It’s been a few weeks since I talked to Scott Garibaldi about the litter situation on Duncan Avenue. I knew that the Department of Public Works had met with him after that blog post, and that they spoke with him about improving services. Checking in with him this evening, he said mostly what I had expected: “Even though things have gotten better, it is still not enough to keep up with the severity of the situation.”
Thinking about this persistent problem made me curious to do some research and talk to some people outside of Jersey City, outside the direct mix of personalities and particulars of our area, to hopefully get a fresh perspective on this problem. After all, litter is a issue everywhere; cities throughout the US have all come up with their own programs and ways of dealing with it.
Nobody gets a PhD in litter strategies (at least, no one I could find), but there are related fields. I found Dr. Rosemary Wakeman, the Coordinator of Urban Initiatives at Fordham University, through a friend who suggested I speak with her. And by way of an article about litter and what communities can do to help with it, I also found Justin Travis, who is a specialist in Industrial Organizational Psychology and instructor at several colleges/universities. Wakeman and I spoke via the phone; Travis and I emailed each other. Here’s what I found out from speaking with them.
In light of the daily debates taking place on social media and beyond about crime, drug use/abuse, and protests about police in inner cities, it’s nice when you see someone actually walking the walk behind the talk.
I’ve known Febo (though, virtually, not in person!) since 2013 through my college sorority network. (My sorority, Mu Sigma Upsilon has a brother fraternity (Lambda Sigma Upsilon), which Febo is part of.)
He founded Guazabera Insights in 2010 as a health and educational services provider whose mission is to raise social consciousness and uplift communities. They do this through the dissemination of cultural and social consciousness education in communities of need, while addressing the social issues that affect communities through organizing and action.
Most of the work is done in Jersey City, a large and diverse city right outside of Manhattan in which 52% of its population speak another language other than English in the home, and, in some wards, citizens still struggles with crime. The organization also provides employment and internship opportunities in Jersey City and Paterson, N.J.
Each weekend, Febo and others from Guazabera Insights hit the streets to educate the public on healthier lifestyles. He explains why in this video, which was shot recently while engaging with the public in Jersey City’s Journal Square.
But the work doesn’t stop on the streets. How about helping the incarcerated at Hudson County Correctional Center, which many wrongly assume are beyond change, with a reintegration program? Febo, a fantastic public speaker, does that, too, as illustrated in the video below.
You can watch a more comprehensive video of Guazabera Insights’ work at the Hudson County Correctional Center here.
A Brooklyn native, Febo graduated from the University at Buffalo with a master’s degree in Humanities Interdisciplinary: Caribbean Cultural Studies, studied in Havana, Cuba and Bahia, Brazil. His master’s thesis, “Sazón Batería y Soberanía: Puerto Rico in the Dance for Self-Determination,” is a documentary regarding Puerto Rican Sovereignty. He also attained a bachelor’s degree in Latino Studies, concentrating in history and politics.
He’s set to release his album Escape From Fat Cat City on Jan. 8, but has released a couple of tracks in the meantime for our listening pleasure.
Grab a free download and stream of new track “Strange” (yes, I thought of ‘People are Strange’ because I get some Jim Morrison vibes, idc idc) via Magnet, which calls the song “a moaning, drama-filled showstopper complete with xylophone solos.”
Our friends at CMJ premiered “Let it Go” (no, nothing to do with that Disney movie) in late November.
“… way in the back yelling and way in your face horn blurts toss you back and forth, with Hacha De Zola reigning it all in then letting it splay out again,” is how they describe it, and we tend to agree. Check out the video for “Let it Go” below. I won’t spoil it for you, but there are children’s party characters (?) in the story. And keep up with all things J Hacha De Zola on Twitter.
I moved out of Manhattan and into Jersey City two years ago, but in the first year, I only slept here. Since most of my friends live in New York, my social life was there, so I essentially treated Jersey City like a bedroom community.
This year, despite spending lots of time between Fair Lawn and Clifton, visiting my dad in the nursing home and my mom at her home, I decided to make an effort getting to know Jersey City a little better. At first, that meant actually hanging out at my neighborhood bar, something I rarely did when I lived in Washington Heights. (I was always downtown, which was silly.)
Then #JCTwitterDrinks happened (thanks to local artist and instructor at School of Visual Arts, Amy Wilson) and I met a community of cool people! And by following them on Twitter, I learned about The Jersey City Art & Studio Tour (#JCAST)– a citywide showcase of the arts, featuring nearly 1,000 participating artists in hundreds of venues that include private studios, galleries, local businesses, and pop-up and public spaces.
At the last minute, I decided to go for the bike tour (with the super cool folks from BikeJC) on late Saturday (Oct. 3) afternoon. Unfortunately, rain from Hurricane/Storm Joaquin marred those plans, but I decided to venture out on my own (on foot, thanks to all the bike parking in the Grove Street area) and see some art. Here’s a bit of what I saw:
The artist of this piece, BeelZan, is from Israel, and he is also a psychologist, who owns a counseling center for families, couples, children, and adolescents. It’s called Footprint. His show was hosted at Indiegrove, a super cool co-working space in the Grove Street area. If I was a freelancer, I’d rent space there.
I then headed over to LITM (great bar, btw) and caught “Thaw,” by artist Beth Achenbach. She explained the concept came to her when she watched frozen cherries thawing out. Pretty cool stuff.
Sadly I lost the above artist’s business card, but she had a very cool apartment, served great sangria, and is a professional lighting designer, so all of her art deals with light. Also, she’s a Las Vegas native. Wish I remembered her name!
I also met Ashley Pickett, a photographer who showcased some very cool photos she took in New York and Paris (sadly, I deleted the photos by mistake!), and also her late father’s art. Her dad, Paul Jansen, designed album covers for artists such as Jimi Hendrix!
I ended the night (far too late, of course!) by hitting JCAST after party at the super cool 660 Studios, where I met J Hacha de Zola (a musician) and saw Sunnyside Social Club perform. I also drank too much jaeger, but that’s another blog post! 😉
Yes, yes, snow can be quite pretty (especially when falling) but it also gets dangerous, and most of all, UGLY. I shot these in my neighborhood of Jersey City (the Heights) and New York City on Feb. 14. Bleergh. Hurry up, Spring!