A Place of Teen Convergence

by Alex Rabin

November 2002

On 66th Street and Broadway, there is a meeting place for teenagers from the neighboring schools in the area. In the late afternoon the gray concrete sidewalks are covered with specks of gum and the shadows of the kids in their commotion. An enormous amount of diversified students converge there together after their long troublesome days of enduring the turmoil from school. Kids sit on the cement planters that cover the to discuss different topics. The trees hang over the people as if they are also trying to listen to the conversation and gossip. The sky shines a cool blue over the children and the white clouds puff up with all the excitement from the kids. The chatting of the teenagers flourishes the energy around Lincoln Center. The place I am describing is called the “Squares.” How this name was invented and derived, I am unsure. Though, I think that what influenced the name is either that it is in Lincoln Center or because of all the square cement planters. 
There is an abundant amount of kids that come from all over the place. The kids who come are also very different from each other. There are many contrasting cliques that are seen at the Squares. Kids of every different race can be seen at this location. There are punks, people who are involved in the hip-hop culture, kids who enjoy playing sports, graffiti writers and any other kind of person you would hope to find. These kids come from different schools, including Laguardia, Beacon, Environmental, and York Preparatory and other schools in the remote area.
Kids come to the Squares for many different reasons. Teenagers go to see their friends, hear the newest rumors and scandals that are going on, hang out and grab a bite to eat. It’s also a place for healthy relaxation. Excitement can be obtained just from the company of friends instead of gaining excitement by other motives.
Even though this place prospers with joy for most people, sudden fights and random problems do take place at the Squares. Every once in a while, there is a spurred problem, which ends up in a fight. School security and cops scour the premises and try to rid 66th street of kids. Only last year, a kid was stabbed at the Squares. They scold and harass the kids to leave and go on with their business. 
The Squares is a great place for a kid to consume his or her time. It is a place to meet all different kinds of new people and hang out with friends. Despite its negative aspects, the Squares is probably going to stay this way for a number of years and remain a place for teen convergence.

Alex Rabin

Reporter

(2003) Hi my name is Alex Rabin. I was born on July 26, 1986. I am currently attending high school at York Preparatory school, located on 68th street. I enjoy writing, playing the drums, basketball and art. I joined HarlemLive a year ago. Since then I have improved my writing and journalism skills. I also hope to become an important contributor at HarlemLive.

Osakwe Beale

Reporter / Editor / Public Relations

I don’t want to erase my original profile from when I was 17 because that’s how I was feeling t the time but at 24 I have a different understanding of the world and my role in it. When people ask me what I do I give the proper went-to-college-got-a-good-job-response but what I really want to tell people is that I grind. These are the grinding years and I am a Product of The Grind (POTG). What does that mean? It simply means that I am of the mindset to work hard to achieve success. If you feel the same way ……welcome to the Grind.

When I’m not in the coroporate hard-bottoms I rock my SB’s (Nike Dunks for the lame-o’s) and you can definitely catch me at a sneaker party.

Flav had it right in the 80’s – Don’t believe the Hype 

Independent thought is essential ….”fitting in” is for cowards.
What are you? 

It’s hard to convey my personality through words, you would have to meet and know me to understand me. My name means “One who humbles himself to God” and I believe that to be a long range life goal of mine. “With humility comes prosperity”- (Some famous person) I believe this to be true and just like everyone else, when I get older I plan on getting what’s due me. I’m a 17 year old Junior at Brooklyn Technical H.S. who plans on going to college and then taking over the world!! As I said it’s hard to convey my personality through words, I like to have fun and that’s basically it. I believe that any situation can be made enjoyable through the use of a creative mind. Peace.

Bring Action Against Police Abuses

Kerly Suffren

S

o many individuals deserve changes but they hardly put in the effort to bring abut such demands. Many fantasize of the perfect world, a world of equal opportunities, facilities and rights for all, but every so often we are again reminded of the harsh reality of today’s non-perfect world – a world that denies such equal treatment, a world of hate and racism along with constant abuse on the minority communities. .

It’s respectable to say that our social status has improved since the days of slavery. Today, our communities strive and hunger for more respect. We desire our rights and opportunities. This community demands equal treatment, job opportunities and most of all we demand respect. In our hearts we strive to be understood. We cry out to be heard and pray that our fantasies come true. 

