October 1, 2014

Dear Val

By: Valentina Henriquez

Contributing Writer

22 year old, Iesha Galloway asked, “How effective is a safe-word when having sex?”

Dear Ieasha,

A safe-word can be used during sexual intercourse, especially when engaging in bondage, dominance, sadism, masochism, also known as BDSM.

The purpose of a safe-word is to let your partner(s) know you do not want to participate anymore.

Safe words are uncommonly used words during sex. For example, the word “Mississippi.” Some use the word “stop,” but at times your partner can interpret it as you spicing things up. So, before you have sex with your partner(s) you should agree on a safe-word.

According to Harry Henderson, the HIV/AIDS tester at the John Jay Women’s Health Center, a safe-word is 60% effective and 40% ignored.

When dealing with beginner safe-word users, it’s common that the safe-word gets ignored because of the desire to release. Like any skill, using a safe-word with your partner requires practice.

So is it effective? It can be, but just remember, not always.

Before having sexual intercourse, make sure you and your partner(s) are aware of what your safe word is.


Valentina Henriquez

Feel free to send your questions to valentina.henriquez@jjay.cuny.edu.

(You have the option to ask your questions anonymously.)

Jeezy Spits Fire

By: Ryan Durning


Jeezy has been through a lot in the music industry in the decade since his first album, including a recent arrest for gun possession after a man was killed backstage at one of his concerts.

On his latest LP, “Seen It All: The Autobiography,” he’s more concerned with his place in the rap game as a pioneer of Atlanta Trap music. Released on Sept. 9th, this is his 5th album, a feat most rappers don’t often reach.

Never a great lyricist, Jeezy gets by through perseverance and an uncanny ability to pick beats that perfectly fit his gruff voice. No one could ever accuse him of making profound, deep music that raises hard questions about the mysteries of life. Jeezy makes anthems that motivate, songs that you can work out to.

So on “Seen It All”, it’s not always great that Jeezy balances his newfound need to remind us of his achievements with his previous ability to make bangers about drugs, women, and money. “You know I like to turn up at the spot / Act a fool with the money / G told me keep it low-key” from “4 Zones” stands out as something he has said a million times before.

“They say great minds think alike, Know what I’m thinkin? /A great grind will change your life” is an example of Jeezy hitting the right note between the two divisive styles. The title track “Seen It All” featuring frequent collaborator Jay Z has an hauntingly looped sample and a rich layered instrumental that pairs well with both artists’ reminiscent verses.

Other times, like on “Black Eskimo” and “Beautiful”, Jeezy’s persona just isn’t enough to make up for songs we’ve heard from him 25 times on 4 previous LP’s. “I got a condo up in the sky / ‘Fore I fake it, I’d die / Foreign b****, no lie /Man, that b**** beautiful” just doesn’t pass as good music anymore for such an experienced artist.

The album does have a couple of bangers though, “1/4th block”, “What You Say”, and “Beez Like” all feature Jeezy at the top of his game. The Atlanta rapper excels when he is trying to push others to new heights, and these songs embody that spirit. Tracks that focus on his seedy past like “Holy Ghost” and “Win Is A Win” excel because he is able to vividly paint pictures that his charisma helps sell.

The album closes on the introspective “How I Did It (Perfection)”, which in the same vein as the title track, shows that Jeezy’s haunting past and drugs to riches story is much more interesting than when he raps “first to tell you m********* ‘trap or die’ that’s me ok”.

Jeezy’s main problem is that telling people how great and novel you are only works when you make music that isn’t generic, which is sometimes the case. Reminding everyone of the trail that he blazed worked for Jay Z when he started worrying about his legacy as he first retired. All it does for Jeezy is sound whiny and that’s the last thing we want to hear from the man who has made millions off motivating the streets.


Defendant Obama

By: Davon Singh


On July 30, House Republicans passed a resolution that gave Speaker of the House John Boehner the authority to sue President Barack Obama.

What’s so strange about this entire situation is the reason the President is being sued. Obama is being sued because, according to Republicans, he is inadequately enforcing the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

Yes, you read that right. Republicans are mad at the President for not enforcing the healthcare law they strongly oppose.

