Feature Story

Buy your Car in a Vending Machine! (FOR REAL)

With all that can be purchase online these days, imagine buying a car online? Never mind sites and apps like True Car and Car Max, but actually purchasing a car of your choice as if you’re ordering something on Target, JC Penney, or Staples, using the “pick up in store” option. The Phoenix-based used car company Carvana has created a very interesting, yet innovative, way for customers who have purchased a car on their site to pick it up: coin-operated vending machine.

There are three of these car vending machines already built and operating in the country: Nashville, Houston and now Austin. Rather than using pocket change, the Carvana customer is given a large coin to insert in a coin slot which activates the “vending machine” by selecting and lowering the purchased car on an elevated platform, within a glass tower, down to ground level for the customer to drive off with. There is a seven-day refund policy.

For those who don’t live in the Austin area but want to have the experience, Carvana supplies up to $200 of mitigated airfare, including transportation from the Austin airport. Carvana also does trade-ins, where the customer can drop off their traded-in car at a car vending machine and has launched a delivery service with no additional fees.

You can also check out how it’s done below.

The LEGO Batman Movie – Everything is Still Awesome

Image: heroichollywood.com

Image: heroichollywood.com

Whether you grew up reading the comics, watching Adam West, The Animated Series, or loved Christopher Nolan’s rendition of the caped crusader, there’s something everyone can love about the LEGO Batman Movie. A spinoff of The LEGO Movie, released in 2014, shows a much lighter side of the lonely and ever abrasive “dark knight” but everything isn’t as awesome as we expect when the movie opens. With Barbara Gordon, voiced by Rosario Dawson, rising up to top cop, chaos ensues in LEGO Gotham even though almost all of Batman’s enemies are incarcerated in Arkham Asylum. What could the Joker be up to this time? But don’t worry, there is a happy ending with a semi-cheesy message of friendship.

As a fan of Batman, I enjoyed the references to the other Batman story arcs, even going back to Adam West. Not only that, there are a lot more nerdy things to pick up on, outside of comics. As a ’90s kid who grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series, I honestly expected the Joker to be voiced by Mark Hamill but he’s probably still in hiding, being The Last Jedi and all.

The LEGO Batman Movie opens in theaters Feb. 10th.

How Effective was #DeleteUber?

Image: joemygod.com

Image: joemygod.com

Now that a week has passed since angry Uber customers committed to deleting their accounts in the wake of Uber driving still working during a taxi strike, it’s interesting to know just how many actually canceled their accounts, not just uninstalling the app. According to the New York Times, more than 200,000 users officially canceled their accounts. Did users keep their promise because of last weekend’s event or because Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick was on President Trump’s economic council, despite the immigration ban? “Was” being the key word here. Kalanick stepped down from the council, something that his employees had urged him to do.
Though Uber was accused of trying to make a profit out of the taxi boycott of John F. Kennedy Airport, the ride-sharing app’s rival, Lyft, actually made it out on top in the long run. According to Mashable, downloads for both Uber and Lyft appear to have switched: Lyft surged while Uber plummeted during the last week of January. This happened with both iPhone and Android users. But as we entered into February, Uber downloads were up again but there’s no telling if those 200,000+ former Uber customers redownloaded the app.
So it’s becoming more and more apparent how today’s political climate affects the technology we’ve become so dependent on in the 21st century – even if it’s something as simple as a taxi from a busy airport.


 photo dj jinx paul_zpsi7pgrcrb.jpg

Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez joins elected officials, advocates, radio DJs and the family of DJ Jinx Paul, who was killed in a hit and run crash last December, to unveil legislation to
create a hit and run alert system in New York City. The legislation would create an alert system through a number of channels, to support the NYPD in capturing perpetrators of hit and runs.
Following a year where 39 people were killed by hit and run drivers in NYC and over one per week
were killed or faced life-threatening injuries, this legislation will ensure that perpetrators are captured
and prosecuted.

