Monday, March 30, 2015

Lady Spartan Lacrosse Team Opens Season with Tough Loss

By Samantha Burden

On March 21, I attended the Lady Spartan Lacrosse home opening game against Dowling College. The Lady Spartan Lacrosse team came out strong following a turn around season in 2014. The Women’s Lacrosse team has made tremendous improvements throughout the past three years, ranking from one of the last place teams in the conference to now being predicted in the ECC preseason polls to be ranked third in the conference and one of the best in the league.

Despite facing one of their toughest opponents all year, Dowling College, the Women’s Lacrosse team emerged onto the field displaying confidence and excitement. Despite a hard effort, the Spartans fell behind to a 3-0 deficit in the first half but a late goal by Senior Genevieve Stickney ended the half with a score of 3-1.

The team came out in the second half with more intensity than in the first; freshman Caroline Finnen opened it up with a goal, assisted by Sam Lowney. The game was tied 5-5 at the 26-minute mark of the game. Both teams continued to battle and the Spartans showed great resilience and team play that allowed them to stay in the game with Dowling. In addition to a strong offense, the defense also played strong, lead by Junior Alyson Brennan.

However, the Dowling Golden Lions fought a little harder and scored the next four goals to extend a widening lead.  The Spartans lost by the score of 10-7 in a hard fought game. Despite losing, the Spartans proved that they can hang with the top teams. They will play again on Wednesday, away at Mercy College.

Blind with Dog Loving New York City

By Jasmin Robertson

For Brandy Pinder, moving to New York meant independence and a brand new life. It meant she could start over in a place where nobody knew her and make something of herself. For many people, these are reasons to stay put, but Brandy took it as an opportunity.

Brandy Pinder is a 28-year-old blind woman, who made the trip from sunny California to New York City in 2009. She lost her sight at eight years old to rheumatoid juvenile arthritis after it spread to her eyes. Even though she no longer had her sight, it did not stop her from accomplishing so many goals.

Brandy attended West Virginia University from 2003 to 2007. She graduated with a degree in early childhood development. In 2009, she visited New York for the first time to attend Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and get her first guide, Noel. During the final week of training, the students took a trip in to Queens for some intense training.  While walking through the busy streets of Flushing, Brandy found the city to be a dream.

“As a blind girl growing up in California and West Virginia I was used to having people drive me around because everything was so far and there were no sidewalks. To come to a place where every other step was a store or restaurant made me feel like this is where I should be,” she said.

After graduating from GDF, Brandy went back to California to see if travel would become easier. Not long after getting back home she received a call from an instructor, who told her his uncle had an apartment in Queens that he would let her rent for $500. Needless to say, she made the move.

Q: Were you scared at all to move?

A: Now that I think about it, what I did was absolutely terrifying. At the time I was not scared, though.

Q: The transportation here is confusing, even I get lost sometimes. How did you do it?

A: Even more terrifying, I looked up buses on line, found the stops, and got on. But at one point, Noel got sick so I started taking Access A Ride for a bit.

Q: So on these adventures did you ever get lost?

A: OH, totally. One time I was at the animal hospital on 62nd Street trying to find the F train on 63 and Lexington, and ended up on FDR Drive.

Q: So you didn’t know a soul out here. What did you do?

A: I always wanted to do massage therapy, so I looked into the Swedish Institute. I got certified in 2011.

Q: If I know you correctly, I know you did not just sit in the house. What on earth did you do to meet people?

A: Ok, so I was the crazy blind chick that just went into bars and restaurants and sat with strangers.

Q: No!

A: Totally! Would I do that today? No way! But then I found Guide Dog Users of New York. I Went to some meetings and started making friends like a normal human. Also, sometimes some friends from Cali would come over and we’d go to Times Square and stuff.

Q: Shopping. How did you do that out here?

A: I would just walk in and ask for some help. That was when I would shop for clothes. When I did grocery shopping, I spent a lot of money on taxis. Then I discovered the miracle of Peapod and Key Food delivery. God, did that make life easier.

