Episode 17

The Art of the Gerrymander

One artistic interpretation of State Senate District 22 (Bay Ridge is on the left) as seen at the Art of the Gerrymander art show.

At A Glance

  • Fight Back Bay Ridge’s first fundraiser brought together the local art and activist communities.
  • The art auction was filled with creative interpretations of Senate District 22’s gerrymandered boundaries.”
  • We interviewed guests and attendees to ask about the intersection of art and politics.

On October 22nd, local activist group Fight Back Bay Ridge held their first fundraiser. Unlike many other groups, which focus on three-hundred-dollar-a-plate dinners or a cheesy speech, they did something both creative and community-building. They sent out a call to the Bay Ridge arts community, including Stand 4 Gallery and many more.

They challenged local artists to create artwork they’d be willing to donate for a silent auction. The theme was to raise awareness and creatively interpret the gerrymandered boundaries of Bay Ridge’s state senate district, SD22. The resulting gallery show brought together the activist and artistic communities of Bay Ridge for one of the first times. Our co-host Rachel Brody interviewed people at the event, discussing how they felt about art, politics, and their community.

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Episode 16

Fact Check: Golden vs Gounardes


At A Glance

  • We’re bringing you Live Audio and Fact Checks.
  • Golden took credit for many things the state did as a whole.
  • Post-debate spin by the Conservative Party doesn’t hold water.
  • Gounardes kept answers short and to the point. Golden took up the majority of speaking time.
  • There were some fireworks moments near the end.

On October 3rd, 2018 we had one of the long-standing Bay Ridge debates occur under the auspices of our local Interagency Council on Aging. Held this year at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center with longtime moderator Peter Killen. The event was a whos-who of local politicians and included debates between every local candidate running in this year’s midterm elections. Today, however, we are focusing on just one: Golden vs Gounardes.

After the #BRForum debates, we asked our listeners what we should do with the audio. A majority of you said we should fact-check the debate… so we did! Today, co-host Dan will be breaking in between questions to provide context and fact-checks.

We’ll hear questions on a wide range of issues, much of it focusing on children. While this may seem jarring for a senior center debate, remember that older adults often have child safety as a top priority, especially as grandkids come along. So sit back and enjoy!

Note: We’ll also be posting the audio for the other debates that day! The include Mathylde Frontus vs Steve Saperstein, Adam Baumel vs Nicole Malliotakis, and Max Rose vs Dan Donovan. They will be available in the show notes below shortly.

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Episode 12

March for Pablo Villavicencio Calderon

Protestors in Bay Ridge hold up signs as they pass through John Paul Jones Park during a 2018 March against ICE and the detainment of Pablo Villavicencio Calderon at Fort Hamilton Army Base.

At A Glance

  • A deliveryperson named Pablo Villavicencio Calderon was detained by ICE at Fort Hamilton Army Base while delivering pizza on June 1st.
  • Bay Ridge residents gathered a few days later in solidarity with Pablo at the Fort Hamilton Army Base.
  • This episode is a recording of the march and speeches given, and a narration of the civil disobedience that occured.

On June 1st, a Queens pizza deliveryman was arrested at Fort Hamilton Army Base and handed over to ICE. His name was Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, an undocumented immigrant without a criminal record and father of two. After the story of his detainment broke, Bay Ridge residents mobilized to stand in solidarity with Pablo against Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They gathered in John Paul Jones Park on the evening of June 6th, with speakers and a march toward 86th street. Near 87th street a nonviolent act of civil disobedience by seven nearby residents blocked traffic on 5th Avenue for four minutes, and the rally continued in an unattended parking space.

On today’s episode, we’ll bring you recordings of your fellow neighbors, activists, and friends. Listen in to the impassioned speeches made by those in attendance as we document the march and bring you back to that day.

Another action will be held in solidarity with Pablo on July 19th, one day before his scheduled court date, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. It will take place in front of the Fort Hamilton Army Base. You can RSVP on Facebook.


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Uncut Recording

Jeremi Suri at Poly Prep


A few months ago, Poly Prep reached out to us to ask if we would be interested in recording a new, public event series called Context: Conversations at Poly Prep. The first lecture, with professor and historian Jeremi Suri, was a quick but wide-ranging lecture discussing the evolution of the Office of the President throughout American History as discussed in his new book The Impossible Presidency. While the subject isn’t necessarily local, we were thrilled to bring you a progressive, thoughtful lecture given locally at an institution with over 100 years of history in the neighborhood (and to pal around with the excellent Bookmark Shoppe too!).

I always remembered, as a kid, being taken by my grandfather to go throw bagels at the ducks at the Poly Prep pond (By the way, folks, don’t do that! It’s terrible for the ducks. There are signs now. Probably because of me. Sorry.) But it always was a mysterious entity for much of my life, and a closed campus. So we are very excited to see the institution open its gates and beautiful campus to the neighborhood and provide a much-needed event space for lectures and discussions. You can sign up for future events on their calendar or monitor their Twitter feed.

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Uncut Recording

Coffee with Dan Donovan in Gravesend, Brooklyn


As part of his ongoing whistle-stop tour of the district, Rep. Dan Donovan appeared at David A. Boody High School in Gravesend, Brooklyn. There, a gathering of about 15-20 constituents were able to ask him questions on a variety of issues.

During his discussions, there were a number of issues that arose where information provided was either not complete or may require additional context. During the podcast, you’ll hear this signified by a soft “ding”. Below are the “footnotes”, so to speak, that we believe will help you take greater benefit from the recording.

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Uncut Recording

AAANY District 43 City Council Debate


Hey there, neighbors!

We’re working on our second studio episode (and wow is it ever a doozy), but in the meantime, Bay Ridge’s three candidates for city council have taken part in another debate, this time focusing on progressive issues including immigration reform, police accountability, and equality. They also fielded questions from the audience.

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Uncut Recording

BRCC District 43 City Council Debate


If you missed it on Tuesday, here’s your chance! We’ve recorded the entire City Council debate between Justin Brannan, John Quaglione, and Bob Capano, and posted it here for your listening pleasure. You can also check out our Live Tweet over on Twitter at @RadioFreeBR.

Continue reading “Special Edition! The Community Council City Council Debates!”