This is the same law they have tried to repeal 54 times. Fun fact: these repeal votes have cost taxpayers over $54 million. Is this what being fiscally conservative means?  By the way, members of Congress have no standing to sue, because they have not suffered any actual injury. The lawsuit will most likely be tossed.

The New York Times called the lawsuit “Mr. Boehner’s version of what might be termed impeachment-light — a way to send a signal that Republicans would fight the President’s efforts to revise laws Congress had passed while not going as far as many on the right would like.” The most important part of that quote is the end, “while not going as far as many on the right would like”.

In a recent CNN poll, 57% of Republicans believe Obama should be impeached. Overall, only 33% of Americans believe Obama should be impeached. Still, prominent conservative voices have called for impeachment including former Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

The lawsuit has already started to backfire on Republicans.

On July 28, two days before the resolution to sue Obama was passed, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced in a single day they had raised $1 million. Since then, Democrats have raised over $7.6 million.

Democrats, who are usually useless, have finally learned how to play the game. They have successfully woven together the lawsuit and impeachment talk to motivate their base.

Republicans, on the other hand, are not looking so good. In a recent Gallup poll, their favorable rating was at 34% and their unfavorable rating was at 59%. This is the ninth year in a row their favorable rating was lower than their unfavorable rating.

But Republicans need not worry about these poll numbers. As Stephen Colbert famously said “We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in reality, and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Know Thy Selfie

By:  Jose Oropeza


If you have an Instagram or Facebook account, chances are you’ve seen one. Sometimes with more than one person, and often with a “#” symbol in the caption.

The selfie, a trend that took social media by storm, rose to hashtag status shortly after the introduction of smartphones – specifically the iPhone 4, which was released in 2010 and came with a front-facing camera.

In 2013, “selfie” was made ‘word of the year’ by Oxford Dictionaries, and is defined as “A photograph that one has taken of oneself and…uploaded to a social media website.” Researchers at Oxford found recorded uses of the word “selfie” rose from less than 500 per billion instances in January to more than 5000 per billion instances in October.

Although the concept of the selfie is by no means new, recent events like Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie at the 2014 Oscar’s ceremony caused a record breaking, re-tweeted selfie, that crash Twitter. The 2014 EDM song “Let Me Take A Selfie” has given the term new levels of popularity.

Judith Naeignacio, a John Jay sophomore, shared her outlook about selfie content: “These people do the duck face, their tongues sticking out like Miley Cyrus. Trying to look silly and cute, sucking in their stomachs and pouting. Some people are narcissistic.”

Two years after its first 2002 online appearance in Australia, social media outlets like Tumblr have been using “selfie” as a hashtag. Since then, users having been referring to self-taken pictures as such.

Younger people post more selfies on Instagram than older users. In New York City, the average age of people that post selfies is 25.3, a study conducted by the CUNY Graduate Center found.

The Mental Health Association is buzzing about Selfie addiction dominating places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Even astronaut Steven R. Swanson got in on the fun. While in orbit, he one-upped his peers by being the first to Instagram a selfie from space.

Selfies are 38% more likely to receive a ‘like,’ and 32% more likely to receive comments when compared to snapshots of places, a Georgia Institute of Technology study found.

Women were found to be more likely to take selfies than men, according to the GIT study. They are also 150% more likely to tilt their head in the selfie.

Women who base their self-worth on their appearance are more likely to post selfies and maintain a large following on social media sites, a SUNY Buffalo study found.

Nikita Shurygin, a freshman at John Jay, doesn’t find the study hard to believe. “I think people who take a lot of selfies are trying to draw attention to themselves.  Maybe they have self-image issues,” he said.

And self-image issues can lead to greater problems. Danny Bowman, a 19-year-old from Britain, spent 10 hours taking selfies on one occasion.  He skipped school, lost his friends, and attempted to take his own life after not being satisfied with the quality of his seflies, The Independent reported.

“People take this selfie stuff way too seriously,” Shurygin said shaking his head. “It seems like selfies on Instagram and the ‘likes’ they receive socially rank people.”

But selfies are not to blame, some experts say.

“Clearly there’s something more going on. Selfies were just a medium [Bowman] was using. It’s not the selfie that’s the problem,” Deborah Miller, a certified school psychologist, said.