Q: Before I let you go, what was one experience you can’t forget after moving here?

A: I was waiting at the bus stop to go to Belleview Hospital to take care of some business with HRA, when a man grabs my arm and starts making out with it. I was like, what the hell?

Brandy is currently employed at a massage parlor in the Bronx, New York. She has been working there since 2011 and wouldn’t have it any other way. She is hoping to become co-owner of the small establishment one day. The girl has a lot of guts and I am proud to say she’s my friend.

Skidding Off a Ski Trail and Hoping for Help

By Ashley Liporace

Imagine. You are on a ski trip with your father. You just started to go down the mountain. Fun, right? Now you are heading towards the side of the mountain off the trail. Scared yet? What happens if you add in falling? You see the top of the hill where other skiers are and you are yelling for help.  Now you are scared. This frightful event happened to now-twenty-year old Michael Koick three years ago. He recalled this memorable moment for me on Saturday, February 28.

Ashley Liporace: What happened?

Michael Kocik: I was at Hunter Mountain on the Way Out Trail and I fell off the side of the trail.

AL: Did you hit something to make you fall?

MK:  Yes, I hit a patch of ice and it was too late for me to dig into it. So I went straight off the trail, down where no one could see me.

AL: Dig into the ice, what is that exactly?

MK: It is where you try to slow down on skies when you hit ice.

AL: What happened after you realized you were heading to the edge of the trail?

MK: I did not have time to process what was going to happen next. I do not remember the fall either; I think my mind blacked it out.

AL: What do you remember?

MK: I was laying there, my leg hurting, I thought I broke it. Then I looked up the side of the trail and I yelled for help. My dad passed by and I yelled louder and he did not even stop. I blame his head phones that he had plugged in.

AL: Obviously someone found you, but do you know how long it was?

MK: Well, it was not my dad, that’s for sure. (slight laugh) A couple found me and I got to ride down the hill on the sled, it was somewhat fun. They took me to the medical hut.

AL: Did they find anything wrong, like a concussion or a broken leg?

MK:  No, I was perfectly fine. I was bit sore from the fall. One of my skies was missing. If I did not have my helmet or goggles on, who knows what would have happened. There were all these brown scrape marks from the wooden fence that I apparently went through, it was small, and some yellow and orange from my skis. Not to mention, on my goggles there was a huge line going from one end to the other.

The weirdest part was that when me and my dad were heading up to hill on the chair lift, we were talking about one of our friends having to ride down the hill on the sled to the medical hut. It was just plain wired that I ended up having to ride down one only a short time later.

AL: Did you learn anything from this experience that you would want others to remember?

MK: Oh, I learned a lot. (Slight laugh) For starts, when your parent says take the hill slow, take the hill slow; they know when you’re tired a lot more than you know you are. Also, never let my dad put on music when he skis. But the most important thing is that you should always wear your helmet and goggles. It can save you from a lot of trouble.

Street Beat of "Stomp" Celebrates 20 Years in NYC

By Ashley Liporace

The lights go down. The spotlights go on. A man enters sweeping the floor on the stage. A small beat begins from the broom and his feet. Another person enters and sweeps along with the man, keeping the same beat. In the next few moments the stage is full of men and a few women creating a beat with brooms, their feet on the floor and with each other. “Stomp” has just begun.

It originally started in the United Kingdom in 1981 as a street comedy band.  It entered stage in 1991 with Steve McNicholas and Luck Cresswell as its creators. London’s Bloomsbury Theatre was “Stomp”’s original home theater, where it received awards from Critic’s Choice and the Daily Express’ “Best of the Fringe” award. For the next three years, “Stomp” would travel around the world from Hong Kong to Barcelona, from Dublin to Sydney. Each show was sold out.