The United State’s society is one that is considered to be highly respected. A society which is considered to be a role model to the rest of the world. We just can’t afford to have such incidents take place, such as the one that took place on August 9th at 4 am after an outing at Brooklyn’s Club Rendezvous. A young black male was violated by the police. He was later beaten and humiliated in the precinct by being stripped of his clothes and later to have a stick forced up is rectum by officers. 

Such incidents and crimes are simply not tolerated by any community. This crime is a humiliation to our society, a humiliation to our world. These officers, the officers we pay to keep us safe, the ones we are supposed to feel secure around, are now the ones who we encounter and ask “Is this going to happen to me?” 

These crimes, though many go on unreported, are the ones we should take action against. It is embarrassing to the black community, as well as the white. These officers hold the title “New York’s Finest”. Why don’t they live up to the title? We can’t afford to have “New York’s Finest” committing the worst crimes. It’s simply unacceptable, and many others would agree. We just can’t tolerate it. 

No One Wants to Hear Me

Peterson Metellus

No one wants to hear me.
No one wants to see my tears 
when I cry
in vain, calling for
help.

You do your best
trying to stay alive 
in this horrible world 
where there is violence and crack bottles every step you take. 

When I pray to God at night, 
I say to him, 
“I’m ready to go. 
I’m ready for you to take 
my soul.”

And yet, I wake up each morning and realize I’m still here. 
That’s how I know that 
I am in this world 
to complete something. 

Something that’s taking too long. 
As each day goes by, 
I realize 
it’s my destiny, 
but what? 

I can’t act like myself 
in the streets 
because I have to keep it real. 
What the hell does that mean? 
My definition of keeping it real is getting a college diploma, taking care of my family and being a leader for tomorrow. 

But still, 

No one wants to hear me.
No one wants to see my tears 
when I cry
in vain, calling for
help.

This world has buried my thoughts 
and feelings 
deep into the earth’s core. 
I can only keep it 
to myself. 

They say you have freedom of speech, but that is all bullshit. 
Once you start to speak out 
they kill you or act like 
they don’t know anything. 

They have enslaved, 
whipped and killed my ancestors for years. 

They try to perish my history 
by giving me the wrong lessons 
and saying that 
we are all equal. 
Yeah, right. 

I’m calling for help 
and hope 
that’s something 
this world hasn’t 
forgotten. 

“Why 
can’t 

be 
heard? 

Why?”

Evolution

by Danya Steele

Passion is a bold bastard.  Beliefs are even worse.  Oh just FORGET about “Innovation” or “Creativity.”  They’re all evil.  They’re all audacious bastards intent on grabbing hold of the human heart, forcing it to beat deeper and even stronger with each enduring pulse.  Yeah that’s it– a bunch of instigators with the NERVE to inspire young NYC teens into believing that they actually have a legitimate place and power in this world.  Passion, Innovation, Creativity, and Beliefs.  What IS this?  Who gave THEM the right to motivate and empower young people to yearnfor growth?  YEARNING for growth?  This is outrageous.  Those bastards!     

Well…sorry to tell you, but here at HarlemLive, we believe in that bastard.  We embrace the strength of having a passionate belief system, we grow through innovation, and we ARE creativity.  WE ARE HARLEMLIVE; the hottest online youth magazine, created, edited, and produced by teens of NYC.        

With that said, it’s only obvious and inevitable for us to include those very facets — passion, innovation, creativity, and a strong belief system — into our everyday production.  Constant inspiration and motivation is integral to our business of creative play.  Stagnant-ism is unattractive to the long term philosophy of HarlemLive’s future. We are prolific.  We are maturing.  This upsurge of growth is within us all. Therefore, it’s only NATURAL for us to want to progress, grow, and elevate to “The next level.”

That next level…is here. HarlemLive is going VIRTUAL…almost.  In previous years, HarlemLive has met and produced out of a small … but manageable space inside of 1330 5th avenue [W. 111th St.] in Harlem.  The space wasn’t horribly difficult to work with; you could take a short-winded stretch here and there…maybe inhale a few oxygen molecules without coughing…it was…manageable.  However recently, HarlemLive, an Internetpublication, has been relocated into a completely different space — drastically confined and equipped with limited and/or nonexistent Internet access.  This is an INTERNET publication; the pure logic is dwindling.

As a multi-award winning news publication, HarlemLive’s resources are commonly overestimated.  We’re assumed to have the of any resource deemed logically fit for a publication of our caliber, but that is but only…an assumption.  Our resources are quite limited as we’ve become masters of squeezing $1.50 out of a dollar. Ironically, HarlemLive has accomplished more than what many other organizations with less of a limited resource, only dream of doing.      

