Blog Posts by Holly Bailey

  • At least 7 injured in building explosion in Lower Manhattan

    The scene outside 17 Pike Street, the site of an explosion Thursday (William Holt/Yahoo News)

    At least seven people have been injured — including two critically — in an explosion in New York City’s Chinatown area.

    According to the New York Fire Department, the explosion took place on the first floor of 17 Pike Street in Lower Manhattan shortly before 12:45pm Thursday. The building, located a few blocks north of the Manhattan Bridge, was home to a commercial bus business on the ground floor.

    A fire official said the blaze subsequently spread to the building’s upper four floors, which partially collapsed, sending huge plume of smoke into the air.

    A Fire Department spokesman said two victims were rushed to New York Presbyterian Hospital’s burn center in critical condition while the other five victims — including one firefighter — were transferred to other area hospitals with undisclosed injuries.

    The blaze was brought under control about an hour later, according to Fire Department spokesman, but several nearby buildings remain evacuated as officials investigate the cause of the

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  • Cory Booker raised $4.6 million in three months for New Jersey Senate race

    Cory Booker raised $4.6 million for his U.S. Senate campaign in the past three months—a significant showing of financial strength with the Democratic special election primary just over a month away.

    The Newark, N.J., mayor ended June with $4.5 million in the bank, according to his campaign, giving him a significant amount of cash to spend as he competes in a crowded Democratic primary to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died last month.

    The news comes one day after a Quinnipiac University poll found Booker with a major lead over his rivals in the Aug. 13 primary.The poll of Democratic voters found Booker with 50 percent support, compared with 10 percent support for Rep. Frank Pallone, 8 percent for Rep. Rush Holt and 3 percent for state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. According to the poll, 26 percent of voters remain undecided in the race.

    While Booker has long been considered the front-runner, Pallone is a formidable fundraiser who could make up last-minute ground in the

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  • Lady Liberty reopens July 4, but Ellis Island, damaged by Sandy, remains dark

    For more than 100 years, Ellis Island has been an important symbol of the nation’s immigration system, a place where more than 12 million people passed through between 1892 and 1924 seeking a better life in America. And since 1990, when Ellis Island reopened as a museum, millions more have walked through its doors, seeking to understand its role in creating the nation’s “melting pot” of culture and their own family roots.

    But for the past eight months, Ellis Island has been eerily quiet, another victim of the rage of Superstorm Sandy. The Oct. 29 storm flooded the island with what National Park Service officials say was at least an 8-foot wall of water, destroying its electrical system and damaging many of its historic buildings—including the immigration museum.

    “We went back through the historical records, and Ellis Island has never seen a storm like this. … We thought the buildings were on high enough ground, but nobody imagined water coming over the walls like it did,” Diana Pardue,

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  • Future of Calif. horse racing at risk as Hollywood Park nears finish line

    INGLEWOOD, Calif.—Christine Ryland knows all the jockeys at Hollywood Park, and they know her.

    At least once a week for the last 33 years, the 78-year-old grandmother has stood at her regular spot near the tunnel where horses are led from the paddock to the race track. And that’s where Ryland was on a recent Friday afternoon, a scribbled-on race program in hand, as she smiled and offered last minute bids of encouragement to some of the waif-thin jockeys perched high upon their ponies headed to the meet.

    Most of the horsemen wore stern game faces—until they saw Ryland, when a few broke into wide smiles.

    “Mama!” one jockey, a man of Hispanic descent, teasingly called out to Ryland, who is black. “Why hello!” she responded, beaming.

    “I have a little rapport with some of them,” Ryland said, as jockeys began to steer their horses toward the starting gate. “There

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  • At the Supreme Court, an all-out sprint for the news

    Legal intrigue aside, one of the best parts of the Supreme Court’s annual term is the occasion when television network producers dash out of the courthouse trying to be first to deliver a copy of the court’s decision to correspondents positioned at cameras outside.

    The annual sprints have turned the producers—who are sometimes interns—into pseudo sports stars, as photographers positioned outside the courthouse have captured them midair as they race.

    Over the years, some producers assigned to be runners have even replaced their usual dress shoes with sneakers. But not everybody dresses down. Dan Stein, an intern for SCOTUSblog, has emerged as one star from this year's sprints, captured in photographs dashing down the courthouse steps in full business attire, his tie flying in the air like an aviator.

    Last year’s sprints were visually more interesting—in part because the reporters had to race from a side exit across the front of the Supreme Court steps to reach their networks' live-shot

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  • New York’s Met Museum to showcase photography of ‘daily life’

    In 1973, Stephen Shore left New York City and set out on a voyage to photograph America through the eyes of an ordinary tourist.