“He sounds like he has obsession, and clearly, self esteem issues. His suicide is not connected with selfies, nor are selfies a cause of what occurred.,” Miller said.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment offered to combat this trend of socially handicapped individuals. According to the Beck Institute, CBT “helps people identify their distressing thoughts and evaluate how realistic the thoughts are. Then they learn to change their distorted thinking. When they think more realistically, they feel better. The emphasis is also consistently on solving problems and initiating behavioral change.”

Regardless of emerging statistical evidence concerning selfies, they might be helpful to individuals.

“Young adults in college are typically very concerned with their appearance, and when they can take photos of themselves when they look their very best – that’s important,” Miller said.

Selfies can boost a person’s self-esteem, Miller argues. “Individuals are able to stage how they look, and post photos that they find to be most attractive. It’s a quick fix for issues concerning self-confidence, and self-esteem.”

Well, thank goodness for selfies. #winning 

Marcela Sanchez contributed to this article. 

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Two Sides to This Room: How Students Feel About the Game Lounge

By Munachi Iwuagwu

The semester is wrapping up and students are looking to end it strong regardless of how they started their semester. Around this time the computer labs are full, there are long lines at the library, and the loungers are filled with students congregating. In the New Building, on the way to class, students pass plenty of opportunities to blow off steam during the stressful semester’s end.

“It looks like this year John Jay has provided more chances to procrastinate,” Michelle Martinez said, a 20 year old junior. “There is so much new stuff for us to play with it’s like not even a school, school anymore.”

The new game room, located on the first floor of the New Building, provides students with pool, air hockey, and ping pong tables as well as additional couches, round loungers, and speakers to play music.  The game tables are for all students. To obtain the pieces for the tables, students are asked to show their student id card to any of the officials at The Office of Student Life.

The game lounge is filled with students socializing. The hallways are bursting with laughter, cheers whenever someone wins a game, and the buzzing from constant conversations.

The speakers in the game lounge plug into most electronic devices. While playing a game students sing loudly when they know the words and sometimes even when they don’t. Students use the game lounge as a place to catch up on sleep, show their competitive side, or talk about their semester. Whatever the reason, the lounge is never empty.

The game room opened in November 2013 and cost John Jay and students about $12,000. This was funded by the student activity fee.

“Students really need a good community area for them to get with their friends, to kind of relax because it’s very stressful.  That’s one of the ideas behind it, it’s a stress reliever, you never really know how many people just need 10-20 minutes and just play a game of pool,” said Nicole Ponzo, Student Council member and the graduate representative.

Ponzo thinks the game room is a good concept saying “me personally, I am a gamer. When I get really frustrated with something I’ll take like an hour out of my time and play something, some kind of either puzzle game or a fighting game and just do that for an hour and then go back to my homework.”

Samantha Jaideo, a 22 year old John Jay senior said, “I mean the games are cool and it seems like people are getting to be more of a community. I guess that’s what they wanted, for people to have a balance between education and socialization.” Jaideo also said that when she gets stressed out it’s nice to have a place where she can relax with her friends.

Jaido, a full time student also works in the Law Department said it’s hard having so much to do but knowing she can come to school and have the option of a leisure outlet is comforting and makes her life a little easier.

Martinez disagreed. She feels the games, lounges, and loud speakers provide too much of a distraction. According to Martinez, schools are meant to create a studious environment, and having too many recreational activities can lead to procrastination and eventually student failure.

Micheal Udo, a 24 year old freshman, said, laughing, I think the game room is a very, very bad idea because I’m always in there. It’s easy to skip class when you are in the middle of an intense game.”

Martinez, Jaido, and Udo were unaware the new game room was paid for with their student activity fee, but they were not upset by the idea. They feel the school is just now catching up with this generation. This generation focuses on “working hard and playing harder” said Jaideo.

The Office of Student Life wants to provide students with extra-and co-curricular activities in order to assist in their professional development. Studies have shown having a balance between extra-curricular activities and schoolwork can help develop people into successful members of society.

Juan Fermin contributed to this article.


The Dangers of Being a Corrections Officer

By Jenifer Valmon

It’s 4am on a Monday morning, a corrections officer wakes up, shower and puts on his navy blue uniform. He kisses his significant other goodbye, grabs his gun and heads to work. This is a similar routine for about 452,800 New York State Corrections Officers.