In 1994, “Stomp” found a home at the Orpheum Theater in New York City. In a few short months “Stomp”’s first American was cast as a new member of “Stomp,” the following year two more Americans were cast as members. New York City is not the only city in the United States to house the world famous music comedy. San Francisco, California, received its own “Stomp” in 2000. “Stomp” has won many of awards. Millions of eyes have watched and enjoyed these performances.

“Stomp” is currently an off Broadway play celebrating its twentieth anniversary at the Orpheum Theater in the East Village. The cast members are trained musicians, but the show is not just about playing a guitar or piano. In fact, there are no real instruments on set, instead brooms, match boxes, hands, feet, kitchen pots, lighters, and even oil barrels, are used to make the music.

On Sunday, March eighth, the theater was near full house.  The crowd was a mixture of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.  As you look around the room, heads are bobbing to the beat. Unlike other plays, the cast interacts with its audience.  Multiple music numbers where the audience repeats after the cast with clapping, stomping, and snapping fingers gets everyone excited. There is a bit of silent comedy to it. Cast members Alan Asuncion and Jesse Armerbing bring the comedy to life. Alan is the newbie to the group and is considerably shorter and smaller than the other members. There are moments where the other members will get at him or where he tries to act tougher than those who are taller than himself.

Each audience is different; no two shows are the same so there might be some comedy from the audience and the reaction from the cast members.  At the show on March eighth, one child’s laugh was so loud and funny that the audience and cast members could not help but laugh with the child. Another moment during the show an audience member in the front row got up to use the bathroom. The cast members played along with the gentleman and even cracked a few smiles and laughs.  On a given day, the show is unpredictable. The current cast of “Stomp” at the Orpheum blows their audience away with their musical talent.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cold War: Blackhawks vs. Flyers

By Dylan Bestler

It was a Wednesday night rivalry between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. But when these two teams square off, the love is hard to find.

The Blackhawks and Flyers have some history between them. In 2010, the Blackhawks defeated the Flyers in the Stanley Cup in game six on a goal in overtime that mysteriously got past Flyer goaltender Michael Leighton. Even though that was almost five years ago and the Flyers are almost mathematically out of the playoffs, they want to take advantage of every chance they can to get some vengeance on the team from Chicago.

This was a special game for both teams because of one player by the name of Kimmo Timonen. He was a defenseman who played for the Flyers for the past seven years but was just recently traded to the Blackhawks on February 27. This was his first time back in Philly, so the Flyers honored him with a video tribute in the first period. He gave his salute to the fans and the game began.

Seven minutes into the period, Flyer forward Wayne Simmonds gave them the early lead as he beat Blackhawk goaltender Corey Crawford high to the glove side on a nice pass from line mate Matt Read. This goal set the tempo for the Flyers as they never missed a beat the rest of the game.

In the second period, it was all Flyers as they scored two deflection goals; one by Ryan White on a shot from Carlo Colaiacovo, and one by captain Claude Giroux on a pass from Jakub Vorachek. Steve Mason was unbelievable in net for the Flyers, stopping the Blackhawks first 25 shots. Crawford was also playing well for the Blackhawks, stopping 19 of 22 shots.

The third period started off nice for Chicago as they got an early power-play on a high stick from Colaiacovo. The Blackhawks capitalized on the Flyers mistake as they scored on the power-play. Andrew Shaw got the goal. This gave the Blackhawks some life but Mason didn’t crack. He shut them out the rest of the game and with an extra Flyer goal by Michael Raffl, the Flyers took the game 4-1.

Kimmo Timonen was the third star of the game so he got to come out on the Philly ice one last time in his career. This will most likely be his last year in the NHL due to his age (40) and his bad knees. Timonen was respected by all the players and fans. The NHL will miss his presence on and off the ice.

Wizards of Winter

By Christopher Silva

The day was Sunday, December thirteenth and the location the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The event that I and my uncles have shown up for is a group called The Wizards of Winter. This group is comprised of some original members, while certain musicians are from a group called Trans Siberian Orchestra.

