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Joel Rose

Joel Rose is a National Desk reporter based at NPR's New York Bureau.

Since joining NPR in 2011, Rose has covered the political, economic, and cultural life of the nation's biggest city. He's reported on the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the fall of the compact disc, and the fast-changing fortunes of New York's elected officials. He's also contributed to NPR's coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, and the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal in Pennsylvania.

When pressing news doesn't keep him busy, Rose likes to report on the collision of the Internet and the entertainment industries, and to profile obscure musicians who should be more famous.

Rose has held a long list of jobs in public radio. Before coming to NPR, he spent ten years in Philadelphia, six of them as a reporter at NPR Member Station WHYY. He's also worked as a producer at KQED in San Francisco and American Routes in New Orleans. His writing has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, GOOD Magazine, and the Philadelphia Independent.

His radio reporting has won numerous awards, including a Golden Reel from the National Association of Community Broadcasters for his story about the unlikely comeback of soul singer Howard Tate.

Rose has a bachelor's degree in history and music from Brown University, where he got his start in radio as an overnight jazz DJ at the college station.

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Health
2:02 am
Thu May 2, 2013

New York Tobacco Regulations Light Up Public Health Debate

The New York City Council is considering a number of regulations on cigarettes, including raising the minimum age for buying cigarettes to 21.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 9:09 am

If you're under 21, you may soon have a hard time lighting up in New York City. Public health officials in New York want to raise the minimum age for buying cigarettes.

The initiative is one of three proposed tobacco regulations the City Council will debate at a hearing Thursday afternoon.

"We think if we can prevent people from taking up the habit before they're 21, we might just be able to prevent them from taking it up at all," says New York Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.

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The Salt
5:35 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

NYC's Fast-Food Workers Strike, Demand 'Living Wages'

Demonstrators from the Fast Food Forward rally protest Thursday outside a Wendy's restaurant in New York City.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 7:20 pm

Fast-food restaurants were a little bit slower Thursday in New York City. Hundreds of workers staged a one-day strike in what organizers are calling the biggest job action ever in that industry. It's a growing segment of the economy, but workers complain that fast-food jobs don't pay enough to survive in New York City.

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Architecture
3:46 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Self-Taught Architect Behind Brooklyn's 'Broken Angel' Faces Eviction

Over the past three decades, Arthur and Cynthia Wood turned their four-story home into a work of art. They purchased the brick tenement at the intersection of Downing and Quincy streets in 1979 for $2,100 in cash.
Courtesy of Chris Wood

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 6:55 pm

A New York landmark of sorts is in danger of being wiped off the map. The building now known as Broken Angel was an ordinary 19th-century brick structure until self-taught artist and sculptor Arthur Wood started building on top of it in the late 1970s. Now Wood faces eviction from his own masterpiece — a towering structure that looks like a cathedral built out of salvaged junk.

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Music News
3:19 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

The 'Ancient Vibration' Of Parlor Music, Revived By Two Generations

Lena Hughes recorded one album of Southern parlor music before her death in 1998.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 8:29 am

Sometime in the mid-1960s — no one's really sure when — Lena Hughes walked into a recording studio, probably in Arkansas. What we do know is that she recorded 11 tunes on the guitar.

"It's kind of like listening to 1880," folklorist Howard Marshall says. "You kind of get a wonderful, ancient vibration."

Marshall wrote a book about traditional music in Missouri, called Play Me Something Quick and Devilish.

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Around the Nation
5:39 am
Sat February 2, 2013

After Sandy, Pilgrimages To 'Church Of N.Y. Pizza' On Hold

Totonno's, one of New York's oldest pizzerias, suffered severe damage from flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy.
joebeone Flickr

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 2:07 pm

It's been more than three months since Hurricane Sandy crashed ashore, and many family-owned businesses in New York and New Jersey are still struggling to get back on their feet.

One of those businesses is Totonno's in Coney Island, where generations of pizza lovers have made the pilgrimage for a slice of New York City history.

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Remembrances
5:46 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Ed Koch, Outspoken Mayor Who Brought N.Y. Back From The Brink, Dies

New York Mayor Ed Koch raises his arms in victory on Sept. 11, 1985, after winning the Democratic primary in his bid for a third four-year term.
Mario Suriani AP

Originally published on Tue February 12, 2013 10:26 am

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, whose larger-than-life personality was well-suited to the nation's biggest city but could also get him in trouble, has died. He was 88.

His spokesman, George Arzt, says Koch passed away early Friday from congestive heart failure.

Koch was famous for asking his constituents this question: "Hey! How'm I doing?" He insisted this was more than just shtick. He told NPR in 1981 that he really wanted to know.

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U.S.
3:20 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

New York Murder Rate Plummets, But Who Should Get The Credit?

A New York City police academy graduation ceremony on Dec. 28, 2012, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the New York murder rate has hit an all-time low. While some point to the NYPD's policing tactics to explain the decline, others say economic and demographic shifts are also at work.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 7:16 pm

By most measures, New York City is safer than it's been in a half-century. The city recorded just 418 murders in 2012 — the lowest total since record keeping began in the early 1960s. But there's some debate about where to place the credit for that drop.

No part of New York saw a more dramatic decline in murders last year than the 61st Precinct in South Brooklyn. Two years ago, there were 14 murders in the precinct. Last year, it had only three.

'More Cops, More Safety,' Says One Resident

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The Record
4:33 am
Sat January 12, 2013

There Are Only 100 Copies Of The New Bob Dylan Record

Bob Dylan in 1962. His extremely limited-edition 50th Anniversary Collection features unreleased material from his early career.
John Cohen Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 12:47 pm

Bob Dylan has made some puzzling moves in his celebrated career, but the compilation that his record label recently released may be as odd as anything he's ever put out.

The compilation, 50th Anniversary Collection, is a limited-edition, four-CD set that was only released in Europe. It seems to have been designed by the label to exploit a recent change in European copyright law.

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The Record
4:31 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Reflecting On EMI, An Industry Giant Felled In 2012

The London headquarters of EMI, whose sale this year brought the number of major labels from four to three.
Simon Dawson Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 4:38 pm

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Around the Nation
4:30 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Post-Sandy Fixes To NYC Subways To Cost Billions

Joseph Leader, chief maintenance officer of the New York City subway system, surveys damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, this week at the South Ferry station.
Joel Rose NPR

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 5:40 pm

Most subway stations in New York City affected by Superstorm Sandy have opened by now, but the South Ferry station at the southern tip of Manhattan is still closed. And when you get inside, it's easy to see why.

The platform is still coated with dirt more than a month after the storm. The tile walls are covered in grime from the tracks all the way up to the ceiling 25 feet overhead. There's debris dangling from the exit signs; the escalators look like they may never work again.

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