorkers expressed their displeasure with the overturning of term limits — after two earlier referenda had affirmed the public’s desire to keep term limits in place.

Mike Check!

Which politician pooh-poohed complaints about conditions of confinement at Pier 57 – a former bus depot used to imprison 1800 protesters arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention?

In response to press reports of mistreatment of prisoners, Mike Bloomberg said, “It’s not supposed to be Club Med,” when describing the temporary detention center. The grease droppings and other toxic chemicals caused a number of problems for the Mayor who eventually laid down carpeting — and then called the press in to see how nice the carpeted facility really was. Some years later the City paid out millions to litigants who had been imprisoned at “Gitmo on the Hudson.”

Mike Check!

What former Wall Street investment banker saw his net worth more than triple while serving as mayor? Mike Bloomberg earns a dollar a year as Mayor. According to Forbes Magazine Bloomberg’s net worth increased from $4 to $18 billion during his three-term tenure as mayor. While homelessness and poverty are on the rise, the mayor is apparently prospering. In 2008, city council member Charles Barron said, “Mr. Mayor give us one of your billions.”

Mike Check!

Who predicted riots on September 16, 2011? Mike Bloomberg. Shortly thereafter the NYPD used pepper-spray on unarmed, nonviolent protesters from the OWS movement — two women who were already in police custody and offering no resistance. And a few days later, the NYPD arrested 700 protesters for walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Were the police trying to incite violence? If so, to their credit, the protesters didn’t bite.

Mike Check!

Who told the NYPD to block journalists from observing a police action, an action in which a city council member was arrested and taken away bleeding from a gash on his temple? Mike Bloomberg has taken full responsibility for the police action at Zuccotti Park — the action that ousted protesters so the Department of Sanitation could “power wash” the park.

Power wash indeed.

Is it time for a recall election? In the absence of term limits it might be the only sanity check on the mayor.

***

Thursday is scheduled to be a “Day Of Action” for the Occupy Wall Street movement. It seems likely that Bloomberg chose to attack the encampment early Tuesday morning as an attempt to disrupt or otherwise influence this event.

Consequently many activists now see Thursday as an opportunity for labor and community groups to articulate how they regard the “power-washing” of Zuccotti Park, the attack on city council member Rodriguez, the arrest of half a dozen journalists — and the exclusion of many more — who were attempting to document the police raid.


New York Press Club letter to Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly:

Dear Mr. Mayor and Police Commissioner Kelly:

On Tuesday morning, November 15th, as police officers acted to remove Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park, several reporters protested that they were the victims of harassment and that their rights under the First Amendment were violated.

A few were arrested or detained.

The actions of some police officers were not consistent with the long-established relationship between the NYPD and the press.

The brash manner in which officers ordered reporters off the streets and then made them back off until the actions of the police were almost invisible is outrageous.

We want the department to investigate the incidents involved in this crackdown on Zuccotti Park and we want assurances it won’t happen again.

Sincerely,

Gabe Pressman

President, New York Press Club Foundation

Chairman, Freedom of the Press Committee

Glenn Schuck

President, The New York Press Club

The question of the assault on Rodriguez — who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest — will be resolved in court. The arrest of journalists engaging in First Amendment-protected activity is being addressed by advocacy groups — including The New York Press Club, the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981), and the National Press Photographers Association. The police raid on the right to assemble and the power washing of freedom of speech will be addressed in the streets of New York tomorrow.


National Press Photographers Association statement on the OWS raid:

The National Press Photographers Association today strongly condemned the actions taken by the New York City Police Department in their apparent targeting of journalists for detention and arrest during last night’s clearing of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from Zuccotti Park.

“This action is just another in the growing list of incidents across the country where visual journalists have been harassed, interfered with and arrested as they attempt to cover maters of public concern,” NPPA general counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher said today.