“This 11-man ensemble blends their heavy metal, progressive rock vibe with the heartwarming sounds of the season,” says a quote on the venue’s website to promote the group’s show. We had entered ten minutes late, so the show had already started as we were walking in. Standing in the lobby as we got our drinks, the lights were low and we could hear the band already performing behind the big wooden doors. From the back, the music was booming through the playhouse, which appeared as if at max could possibly fit three hundred people.

As we neared our seats, which were third row center, it was clear that these musicians were ready to put on a great show. As I stated earlier, some of these musicians were from the group Trans Siberian Orchestra; some of the songs they covered were: “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo,” “Mad Russian,” “Christmas in the Air,” “Old City Bar,” and “Queen of the Winter Night.” They also performed songs from their own rock opera "Tales Beneath A Northern Star." The sound in the playhouse was amazing and as the music played everyone stayed silent as they watched and listened.

To go with their music, they prepared parts to be spoken by narrators in between songs. This concept worked so well that the audience felt as if we were transported to the setting of the story that was being told. Only a couple of weeks before Christmas, in this show the spirit of the holiday was there. The music was great and left everyone in an excessively good mood. However, it was not just all Christmas music; they also decided to do a few covers of well known songs.

The first song they covered was Joe Cocker’s rendition of the Beatles classic “With a Little Help From My Friends.” The second song that they covered was “Kashmir” by Led Zepplin and the final song they covered was “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who. This selection of cover songs showed us not only a taste of what inspires their music, but possibly where this group got its start from. They had a great stage presence, often engaging with the whole audience, not just the front rows. They accomplished this by occasionally going through the aisles continuing to perform their music. At the end of the show the group, all eleven of them, stayed in the lobby for over an hour so that excited fans could get autographs as well as photos
The show was more than worth the price of admission, which was only thirty five dollars. The show lasted for over an hour and a half and the sound quality was impressive; every note played was clear and distinguishable. While this group might not be known anywhere near as well as the group certain members originate from, the Wizards Of Winter were definitely well practiced and had writing skills to match.

A Concert to Remember

By Nicolette Danzy

Webster Hall was packed March 24, 2014. The up and coming R&B sensation Sam Smith was performing for a crowd of eager girls awaiting to see his talents on stage and not through YouTube. The East Village concert hall is on the 3rd floor and the stage stood high off the ground. You could see people moving to their balcony seats from the ground level Maggie, Briana, and I stood at. Although the concert hadn’t started, it was dimly lit to set the mood.

“It was one of the best concerts that I have been to by far,” said Maggie, a STAC alumni who accompanied me and my cousin Briana to the concert. “I didn’t hear of him till you showed us that song ‘Latch.’ So I downloaded his EP and which I first listened to on our way here so I would know the songs a little to sing along to.”

Dev Hynes, also known as Blood Orange, opened the show with his 80’s R&B vibes, bringing almost a Prince vibe to the concert hall. The singer has produced and written songs with singers Solange Knowls, Tinashe, Sky Ferreia, and more. He performed his new songs “Chamakay”, “It Is What It Is”, “You’re Not Good Enough” and many more. He even brought out his own guest singer.

“When he sang ‘Chamakay’ I fell in love,” said Briana Moore, STAC alumni. “It was beautiful. He was beautiful.”

The 22-year-old Brit sang his songs from the Nirvana EP, “Safe With Me”, “I’ve Told You Now” , “Money On My Mind” , “Together”, “Nirvana” and even performed the new song “Stay With Me.” The Grammy Award winner also performed his number one hit song “Latch” in an acoustic version that set the audience in a trance. 

“Just the fact that we were there listening to him before the awards, before his first album, before he was this famous, is what makes that day so memorable. The tickets were only $30, now he has sell out shows that probably start at like $75 for the worst nose bleed seats ever,” said Maggie.