    Just 25, Shore was already a rising star in the art world, fresh off an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art—where, at the time, he was only the second living photographer to have had his own solo show. He was also a protege of Andy Warhol, who had taught him to appreciate the artistic value of random, everyday things—or what Warhol described as “radical inclusiveness.”

    With that aesthetic in mind, Shore, now 65, chose to document his trip the way an average person would: with a simple point-and-shoot camera aimed at the everyday banalities of the American road—where anything, he believed, could be fodder for art.

    That work is the centerpiece of a new exhibition opening on Tuesday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York called “Everyday Epiphanies: Photography and Daily Life Since 1969.” The exhibit aims to show how subjects close to home have

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  • Weiner called Quinn to clarify talk with voter who used gay slur

    Christine Quinn said she received a message from Anthony Weiner on Thursday. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)Former Rep. Anthony Weiner called his New York City mayoral rival Christine Quinn on Thursday to clarify a recent discussion he had with a voter who reportedly used a homophobic slur to describe Quinn.

    Quinn, who is gay, told reporters on Friday she received a phone message from Weiner on Thursday after he came under fire for not strongly admonishing a voter he met during a campaign event who reportedly referred to Quinn as a “dyke.”

    The interaction, detailed in a Washington Post story, said Weiner did not scold the woman until after he noticed a reporter’s “incredulous reaction." Weiner then reportedly told the voter, who apologized, “It’s OK. It’s not your fault.”

    On Thursday, Weiner told reporters that he recalled admonishing the woman but insisted he did not recall any further interaction. He reaffirmed his support for gay rights and said he would not tolerate “any utterance of any type of slur against any community.”

    On Friday, Quinn said she was “grateful” that Weiner clarified

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  • Weiner defends his reaction to voter who used gay slur

    Former Rep. Anthony Weiner says he condemned a voter who used a slur against Christine Quinn. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK—Armed with a laser pointer and several PowerPoint slides, former Rep. Anthony Weiner sought to distinguish himself on Thursday as the only Democratic mayoral hopeful willing to embrace what he called the "big" and "bold" ideas with a speech calling for a dramatic transformation of the way New Yorkers receive their health care.

    But all it took was an apparent throw-away comment on a street corner several weeks ago to overshadow Weiner's latest attempt to turn the page from being the candidate who was forced out of Congress in a sexting scandal.

    Instead of talking about health care, Weiner was forced to respond to questions about a published report that suggested he failed to strongly condemn a voter who used a homophobic slur to describe his mayoral rival Christine Quinn.

    The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Weiner, at a recent campaign stop, spoke to an elderly voter who described Quinn, who is gay, as a “dyke.”

    Weiner, according to the paper, did not initially offer

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  • NYC mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn’s memoir so far sells just 100 copies

    Christine Quinn's memoir sold just 100 copies during its first week on sale. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

    Christine Quinn is vying to be New York City’s first female and first openly gay mayor, but even as polls suggest she still remains the candidate to beat, it appears Quinn will not add the title of “best-selling author” to her resume.

    The New York Times reports that Quinn’s memoir, “With Patience and Fortitude,” sold just 100 print copies during its week of release, according to Nielsen BookScan. That’s an embarrassing stat for Quinn’s campaign, which had hoped to use the book to boost her bid to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he leaves City Hall later this year.

    The number is somewhat surprising when you consider that Quinn is among the best-known candidates in the race. But while she remains atop the polls, a recent Marist College poll suggested she’s lost some ground to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who jumped into the Democratic primary last month.

    Spokesmen for Quinn and for her book publisher, HarperCollins, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    Even though

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  • George Lucas pitches a San Francisco art museum

    George Lucas wants to open a museum dedicated to the art of storytelling in San Francisco. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    SAN FRANCISCO—George Lucas is best known for creating some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters in history, including the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” series.

    Now, several months after he sold his groundbreaking movie studio, Lucasfilm, to Disney for $4 billion and announced he was entering semiretirement, the legendary filmmaker is looking to shift into a second career: museum curator.

    On Monday, Lucas will appear before the Presidio Trust in San Francisco to present his proposal for a museum dedicated to “visual storytelling,” to be built in the former military base turned national park. To be called the Lucas Cultural Art Museum, its exact site would be Crissy Field, a former U.S. Army airfield located in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. It would be filled with Lucas’ vast collection of illustrations and pop art dating back 150 years and having an estimated worth of more than $1 billion.

    Lucas is one of three finalists vying for the Crissy Field spot. The other two

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