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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4:01pm

Tue April 8, 2014
News

Al Sharpton, FBI Informant? New Claims Revive '80s Mob Story

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 5:24 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Reverend Al Sharpton has admitted to working with the FBI and recording conversations with alleged mobsters. The website The Smoking Gun published documents detailing Sharpton's involvement, saying he's the guy referred to in the document as Confidential Informant 7. This was back in the 1980s during some of the bureau's biggest mafia investigations.

As NPR's Joe Rose reports, Sharpton denies any wrongdoing.

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4:12pm

Thu March 27, 2014
Politics

Internal Report Clears Christie Of Bridgegate, But Dems Don't Buy It

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 7:03 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

We now have the results of an internal investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal. Today's report was commissioned by the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and it finds the governor did nothing wrong. It won't be the last word. Critics question the report's credibility, as NPR's Joel Rose reports.

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5:00pm

Mon March 24, 2014
Architecture

In The Face Of Disaster, Pritzker Winner Shigeru Ban Designs Solutions

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 9:19 pm

Cardboard Church, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Stephen Goodenough Photographer Shigeru Ban Architects

Each year the Pritzker Architecture Prize goes to a star architect with a long list of glamorous commissions around the globe. This year's winner is a little different.

Shigeru Ban has designed museums, homes and concert halls. But Ban is best known for a more humble kind of work: The temporary structures he's built for refugees and evacuees all over the world.

Ban may be the only architect in the world who makes buildings out of paper — cardboard paper tubes, to be precise.

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3:06am

Tue March 11, 2014
The Salt

Turning Food Waste Into Fuel Takes Gumption And Trillions Of Bacteria

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 1:12 pm

The digester eggs at Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn contain millions of gallons of black sludge.
Courtesy of New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Every year, Americans send millions of tons of food to the landfill. What if you could use all of those pizza crusts and rotten vegetables to heat your home? That's already happening in one unlikely laboratory: the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn.

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5:22am

Thu December 12, 2013
Code Switch

Shifting Gears To Make Bike-Sharing More Accessible

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 1:51 pm

Bike-sharing is increasingly popular. But those who need it most often have the least access to it.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

This story is part of a project on commuting in America.

Millions of commuters across the country have a new way to get around. In the past few years, bike-sharing systems have popped up from Boston to Minnesota to Washington, D.C. They're supposed to make commuting easier, greener and cheaper. But the people who arguably need these bikes the most are often the least likely to access them.

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5:46pm

Mon November 4, 2013
Around the Nation

NYC Race Focuses On Income Gap, But How Much Can A Mayor Do?

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 7:42 pm

New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio rides the subway while greeting commuters in New York on Monday.
Seth Wenig AP

Voters in New York City go to the polls Tuesday to choose their next mayor, and it appears all but certain that they'll elect Bill de Blasio, the city's public advocate.

The Democrat has built a wide lead in the polls by distancing himself from the incumbent mayor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg. In fact, de Blasio has made income inequality the central issue of his campaign, name-checking the Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities dozens of times at debates and stump speeches.

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3:41am

Mon October 28, 2013
Around the Nation

The Slow, Uneven Rebuilding After Superstorm Sandy

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 11:33 am

Samantha Langello and her daughter Alanna, 2, stand in front of their flood-damaged house in Fox Beach on Staten Island, N.Y.
Joel Rose NPR

After Hurricane Sandy, the south shore of Staten Island looked like it had been hit by a tsunami. The storm surge devastated whole neighborhoods suddenly, in a matter of hours. In the year since the storm, some families have been rebuilding their homes and their lives. Others are ready to sell their flood-damaged properties and move on.

Joe Salluzzo lives in a neighborhood called New Dorp Beach, a few blocks from the ocean. He rode out the storm on the second story of his brick bungalow, which he's been repairing himself ever since.

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4:37pm

Mon October 21, 2013
Around the Nation

Gay Couples Tie Knot In New Jersey As Christie Backs Down

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:10 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Governor Chris Christie has dropped his legal challenge to same-sex marriage in New Jersey. His announcement came just hours after same-sex couples there began tying the knot for the first time.

As NPR's Joel Rose reports, Christie's decision means New Jersey is effectively the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriage.

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2:58am

Wed October 9, 2013
It's All Politics

Booker Gets A Run For His Money In N.J. Senate Race

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 9:22 am

Democrat Cory Booker (left) and Republican Steve Lonegan stand together after their first debate in the race for U.S. Senate on Oct. 4 in Trenton, N.J.
Mel Evans AP

Cory Booker, the celebrity mayor of Newark, N.J., was expected to cruise to victory in the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late Frank Lautenberg. But just a week before voters go to the polls, he's facing a surprisingly strong challenge from Tea Party favorite Steve Lonegan.

