Saturday, September 6, 2014

JenniferGonnerman. Reasons to love New York 2013. 30. Because This Bronx Councilman Is a 25-Year-Old Gay College Dropout Who Grew Up in the Projects. 43. Because the Tombs got two stars on Yelp. NewYorkMagazine. 15 Dec 2013.

30. Because This Bronx Councilman Is a 25-Year-Old Gay College Dropout Who Grew Up in the Projects

On a recent afternoon inside a tiny Italian restaurant, nobody notices the slight young man perched on a stool in the corner eating an eggplant-Parm sandwich. His name is Ritchie Torres—his mom named him for Ritchie Valens after watching La Bamba—but come January, the 25-year-old will be known as Councilman Torres.
Raised in the Throggs Neck Houses, he is a Lehman High School grad who went on to NYU. After working as an intern for Bronx council member Jimmy Vacca, he got a job with him, took a leave of absence from college, and hasn’t been back. He eventually became Vacca’s housing director. Torres would visit constituents’ crumbling apartments with mold-covered walls, take pictures, then send those photos to the property manager: “ ‘Fix this, or I’m e-mailing this picture to the Daily News.’ ” “It was coercive,” he says, “but it worked.”
This past January, Torres decided to enter a crowded Democratic-primary race in the central Bronx. His opponents included two attorneys, a pastor, and the chief of staff for the outgoing councilman. Torres won, becoming not only the youngest incoming member but also the first openly gay person ever elected to major public office in the Bronx.
Among friends, his election to the City Council led to jokes like “Why are you slacking off? Why aren’t you borough president yet?”

43. Because the Tombs Got Two Stars on Yelp
In pursuit of poetic justice against their captors, many New Yorkers have taken to Yelp to vent about their hours in confinement at the Manhattan Detention Complex (better known as the Tombs) and to give free advice on how to survive inside a holding cell. Here are some excerpts from the reviews.

“If it’s crowded enough, prepare to sleep on the floor. That is if you can get any sleep.”
“It doesn’t matter what you did or claimed you didn’t do. You will be glared at with utter disgust as you line up with sobering frat boys, homeless rabble rousers looking for a warm place to stay, sobbing transvestites, and stab-happy kids with nothing else to do on a Friday night.”
“Their menu needs work … their sandwiches are awful. The bread is reminiscent of Styrofoam and the bologna is rough around the edges.”
“Do yourself a favor and commit any crime you plan on doing in the winter because if you get arrested in summer clothes prepare to spend the next 20+ hours in a refrigerator. They must keep the place at 40 degrees.”
“I didn’t try the food, but the single serving cereal boxes make for an acceptable pillow.”
“I did like the little Kellogg’s cereal boxes they give you in the morning, with a little carton of milk.”
“There is usually a jolly crackhead or crack dealer who will crack jokes all night and make the time go a little bit faster.”
“It might be wise to put off eating too much because if you have to use the bathroom it will be in front of a room full of people and on the most disgusting toilet seat in existence.”
“Overall I wouldn’t recommend this place to anyone and hopefully I’ll never have to visit again.”

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