A career in Corrections is one of the most dangerous jobs to have. Correctional Officers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations, according to the United States Department of Labor.

Prior experience is not required to enter the academy training. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the basic requirements are a high school diploma or equivalent. Aspiring officers are trained for several months on self-defense and security procedures among others. They also complete a 52 week on job training at a federal facility.

Important qualities in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, for Correctional Officers are: good judgment, interpersonal skills, negotiating skills, physical strength, resourcefulness and self-discipline.

This career is accessible to most. It promises benefits and a chance to retire in 20-years. This is exactly what attracts thousands of New Yorkers to a career in Corrections. “It was a career decision. Early retirement better pay, benefits. Better pay than my previous jobs. Correction Officers at top pay, you can make between 85 to 100 thousand a year easy,” said Delon Gifth, 30, an Officer at Rikers Island.

Gifth has been in the job for one year and eleven months. He currently works in the same facility in which four correctional officers were accused of beating an inmate and attempting to cover it up. According to an article by the Daily News published on March 7, Christopher Huggins, Ronald Donnelley, Michael Dorsainvil and Mark Anglin created a false report of the incident and were awaiting arraignment.

In the same facility, about 15 inmates pummeled an unidentified victim, on March 19, an unidentified source told the New York Post. Officers were told to not use force to break up a fight while an officer was being attacked. This resulted from fear of legal action against the officers.

Gifth shared his take on the incidents as: “You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t. A lot of people now they’re scared to use force because they’re scared they’re going to be brought up on charges,” said Gifth. “So now the question is, should I defend myself? How do I defend myself? You’re fighting for your job but then you are fighting for your life.”

Shawnda Gadson, 30, Gifth’s fiancé, worries every time he leaves for his shift. They share an apartment and have been together for 7 years. “When he leaves in the morning, that’s the last time I get to speak to him until the end of his shift. He cannot always tell me if everything is okay and that’s a scary feeling,” Gadson said.

According to Kevin Douglas, 30,  a career in corrections is not all bad, once you have seniority. The job becomes easier when people know you and you get steady shifts. Douglas has been on the job for 3 years and works 16-hour shifts. His position as a Corrections Officer has changed for the better as the years passed. “I use to think it will never get better but it does get better,” said Douglas about not having steady shifts or a permanent facility to work in.

There are many incidents documented through video of inmates assaulting officers. Those include one posted on the New York Daily News YouTube channel. In this video a female, working as an intern in Rikers Island, was punched in the face by a male inmate. This inmate had a history of attacking strangers.

The 2013, Report to the New York City Board of Correction, shows that a reason for the increase of use of force incidents against inmates is the increase in mentally ill inmates. From 2007 to June 30, 2013, in Rikers, the use of force incidents per 100 inmates more than tripled, from 7.0 to 24.7.

The report said roughly 40% of inmates have a psychiatric diagnosis, a third of them exhibit acute or chronic psychopathology severe enough to constitute major (psychotic, and in some cases life-threatening) mental illnesses.

Even after hearing about incidents like these, Ashley Rodriguez, 20, is determined to make a career out of law enforcement. Rodriguez is currently a student at La Guardia Community College and plans on transferring to John Jay College of Criminal Justice, for the criminal justice program.

Rodriguez said she is interested in law enforcement and corrections in New York because,  “It’s deemed the best. You could start here and go anywhere.” Law enforcement is the only thing that ever interested her as a career. She is aware of the risk but she said, “it really doesn’t change my mind, I know there are other careers that pay more but this is the only thing I see myself doing.”

The corrections department is an opportunity to have a career with little to no experience. This attracts many people to this job. Unfortunately it can also put an end to the freedom of those individuals if they attempt to defend themselves against the inmates they are supposed to guard.


Pinching Pennies For Struggling Students


By Mark Garzon

College can be expensive even after paying tuition and other school fees. In particular, necessities like textbooks, food, and transportation altogether may leave a hole in a student’s wallet. Despite this, there are ways students can save money on such expenses.