The race was supposed to be a mismatch: Booker, the Democrat, and his 1.4 million Twitter followers versus the Republican former mayor of Bogota, N.J. — population 8,000.

But no one told Lonegan.

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5:55pm

Thu October 3, 2013
Around the Nation

Time For Superstorm Sandy Evacuees To Check Out Of Hotels

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 11:38 am

Sandy evacuees Shawn Little (right) and her daugher, Terri, joined a press conference to protest for more time at city hotels while they look for permanent homes.
Joel Rose NPR

Almost 300 Sandy victims are still living in hotel rooms on the taxpayers' dime — but not for long. City officials say the program is expensive, and it's time for those remaining Sandy evacuees to move out.

This week, the displaced families living in hotels got a letter from New York City officials telling them they will not pay for those rooms after Friday.

This was the message they sent back on Wednesday: Heck no, we won't go!

At a press conference outside City Hall, several dozen evacuees protested for more time.

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4:24pm

Wed October 2, 2013
Around the Nation

Hundreds Of Safety Net Hospitals Face Uncertain Future

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:56 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Hospitals that serve the neediest patients are bracing themselves through the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act. These safety-net hospitals treat large numbers of people with no health insurance and many are struggling. In New York, a handful of these hospitals are on the brink of closing.

And as NPR's Joel Rose reports, some worry that the health care law will make things even worse, not better.

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7:46am

Sat September 21, 2013
Politics

New York's Next Mayor, Bound To Be A Brooklynite

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 4:04 pm

Republican mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota speaks at a news conference Monday.
Frank Franklin II AP

This week, the center of New York City's political universe was downtown Brooklyn.

With the dust settling from the mayoral primary, the two candidates who will be on the ballot to replace outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg both live in the city's biggest borough.

On Thursday, Republican candidate Joe Lhota shook hands with voters pouring out of the subway a few blocks from his home in Brooklyn Heights.

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5:01pm

Thu September 12, 2013
The Record

Taking Back 'Funkytown': Songwriters Prepare For A Custody Battle

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:48 pm

Members of the disco group Lipps, Inc., including Steven Greenberg (far left), pose for a portrait in 1978. Greenberg, who wrote the group's hit "Funkytown," is seeking to reclaim the song's full copyright from Universal Music Group.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

3:31am

Thu August 29, 2013
It's All Politics

Yet Another Democrat Takes The Lead In NYC Mayor Race

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 4:45 am

12:03pm

Sun August 25, 2013
Ecstatic Voices

Atheists Take Old Hymns Out Of The Chapel And Into The Streets

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 10:16 am

The Renaissance Street Singers give a performance at the Winterdale Arch, near the West 81st Street gate in Central Park.
Joel Rose NPR

5:01am

Thu August 22, 2013
Around the Nation

New York City Council To Vote On Tough Police Oversight Laws

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 12:43 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In New York, the city council is poised to vote today on some of the toughest police oversight laws in decades. The vote comes just weeks after a judge ruled that the NYPD violated the civil rights of minorities with its practice of stopping mostly young men of color on the streets.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is appealing the judge's ruling and refusing to back down on a policing program he has championed. NPR's Joel Rose reports.

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4:33pm

Tue August 6, 2013
It's All Politics

Cory Booker: Supermayor Or Self-Promoter?

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 7:25 pm

Newark Mayor Cory Booker speaks about his Senate campaign, outside the Grove Path Station in Jersey City, N.J., last month.
Ashlee Espinal The Jersey Journal/Landov

In one week, voters in New Jersey go to the polls in a special primary election for a U.S. Senate seat.

No one on the ballot has more name recognition than Cory Booker, the 44-year-old mayor of Newark, who is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. But Booker's critics say he's been more focused on his own ambitions than on governing New Jersey's largest city.

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1:03pm

Tue July 30, 2013
The Record

Maxwell's, The Beloved New Jersey Venue, Closes

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 5:32 pm

Maxwell's, in Hoboken, N.J., hosted Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana and the Replacements, to name a few.
George Kopp

The rock club Maxwell's is a tiny space that's hosted some of the biggest names in music for more than 30 years. R.E.M., Nirvana and many more bands have squeezed onto Maxwell's stage in Hoboken, N.J. Native son Bruce Springsteen recorded the music video for "Glory Days" there.

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3:51am

Tue July 30, 2013
The Salt

Fast-Food Strikers Demand A 'Living Wage'

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 8:22 am

People gathered outside a Wendy's restaurant in New York City on Monday as part of a one-day strike calling for higher wages for fast-food workers.
Justin Lane EPA/Landov

At a Wendy's restaurant in Lower Manhattan on Monday, protesters urged the lunchtime crowd to skip the Value Menu for one day. They blocked the sidewalk and half of the street.

