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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Around the Nation
5:55 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Time For Superstorm Sandy Evacuees To Check Out Of Hotels

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

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

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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Around the Nation
4:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

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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Politics
7:46 am
Sat September 21, 2013

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

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

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

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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The Record
5:01 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

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

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

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

You might say Steven Greenberg is the mayor of Funkytown. Back in 1979, Greenberg was just another young musician and producer in Minneapolis. Then his group Lipps, Inc. recorded a song that would come to dominate the dance floors and airwaves in the summer of 1980, and for a long time afterward.

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It's All Politics
3:31 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Yet Another Democrat Takes The Lead In NYC Mayor Race

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

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Ecstatic Voices
12:03 pm
Sun August 25, 2013

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

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

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

On a recent Sunday afternoon, 15 members of the Renaissance Street Singers gathered under a bridge in New York's Central Park. With little fanfare, they launched into a free, two-hour concert of music by Palestrina, des Prez and other composers who lived more than 500 years ago.

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Around the Nation
5:01 am
Thu August 22, 2013

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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It's All Politics
4:33 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Cory Booker: Supermayor Or Self-Promoter?

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

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

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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The Record
1:03 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Maxwell's, The Beloved New Jersey Venue, Closes

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

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

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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The Salt
3:51 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Fast-Food Strikers Demand A 'Living Wage'

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

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

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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The Salt
3:33 am
Mon July 22, 2013

New York Toasts Long-Awaited Revival Of Its Distilleries

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

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

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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Politics
4:26 pm
Sat July 6, 2013

Big Personalities Are Front And Center In NYC Mayoral Race

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

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

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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Around the Nation
5:11 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

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

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

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

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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Around the Nation
5:32 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Cooper Union Students Fight For Freedom From Tuition

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

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

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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U.S.
4:33 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Big Apple Debates Storm Prep As Hurricane Season Begins

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 10:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

For New York, last year's hurricane was a painful reminder that the city is surrounded by water. It has more than 500 miles of coastline, from the beaches of Staten Island and the Rockaways, to the banks of the Hudson and East Rivers and beyond. There is little dispute among scientists that rising sea levels will increase the threat of flooding. And now, as hurricane season begins again, there's a spirited debate about how the region should prepare for that threat.

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Movie Interviews
6:40 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

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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Around the Nation
5:29 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Boston Bombings Prompt Fresh Look At Unsolved Murders

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

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

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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Business
5:45 am
Fri May 10, 2013

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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Health
3:02 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 10:09 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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Around the Nation
4:34 am
Mon April 29, 2013

FEMA-Subsidized Housing To End For Some Sandy Victims

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 1:41 pm

Six months after Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of low-income New Yorkers are facing homelessness. They've been living in subsidized hotel rooms since the storm, but that funding is about to run out. Advocates say there isn't enough public and low-income housing to accommodate them all.

The Salt
6:27 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 8:20 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
4:46 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 7:55 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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Around the Nation
6:52 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 3:07 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
6:46 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 11:26 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.
4:20 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 8:16 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
5:33 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 1:47 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
5:31 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 5:38 pm

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Around the Nation
5:30 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 6:40 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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NPR Story
4:48 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Cooper Union Students Protest Threat To Free Tuition

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 9:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a student occupation is entering its third day in New York City. It's happening at Cooper Union. The school of art, architecture and engineering is famous for not charging undergraduates tuition.

As NPR's Joel Rose reports, student protesters are unhappy about what they see as threats to that tradition.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
5:14 am
Sat November 3, 2012

Marathon Runners Wonder, Why Not Cancel Earlier?

Mary Wittenberg, president of the New York Road Runners, announces the cancellation of the maration Friday in New York with Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson (left) and George Hirsch, chairman of the board of New York Road Runners.
Louis Lanzano AP

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 12:48 pm

For the first time since it began in 1970, the New York City Marathon will not take place.

Marathon officials and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had initially insisted that Sunday's race would go on despite the devastation caused by Sandy. But mounting opposition forced the organizers to change their minds Friday.

All week, the group that organizes the race, the New York Road Runners, kept saying the marathon would go on. But on Friday night, Road Runners CEO Mary Wittenberg made this announcement:

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