According to news reports, at least six journalists were arrested or detained while covering the protests in New York City. According to the Associated Press, journalists have also been detained or arrested while covering protests in Chapel Hill, NC, Nashville, TN, Milwaukee, WI, and Richmond, VA.

NPPA demands that all charges against these journalists be dropped and that police officials instruct their officers to exercise common sense and restraint when dealing with journalists who are doing nothing more than gathering the news so as to better inform the public.

In many of these situations, those arrested were displaying press credentials or clearly carrying professional equipment so as to be easily identified by any reasonable person as a member of the press.

“It is extremely disturbing that photographers who put themselves in harm’s way while covering the news should be the targets of harassment and arrest by police for no other reason than the exercise of their First Amendment rights,” Osterreicher said.

Claims by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that journalists were being kept away from the activity for their own safety “are disingenuous at best and at worst, a thinly veiled attempt at prior restraint of the news media,” said NPPA president Sean D. Elliot.

Unfortunately these incidents are occurring with increased frequency throughout the country. In many cases, such as the recent arrests of two photojournalists in Milwaukee, NPPA has been actively involved in seeking that charges be dropped and that the police implement better policies and guidelines to avoid further incidents such as these.

Democracy For New York City, MoveOn.org, and many other community-based organizations are joining labor unions on Thursday for a large protest that will originate in Foley Square, a short distance from Zuccotti Park. Meeting up at 5 p.m., the protesters will march over the Brooklyn Bridge at 6 p.m., in support of OWS.


Democracy For NYC issued the following statement as part of their call to action:

After the blatant assault on free speech and free assembly in the early morning hours of November 15, when hundreds of police directed by Mayor Bloomberg brutally cleared Liberty Square confiscating and destroying belongings and displacing its residents, we are more motivated than ever to get out in support of Occupy Wall Street and the 99%.

NLN is a supporter of the National Writers Union of which this reporter is a member.


Today, National Writers Union (UAW) president Larry Goldbetter said:

NWU will join more than 10,000 union members, youth, the unemployed and other 99%-percenters, for a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Look for the big blue UAW wheels and the National Writers Union banner. After the forced eviction from Liberty Plaza early Monday morning by over 200 riot cops, people are more determined to have their voices heard. We condemn the actions of Mayor Bloomberg, speaking as one voice with UAW President Bob King and Region 9A Director Julie Kushner. We are especially concerned over the arrest of six journalists trying to cover the midnight raid, and the fact that for a good part of Monday the police and the City enforced a news blackout on events, not honoring reporters’ press passes. Join us tomorrow in Foley Square at 5p.m.


Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1102 business agent Steve Lawton
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — November 12, 2011. On a cool, windy Saturday about 60 Staten Islanders turned out to voice their support for — and willingness to learn from and listen to — Occupy Wall Street.


St. Marks Place and Wall Street — Staten Island
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

The group formed up at Lieutenant Lia Park on the corner of St. Marks Place — and Wall Street. The Staten Island version of this famous address was less crowded than its Manhattan sibling but no less animated. A boistrous group marched down Wall Street to Richmond Terrace and on to Borough Hall.


Protesters marched down Wall Street to Borough Hall
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

On the steps of Borough Hall representatives from MoveOn, Staten Island for Change, the Staten Island Democratic Association, Peace Action, and CWA Local 1102 offered their support for the Occupy Wall Street movement.


Protesters gathered on the steps of Borough Hall
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Steve Lawton, business agent for CWA Local 1102, addressed a receptive audience.


Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA)
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

“My union has been fighting to preserve good jobs here on Staten Island for several generations. We came out today to speak out against corporate greed and to protect good jobs,” Lawton said.


Click HERE to view Steve Lawton at Borough Hall
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

“As part of the Staten Island 99 percent we demand that out elected officials hold corporations accountable for the damage that they’ve done to our economy,” he added.

There is an ongoing Class War, Lawton said, but it is Verizon and other greedy corporations that are waging it.