Fans from all boroughs attended the show, and sang along to the ballads of Sam Smith. The atmosphere at the hall was undeniably breath taking.

“When he performed ‘Latch’ the acoustic version, the whole place started singing along. That song really brought him up,” said Maggie. “That song, ‘Nirvana’ and ‘Stay With Me’ were the best. It’s funny how that song got so popular and we heard it before it was even released. I remember he told us it was new and that we had to let him know if we liked it. I’m sure we all loved it, how could anybody not. His voice is so soft and sweet, I loved it. It was definitely a night to remember.”

Needless to say, Sam Smith was just as amazing as he is now.

St. Patty's Day Parade Turns Main Street Glorious

By Nicolette Danzy

Hues of green were in every direction. There was singing, dancing and joyful cheering as the floats made their way down a glittery gold Main Street. It almost looked like a scene from the Wizard of OZ, with the amount of little kids running wild it was as if I had entered Munchkinland. The Bay Shore St. Patrick’s Day Parade was as glorious as always.

On Saturday, March 14, Bay Shore held its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Although it was raining and the clouds made the sky look as if it were about to cave in, the show still went on and the crowd was still there. Kids running for beads in their galoshes and frantic parents running after them so they would not fall could be seen from the start of the parade on Union Blvd heading west towards the end of Main Street.

“Every year we take the kids to the parade,” said Sonnett Shirley, a mother of three and Bay Shore resident of 22 years. “They love it. The youngest one just turned 1 so this is her first time and as you can see she is in a trance. As for the other two I can’t seem to keep them still. Going to the parade has become a family tradition.”

All the restaurants on Main Street had out their tents and chairs and there store doors open for the soaking crowds to come inside and grab a bite before trekking back into the rain. Milk and Sugar Café was my choice to stay in to dry off a little bit because of their amazing hot chocolate.

“The best part of the parade is the amount of people we get,” said Allison McCormick, a server at the café. “We make the most in tips today and days of other parades.”

But one place that was packed as always on the morning of, during and after the parade, and also everyone’s favorite bar in town is TJ Finnelys. Due to my age I could not get inside to enjoy the fun drinking games and the Irish karaoke contest they had going on, but I could definitely tell from the stumbling bodies that walked out the door that the events inside were lively.

“It was awesome, I can’t wait to drink some more,” said Shawn Hayes, a repeat parade attendee. “The Nutty Irishman is our next stop.”  Both bars had an array of people going in and stumbling out in nothing but sheer happiness and joy. And a  new bar that just opened, Changing Times, got its first taste of the St. Patty’s madness in Bay Shore.

Appearances in the parade were made by The Bay Shore Fire Department, The YMCA, Thomas O’Shaughnessy Pipe Band, US Navy Band, Bay Shore High School, Bay Shore Lions Club, The Hibernian Festival Singers, the parade clowns, and many more. But besides the parade the most gathered and nicest event for the day was the Parade Mass, which was held at St. Patrick’s Church on Clinton Ave.

“The church mass was so nice before the parade. It gathered all the people up to really start the joy is going to last all day,” said Josephine Demarco, 88 year old. “The parade part is really for the younger people, I like to watch for a little bit because the floats are so fun to look at. I can’t wait till next year to see what else they are going to do.”

Spartan Hoopsters Drop a Close ECC Championship Game

By Dylan Bestler

On Sunday, March 8, the St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans took on the Bridgeport Purple Knights for the East Coast Conference basketball championship at LIU Post. The East Coast Conference consists of eleven colleges: Bridgeport, Daemen, District of Columbia, Dowling, LIU Post, Mercy, Molloy, NYIT, Queens, Roberts Wesleyan and St. Thomas Aquinas. STAC was the first seed coming out of the regular season, with a conference record of 17-3. Bridgeport also had a conference record of 17-3, so the fans knew before the opening tip-off that they were in store for a great game.