Ford Brings ‘Go Further’ and Auto & Mobility to Life



Ford Brings ‘Go Further’ and Auto and Mobility to Life with New FordHub Brand Experience Studio and Super Bowl Ad

  • Ford expands its “Go Further” brand vision with the launch today of its first-ever interactive brand experience studio – called FordHub – in New York City
  • FordHub, opening in Westfield World Trade Center, is part of Ford’s plan to create new ways to connect with consumers – some of whom have never done business with Ford before
  • Ford is also connecting with new consumers through a 90-second ad launching before Super Bowl LI’s kickoff, showcasing its expansion to be an auto and a mobility company

Ford is expanding its efforts to connect with consumers – some who never have done business with the company before – through the opening of its first-ever FordHub interactive brand experience studio in New York City and a new ad for Super Bowl LI.

FordHub, located in one of New York’s busiest transportation centers – Westfield World Trade Center – is an interactive space designed to show the public how Ford’s expansion to an auto and a mobility company is helping change the way the world moves. FordHub is designed to inspire visitors – whether they own or intend to own a Ford vehicle or not – to think about the future of transportation in an entirely new way by encouraging imagination and dialogue.

Ford was founded on the promise of providing affordable transportation solutions to millions of customers, and this commitment still drives us today,” said Stephen Odell, Ford executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales, and Service. “As we expand our business to be both an auto and mobility company, we’re using new experiences like FordHub and our first Super Bowl ad that talks about the future to explain what we mean when we say ‘We Go Further so you can.’

Opening today, FordHub invites consumers to join Ford to explore, experiment and learn how the company is rethinking the future of transportation.

Our first FordHub is a place designed to spark questions and curiosity,” said Elena Ford, Ford vice president, Global Dealer and Consumer Experience. “This isn’t a store or a dealer – it’s a place for participation and creativity. We want people to have fun while engaging in conversation about the future of transportation.

Exhibits and activities address mobility

As Ford is working with cities around the world to address growing mobility challenges, the company welcomes visitors to the FordHub to where they can get a glimpse at Ford’s vision for solutions. Guests can explore a world map to see how near-term mobility advancements – including autonomous and electric vehicles, ride-sharing, ride-hailing and connected vehicles – will play a pivotal role in the City of Tomorrow.

FordHub also features a mobility map that tracks the pulse of New York City – with a dashboard of real-time traffic information for commuters, including trains, ferries, and alerts.

Other experiences offer fun and intrigue. In Last Mile Challenge, guests stand on wobble boards and race through a futuristic world using every mode of transportation – from autonomous cars to e-bikes – earning tokens for each mobility decision they make. Still, other experiences provide entertainment. In Mustang over Manhattan, guests use a virtual reality headset to build a Mustang atop the Empire State Building, while their friends watch the build come together on a digital screen.

FordGuides – experts not only on the space itself but knowledgeable about Ford vehicles and innovations – are stationed throughout to answer questions and assist guests.

Dynamic space encourages new ideas

As times change and innovations evolve, so, too, will FordHub. Over time, Ford will collaborate with communities, thought leaders, artists, and others to introduce new interactive programs.

We see this as an active, dynamic space, featuring innovations we have today and others we are exploring for tomorrow,” said Elena Ford. “We want consumers to join us and be part of creating the world’s mobility solutions.

Along with the FordHub opening, Ford is kicking off the Mobilize New York Challenge – an innovation challenge designed to stimulate new ideas and find ways to help New Yorkers get around easier and faster. Offering more than $30,000 in cash prizes, individuals are invited to submit proposals to solve the city’s transportation challenges.

Super Bowl ad focuses on Ford’s auto and mobility future Ford also today is revealing a new 90-second ad that – for the first time ever – highlights near- and long-term mobility solutions it is developing to help people Go Further in their daily lives.

The ad launches just before kickoff of Super Bowl LI on Sunday. The spot showcases moments in which people have become “stuck” in life. It then showcases Ford solutions – including self-driving vehicles and ride-sharing – to help people move freely again.

Digital extensions of the ad also debut at fordgofurther.com, featuring in-depth stories of Ford people who Go Further every day. Those featured include employees, dealers, and partners who create the vehicles, technologies and mobility solutions Ford is working on today and tomorrow.