Shanell Young held a red strike sign over her head. Young earns the minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, at another Wendy's in New York. She says that's not enough to support her and her 5-year-old son.

"It's horrible," says Young. "Everything goes up. It's unfair. You can't find an apartment. You can't pay for children's school uniforms. Everything is unfair. We can't live off this."

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3:33am

Mon July 22, 2013
The Salt

New York Toasts Long-Awaited Revival Of Its Distilleries

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 11:30 am

Tuthilltown Spirits in New York makes a clear corn whiskey, and the first legal aged whiskey in the state since Prohibition, among other products.
Joel Rose/NPR

A century ago, New York could claim that much of its liquor was local, thanks to distilleries large and small that supplied a lot of the whiskey, gin and rum that kept New York City (and the rest of North America) lubricated. Then Prohibition arrived and the industry largely dried up, before trickling back to life in the 21st century.

Now, distillers in New York state are toasting a revival 80 years in the making.

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4:26pm

Sat July 6, 2013
Politics

Big Personalities Are Front And Center In NYC Mayoral Race

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 12:49 pm

Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn marches in the New York Gay Pride Parade on June 30.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Everything about the New York City mayor's race is supersized.

No less than a dozen candidates are vying to succeed Michael Bloomberg as leader of the nation's biggest city — five Republicans and seven Democrats. The candidates have appeared at more than 100 forums and debates, and the primary is still two months away.

Observers say that the crowded field could favor big personalities.

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4:53pm

Fri June 21, 2013
Around the Nation

At Coney Island, The (Mermaid) Show Must Go On

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 7:11 pm

The Mermaid Parade at Coney Island draws hundreds of thousands of revelers each June. After sustaining significant damage during Superstorm Sandy, the nonprofit that runs the parade was almost unable to host this year's event, scheduled for Saturday.
Eric Thayer Reuters/Landov

Not even Superstorm Sandy could keep the mermaids from coming back to Brooklyn.

The Mermaid Parade is a nautically themed and occasionally naughty parade that draws close to a million people to Coney Island, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, each June. Sandy nearly drowned the organization that hosts the parade, but supporters donated more than $100,000 to get the parade back on its fins this year.

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5:23pm

Mon June 10, 2013
Around the Nation

Cooper Union Students Fight For Freedom From Tuition

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:11 am

An image of Cooper Union founder Peter Cooper is projected on the office of school President Jamshed Bharucha, in protest of the institution's decision to begin charging tuition.
Courtesy of The Illuminator

When students at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York took over the president's office one month ago to protest the school's decision to charge tuition, they painted the lobby black.

They also took a painting of the school's founder, and hung a piece of red fabric from the frame, as if Peter Cooper himself had joined in the protest.

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6:40pm

Wed May 22, 2013
Movie Interviews

Documentary Shows George Plimpton's Best Story Was His Own

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

George Plimpton boxed with Archie Moore, played quarterback for the Detroit Lions, and played percussion for the New York Philharmonic. He did these jobs, and many others, as an amateur. Plimpton was a professional writer. A new documentary about his life makes the case that Plimpton's best story was his own story, as NPR's Joel Rose reports.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: When you listen to George Plimpton's voice, it's like hearing echoes of a New York that no longer exists.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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5:29pm

Fri May 17, 2013
Around the Nation

Boston Bombings Prompt Fresh Look At Unsolved Murders

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 6:52 pm

Gerry Leone was the district attorney for Middlesex County in Massachusetts when three people were murdered in a house in the Boston suburb of Waltham. He told reporters that police suspected the assailants and the victims knew each other.
YouTube

An unsolved triple murder in the Boston suburbs is getting a closer look in the wake of the marathon bombings. One of the victims may have been a friend of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. That's prompting authorities to revisit the 2011 case.

The murders took place in Waltham, Mass. On Sept. 12, 2011, police responded to a house in the leafy suburb a few miles west of Boston.

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5:45am

Fri May 10, 2013
Business

Cyber Criminals Drain $45 Million From ATMs Around The World

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 1:13 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, prosecutors are calling it the biggest bank heist in New York City since the 1970s. They say a gang of cybercriminals drained $45 million from ATMs around the world.

Here's NPR's Joel Rose.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: United States Attorney Loretta Lynch says the eight men charged in New York were able to withdraw $2.8 million in cash in just one day, in February.

LORETTA LYNCH: This was a 21st century bank heist. But instead of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and malware.

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3:02am

Thu May 2, 2013
Health

New York Tobacco Regulations Light Up Public Health Debate

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 10:09 am

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

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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6:27pm

Thu April 4, 2013
The Salt

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

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 8:20 pm

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

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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4:46pm

Fri March 29, 2013
Architecture

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

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

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

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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6:52am

Sat February 2, 2013
Around the Nation

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

Originally published on Sat February 2, 2013 3:07 pm

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

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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