The Spartans started off the first half slow, at one point trailing 16-4, with the Purple Knights led by Bridgeport’s Jesse Jones, who had five of those points. But the Spartans were not out of this game. Towards the end of the half, it seemed as though STAC freshman James Mitchell couldn’t miss a shot, hitting 14 points. He pumped up the team as well as the crowd with eight straight points. At half-time, the Spartans made it a three-point game. The score was 37-34 in favor of the Purple Knights.

The Spartans came out hot in the second half. Led by STAC freshman Justin Reyes, the Spartans were up 71-64 with five minutes left in the game. Reyes was the top player for the Spartans, having 22 points and 17 rebounds when the game was over. Most people thought the game was over at that point and the championship was going to STAC, but as Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra once said “It ain’t over, til it’s over.”

The Purple Knights began their comeback, as Jesse Jones made five points in the Purple Knight’s seven point run with a layup and a 3-pointer. This made the game 74-73, Bridgeport. This is where the game got really intense. With 21 seconds left and the score 78-76 in favor of Bridgeport, STAC sophomore Chas Walter goes up for a layup and makes it. He fell to the ground and the ref called a foul. The Spartans fans were going ballistic. They thought the game was tied up and Walter was going to the foul line for an extra shot to take the lead back. But the foul was on Walter so the point didn’t count and Bridgeport still had a two point lead.

That was all she wrote for the ECC championship game. The final score, 82-78 in favor of Bridgeport, winning their third straight ECC title. Bridgeport senior Willie Williams III was named the championship game's Most Outstanding Player, with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Bridgeport will now be entered into the NCAA National Tournament with this win. It was a sad day for the Spartans, especially for seniors Marcus Henderson, Alushula Odongo and Jonathon McNair, who all played their final game wearing the STAC jersey. Still, it was a great season and a great game. The whole STAC community should be proud of what this team has accomplished.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Travis Scott Draws a Big Saturday Night Crowd

By Michael DeMartino
This past weekend I went to a music concert that was held in a club called Webster Hall.  The club is located in New York City near the West Side Highway, the concert was a sold out show. There was an estimate of 1,500 people of all ages, mostly teens and the show was set to begin at eight pm on Saturday night. Travis Scott is a up and coming rap artist who is affiliated with some of the biggest names in the hip-hop industry, such as Sean “Diddy” Combs.

When the concert began the entire club was dark, it was very hot and everyone in the audience was going crazy. The music began and the light show was off to an amazing beginning of the night. The rapper came out from behind the stage out of a cloud of smoke. He entered onto the stage singing one of his top songs “Mamacita.” The crowd went wild, the entire club felt like a tornado hit it. The floor began to shake and the artist began a show of a life time. The crowd was so crazy and the way Travis Scott was performing was insane. There was water being thrown all over the crowd, the girls were dancing like it was the best night of their lives.

Travis Scott then had some special guest appearances, there were so many performers on the stage it had the crowd going wild. Towards the end of the night I saw a couple of kids who must of partied too hard. On the way out of the concert there was one kid passed out on the floor, and about three other kids being taken care of by paramedics. Overall, it was a great concert to attend and was a very successful night.

Niagara Falls, Canada: A Fabulous Experience

By Jenna Hutchins

The captivating scene of the crystallized Niagara Falls during the winter months can be compared to no other. A brief stroll down the length of the falls will spray onlookers with a cool mist from the natural wonder and provide tourists with a memorable experience. Best seen from the Canadian side of this international attraction, Niagara Falls on the Ontario side is a great choice for your next travel excursion.

The Falls itself is alluring, but so is the nightlife in the area. Everything you could imagine for the perfect vacation is all within walking distance from the falls. The Fallsview Casino Resort has the glitz and glam of an American casino with one main difference--a currency exchange in your favor. Every U.S. dollar you convert yields a greater amount in Canadian dollars, thus leaving you with more money to play the tables and slots. Even if you have no desire to gamble, the casino is still the place to exchange American currency for Canadian currency with the best rate possible, much better than a hotel or bank.

