Newsletters

Ranked-choice voting explained, queer love, Potterheads rejoice

Carol Radsprecher, Looking Back, 2021, 12×12 inches

Dear Neighbor,

We are in the final stretch of the mayoral race, with the primaries in exactly two weeks from today on June 22. While the same names have dominated the news cycle, there are actually 13 Democrat and two Republican candidates vying for the office.

Because the mayoral primary will be the city’s first major election to utilize ranked-choice voting, we want to provide you with a refresher. Also known as RCV, ranked-choice is a system of voting that identifies the candidate that is most preferred by all voters, as opposed to the candidate that simply received the most votes. In order to win, a candidate must receive the majority of votes, so 50% plus one. This is different from a plurality voting system — the system typically used in the United States — where each voter gets one vote, often resulting in candidates being elected without receiving the majority of votes. We all know how that goes.

How exactly does it work?

In New York City, RCV allows you to vote for up to five candidates, including one write-in. And the order of the candidates? It doesn’t mean anything. For the mayoral primary, candidates received their ballot placement based on a lottery drawing. The lists will look as follows:
Democratic candidates:

  1. Aaron S. Foldenauer
  2. Dianne Morales
  3. Scott M. Stringer
  4. Raymond J. McGuire
  5. Maya D. Wiley
  6. Paperboy Love Prince
  7. Art Chang
  8. Kathryn A. Garcia
  9. Eric L. Adams
  10. Isaac Wright Jr.
  11. Shaun Donovan
  12. Andrew Yang
  13. Joycelyn Taylor

Republican candidates:

  1. Curtis Sliwa
  2. Fernando Mateo
( via Gothamist)

Once votes are tallied for voters’ first-choice candidates, if none of them received a majority of votes, the candidate who received the fewest votes is removed, and the people who voted for that candidate have their second choice vote spread among the remaining candidates. This process continues until a candidate receives a majority of the votes.
Do you have to vote for five candidates?

While we encourage you to vote for five, you will not be penalized if you vote for fewer. However, if you only vote for one candidate, it’s more likely that your ballot will be “exhausted,” meaning that candidate did not receive enough votes to move on to the next level, and your vote no longer counts toward the total.

Mistakes to avoid: 

Because this is a new style of voting for us, it’s important to pay attention when filling out the ballot. If you accidentally skip a row — say, you leave your second choice candidate blank — the machines will likely be able to correct for that. What will invalidate your ballot is if you forget to mark your first choice candidate, if you skip more than one ranking (say you forget to fill out your second and third choices) or if you rank more than one candidate per column (i.e. you select two candidates as your first choice).

It’s kind of like a pizza

Imagine 16 people are ordering a (giant) pizza to share, and the options are plain, pepperoni or mushroom. People are asked to rank their preferences. If seven people ranked cheese as their first choice, five people selected pepperoni and four people selected mushroom, none received the majority. Since mushroom received the fewest votes, it is removed, and the mushroom lovers’ second-choice votes are redistributed to plain and pepperoni. Let’s say two of them selected pepperoni as their second choice, bringing it to seven votes, and two selected plain as their second choice, bringing it to nine votes. Nine votes give plain the majority, making it the winner.

Have questions? We are happy to answer. Shoot us an email at hello@epicenter-nyc.com.

 

Lovely readers, please help us grow our community:

 

AT YOUR LEISURE …

Photo: Bookshop.org

Every week, neighbor and acclaimed author Radha Vatsal will be providing her recommendations for what to read and watch throughout the summer. 

Some people pair food and wine, I pair food with books and movies. (Quite often it’s the other way around — books and movies inspire me to try something new to eat.)

The tacos from the Birria Landia food truck in Jackson Heights burst with strong flavor and color, and pair well with the zany violence, wild creativity and unexpected characters and situations in Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino, a short-story collection by the talented Mexican novelist, poet and literary critic, Julián Herbert.

Among the stories that grabbed my attention, “The Ballad of Mother Teresa of Calcutta” features a vindictive “personal memories coach” who plots revenge on his clients; in “Z,” the narrator’s therapist is a zombie in a mysterious city full of zombies; and in the title story, “Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino,” a feared drug lord kidnaps a film critic and brings him to his underground lair that’s kitted out with every imaginable luxury (the drug lord and his family live there full time) in order to talk about movies.