Students may find textbooks expensive. The National Association of College Stores states “The average college student will spend $655 on textbooks each year, but with a single textbook easily costing as much as $300, that total can easily be much higher” according to an article on the Huffington Post website.

Due to these costs, it is useful to know ways to save money on books. Jimmy Feng, a sophomore at John Jay, makes use of websites such as Amazon to find more affordable textbooks. “First, I check the prices on a couple of websites. This way I can compare prices and find cheaper books instead of paying so much,” said Feng. He explained one instance in which he was required to purchase a $90 textbook for his sociology class, but after searching was able to find a used copy online for $60. Feng stated, “Searching for used books is worth it, especially when you might not use that book a lot in class. You don’t want to pay full price and only use it a couple of times.”

This method is recommended by The University Office of Computing and Information Services, which has provided a textbook savings “fact sheet” available on the CUNY website. It is accessible by visiting “University Resources” and then clicking “Student Life & Services”. The sheet is listed under “Scholarships and Financial Resources”.

This guide recommends various tips such as buying the EBook version of a textbook as it states they are often cheaper than buying the print version. The guide also lists numerous websites under each suggestion in order to find more inexpensive books.

A second option is using the campus library, which provides textbooks required by certain courses for free as well as books and journal articles. “We’re trying to save everyone money,” said Maureen Richards, a librarian at John Jay’s Lloyd Sealy Library. Richards said the library makes textbooks available to students through funds provided by the Chancellor’s Textbook Initiative. A search on the library website resulted in a total of 1401 textbooks that are accessible at the library.

Some of these textbooks are available in the reserve room of the library where students are able to borrow them using their John Jay ID card. These books have a loan period of generally three hours, but the student must remain in the library with the book, according to the library’s website.

Food is an additional expense students can save money on. The Tuition & Fees section on the CUNY website states that students living at home or with relatives could spend approximately“$1,148 on lunch” in an academic year.

Matthew Pascual, a sophomore at John Jay, takes into consideration the prices and nearby restaurants when it comes to saving money on off campus food. “I eat lunch outside of school, but I always think about what options I have so I won’t spend too much,” said Pascual.

Pascual explained how he looks out for lunch specials as they offer a good amount of food for a fair price. Pascual also stated that when he goes to restaurants such as the Olympic Flame Diner located on West 60th Street, he looks at the appetizers and purchases those over a full meal as they are cheaper and just as filling.

However, there is another option to save on food. Noorulaine Anwar, a sophomore at John Jay, brings prepared food from home and reheats it using the microwaves available at the Office of Student Life in room L2.71.00 of the New Building. She said that the microwaves allow students to save on food while also giving them the opportunity to bring their own meals. “You can save money and bring it from home and have nice, hot food at school,” said Anwar.

Another expense students face is transportation. According to the Tuition & Fees section on the CUNY website, students will spend an estimated “$1020 on transportation” during the course of a year. Because of this, managing transportation costs is useful in helping students spend less.

Students who commute on the subway can save by calculating the amount of trips and cost. Pascual stated that he takes the subway and spends $20 per week. He said that he pays per rides instead of purchasing a weekly or monthly MetroCard. “I don’t take the train that much so I don’t buy the monthly card because I would just be wasting money,” said Pascual.

The 7-Day Unlimited card costs $30 and the 30-Day Unlimited card costs $112, according to the MTA website. It is recommended by the website that customers should purchase the 7-Day card if they make at least 13 trips a week. The 30-Day should be purchased if at least 48 trips are made in a month. This should be taken into account before purchasing a weekly or monthly card, otherwise a commuter might actually be losing money.

When asked about the money he saves, Pascual said he finds it important because he can use it toward necessities such as his lunch for the week.

Feng shared a similar view in which he stated, “At the end of the day, it’s nice to have the extra money you saved to buy other things you might need. Even if it’s only a couple dollars it really counts.”


Fabulously Fit: Students Aspire to be Healthy



By: Fathema Ahmed

By Angeline Dominguez

What inspires us to be our best? Is it a love for a certain sport, hobby, actor or singer? Inspiration comes from what one sees or hears.

As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is a force or influence that makes someone want to do something.

Students have been working out at gyms and with trainers to gain a better appearance. they attend school in workout attire, such as running sneakers, tights, sweats and Under Armour, in order to workout comfortably.

