The Conference House

After entering the front door of the beautiful brown brick home, which faces the water, you see a print on the wall to the right that illustrates the 9/11/1776 Peace Conference. I was greeted by John who was proudly sporting a Conference House shirt, who gave me a detailed description of the event. The room to my left was the Parlor and as John described it was the place where the 9/11/1776 Peace Conference took place. The Peace Conference was attended by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rutledge who all met with Lord Admiral Howe. Thus the name “conference house”. Stunning pieces set inside the room included a blue Queen Anne settee (love seat). To the right there is a Formal Dinning Room and a beautiful wooden grandfather clock. Up stairs there is the Children’s bedroom  that is decorated with Blue sheeted pencil post bed and 2 cradles. 2 other rooms upstairs included a Study and Master Bedroom. A large Dutch cupboard is assembled on the left hand side of the fireplace. There was a fireplace in all bedrooms and John explained that during winter the house would be bitter cold, there for the Billopp family would put coals from the fire under the bed mattress to keep them warm. Heading back down stairs there is a kitchen located in the basement. There I was shown a beautiful beehive oven where all the slaves and servants would do all the cooking. on the far end of the oven there is a huge brick lined vault which they would use for storage of all the meats, and produce the family harvested. I was greatly surprised by the amount of space that was on the inside of the house, the outside is extremely misleading of its true size. I learned that the Conference House is owned by the NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation. The program is supported by public funds from NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs and also donations. According to the Conference House website:

“In 1846, a local Staten Island historian, Gabriel P. Disosway, published an article about the house and its place in the history of the American Revolution.  He expressed hope that the house would be saved.  Although the owners of the house did not share Disosway’s concern, public interest in preservation was growing steadily nationwide.  In 1886, a bill was introduced in the New York State legislature to acquire the Conference House for museum purposes.  The bill did not pass, but enough interest had been generated that it was reintroduced in 1896, 1901, and again in 1909.”

Standing there as a native Staten Islander I felt guilty for not having experienced the history of my environment. This project has helped me want to explore more of the island I have a love hate relationship with. I am thankful for the people in late 1800’s who realized that this was a piece of Staten island that needed to be kept in our history for centuries to come

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THE TUTITION IS TOO DAMN HIGH!

Instead of considering only tuition when choosing a college, future students would be wise to research a school’s history of tuition increases.Student debt is now so high compared to average salaries that many graduates in respectable public professions will be unable to repay their fees even by the end of the 30-year repayment period. In the past five years, U.S. college tuition costs have increased by 24% while in the 2004-2012 period, student debt tripled to more than $1 trillion.

Personally I will be leaving college with about $17,000 in debt and that is from a CUNY School. This is because I do not qualify for financial aid because I do not have a child, I’m not 24 nor have I been deemed homeless by the state. Therefore the state feels its my parents responsibility to pay for my college because they make “enough” money. My father works for the Bd. of ED and my mom is a retired RN, WHO SENT 3 KIDS TO COLLEGE BEFORE ME!

However a personal friend of mine Kamesha Pipkin will be in about $40,000 in debt after leaving University of California San Diego. “The tuition increase has made it difficult to graduate on time. With all of the cuts and lack of funding, it is hard to get into classes that I need for my major, which means that I have to stay in school longer in order to finish my degree. Every semester is more expensive than the last, with no guarantee of classes.” said Pipkin. ,y question to the Universities and the Government is how is this a positive learning environment when we’re paying more for less classes, resources or support?

The class of 2014 had the dubious honor of being “the most indebted class ever,” with the average student leaving school with $33,000 in debt. Parents who have been laid off or are facing foreclosures have had a tough time helping their children get through college when the costs go up.The current university funding system is unsustainable because of the high number of students who will never be able to afford to pay off their loans after graduating, according to a major new report.

But stories like mine, my self and friend and countless others remind us that this problem will not go away on its own. And if schools continue to prioritize expansion over financial aid, more and more deserving students will end up surrendering their dream of higher education or suffer from mounting debt for years to come.

In the Community

Mariners Harbor, known best around Staten Island for the shootings and murders that occur in the area, however living here for 23 years I know it a little differently than others. Within the last 8 years Mariners Harbor has really developed and is still making changes. The first big changes to the community was the grand opening of Kohls in 2007 and the Regal Cinema . For years before that whole shopping area was desolated and abandoned. Soon after kohls they opened a Lowes right across the parking lot. Soon after the rise of shopping plazas swarmed Mariners Harbor. These plazas are great because they provide convenience to the community and hopefully they are supplying jobs to the community as well. We have stores that range from Entenmann’s and comic book jones to white castle and family dollar. The most recent (I believe wasted space) building to be built is Harbor Freight. this took up the spot of Western Beef (now up the block). I think they should have put a resturant in that area. Like a Red Lobster, Olive garden etc something everyday people actualy benefit from not a specialty store. They also recently updated our Library in the summer of 2013. We now have a beautiful state of the art library. The library host events especially for the youth of the community. the other day I received a notice from The dept of parks to inform us that the  “Big Park” in the community will be getting a full renovation! This park has been the same for the 23 years I have lived here and who knows how long before that! They are holding meetings to get feedback from the community on what we would  like to see. About a week or two ago they recently cut down a bunch of trees on south ave by the movie theater and they now have a land for lease sign. it actually felt kind of sad to see those trees go because they have been part of my landscape for so long but i’m interested to see how they choose to develop the area. Hopefully its something to benefit those in the community.