The drug lord introduces himself to the film critic: “My name is Jacobo Montaña, head of the Sierra Madre cartel, on the lam from the Loma Larga maximum-security prison: the most wanted man in Mexico. Make yourself at home.”

Herbert likens his style as a writer to that of the 1974 Dutch World Cup squad, described by the media as a team in which “they all defend and they all attack.” He says, “I’d like to be able to write literature in that way, not thinking too much about genres (or my position on the field), but trying to do everything at the same time…”

Herbert’s stories accomplish several things at once — they shock, entertain, and raise provocative questions.

To learn more about Radha’s story, tune into this week’s podcast (as always, it airs on Wednesday morning) where we feature her in our “neighbor” section. You can listen here. Make sure you’re subscribed on your favorite platform, and if you enjoy it, please leave a review.

 

Photo: @metmuseum

OUT & ABOUT

Museum Mile Festival

The annual festival is tonight! There are a variety virtual events to participate in, including tours, talks and art instruction. See a full list of events here.


Photo: @harrypotterny

Potterheads rejoice

More than 20 years after “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was published, New York City is finally getting a Harry Potter store. Located on Broadway next to the Flatiron building, the 21,000 square-foot store will have the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts merchandise in the world.  And yes, it will be serving Butterbeer. Learn more.


Photo: @lostblackboy

Queer Love

Join author and activist Blair Imani and multimedia journalist Jamal Jordan this Thursday, June 10, from 7 to 8 p.m. for a celebration and conversation about the love and relationships of queer people of color. Jordan, a former New York Time journalist, recently published the photo book “Queer Love in Color,” which is an intimate look at what it’s like to be both queer and POC, something he didn’t didn’t see enough of growing up.

Photo: @grandbazaarnyc

Shop til you drop

The Grand Bazaar reopened after a 15-month hiatus. Featuring more than 80 local merchants including artists, designers, craft-makers, vintage and antique dealers, to artisanal food entrepreneurs, the market, which is the oldest and largest of its type in the city, takes place every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 100 West 77th St. Originally founded as the GreenFlea Market in 1982 by a group of parents to raise money for their children’s schools, the market continues to donate 100% of its profits to four public schools.

Photo: moma.org

Watercolor at MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art on Sunday debuted a new exhibit dedicated to reexamining French artist Paul Cézanne’s experimental drawings and rarely seen watercolors. “Cézanne Drawing” will feature 250 works on paper alongside a selection of oil paintings — the first effort in the U.S. to unite work from the artist’s entire career. To visit, reserve your timed tickets here.

Photo: bronxdoc.org

America’s drug plague

In 2020, more than 80,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, particularly from opioids. And despite the government spending an estimated $1 trillion on the War on Drugs since its inception, the crisis hasn’t abated. The Bronx Documentary Center’s new exhibit, “The Human Cost: America’s Drug Plague,” which runs through July 5, shines a light on these issues and explores the toll of drug addiction. Learn more

Love the work they do? Bronx Documentary Center is hiring! It is currently seeking a director of education (deadline: June 18) and an exhibition assistant (deadline: June 11).

How much of a New Yorker are you?
Test out your knowledge of the city at the Museum of the City of New York’s virtual trivia event on Tuesday, June 15, at 8 p.m. Questions will cover NYC’s 400-year-history, spanning from theater to transportation. Donation suggested, registration required.

 

GIVE & GET HELP

Photo: @nycacc

Donate your old towels
Animal Care Centers of New York, the city’s animal shelter system, took in 2,525 companion animals in the first quarter of this year — roughly 28 per day. Right now it is asking the public to donate towels, used and clean or new, to its three locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. You can find the exact locations here. Don’t have old towels? Consider purchasing them off the shelter’s Amazon Wish List.
Attention NYC Caribbean restaurants
The West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s annual New York Restaurant Week will be returning later this month. Restaurants that want to participate by offering prix-fixe menus can participate at no cost by registering here by Saturday, June 12.