President Trump vs. Mayor de Blasio

trump vs de blasio

President Trump has been in office just seven days and he’s already signed four executive orders, keeping up with campaign promises, one of which was taking a step further into deporting millions of undocumented immigrants as well as building that infamous wall (that’ll probably never be built). The order titled “Enhancing public safety in the Interior of the United States”, orders to what have been nicknamed as “sanctuary cities”, cities like New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and more, to comply with any requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and threatens to cancel any federal grants to those that don’t comply. These cities appear to be targeted because they offer social services to its residents, regardless of immigration status. One service we know of here in New York City is the Municipal ID program known as IDNYC, not only offers free admission to a select number of the City’s museums but is also a great alternative to some form of photo ID for city resident who cannot otherwise obtain one through the State’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

So what are these sanctuary cities doing in response? NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYS’s attorney general, and California legislators aren’t planning on complying with this executive order. Miami-Dade County, on the other hand, is a different story.

Mayor de Blasio, along with former mayor Mike Bloomberg, doesn’t see undocumented immigrants as such, but as fellow New Yorkers. According to DNAInfo, de Blasio acknowledges that “we have half a million New Yorkers who are undocumented and they are part of the fabric of this city,” and has already started to set aside a reserve fund in case those federal cuts do happen. As reported by the Daily Beast, Bloomberg stated during his tenure as mayor, “although they broke the law by illegally crossing our borders or overstaying their visas and our businesses broke the law by employing them, our city’s economy would be a shell of itself had they not, and it would collapse if they were deported.” That Daily Beast article highlighted undocumented day laborers in NYC who simply look to make an honest dollar. The city receives an estimate of $7 billion from the federal government, which contributes to law enforcement and NYPD’s anti-terrorism efforts, social services such as NYCHA and other affordable housing, public assistance, child protective services as well as HIV/AIDS prevention programs, which is almost fully funded by federal dollars.

New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman outright called this executive order “unconstitutional”, noting the trust that has been built between immigrant communities and local law enforcement is vital to the safety of ALL citizens. He released a full statement on this, using the president’s favorite form of mass communication: Twitter.



According to the LA Times, California’s high court decisions have interpreted financial threats like this as an unlawful intrusion on the state’s rights. San Francisco officials have determined that since the wording of the executive order is rather vague, it may not even be applicable to them.

Miami, on the other hand, has given in to such demands. According to USA Today, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has refused for years to detain undocumented immigrants for federal immigration authorities but changed his mind upon the signing of the order since it would cut federal funding. Gimenez signed his own executive this week ordering the director of Miami-Dade’s corrections department to begin complying with any requests from ICE. Money talks, huh?


Why I am proud to say: “I Am Hostos”!

Madeline Santana

As the recipient of the Auxiliary Police Officer Eugene Marshalik Scholarship, Madeline Santana continues to climb the education ladder at Hostos Community College as she pursues an associate degree in Office Technology, Medical Office Manager. Madeline enrolled in the Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development and earned her certification as a Pharmacy Technician. Making the most of her experience at the College, Madeline was able to secure a part-time position at Bronx Lebanon Special Care Center, where she has been employed for the past seven months. She will soon be joining the staff at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center full-time. Upon completion of her associate degree, Madeline plans on enrolling in Pharmacy school.

When asked about her experience in the Pharmacy Technician Program, she responded as follows:  “The Pharmacy Technician Program has impacted my life and career in a great way. I have set new goals for myself while pursuing a rewarding career. From the moment I began attending Hostos Community College, many opportunities have opened up for me, while the guidance I received from my mentor, Dr. Geoffrey Lord, has been priceless. I am grateful for the relationships I have formed and the people within the program that truly care about their students’ success. I AM HOSTOS.

Learn more about opportuneties at Hostos continuing education programs


Here are some things she has learned and want to share on her educational journey:

  • I heard about the program through the catalog delivered to homes. I am a Bronx native and I am always looking into furthering my education.
  • My experience was a wonderful experience taking the pharmacy technician class. Dr. Lord is a great professor and enrolling into this program offered from Hostos has been such a major impact in my life and he has definitely become a mentor to me in my career path.
  • This program has been very beneficial for me and has allowed me to transition into the medical industry. Dr. Lord prepared me by exposing the retail and medical skills needed to be marketable in my job search. During my program I was able to work closely with my mentor in the pharmacy and learn from his staff. The collaboration between Hostos and Bronx Lebanon has been a priceless experience for me and other students. I was also able to secure employment upon completion of my program.
  • What I took away most from my time in the program is the relationships I formulated.  I was able to establish and network with those experts in my industry who created employment opportunities.
  • I encourage future students with an interest in this program to take advantage of the training and the preparation Hostos offers. I was fully prepared and gained my certification within 4 months, and shortly after secured a new position with Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. This experience has been an absolute life changer.

