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Multimedia Features

Young, Educated and Struggling

Lauren Mitchell uses her own body to teach medical and nursing students how to perform breast and pelvic exams. “It’s me, a glove and some lube,” she says.

However, as a 23-year-old freelance gynecological teaching associate, or GTA, Mitchell doesn’t consistently earn enough to cover basic needs. Her rent, student loans and grocery bills often swamp her – forcing her to lean on her boyfriend for support and use discarded clothes to satisfy her fashion bug. Although she is a college graduate helping to train the next generation of doctors, Mitchell cannot afford health insurance. She has even stopped buying birth control pills.

Like many New Yorkers, she is young, well educated and struggling.

Click on the image below to read and watch Lauren’s story.

Airsoft Confidential

An hour into battle, the U.S. led NATO forces were already running for cover. Russian special forces didn’t fare much better. Dodging a storm of bullets from the advancing Turkmen forces or the Buran, an alien humanoid robot, they grabbed their M-16s, AK-47s and Glock pistols and retreated into the woods. The woods of central New Jersey.

Wild West City, a 140-acre property in Stanhope, N.J. is where members of Filforce, an active group in the New York metro area’s Airsoft community act out their military fantasies.

Click below to read and see more.

Photo Credit: Alex Lowther

Photo: Alex Lowther

Fugitive Recovery

Manuel Herrera jumped bail on a $1500 bond for a domestic violence charge when he didn’t show up to his weekly scheduled check-ins with Affordable Bail Bonds. The company hired fugitive recovery agents Tom Evangelista and Joe Esposito to apprehend Herrera. In New York, fugitive recovery agents under the supervision of bail bonds companies are allowed to capture and bring a defendant back to jail.

Click below to read more and see Evangelista and Esposito in action.

Photo Credit: Matthew Hennessy

Photo: Matthew Hennessy

Rumble In The Jungle

It’s Saturday morning and inside Jungle Gym Martial Arts in the Bronx, children – some as young as 4 years old – are being trained in mixed martial arts, a combat sport that combines boxing, wrestling, karate and judo. Children throw punches, jabs, kicks and place submission holds — painful arm and leg bends — on one another in sparring sessions as the gym’s ceilings rattle with every passage of the 6 train across the street.
Parents watch as instructors supervise and encourage the children who wear protective headgear.

Justin “Chim Chim” Garcia, a 34-year-old former estate planner owns Jungle Gym, a converted plumbing supply building, where
some of the Bronx’s grittiest kids can get trained in mixed martial arts, the basis for the controversial sport of the Ultimate Fighting
Championship. Even though Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts are currently banned in New York State, teaching mixed martial
arts is not illegal and Garcia believes that this increasingly popular sport is giving his students valuable life lessons. “We make them
battle physically and mentally, and in the process we teach them how to get over the humps in life,” he said.


Outlaw Beekeepers

On a warm Saturday afternoon, a group of 40 environmentalists and local food enthusiasts gathered in secret on the first floor of an aging and rarely used office building in Brooklyn for a lesson in how to build a beehive.

The aspiring beekeepers hammered and drilled away on wooden planks to create frames for their beehives. The hives are simple. To the naked eye they look like square boxes made of wood rather than a beehive that Winnie the Pooh would devour.

The students meet in secret because beekeeping is illegal in New York. The city’s health code, last updated in 2000, considers bees to be “dangerous animals, naturally inclined to do harm or capable of inflicting harm.”

Click below to read more and see some of New York’s outlaw beekeepers in action.


Still Smoking

Sam Antikacia, 32, held a burning cigarette between his fingers. He waited, hoping that a tourist would step out of Tavern on the Green, the landmark New York City restaurant in Central Park, and ask for a $40 ride in his horse carriage.

Antikacia’s smoking habit is the only thing that keeps him sane under today’s economic downturn. It is the same thing, however, that is putting more stress on his already shrinking budget.

“It costs me $300 bucks a month,” said Antikacia, who has been smoking a pack a day for 11 years. “It’s kind of an addiction, and I try to quit. Even if prices go up, I won’t be able to quit because it comes from inside of me.”

Despite rises in cigarette taxes and financial turmoil, New Yorkers continue to smoke. Facing the nation’s highest tobacco tax at $4.25 per pack, the city’s smokers say they sacrifice hearty meals and rely on lower prices outside of Manhattan in order to continue indulging in their vice.

Click on the image below to read and watch more about New York’s smokers.