Photo: @therollinglibrary

Free queer book fair 
The Rolling Library, a community organization that distributes free books, is hosting a book fair this Saturday, June 12, from noon to 5 p.m. at 31st Street and 31st Avenue in Astoria. There will be button making, storytime for toddlers, a Q&A forum for queer youth, a food drive, free clothes, free books and more.

#Vaxfest2021
Come get vaccinated this Saturday, June 12, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Jackson Heights. Healing music will be provided by Percussia. For more information, please contact vaccine@epicenter-nyc.com or (917) 818-2690.

 

Sign up for our weekly education-focused newsletter, The Unmuted, here

 

Masks stay in schools
At least for now. On June 4, New York State Commissioner of Health Howard A. Zucker wrote to Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asking for guidance on ending the mask mandate in schools starting yesterday, June 7. Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff would be “encouraged” to wear masks indoors and out in “high-risk circumstances.” The New York State Education Department will keep the mandate in effect until the CDC responds.

Anti-woke billboards
A group of independent school parents, known as Prep School Accountability, protested in opposition to the “woke” curriculum at the Brearley, Dalton and Trinity Schools on Monday. Their concerns were expressed through slogans like, “Teach HOW to Think, Not WHAT to Think,” aimed at school administrators they believe allow the indoctrination of students regarding ideas about race, ethnicity, gender and other social characteristics.

 

DAY-TRIPPING
Picnics

We are beyond happy that the temperature will be dropping to the mid-70s this weekend. In fact, we would say that’s perfect picnic weather. Here are a few of our favorite, off-the-beaten-park spots to lay down a blanket:

Photo: @pinciotto_photos

Cloves Lake Park
This lush park located in Staten Island feels like an escape from the city. It also boasts a designated barbecue area, and if there are less than 20 people in your party, you don’t need a permit.

Photo: @ultraroamer

Ridgewood Reservoir
This 50+ acre reservoir in Highland Park on the border of Brooklyn and Queens offers great views, more than 130 bird species and lots of grassy areas to lay.

Photo: @nycgo

Cunningham Park
This Queens-based park has it all: Bocce ball, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a cricket field, plenty of spots to hike and bike, and of course, put down your picnic blanket.

Photo: @beigeinside

Valentino Pier
This waterfront park in Red Hook has all the views — Lady Liberty — and none of the Brooklyn Bridge crowds.  Pro tip: grab a slice of key lime pie from Steve’s.

Photo: @eatoffbeat

Don’t know what to pack? Check out the picnic basket from Eat Offbeat, a company that sells meals created by former refugees and immigrants in NYC. It feeds six to eight people and includes chicken shawarma (vegan option available), a salad, snacks, dessert and drinks.

 

LAST WORD 

Sofa, 2021, Inkjet print drawn and colored in Photoshop, 12×12 inches

We want to see, hear, feel, support your art and response to this moment. To submit a poem, short story, artwork or any shareable experience, email us.  If your work is selected, you will receive a $100 stipend and become part of our growing network of artists.

This week we welcome Carol Radsprecher. A longtime painter, Radsprecher discovered the wonders of digital image-making and found that media well suited to her need to make a  succession of rapidly evolving narrative images based on distorted representations of the human body, especially the female body.

Fat Knee 1, 2017, Inkjet print drawn in Photoshop, 12×12 inches

In her words: “Distortions of the human figure is a key element in my work. Variations of the female figure — that first landscape that we experience as we enter the world — are central to most of my work.

Too Much, 2019, Inkjet print drawn in Photoshop, 12×12 inches

These figures, and the abstract elements they are connected to, enact stories that are obliquely autobiographical. Some stories are unpleasant; some are bewildering; others play with line and shape. I have been a painter for decades. When I had access to Photoshop (10 years ago), this medium felt like second nature.

Forgotten Bed, 2017, Inkjet print drawn in Photoshop, 11×14 inches

The speed with which images can be made and evolve into other images; the ability to save prior renditions while the images continue to evolve; the seemingly infinite possibilities of what can be made visible; the ephemeral nature of virtual products, and the easy storage—all of these qualities inherent in working digitally are exciting and stimulating.”

Doubled, Oil on canvas, 30×30 inches

Carol earned her MFA in painting from Hunter College, CUNY.  Her work has appeared in several solo shows and numerous group shows, and has been published in print and online publications. See more of Carol’s work on her website and instagram.

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