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The CCNY championship squad.

The CCNY championship squad. Photo courtesy of The Atlantic.

New York City has sent legions of legendary players and coaches into college and professional basketball. When you kick back and watch the Final Four this weekend, however, you might wonder why you hardly ever see New York City teams play deep into March Madness, or see March Madness played in New York City. The answer to both involves the CCNY Beavers, who went on an unprecedented run in 1950, only to have it all come crashing down in 1951.

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The Cultural Services of the French Embassy continues its trend of all-star programming here in New York City with a 12-hour nocturnal marathon called A Night of Philosophy, taking place April 24th to 25th in two of New York City’s gorgeous Gilded Age mansions–the French Embassy at 927 Fifth Avenue, in the former Whitney Payne Mansion, and the Ukrainian Institute of America, the former home of banker Isaac D. Fletcher, oil baron Harry F. Sinclair and August Van Horne Stuyvesant Jr., a descendant of Peter Stuyvesant. With the two around the corner from each other, you can even mansion hop between screenings, readings, art installations, performances, and lectures by 60 philosophers on topics like “Must Intellectual Life Be Boring?” and “I Think, Therefore I Can.”

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Queensboro Bridge-Hakimms-Urban Exploration-NYC-2Atop the Queensboro Bridge. Photo by @hakimms

Bridges have always been popular amongst New York City’s urban explorers, but the recent frequency of expeditions is noteworthy, and has even caught the eye of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. Urban exploration has became a rite of passage of sorts for certain New York teenagers and Instagram has given them an outlet for creative expression, along with the fame associated with such public declarations. The arrest of @Demidism for his photo atop the construction of 432 Park, seems to have only encouraged more to emerge.

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Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

From a screening of Empire Records (can you believe it’s been 20 years?) to talks about food, Art Deco architecture and the future of cities,  there’s a lot to see and do in New York City this week.

Monday, April 6th

At the Gallatin School NYU, Antanas Mockus the former mayor of Bogota, Columbia and professor will lead the talk “The Right to Have Rights: Citizenship Culture and the Future of Cities” about how to get citizens to work together to devise and apply solutions to urban problems. Free, RSVP here.

It’s also the Yankees Home Opener at 1pm part of Opening Week. On Thursday’s game with the Toronto Bluejays, tickets start at just $6 ($5 with Mastercard). Take the opportunity to explore the Bronx!

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Times Square will soon be adorned by a forested landscape nestled within its brightest urban-scape. A wildly successful Kickstarter for a PopUp Forest aims to transform Times Square into an urban oasis in the summer of 2016, with towering trees, native wildflowers, and ferns installed overnight amidst the glitter and glow.

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From the German Gardens street plan in Yaphank, Long Island, approved by the Town of Brookhaven in 1936

The United States of the 1930s, as World War II loomed ahead, was a prolific era for radical movements. The third Madison Square Garden was packed to the gills for an anti-Nazi rally in 1937 and a pro-Nazi rally in 1939. But the latter was really the pinnacle of a more entrenched pro-Hitler community in the United States. One planned community in Yaphank, Long Island replete with an indoctrination camp amidst streets named after Hitler, Goering, and Goebbels, serves as a prime example of how the German-American Bund and German Settlement League managed to put forth a message in which American democracy and fascism could co-exist, something that Ryan Schaffer of the Department of History at Stony Brook University explores in an article for the Long Island History Journal. A special Long Island Railroad train, the “Camp Siegfried Special” even ran at 8am from Penn Station to Yaphank to bring guests to the site.

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