Archive for the ‘National News’ Category

We’ve Moved to a New Site!

Hey all!

In celebration of the upcoming school year, The Observatory is turning over another leaf. Visit our new location at for all our old posts, plus a dazzling new design and the promise of fresh, fancy posts in the upcoming school year. We’re headed for big things, y’all. The Observatory is about to change. Your. Life.

So, head on over to the new digs and update your bookmarks. Here’s to a bright, shiny school year!


NY Senate Approves Gay Marriage

Sara Azoulay, Asst. News Editor

On Friday, June 24th, the New York Senate passed a bill approving gay marriage, marking a historic moment in U.S legislation. The decision followed the June 15th  state assembly that approved the marriage equality bill.

While overwhelming uncertainty for the marriage bill left citizens unsure of the ultimate outcome,  the vote came down to a win for gay marriage supporters—33 votes to 29. Four Republicans were in favor of the bill, Stephen M. Saland, Roy J. McDonald, James S. Alesi, and Mark J. Grisanti .  Senator Mark J. Grisanti of Buffalo, a Republican among the four said before voting,

 “I apologize for those who feel offended, I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife.”

 All democrats present in the Senate but one voted yes to the bill. Democrat Rubén Díaz Sr. of the Bronx voted no to the bill stating,

“God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage, a long time ago.”

  The bill was signed at 11:15 p.m. Friday night by Governor Andrew Cuomo and will take effect in thirty days. New York joins the ranks of Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut in allowing same sex marriage and is currently the largest state to do so.While the decision marks a huge victory for the gay community, others feel that it comprises the traditional structure of families. 

The bill was passed just in time for the Gay Pride Parade in New York City. The pridefest, the LGBT street fair, was held on Sunday, June 25, 2011 on Hudson Street. Many supporters came out to celebrate gay pride and the new passing of the marriage equality bill.

Video in Honor of Late Former News Editor Made Public by USDOT

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Liz Bowen, editor-in-chief

Casey Feldman, FCLC ’10 and former Observer news editor died on July 17, 2009 when she was struck by a van while crossing the street in Ocean City, N.J. On Feb. 22, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a video about Feldman’s death in order to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving. The video, produced by Casey’s father, Joel Feldman, is the first in the Department of Transportation’s “Faces of Distracted Driving” series to be produced by a member of the public. Former Observer editors Brooke Burdge, Kelsey Butler and Katie Feeney, all FCLC ’10, are featured in the video.

“Those who knew and loved Casey and knew and loved the other ‘Faces’ have changed the way they drive,” Joel Feldman said. “Many of us took the same chances that so many take —cell phone use, eating, changing CDs and all the other things that take our mind and eyes off the road. It took the most awful thing a parent can contemplate to get me to change the way I drive. As each of us gets behind the wheel of our cars, we can make a deliberate and conscious choice to drive safer.”

Categories: National News

New Law Snuffs Out Public Smoking

February 7, 2011 1 comment

Photo courtesy of

Cristina Romano

Sorry, smokers! Your hope of lighting up a cigarette in Central Park may soon be extinguished! According to WNYC, the ban, which will also prevent smokers from lighting up in beaches and pedestrian plazas, was passed by a vote of 36-12 this past Wednesday and is expected to be signed into effect by Mayor Bloomberg. In approximately three months, signs will be posted in order to warn potential smokers of the ban. However while no officers will be assigned to wag their fingers, New Yorkers are expected to warn each other when they start to see someone reach for their lighter and a pack of cigarettes.

Will this new plan really work? Audrey Silk, founder of Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment is not optimistic. “They’re relying on self-enforcement by putting citizen against citizen…it could lead to a hostile confrontation,” she said. In fact, she plans to protest the plan once it is enacted in order to show her support for smokers nationwide.

This enforcement comes after recent news that all 23 CUNY campuses will be smoke free by 2012, thus making them the largest smoke free public university system in the United States. While students are rightly outraged, maybe the ban is a good thing considering the deadly effects of secondhand smoke. Could FCLC be far behind in adopting a similar policy on campus?

Categories: National News

The Legend of Groundhog Day

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Cristina Romano

Photo: Punxsutawney Phil prepares for his close-up (courtesy of NY Daily News)

Today is Groundhog Day and you know the drill – if the groundhog sees his shadow we are stuck with six more weeks of winter (as if we need more snow!) If he doesn’t, we get an early spring. In fact, this year marks the 125th annual celebration of the Groundhog Day festivities in the small town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where most of America relies on Punxsutawney Phil to come out of his burrow early in the morning for his annual weather prediction. According to the Huffington Post, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow a total of 97 times over the past 125 years, giving him a 39% accuracy rating according to the National Climatic Data Center.

The tradition of celebrating Groundhog Day began back in the 1800s, according to, when early Pennsylvanian settlers brought with them the legend of “Candlemas Day” which states “For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May.” So basically it is just a more complicated way of saying “if the groundhog sees its shadow, then there will be six more weeks of winter.”

However, here in New York we have our own famous groundhog – Charles G. Hogg, or better known to most people as “Staten Island Chuck” or “the groundhog who bit Mayor Bloomberg in 2009” Residing at the Staten Island Zoo, Chuck, according to The Staten Island Advance, has a higher accuracy rating than Punxsutawney Phil, even though he has only been “famous” since 1981. Since then, he has predicted 22 out of the past 29 years correctly, giving him an approximate 76% accuracy rating overall.

So which groundhog will you go by? Punxsutawney Phil or Staten Island Chuck? Luckily, it doesn’t matter much: neither groundhog saw its shadow this morning, so all reports are pointing to an early spring. After these last few weeks, here’s hoping!

Categories: National News

Observatory Observations

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Sadia Noor, assistant blog editor

Here’s a look at what made the news this past week:

  • At yesterday’s SAG Awards, multiple award nominee Natalie Portman wore a dress so expensive, it needed its own security guard. The price? $2 million. I get the feeling Natalie did the old “hide-the-pricetag-return-later” trick.
  • It’s the drinking game to end all drinking games (because you will be blind)! “Vodka eyeballing” is exactly what it sounds like: pour vodka directly onto your eyeball for an instant high and a chance of blindness. Sounds like fun!
Categories: National News

It’s Colder than Russia Outside.

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Ashley Tedesco, blog editor

The forecast for today is 24 degrees with light snow… in Moscow, Russia. Here in New York City, however, we’re suffering from some truly blistering single-digit temperatures. The Weather Channel is reporting a balmy 7 degrees as of 9:30 a.m. (which is actually balmy compared to the 3 I saw on the thermometer on my way to school this morning!) which means it’s probably somewhere close to the coldest day of the year. If you would like to be able to feel all of your extremities indefinitely, I recommend being seriously bundled, with gloves a must. Trust me, I’m not just trying to be your mom on this one. Cabs are tough to find today, and even the walk to Columbus Circle to catch the Subway will bring on frostbite. Or, according to the article I just read about frostbite, it’s somewhat friendlier cousin, frostnip. Good luck out there today!

Categories: National News Tags: , ,