“I think that’s a major misconception when you go to the gym and you see that body builder type of man or woman. They give you their advice that worked for them,” said Alex Evangelista, a health and fitness professor at John Jay College.

The achievement of becoming fit lies in the hands of the person who wants to be fit. he makes a comparison out of fitness and life by saying that it is made up of failure and success. Being fit is more about the challenges and goals that one sets, so they can achieve the ideal body that they desire.

Evangelista described the idea of being fit as keeping yourself involved in something you actively like to do whether it is simply walking or maybe even participating in a sport.

“Don’t loof for the shortcut, look for something you have passion for, that is balanced and go for that, because in the long run that’s going to help you a lot more,” said Evangelista.

In recent survey of 10 John Jay students, seven suggested that fitness includes physical and mental exercise in order to maintain the body healthy and functional. Five students also suggested that working out would help one look better, feel good, and be confident.

Mr. Reyes, a home fitness trainer said, “People come here to build self-esteem, not just the body.” He claims people who have come into his home training studio have gone in with inspiration to have a body like certain famous stars, such as The Rock and Kim Kardashian.

Catherine Polanco, a John Jay student, said, “Being fit is being able to run and if I am walking next to you and I hear you, like, dying, that definitely means you are not fit.”

By: Fathema Ahmed

Polanco, who weighs 133 pounds, fears that weighing more than that would affect how attractive she is.

“Like right now, I would not go to the beach because I do not want to wear a bathing suit until I start working out. If you see somebody that is healthy looking, then that is what appeals to everybody,” said Polanco.

“When I work out I feel better, I feel less stressed out , I feel better about myself, but you also want to do it for looks cause let’s face it, everyone wants to look good,” said Polanco.

Signing up for the gym has become critical for those wanting to work out but can’t afford it. “People that do not work or have bank accounts cannot open up memberships. It will not happen,” said Susanna Peets, a member of Planet Fitness gym.

Planet Fitness can cost as little as $10 dollars a month, plus an annual fee, but most memberships cost more. Despite the mandatory fee for membership, others look to it as an incentive to avoid being lazy.

This drive includes a motivation that allows one to use the money that they are investing monthly into being a member and help them work towards their desired goal.

“Once you start working out, you gain this confidence about yourself. You know, strength, the feel of being healthy, and all these other things that start to line up and you want to go for because you want to feel healthy,” said Karima Reyes, wife of Aaron Reyes.

Ms. Reyes described going to the gym and working out as a way to push yourself to do more than what you are normally expected to do. Working out is a way to relieve stress and allows one to mentally take themselves to a different mindset. It can help them challenge the goals they created.

Working out has not only become a way to be fit, it has become a way to help build confidence. Being inspired by people, students are pushing themselves to be like them, because they think they can work towards the ideal body that can help fix what they feel are real life imperfections.

Fighting Their Way In: Women and the FDNY




By Ellem Delgado

When afire breaks out in an apartment complex, the first people on the scene are the brave men and women who serve as firefighters. They get the situation under control and manage to put the fire out. Aspectator may notice that most, if not all, of the firefighters were men.

Women make up 3.6 percent of the career firefighter population, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Female firefighters are uncommon, although there is a growth in the field.

Women are perceived as physically weaker than men, creating the belief that women would not make good firefighters. Tiffani Scrom, 23, a volunteer at Arvin Hart Fire Company in Stillwater, New York, is the youngestof only two females in that fire station.

“It runs in the family. My dad is a firefighter and I have uncles and cousin who are also firefighters. My sisters and I grew up being brought to the fire house every week and pretending we were firefighters and would try on the gear,” said Scrom, who joined when she was 21.

Although being firefighter’s runs in the family, she joined because of a dare. “It was a dare from my dad,” Scrom says, “he told me ‘you can’t do it’ and I told him, ‘watch me.’”

So far, Scrom is the only female member in her family to become a firefighter, though her older sister, Tammi Scrom, 26, a junior at John Jay, wants to become one. “I want to be a firefighter, but at the moment I have my heart set on becoming a part of the criminal justice system. I might join next year.”

