Strand to host Harry Potter-themed speed dating

Guests in costume at a July Harry Potter book launch event at the Strand (Photos courtesy of the Strand)

Guests in costume at a July Harry Potter book launch event at the Strand (Photos courtesy of the Strand)

By Sabina Mollot

Harry Potter fans looking to meet that special someone will have the opportunity to do so on Monday, December 12, when Union Square bookstore the Strand will have a Yule ball/Harry Potter-themed speed dating session.

The event was the idea of the store’s communications director Whitney Hu, a Harry Potter fan and a fan of “Puffs,” a satire show inspired by the book and film franchise that originated at the People’s Improv Theater but has since hit Off-Broadway.

Hu said she believes the Harry Potter angle, and the fact that guests are encouraged to come in costume, will help take the edge off what’s normally a very serious event; and she’d know. The Strand has already hosted several speed dating events that while popular (the last one sold out) are still nerve-racking for many attendees.

For this reason, Hu approached the people behind “Puffs” to help facilitate the event. Two cast members will be in character while facilitating a mingling session. While having a session for mingling might seem over-organized, Hu explained this as well. “We’ve had open mingling before. No one mingles.”

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Soapbox: Speak up to end the use of chokeholds

By Michelle Deal Winfield

“I can’t breathe,” was uttered by Eric Garner in 2014, as he took his last breath after Officer Daniel Pantaleo applied a chokehold to his neck, a procedure banned by the New York Police Department, NYPD. The procedure is banned but some police officers have continued to use it. Alissa Scheller, in The Huffington Post in 2014, wrote, “Chokehold complaints are predominantly in black neighborhoods.”

In 1993, the NYPD ban prohibited police officers from applying any pressure to the neck during arrest. So what is all the fuss about if the tactic is banned? Despite the ban, officers continue to use the practice and there is no New York City law to address it. The chokehold is not illegal.

The Progressive Caucus, 28 members of the New York City Council, proposed Intro. 540-A, which defines the chokehold as an illegal act punishable by imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.

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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 8

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

The invisible thing destroying our health

The problem of evil: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? It’s a question we often ask. Thankfully, the Bible isn’t quiet on the subject.

I heard in the news that in 2018, the city was going to put in an order that if you lived in city housing that smoking was going to be banned. Why don’t our elected officials and the professional doctors tell the truth? Two days after a cold extreme winter snow day, on top of the ice that was formed we find black soot all over the ice and snow, an issue no one is bringing up. Very fine particles, so small that any of them can form a large black dot. And so many of them we are breathing. Can they form cancer? With our weather, this is the only time that you can see them.

They’re on the buildings, streets, windows, cars, clothing and people. We take it in with us daily, to our homes and families. No amount of washing can save us. It’s in our eyes, ears, hair, lungs and we know we’re breathing it up, daily, every moment. Because we can’t smell it doesn’t mean that we’re not harmed by it. Impurities, organisms, infections accumulated in our body system generates extreme suffering later in life, and the second-hand smokers as they say. The smokers have their problems but to say that second-hand smoke is the source of our cancers and other people’s (non-smokers’) health problems is a lie.

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Bellevue bariatric patients show off svelte new figures

Bariatric patients return to the hospital to participate in a runway show. (Pictured) Hospital staff involved in the event (Photos by Amy DiLeo)

Bariatric patients return to the hospital to participate in a runway show. (Pictured) Hospital staff involved in the event (Photos by Amy DiLeo)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Bariatric surgery patients at Bellevue Hospital got a chance to strut their stuff and showcase their accomplishments at the department’s annual runway show on November 17. Patients in the program, many of whom have lost more than 50 pounds with the help of the surgery as well as guidance from dieticians and psychologists on staff, invited their family and friends to the show to celebrate. Happening just a week before Thanksgiving, bariatric surgeon Dr. J.K. Saunders said that participants were unfazed by the upcoming holiday season.

“It can be difficult but people around them like friends and family are usually very supportive because it’s for their health,” he said. “There’s a lot of support here as well.”

Saunders said that most of the patients at the Center for Bariatric Surgery and Weight Management are referred by friends but medical doctors, who traditionally discourage the surgery in favor of diet and exercise, have become more open to the practice.

“A lot of doctors don’t necessarily believe in surgery for weight loss but the patients who get it really can’t lose the weight otherwise,” Saunders said. “They’ve tried literally everything they can try.”

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