Ryan O’Neil Edwards

Reporter Writer

(2000) Hi my name is Ryan-O’Neil Edwards, I’m a vocal major at LaGuardia High School of music & art & performing arts I’m 17 years old. I’m on my school’s track team for three years, in those three years I’ve won over five borough championships in the 300, 200 and 100 meter dash as well as the high jump, I placed second in the high jump for the city championship. I hope to lead a successful life as a music theory, history and voice teacher.

Eddie Aung

Editor in Chief (2002/2003)

(2002) I remember that moment. It was around 10 pm. I can even remember the exact date. March 22, 2000. I was near the window with my feet cold from 13 hours of flight. I peered out the window. All I could see first was the flickering lights under the gray clouds. I lost track of the lights for a while as the plane descended through the clouds. Then again I could see the lights again. But this time more clearly and vividly. That was my first time to see the beauty of New York from the sky. I went numb for a second and couldn’t believe that I was actually going to step foot on the city that the whole world is talking about. It was a new experience for me. My dad was waiting for us, my mom, my sister and I at the airport. I headed for the exit and walked through the first automatic door and I started to get excited. I stopped between the two sliding doors. I felt like I was on the border line; behind me was the old world and in front of me was the new world. I took a step and the automatic door opened and the chilling wind gushed in. I stepped outside the airport and took a deep breath. I didn’t know why but I stood there for a while. Along the ride from Newark to my new house, everything was new to me, especially the Verrazano Bridge. 

I’m from a country called Myanmar. Well it used to be Burma. Life there was ordinary. I woke up every morning and go to school. Come back from school and do what I had to do. Everything was good for me there except my future; I have good friends. However education system is corrupted and there is no freedom of speech. The education there does not encourage creative ideas and concepts. Everything goes by the book. And the future of a student’s education level depends on how much money he has. No political talks in school. No such thing as the discussion about the government between the teacher and the students and such things are considered illegal. If anyone dare tried, he will not be seen the next day. The school library has nothing except comic books. No Charles Dickens or Shakespeare. 

I’ve always wanted to be like those successful people who started out their lives from uncertain situations. I felt like I’m like them, having passed through the hard times and starting a new future in New York. That is where HarlemLive comes in. I take it as a nurturing ground for all teenagers who want to be successful in the future. Working at HarlemLive is a life changing experience for me. Now here I am. I now really know who I am. I am the kind of person who will get what he wants. The word “Impossible” is not in my dictionary. Let’s just say that I’m determined, inspired, and never give up until I win. Yep.., until I win. 

Not enough? Describe myself more? 

Oh,..sorry. Well,. I like writing, but not a writer in my heart. So what are you??? Well,..Let say I’m kind of a…..what’s that word? Oh… yeah, “Science Freak.” Yep, I love astrophysics; own all of Stephen Hawking’s books. I graduated from Beacon High School with honors in Science and Social Studies. Are you a ,.. Yes. Yes, I’m a straight A student. School ain’t that hard. Education is really important for me. That’s why I didn’t follow my family to Washington DC when they moved. Didn’t wanna be in a new school in senior year. Hey,… I’ve travel thousands of miles. I don’t feel like traveling anymore. I’m in the bowling and chess team in school. My dad taught me when I was like 7 how to play chess. No,.. I’ve never been a chess champion, but trying to be one. If you wanna know more about me, send me an e-mail.. “eddyniso@yahoo.com” 

Update 06/13/06

Wow,…what a ride. I can’t say how much I love this organization. Now, I’m back in New York after 2 years of absence. The 411 on me right now is that I have my own business working as a technology consultant. What will I be in 5 more years? I’m sure I’ll be doing something exciting. 

Eddie is now back in his native Myanmar creating businesses.

Check out what I did at HarlemLIVE!!!

New York City’s Finest

by Ryan Edwards

Photos by Eddie Aung

In 1648, New York City founded its first official fire-fighting department. Prior to this, fire fighting was strictly a volunteer service. Despite this change a long time ago , volunteer fire fighters still outnumber the paid. In the 353 years of the New York fire department, thousands of men and women have worked hard to save lives on a daily basis. I was lucky enough to interview one of them. Captain John Newell of the 58th Engine in East Harlem has been fighting fires for the last 20 years. Captain Newell, now 50 years old, attended Suffolk Community College, majoring in General Studies, but he always knew he wanted to be a fire fighter. Being the son of a volunteer fire fighter, Newell felt a special calling to the civil service. He began fighting fires at the 45th Engine in the Bronx.

In 1648, New York City founded its first official fire-fighting department. Prior to this, fire fighting was strictly a volunteer service. Despite this change a long time ago , volunteer fire fighters still outnumber the paid. In the 353 years of the New York fire department, thousands of men and women have worked hard to save lives on a daily basis. I was lucky enough to interview one of them. Captain John Newell of the 58th Engine in East Harlem has been fighting fires for the last 20 years. Captain Newell, now 50 years old, attended Suffolk Community College, majoring in General Studies, but he always knew he wanted to be a fire fighter. Being the son of a volunteer fire fighter, Newell felt a special calling to the civil service. He began fighting fires at the 45th Engine in the Bronx.

When I asked the Captain how he feels about his job, he answered “I love my job.Sometimes I drive my friends crazy talking about my work.” Even though Newell is ecstatic about fire fighting, he does not want his daughters in the same line of work. “It’s too dangerous,” says Newell. Newell told me about many close calls, including a time when he was in a building and his superior officer pulled him out seconds before the building collapsed. The test to become a firefighter is very different now from how it was in 1977(the year Captain Newell took the test). The old test started with a written portion, “Out of the 40,000 who took it, only 10,000 of us made it on to the physical part of the test, that’s how competitive it was ” boasts Newell. The physical portion of the test consisted of an obstacle course, a “bar hang” (similar to pull-ups, minus the pulling), and a mile run. The test that is given to today’s recruits is a lot different .” It’s more job related,” says Newell. Today’s test still consists of a written portion, but the physical section is different, including a hook test, (in which candidates have to throw up a hook that actual fire fighters use) .As another part of their test they have to carry a 140 lb dummy up and down stairs.

As much fun as his work is, Cpt. Newell does have a life outside of the firehouse. In his spare time he coaches his daughter’s softball team, and he also likes to boat and fish. Cpt. Newell showed me that fire fighting is not only rewarding, but also a fun and interesting line of work. In addition, Cpt. Newell made me realize that firefighters are an extremely important part of our society. We owe a lot to them, for they selflessly put their lives on the line to save ours, everyday. We should thank and honor Cpt. Newell and others like him.

Read more about fire relative stores and tips

• New York Fire Department

Aboulaye Ballo

Hello my name is Aboulaye Ballo. I am twelve years old. I was born in Ivory Coast of West Africa on August 1st. I go to the Broadway Center for the Arts and Academics (B.C.A.A) M.S 44 in 77th street. I like to play basketball. I am a real good basketball player. I have a jumper and I take it in easily. That’s not the only thing I am good at. I am a very good artist. I could draw anyone or any thing if I try very hard. I have only been here in the Harlem Live since Wednesday, October 16, 2002. I am the youngest of everybody in there. I live in an apartment building on 112th Street and St Nicholas Ave. I live with my mom, dad, sisters , and one brother. I live in a nuclear family, which is an family that contains brothers, sisters, mother, and father.