The process to becoming a firefighter is difficult and long. The education requirement was a high school education, but according to the International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Services, that changed after World War II. Now, applicants must have at least an associate degree. The chiefs of most major departments, however, are expected to have a master’s degree.

It is a lifetime commitment to physical fitness to become a firefighter and be willing to take risks, as their lives are constantly put in danger.

The test required to become a firefighter is usually every two years. There are three parts to it, the written, the physical and the interview. Although they all have the same categories, the actual test may vary in each fire house. After taking the test, the wait begins for a reply. The bigger fire stations may take a little longer to reply than the smaller ones.

The physical part of the test is the challenge that women must overcome. Because women are generally weaker and smaller than men, they have to work twice as hard to prove their strength. Though the tests vary, the physical portion of it is a combination of several activities.

According to the Official Website of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, the events are a combination of the stair climb, ladder event, forcible entry, hose advance, search, rescue through a doorway, and the ceiling hook. All of these events need enough strength to lift things and in some, to be able to run with them. They all also have a time limit , the maximum being a time limit of 39 seconds.

The fire houses were considered a firefighter’s home away from home. They used to work six 24 hour daysa week, and because of this the fire stations were once considered fraternity-house atmospheres. Now they work a 24 hour on shift and a 24 hour off shift to try to balance it out.

The fraternity atmosphere can be seen in the Arvin Hart Fire Department. The men constantly joked around with each other. “Tiffani is a lot better than her father,” George Ody, a member of the Fire Police in Arvin Hart, says. They all laughed at the joke, Tim Scrom, Tiffani’s father, even joined in on the laughs.

“The hardest part for a female is the environment. Its different being around women and talking the way the men do,” says Paul Macey, another member of the Fire Police in Arvin Hart. They all proved this statement true as they excused themselves whenever they cursed. He also says, “Women bring a certain civility than men do. They are a gentler being.”

Though they fixed the work schedule, the stigma was not so easily removed. Women were sometimes subjected to bullying by their male peers, which is why Scrom’s father was worried about her joining the fire house. Although her father works in the same fire station, he was worried, knowing how the men acted. But Scrom was not backing down. “They would talk smack at first saying ‘you can’t do this, you’re too little, let me help you with this, how about you get your hair and nails done while the real mean take care of the fire,’” Scrom said.

How did she overcome the bullying? She proved them wrong during Saturday morning drills, and even beat some of the veterans. Now they have accepted her and love her.

Tim Scrom continues to worry about her, as any father would. He says, however, “She has enough of a head on her shoulders to be safe.” Tom Rinaldi, the second vice president of NYS Association of Fire Districts, agrees with Mr. Scrom. He says, “She can take care of herself, she is well trained. The only thing she doesn’t do is get behind the wheel.”

Jamie Herrick, the chief of Arvin Hart, says, “Tiffani is one of the best ones we have.” Herrick has no problem with female fire fighters, especially since his daughter, who he is very proud of, is a fire fighter. “They are firefighters, we need firefighters. We can use all the help we can get. There are a lot of different jobs to do. We welcome anyone,” Herrick says.

“They accept me now,” Scrom says, “I’ve proven myself, that I’m not just something to look at.”

Uncertain Future for Horse-drawn Carriages

By Fathema Ahmed

Staff Writer

Frank Riccobono has been a horse-drawn carriage driver for nine years. His father was also a carriage driver. To him it is a family business. He even claims that his horse Angelina is part of his life.

“This is a piece of history that’s left. It’s a tradition,” said Riccobono.

Horse-drawn carriages have traveled the streets of Manhattan since 1858. Central Park  carriages can be seen as far as 34th Street.Long known  to be a tourist attraction, the carriages are facing opposition with many wanting to ban them including Mayor Bill De Blasio.

Mayor De Blasio has vowed to ban horse-drawn carriages saying that they are inhumane and outdated. The mayor wants to replace the  carriages with vintage-replica electric cars. The mayor says this move will be good for the environment while also helping the carriage drivers   stay employed. The horses will be sent to live on rescue farms.

horse-drawn carriage pic 11

By: Jenifer Valmon Horse-drawn carriage in Central Park.

De Blasio is not the first to raise the issue of whether or not horse-drawn carriages are humane. Animal rights activists such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have been advocates for banning the carriages, because they believe that horses are mistreated and overworked.