Martin Luther King, Jr. – Has His Dream Come True?


With the current political and social climate, it may seem as if things would worsen for people of color, and other minorities, under a Trump administration. Even with his campaign promise to “make America great again” by building a wall on Mexico’s dime, accusing Mexico of “not sending their best” in terms of immigration, along with other verbal attacks on minorities, let us not forget the contributions made by blacks, Latinos, Asians, etc., that make America already great. Believe it or not, the first Hispanic to serve on Capitol Hill was back in 1822! Here are a few people who were the first of their ethnicity in their positions:

  • Joseph Marion Hernández, born in Spanish Florida, served as the first Hispanic Congressman when Florida became a US territory in 1822
  • Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi and Representative Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first African Americans to serve in Congress in 1870
  • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, born in Havana, was the first Hispanic woman to be elected into Congress in 1989, and is still currently serving
  • Shirley Chisholm of New York was the first African-American woman elected into Congress in 1968
  • Patsy Mink of Hawaii, of Asian-Pacific descent, was elected into Congress in 1965, and was also the first ethnic woman in this position

Other men and women of color have made political and social strides throughout American history, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard & Mildred Loving, the Black Panthers and the Young Lords. They took a stand for their people when social inequality and injustice abounded, even though our constitution guarantees “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for ALL Americans.

Dr King quote

Let the results of the 2016 election encourage you to be politically engaged, if you weren’t already. This doesn’t necessarily mean run for office, but at least know who your congress & senate representatives are and what they’re all about.

In the 54 years since Dr. King’s speech, has his dream come true? It can be argued that it hasn’t completely but you can take a listen to his speech and draw a conclusion.


A Very Happy New Year for Dominican Slugger Edwin Encarnacion

Image: sports.yahoo.com

Image: sports.yahoo.com

It’s truly a New Year for the Cleveland Indians.

Though they were just a game short of a World Series title, the Indians finalized a $65 million, three-year contract with free agent slugger Edwin Encarnacion on Thursday.

Cleveland aggressively pursued the La Romana-born pelotero, who has averaged 39 homers over the past five seasons. Encarnacion hit 42 home runs and drove in 127 runs last season for the Toronto Blue Jays, who lost to the Indians in the American League Championship Series.

Encarnacion’s agreement is the largest in the Cleveland Indians’ history, surpassing a five year deal in 2007 with now NY Yankee Travis Hafner that added $57 million in guaranteed money and a $56 million, four-year contract with free agent Nick Swisher, now an Atlanta Brave, ahead of the 2013 season.

Countdown to the 2017 Golden Globes

Image: goldderby.com

Image: goldderby.com

Just over a week away from the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, everyone is hoping their favorites will win at least one Globe. But could the winners be predicted?

Meryl Streep is not only receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, but her chances of winning the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical are fairly high, compared to her Florence Foster Jenkins costar Hugh Grant in the Actor category. This is her 30th nomination and could be her ninth award. As for some of the other lovely and talented ladies with a nomination in film, the odds of Amy Adams and Natalie Portman contending for Best Performance by an Actress for their roles in Arrival and Jackie, respectively, are quite high. The cards also seem to be in the favor of these other motion picture nominees: Hell or High Water in Drama, Deadpool, 20th Century Women, and Sing Street in Comedy/Musical. As much as we may tell ourselves that most cartoons are for kids, viewers can’t help but to love Kubo and the Two Strings and Sing, both holding their lucky rabbit’s foot for the win of Best Animated Motion Picture.

New original shows streaming only for Netflix and Amazon Prime members are on the rise and the upcoming Golden Globes reflects that. Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, staring Gael Garcia Bernal (with a nomination of his own for Best Actor), just may come out on top as Best Musical/Comedy Television Series, possibly overshadowing its diverse competitors such as Atlanta on FX, Black-ish on ABC and Transparent, also on Amazon. Period pieces, and Netflix originals, Stranger Things and The Crown may fall short of NBC’s This Is Us. And as much as we love Gina Rodriguez in Jane the Virgin, the winning hand may be dealt to Issa Rae of HBO’s Insecure Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical/Comedy Television Series.

Though these odds may not be 100% on point, if this election has taught us anything is that anyone can be a winner!