Now dream this.  A designated time, place, and world where every staff member of HarlemLive delves into the surreal, conjuring up the very essence of radical creativity and innovation, fueled by the active exchange of inspiration and ideas faster than the speed of DSL.   A virtual world where all of us here at HarlemLive get together to sculpt, build, and improve the quality of HarlemLive.org, the Internet publication that we’re all so dedicated to bringing onto the bright computer screens of our readers.  As opposed to getting into futile tuffs over square tiles or issues of drastically confined space, HarlemLive is flying into the unconfined.  We are now bringing you this online youth magazine from designated bases all over New York City–our homes.  That’s versatility. 

     We’ll be producing, editing, creating, laughing, and learning online. Designated staff members have been sent home with HarlemLive equipment, ranging from MAC PCs, IBooks, to digital cameras, conditioned to only two things:  creativity and responsibility.  A goal for everyone included in this new “Digital Dash” project is to equip every HarlemLive student with DSL Internet.  Students are allowed to maintain the equipment as long as they continue to assertively put forth effort into the HarlemLive program, attend meetings, go on stories, and so on. In any event that a HarlemLive staff member refuses or fails to keep up with their part of the “Digital Dash,” equipment is reclaimed, followed by a pending suspension until further notice. But who would want to do that anyway? This is literally, a VIRTUAL REALITY, with staff members who will combine minds and equipment, both online and offline, fundamentally networking at the speed of light…all the while being granted the simple yet powerful freedom to do whatever it is they deem fit for HarlemLive production and growth. This is too good. The “completely different space” that HarlemLive has been relocated to, will now be used as storage space for library books, or a small conference room in any case that students need to meet on a more personalized one-to-one basis. 

The mere focus and concentration that goes into work when it’s accompanied by a minimized level of distraction, is enough to propel HarlemLive to even greater heights of success. The usual environment of HarlemLive is similar to any newsroom; there’s constant motion, action, and talking going on.  We’re teenagers; there’s even the idle chat factor that can slow down production.  Not anymore.  Upon entering the “virtual reality” world that we’re now creating amongst ourselves, chatting is done…with a purpose.  You’re scheduling, you’re producing, you’re directing, you’re learning, you’re growing.  This is HOT! 

So yeah…ok…I’ll admit it.  As much as we can’t stand those bastards — passion, innovation, creativity, and beliefs — we’re using them, and holding them tightly as the thread to our foundation.  As a disregard for futile quarrels over insufficient “space,” we’re innovatively creating an unlimited space, a space that cannot be minimized because it is infinite. Essentially, it is a space within the mind… a precious, warm, and exorbitant area of existence where only your own inhibitions or lack of motivation can hinder your progression.  It’s from deep within this space that we plan to bring you an even better HarlemLive, packed with better content, faster production, and a new sense of focus and direction that we’ve yet to show you.  So when you notice a difference…that’s why. It’s because of those damn bastards…those instigators…infiltrating our minds and hearts, with the audacity and boldness to inspire, motivate, and pull us to become an even better HarlemLive than we’ve ever been before.  So yeah we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves.  Damnit!!!  We have the NERVE to be free. Passion is a bold bastard.

AOL Time Warner Paves The Way For HarlemLive

by Jonathan Kui 

First, HarlemLive would like to thank AOL Time Warner for their generosity. After receiving a 25,000 grant from AOL Time Warner , staff members of HarlemLive paid a visit to AOL Time Warner’s representatives. Throughout the day, we prepared our arguments for why HarlemLive was a wise investment, and our supervisor, Richard Calton, reassured us of our positions within the meeting. Although Rich guaranteed he wouldn’t say much at the meeting, he seemed to be the most nervous/talkative out of everyone.

After the initial anxiety and awkwardness, the crew relaxed. Everybody did their part and it went just as planned, if not better. The representatives were surprisingly “down to earth” and their personality helped us feel at ease. It was up to the AOL Time Warner representatives to pave the way for us. We entered knowing where we were coming from, and we left knowing where we were going; conclusively, we left knowing a little bit of our future.

All in all, the meeting was a success. HarlemLive left with a better knowledge of what to do in the future, and AOL Time Warner left with a better understanding of HarlemLive. We reassured the representatives they made a wise choice in teaming up with a media organization like HL. From now, we can only grow and get better with AOL Time Warner’s assistance.