Victims of corporate greed?
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

“As far as redistribution of wealth goes, there is no conincidence, that in the last 35 years, with the decline of unionism and the decline in wages and stagnant wages, that there has been a rise in CEO and executive pay. They redistributed the wealth and our Congress has done nothing to stop it. As far as class warfare is concerned, calling a protest where you ask your elected official to come out and do their job and protect our economy and hold corporations accountable, it’s not class warfare, it’s democracy,” Lawton said.


The face of Class War — or Participatory Democracy?
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

“I’m very proud to be part of the Staten Island 99 percent,” he said. “We got to make it out to every event, we have to have our voice heard on every issue, and next year, when it comes down to elections, you can bet the 99 percent will be heard.”

Leslie Greenwood of MoveOn also spoke about holding corporations — and politicians — accountable.


Click HERE to view footage of Leslie Greenwood and the march to Boro Hall

(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

“I’m here to talk about the need for corporate accountability, which everyone has already been talking about. And the contract for the American Dream. 350,000 people have signed this contract, that over 100,000 have inputted on,” said Greenwood.

She read the ten points of the “Contract for the American Dream” —

Number 1: invest in America’s infrastructure.
Number 2: create 21st century energy jobs.
Number 3: invest in publich education.
Number 4: offer Medicare for all.
Number 5: make work pay.
Number 6: secure Social Security.
Number 7: return to fairer tax rates.
Number 8: end the wars and invest at home.(In response to this point an audience member said, “Out of Vietnam!” which elicited laughter).
Number 9: tax Wall Street speculation.
Number 10: strengthen democracy.

“We want this contract to be known across the nation and we will vote based on the willingness of our candidates to support these platforms,” she said.


(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

After the rally some of the participants boarded the ferry and continued on to Zuccotti Park.

View Photos/Videos From The Event…


Colonel Ann Wright, speaking at Peace Action’s “Make Food Not War” event
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — November 5, 2011. Peace Action Staten Island (PASI) held its fourth annual “Make Food Not War” awards dinner on Saturday night — and the keynote speaker was a retired U.S. Army Colonel who served as a State Department official under George W. Bush.


Activist/Chef Addie Corn
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Saturday’s awards dinner, held at the New Dorp Moravian Church on Staten Island, featured food by local chefs, including community activists Addie Corn and David Hernandez.


Guitarist Jimmy Mack performing at the event
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

The event, held to honor “Staten Island Peace Makers,” featured music by Jimmy Mack, Phyllis Forman (aka Queen Tipsy) and jazz pianist David Jones.


Peace Action chair Eileen Bardel introduced the honorees
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

This year’s honorees included Marjorie Garvin, a community activist and veteran of the struggle for civil rights.


Longtime civil rights activist Marjorie Garvin
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Patricia and Reverend Lloyd Berg, activists with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, were also honored.


Pat and Lloyd Berg of Fellowship Of Reconciliation (FOR)
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

The keynote speaker at the event was retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright.


Colonel Ann Wright (U.S. Army, Ret.)
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Wright earned a Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. She later participated in reconstruction efforts after U.S. military actions in Grenada and Somalia. Wright served 13 years active duty and 16 years in the reserves. She worked in the Foreign Service section of the U.S. State Department from 1987 until her resignation on March 19, 2003 — the day before the U.S. attack on Iraq. In her resignation letter to Secretary Colin Powell, Wright cited the lack of U.N. support for the attack — and the curtailment of civil rights in the U.S. — among her reasons for leaving.


Ann Wright, activist
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

On Saturday, Wright spoke about her recent trial for civil disobedience — she was arrested last April for protesting against “MQ-9 Reaper drones” at the Air National Guard base at Hancock Field in Syracuse, New York and tried last week. In her comments to Peace Action, Wright discussed the use of drones in Afghanistan, emphasizing that the remote killing of innocent civilians is the direct result of having operators at air bases in the U.S. target “insurgents” on the other side of the world — often basing their actions on faulty intelligence. Wright said that drone operators in Nevada go home from work, “have dinner with their kids,” and wake up the next day only to discover that the twenty insurgents they killed were actually a wedding party.