“The carriage industry subjects horses to miserable weather extremes,the dangers of congested traffic,and crowds and also retires them to dark, damp concrete stalls at the end of a long, strenuous workday. Instead of gazing in green pastures, horses used for carriage rides in the city live a nose-to–tail pipe existence,” PETA representative Ryan Huling stated in an email.

Riccobono has his own thoughts, “There are three sides to the story, their side, our side and the truth,” Riccobono said about horse-drawn carriages being inhumane.

While there are many who are for banning horse-drawn carriages, there are others who oppose the idea. According to a Quinnipiac survey from March 19,64 percent of those polled were against banning horse-drawn carriages while 24 percent were for it.

“It would be a shame to lose something that’s so instantly identifiable with New York,” stated Penny Faith, a tourist from London who was taking a stroll in Central Park on a recent morning.

Stephen Malone and his horse Tyson in front of Central Park

By: Jenifer Valmon Stephen Malone and his horse Tyson in front of Central Park.

Susan Somerville agreed that the carriages are an essential tourist attraction, It would be a drop in revenue for the city. Tourists come specifically to ride the horse-drawn carriages,” said Somerville.

There are five major stables involved in the industry. They are all on the far West Side of Manhattan from 37th Street to 52nd Street around 11th and 12th Avenue. These stables are Bryne Stable, Westside Livery, Shamrock Stable, Chateau Farms and Clinton Park.

To get to work, the carriages usually travel up 10th Avenue to the Central Park area, which begins at 59th Street. When returning, the carriages go by 9th Avenue to get back to the stables.

“I believe that it’s mainly not about the horses. It’s more about the real estate property where horses are located on the West Side,” stated Riccobono.

Riccobono also explains how he would be affected if the carriages were to be banned, “I wouldn’t know what to do if they got rid of the horse-drawn carriages. It’s all I’ve been doing.”

Adam Lee standing next to his horse in front of Central Park.

By: Jenifer Valmon Adam Lee standing next to his horse in front of Central Park.

On average, a New York City carriage horse works for four years. PETA states that when it is no longer able to work the horse is often taken to a slaughterhouse instead of being able to retire to greener pasture since it is more cost effective.

“I think it’s good that they’re thinking of banning the horse-drawn carriages, because you don’t know how those animals feel, you don’t know how those horses feel, you’re using them for those people to go around. I think it’s inhumane,” said Daisy Lozano, a junior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“There’s other ways to get around the city. Tourists don’t have to be sitting on the carriages. It’s not the end of the world for them. The one’s that are suffering are the horses,” added Lozano.

There are approximately 350 carriage drivers in the city. Over 200 horses are used for the horse-drawn carriages and only 68 carriage horse medallions or licenses in the industry. There are no restrictions as to when the carriages can go to and from Central Park. They are even allowed to travel during rush hour.

Horses lined up in front of Central Park.

By: Jenifer Valmon Horses lined up in front of Central Park.

Carriages can not operate above 89  degrees, or below 19 degrees and during blizzards. The carriage capacity is four adults, or three adults and two children under the age of 12, or one adult and four children under the age of 12.

A standard carriage ride is 50 dollars for up to twenty minutes, plus 20 dollars for an extra 10 minutes. On Mondays and Fridays, rides start at     10 AM and 9 AM on Saturdays and Sundays.

Many cities have already banned horse-drwan carriages. These cities include Las Vegas, Reno and Santa Fe.

“There are more entertaining ways to take in the sights of New York. Bikes, pedicabs, rickshaws, segways, and other human-propelled modes of transportation are fun, cruelty-free alternatives to carriage rides. And as an added bonus, the proposed eco-friendly cars will finally get rid of the horse droppings that inevitably accompany carriage rides as guaranteed romance killers!” stated Huling.

DeBlasio had pledged to act on this plan in his first week in office. As of now, there is still no bill that has been introduced. There has also been no timetable set for these actions to take place.

horse-drawn carriage pic 12

By: Jenifer Valmon Horse-drawn carriage on path in Central Park.

“We’re considering a range of options that move the horses off our streets, safeguard the animals and protect the livelihoods of the men and women  who provide carriage rides,” DeBlasio’s press office stated in an email.