Just steps outside the casino is the main strip through town, with some of the best restaurants you will not just eat at, but experience. The Keg, located on the ninth floor of Embassy Suites, provides diners with an amazing view of the falls, day or night. This expensive steakhouse is made affordable through meal vouchers given out by most hotels in the area, and be sure to ask your server to seat your party near the window.

Perhaps the most magnificent views of Niagara Falls can be found within the Skylon Tower. This tower features an amazing 360 degree observation deck and a revolving dining room. Any meal you order from this unique restaurant will be one of the best meals you will ever have, and the panoramic views of the city are unparalleled. Make sure to purchase a Groupon for dinner to apply a huge discount to your meal, and order a drink that comes with a complimentary Tower Glass!

Groupon will not let you down for other attractions in the area. First off, book your hotel through Groupon to get great deals on fantastic rooms with a view. Second, check out deals for Bodies Revealed, the “fascinating and real” exhibition that uses actual preserved human bodies to educate and inspire viewers about the complexity of the human form. Lastly, check the site for local deals on wine tastings. While some hotels may offer vouchers for wine touring packages, Groupon can be a great tool to use for a wider selection.

Regardless of how you pay for the experience, the most important point is to take it. Explore the smaller towns on the lake and drive just twenty minutes to wine country for a perfect day out. No matter which winery you choose to visit, save a taste for one of Canada’s delicious ice wines that pair perfectly with any dessert and take some home as a souvenir.

While touring the great Niagara Falls region, you may be tempted to buy knick-knacks to commemorate your travel. The best way to make the most of your money is to wait until you are leaving Canada and stop at the Duty Free shop. If you take the Peace Bridge home instead of the Rainbow Bridge, you will come across “the largest Duty Free shop in North America.” You can buy the same things you saw at the various shops in town here for much cheaper, allowing you to buy more and have a better selection. Especially when buying wines, wait until you arrive at the Duty Free shop to buy the same exact wine you tasted at an incredibly reduced price.

With an amazing array of things to do and great discounts, make Niagara Falls, Ontario your next travel destination. The falls are a natural beauty and there are so many ways to view them, up close and personal and from amazing heights. Book your hotel, grab a passport, and head up to see the fabulous frozen falls!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

“On the 20th Century” Opens to a 21st Century Audience

By Lyndsay Borko
After 37 years collecting dust, “On the 20th Century” once again makes its way to a stage on the Great White Way.
A starry cast including Kristin Chenoweth, Peter Gallagher, Andy Karl, and Mark Linn-Baker breathes new life into an aging musical. The comedy, previously staged on Broadway in 1978, is set in the 1930's aboard the luxury train “The 20th Century,” heading from Chicago to New York. During the sixteen-hour trip, a washed up Broadway producer tries to convince a famous actress to star in his non-existent musical about Mary Magdalene to save his career.

After three years in the making (and multiple setbacks), the revived show finally celebrated its official opening night at the American Airlines Theatre on 42nd Street. Previews began a day late due to lack of technical rehearsals on account of January 27th's blizzard, followed by a delayed official opening due to Peter Gallagher's recurring sinus infection.
Despite the official press night being pushed back from March 12 to March 15, the cast, crew, and audience celebrated the opening on the original date. This marked a return to Broadway for both of the lead actors, who had been largely confined to television screens in recent years. It appears to be a smash to both audiences and critics alike. Laura Osnes, the star of Broadway shows such as “Grease” and “Cinderella,” called it “Brilliance,” after attending the premiere with her husband, and The New York Times said, “There are so many reasons to celebrate this ‘On the Twentieth Century!’” The glowing reviews continue to pour in after last night's event, including the New York Post, which proclaimed, “'On the Twentieth Century' is on track to score big at Tony Awards time! Buy your tickets before the train leaves the station!”
Having seen the show on Friday evening following its unofficial opening, I agree with the critics. This show has a score that can't be beat, phenomenal actors, beautiful costumes, incredible set design, and pure wit and heart. The energy radiating from the audience could be felt from my seat in the last row of the theatre. They don't write musicals like this anymore. Don't be the person who misses the train by not getting to see this performance during its limited twenty-week engagement. Though, if audiences react the same way that the critics have, there may be a chance of an extension for the show. This is a train I never want to leave the station.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