Wright also spoke about her experiences in Israel after her ship was impounded and she was arrested by the Israeli military in June, 2010. Wright was one of several Americans who took part in the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla,” an effort to bring humanitarian aid to the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. The inititative ended with the Israelis seizing the flotilla’s vessels and killing nine unarmed activists on the “Mavi Marmara,” a Turkish ship that was boarded in the military action. Wright expressed support for the most recent flotilla — the members of which were arrested and deported before reaching Gaza.


Click HERE to see Ann Wright’s presentation in its entirety

(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Wright also expressed her support for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

“I am so proud of what is going on in New York with Occupy Wall Street,” she said.

“I’ve now visited 15 occupies throughout the country. On the East Coast, the West Coast and up the middle of the country. And being there with those young men and women. I mean, what is so amazing about this is that, the younger people of our country are — you know we’ve been saying about the war, you know, at war rallies, ‘Where are the kids, where are the young people?’ well, they’re here, they’re here now. And they’re over at Occupy Wall Street, and Occupy Sacramento, and Occupy Santa Rosa. It’s a remarkable, remarkable time. And groups like Peace Action Staten Island and all of the organizing that you all have been doing on issues of war and peace will be so valuable for these young people. So please take the time to go over, support them, in solidarity, support them, support us. Because we are all a part of that. We are the 99 percent!” Wright said.

View Photos/Videos From The Event…




John Skelson (right) at the Art Lab Gallery,
home of his “Faces In The Crowd” collection
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — November 5, 2011. The show is called “Faces In The Crowd,” the artist’s name is Skelson, and the subject matter is as New York as you can get — the people who call it home.




Carol Caver (center) is a student of Skelson – and an NLN contributor
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

John Skelson is a well known local photographer. A native Staten Islander, he practices his art while teaching others. In addition to following fire trucks, tracking New York harbor traffic, and documenting Occupy Wall Street, Skelson teaches photographic technique and darkroom skills at the “Art Lab,” a workspace and school hosted by the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. One of Skelson’s devoted students is pictured on the palm card that advertises his current show.



“Scary Protest” shows two of Occupy Wall Street’s more colorful characters
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Skelson’s latest installation, entitled “Faces In The Crowd: And Some Crowds,” is an excellent example of how to do effective portraiture. From the scarred and tattooed subjects of “Scary Protest” to the orange clad Buddhist monk standing in front of an iconic yellow taxi cab — outside the Times Square military recruiting center — Skelson combines encapsulated personalities and colorful imagery into quintessentially New York stories. Protesters, police – one cop is shown applying chapstick as he guards the Wall Street bull — and hardhats are a few of the fascinating New Yorkers who populate Skelson’s work.



A Buddhist monk and the iconic New York yellow taxi — in Times Square
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Good technique and a great subject — New York City and its peoples — come together to underscore a truth: to keep great art alive one must support living artists.

In Key West, circa 1982, I worked with a fella from Brooklyn. When Luke learned that I would be moving to Staten Island he said, “You’ll like it, they’re all artists out there.” While that may be just a slight exaggeration, artists do live on the Island, do work together in a community that often centers around the Art Lab, and do support one another. But they need the progressive community to help sustain their efforts to bring Beauty into being.

“Faces In The Crowd” runs from November 5 through November 27, is free, and open to the public. Take the Ferry to the forgotten borough and get on the S40 bus at the St. George ferry terminal. It’s a ten minute ride to Snug Harbor Cultural Center, located at 1000 Richmond Terrace. The Skelson installation is located at the Art Lab (map at http://www.snug-harbor.org/visit.html) which is building C. For more information: call 718-447-8667, email artlabinc@earthlink.net or visit www.artlab.info. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


View Photos/Videos From The Opening Reception…