Class exercise

Living behind the Hylan Plaza in Staten Island, Ashley speaks about the events of her community and what she believes can be done to improve her neighborhood. Living there for about 20 years, Ashley senses a lack of togetherness on a regular basis. However she tell me ” When there needs to be a sense of “Community” we call do come together to help one another. One example is during Hurricane Sandy, Thankfully no one on my block was directly affected but some had families elsewhere on the island and we banded together for a common cause. however on a regular basis Ashley and her neighbors have little interaction with on another. “The house directly next door to me has 3 elderly people all over 85 living there alone, so me and my family do things for them all the time” said Ashley. “We take their garbage to the curb, shovel, bring the newspaper to the door etc. Ashley noticed a few things in her community that need immediate attention. One of those problems being a lack of a red light. “I live on a 4 way street and people come racing through the stop signs especially during the summer, were not to far away from a school where there are kids all the time. why wait until someone gets hit to do something about it”. Another issue in her community is Hylan Plaza itself. The lack of flourishing business  makes the once vibrant plaza look shady and has actually become an attraction ground to the homeless. “The bums are taking over the plaza, for almost a whole month they were camped out under they Hylan Plaza sign and scattered throughout the plaza”. This makes shopping there unappealing especially compared to the 2 beautifly plazas located on both sides of Hylan Plaza. There is talk about changing Hylan Plaza and Ashley hopes that comes sooner than later.

My love for Pintrest!!

People love using Pinterest to learn how to pursue their projects and interests, and it shows. I LOVE Pintrest because it allows me to enjoy the creativity of others and really get inspiration about any and everything! Pinterest is a place to discover ideas for all projects and interests. Because Pinterest is filled with users’ favorite bookmarked ideas and products, it’s an ideal source of inspiration. When a person wants a recipe for chocolate cake, why not search on Pinterest to see which versions other people find delicious? When a person wants infographics about social media, a quick search on Pinterest turns up dozens of good options. Likewise, simply scrolling through your feed reveals all the latest pins from your contacts. That’s why Pinterest is an easy inspiration source for a wide range of topics.  Reason two to enjoy Pinterest is the relaxation of it. I think its the only “social networking” site that makes it okay to “creep” other’s profiles. . Designed to be simple, clean, and easy to use, it gives users a way to unwind with pretty pictures that they can curate as they like. Many of the people on Pinterest like myself are just enjoying downtime between work or unwinding at night before bed. When I feel a need to step away from my work routine, I often turn to Pinterest. I don’t subscribe to a lot of print publications so for me, it’s the equivalent of flipping through a magazine. I find ideas and inspiration for food to make (lots of that), styles to try, gifts to give and projects to improve my home. pinterest

Tiananmen Square

After hearing about the events about Tiananmen Square I realized there was so much about it that i was not aware of. The only thing about Tiananmen Square that i was aware about was the infamous picture of the man standing in front of the tank. However since this is the 25th anniversary of it Guest Speaker Scott Savitt came to the CSI community to spread more that on the tragic incidents he witnessed first hand.

Outside China, the square is best known in recent memory as the focal point of the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989. A pro-democracy movement which ended on  June 4 1989 with the declaration of martial law in Beijing by the government .The Tiananmen Square massacre left an unknown number dead, with some estimates in the thousands, and smothered a democratic movement.

The demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, which at one point had reportedly ballooned to a million people, were not the only pro-democracy protests in the country at the time. Demonstrations had spread to hundreds of cities, including Shanghai, China’s largest, and in the days after the military mobilized in Beijing, protesters were putting up blockades in Shanghai.

Just because Tiananmen Square doesn’t directly affect most americans we should pay attention to it because this type of military iron fist action can happen anywhere. we are semi seeing that today in 2014 with the recent shooting and death of unarmed black men. The national guard was called to “defuse” the situation of protesters however i personally believe it made the situation worse the same way the military force in Tiananmen Square did.

This is a very important historical event in Journalism because this was live coverage of a massacre. The journalist there were able to get the first hand look at the brutality. Tiananmen Square revealed the true feelings of the chinese government which was exposed as a regime prepared to massacre its own unarmed citizens in order to maintain its power. It is both mistaken and morally repugnant to argue that the deaths were necessary to “re-establish order” and guarantee future growth.