From Fan to Working for My Favorite Baseball Team

By Karina Maldonado

The New York Yankees is a prestigious baseball organization that has a reputation for winning.  When I was younger, my father taught me all the fundamentals of baseball.  Over time, I started to have a passion for the sport and for my beloved team, the Yankees.  During my adolescent years, I never thought I would ever work for my favorite baseball team.  At the time, I did not understand the behind the scenes work that goes into having a successful baseball organization.  I thought the Yankees were the baseball players who were on the field.  I finally realized it takes a small army for a whole franchise to work smoothly.  Once I found out the truth, I wanted to be a part of it.
The Yankees is a baseball team known worldwide.  I can only assume everyone wants to work for them.  I never thought in a million years I could be a part of a successful legacy.  I’m in my junior year of college now and the future is quickly approaching.  I have to start figuring out what I want to do for the rest of my life.  I know for a fact I want to work for a sports team, preferably in New York.  I am now in the process of looking for jobs/internships that can boost up my resume.  I sent my resume to several sports organizations around the tri-state area, hoping for at least an interview.  Finally, I received an interview with my beloved team, the Yankees.
I was extremely nervous going to the interview in Yankee Stadium.  Being able to just go to the ballpark without a game being played was mesmerizing.  The interview went well as I hoped, but life has no guarantees.  At first, I thought I did not get the job because I did not hear from them for months.  Over time, I accepted my rejection and kept on the job hunt.  Then one magical day, I received an email of congratulations.  I could not believe what I was reading.  The Yankees accepted me to work for them.  I became a Premium Service Host for the New York Yankees.
When I started doing the orientation process, I could not believe all the guidelines employees and ballplayers have to follow.  The Yankees expect nothing short of professionalism.  Even though their rules seemed intimidating, I was eager to learn and grow from the experience.  All of this can relate to media, because the organization wants to show they are perfect.  If we do not do our jobs correctly, it can lead to bad publicity.  Fans and news outlets are constantly looking at the organization.  This whole experience is showing me that everyone has an important job.  We all have to work together.
I officially start working this month and I am utterly excited.  I have the opportunity to network with important people and be around the game I love.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I am excited to see what lies next for my future.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Skeletons Found Under Paris Store

By Jasmin Robertson

In Paris, over 200 skeletons were found under Monoprix supermarket. The store was built on the site that was once a hospital cemetery. In early January the store was doing some renovations; a wall beneath the store was removed and revealed a gruesome sight. There under the store were hundreds of bones that belonged to hundreds of people.

The skeletons buried there were not tossed into the ground, but placed carefully head to toe so they all could fit. There were skeletons of men, women, and children alike.

The burial site was in use from the 12th century to the 17th century. The archeologists working on the site found 8 graves nearby just like the one beneath Monoprix supermarket. In seven of these graves there were 5 to 20 bodies each. In one grave about 150 more skeletons were discovered.

In the times in which the cemetery was used, Paris had a number of plagues and illnesses that most likely caused the deaths of those buried on that site. Among these illnesses was a smallpox breakout in the 17th century. It is believed that families were buried together in the smaller graves. When the cemetery was closed, most remains were moved to the Catacombs of Paris, archeologist Isobelle Abadie told BFM TV. “But apparently the job was not done well,” she said.

The finding of these remains gives researchers a chance to answer questions that may have been left unanswered. Maybe the illnesses they find can help provide information on other illnesses today that have no cure. Who knows what they will find. These remains may just be the answer.