City College

Turning City Streets Into Public Spaces

October 15, 2012 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

Defending her goal of transforming car-clogged streets into pedestrian plazas, the city’s transportation chief says her initiatives have boosted the number of visitors and, in the case of Times Square, have also been a boon for local businesses. “More people are spending time — eating, taking pictures and hanging out,” says Janette Sadik-Khan, who has served as commissioner of the Department of Transportation for the past five years. Sadik-Khan, in a speech, “It’s Not Impossible to Change a City,” at the 8th annual Lewis Mumford Lecture on Urbanism at City College, discussed initiatives that improve public safety and ease mobility. “Times Square was named one of the top 10 retail locations in the world — this certainly would not have been the case years ago,” says Sadik-Khan.

The Science of Female Negotiation

December 20, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series, Graduate Center

For every dollar earned by a man in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a female counterpart earns 14 percent less, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. It’s a statistic that City College professor Maribel Vazquez says must change. “Women in the workforce lack strong negotiation skills, Vazquez says, “because female aggression is perceived negatively by both men and women.” Vazquez delivered the keynote address at “Women in Science: Negotiating a Successful Academic Career,” a panel discussion at the CUNY Graduate Center. An associate professor of Biomedical Engineering, Vazquez also presented her research on the use of micro and nanotechnology in the study of cell migration in the brain.

The Percy E. Sutton SEEK Program

October 23, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

The Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge program, also known as SEEK, has been renamed in honor of the late Percy E. Sutton, a prominent black political and business leader. Sutton, from Harlem, served as Manhattan borough president from 1966 to 1977, and also as a New York State Assemblyman, where he was a pivotal force behind the legislation that established the SEEK program-which offers unique and supportive educational opportunity to students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds-and is available at each of the senior colleges of CUNY.
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The Beauty of Falling Water

October 22, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, “Fallingwater,” originally was conceived as a vacation home in the woods, with views of a nearby waterfall — a plan Wright soon scrapped after seeing the natural beauty of the place. Wright wanted the Kaufmann family “to live with the waterfall — not just look at it,” said Robert McCarter, author of several books on Wright, at City College’s Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture Lecture Series. McCarter, a professor of architecture at Washington State University, says Wright “wanted it to be an integral part of their lives.”
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Hip-Hop From Its South Bronx Beginnings

October 18, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

Hip-hop is part of the cultural mainstream now, but when it came on the scene 40 years ago, it was anything but. “There are a lot of myths about hip-hop and one of the most prevalent ones is that it was hijacked by corporate interests … but it didn’t go down that way,” says Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop. At City College’s Center for Worker Education Lecture Series, Charnas, in his talk, “Reading Hip-Hop: Off the Records, In the Books,” chronicles the evolution of rap music from its South Bronx infancy to a multibillion-dollar global business.
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Location, Location, Location: Up

September 8, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

Carol Willis discusses the creation of the skyscraper and the making of modern New York City in her lecture, “New York, New York: Place, Culture and Urbanity,” as part of a series sponsored by the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, at City College. According to Willis, the founding director of the New York City Skyscraper Museum, the assertion that Manhattan grew up because there was limited room to grow out is incorrect. “High demand for a location produces high rents that produce high-rise buildings,” says Willis, a professor of urban studies and planning at Columbia University.
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Olympian Power to the People

September 6, 2011 | City College, Newsmakers

Like Zeus, the supreme god of the Olympians in Greek mythology, people will some day be able to control their own destiny, according to theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku. “Zeus could simply think about things and have them come to be; we will have that power,” says Kaku, co-founder of the strong field theory and physics professor at City College. In an interview at his office, Kaku discussed his latest book, “Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100,” and predicts a future where humans will be able to communicate with computers mentally and have access to the Internet via contact lenses.
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When Water Turned Great for Bagels and More

August 22, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

New York has long prided itself on the quality of its drinking water but there was a time — before the Croton Reservoir was completed in 1842 — when it was undrinkable. “The water was known for being notoriously bad then — even the horses didn’t want to drink it,” says Kevin Bone, in his lecture, “The Secret Life of New York City Water.” As part of City College’s School of Architecture Sciame Lecture Series, Bone, professor of architecture at Cooper Union, explained the impact that the Old Croton Aqueduct, which supplied the city with a clean and adequate water supply until it was replaced with a newer one in 1890, had on the city’s development in the post-Industrial Revolution era.
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Elegant, Artistic Urbanity — the Woolworth Building

July 15, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

When completed in 1913, Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building was the world’s tallest skyscraper and the jewel of Manhattan, but today its majestic crown is barely visible behind a maze of glass and steel towers. “I wonder whether, indeed, the new skyline taking shape before us will possess the same magic, elegance, artistry and glamour — the same urbanity — as the old,” says Gail Fenske, professor of architecture at Roger Williams University and author of “The Skyscraper and the City: The Woolworth Building and the Making of Modern New York.” Upstaged by more famous neighbors like the World Trade Center, and new structures like Frank Gehry’s Beekman Tower, the Woolworth building and the era it represents may be at risk of being forgotten, says Prof. Fenske in the City College lecture series, “New York, New York: Place, Culture And Urbanity,” sponsored by the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture.
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Finding Your Own Life’s Story

May 17, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

“Memoir is the most radical act anyone can undertake because you are refusing to be silent,” says Louise DeSalvo, author of the critically acclaimed 2002 work, “Vertigo,” a candid account of growing up in a dysfunctional, Italian-American immigrant family in Hoboken after World War II. In a City College Center for Worker Education Book Lecture Series talk, “Finding Our Life’s Story,” DeSalvo, who teaches memoir in Hunter College’s MFA Creative Writing program as the Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar, encouraged her audience to write their own memoirs, “It’s not about what happened,” DeSalvo says, “it’s about what we remember and how we remember it.”
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