Good morning on this soggy Wednesday.
Ishalaa Ortega had to get out of Mexico.
As a transgender woman and an outspoken critic of the policies of a candidate for governor in her home state of Baja California, Mexico, she had received a steady stream of death threats. But it was an assault by a man on the street, she said, that made her realize her life was truly in danger.
So on a warm July night in 2013, she packed a bag and asked a friend to drop her off at the border in Tijuana.
This Pride Month arrives at a peculiar moment for Ms. Ortega, who now resides in Corona, Queens: It’s a time when part of her identity is being celebrated, even while the climate around refugees fleeing violence is rapidly shifting.
“If you are cisgender and an immigrant, it’s difficult,” Ms. Ortega said on a recent afternoon. “If you’re transgender and an immigrant, it’s even more difficult. And undocumented, even worse.”
When Ms. Ortega arrived to the border in 2013, she was put into detention with men, she said, where she was often harassed and denied resources.
“When I arrived, I went three days without being able to take a shower, being able to fix my face, shave,” said Ms. Ortega. “Everyone was laughing at me when they were looking at me.”
After nearly two months, Ms. Ortega was released. She moved to New York the next year, armed with a green card, ambition and multiple technical degrees. But even here, she encountered a problem that she said is common among transgender women.
“I applied to many places as a woman and they wouldn’t hire me,” she said, “I realized that regardless if you’re a citizen, or an immigrant or whatever, you’re still very far behind just for being a trans woman. Especially if you don’t pass.”
She enrolled in LaGuardia Community College, where she graduated earlier this month with a degree in political science. She starts Hunter College in the fall, and hopes to become a human rights lawyer, she said, “to make sure that those affected by homophobia and transphobia, who are not able to go to school, still have their rights.”
This Pride, she said, she will be marching for an end to holding transgender people in detention centers.
“Pride is a festival, but there are still people like me who go there to demand justice,” she said. “Everyone talks about human rights — it’s just a list of rights that heterosexual white males have had since the day they were born. If that’s what human rights are, apply it to me.”
Here’s what else is happening:
It’s June gloom.
Sandwiched between bright, summery days this week is our gray midweek patty, if you will.
And it’s saucy: Showers are likely between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The high is near 77.
Sunshine is back tomorrow.
In the News
• Crumbling walls, leaky pipes and lead paint. Those are just a few of the troubles residents say they deal with in New York City Housing Authority apartments. [New York Times]
• As the primary approaches, seven Democrats in the 19th Congressional District in New York are struggling to stand out. [New York Times]
• Can a man who tried to push people onto subway tracks years ago be reformed? That man is now one exam shy of a master’s degree. He says that he owes it all to his housing. [New York Times]
• The “Taxi of Tomorrow,” a plan to increase conformity of taxi vehicle models from the Bloomberg administration, may become yesterday’s news. [New York Times]
• After a decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that victims of domestic violence did not have grounds for asylum, some women are left uncertain about their future. [New York Times]
• Does 28 acres of quiet garden space in New York City seem like a fantasy? Then you haven’t heard of this private-turned-public estate in the Bronx. [New York Times]
• A man from Sheepshead Bay has been charged with murdering a New School professor in his home. [The Brooklyn Paper]
• Have you ever wondered which neighborhood is the most rat-infested? Here’s an interactive map. [Gothamist]
• Placard abuse is an issue that the City Council has been working to crack down on. But the Police Department hasn’t been as proactive in combating it. [Streetsblog NYC]
• Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “Big Dogs”
• For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.
Coming Up Today
• Calm your kids at a family yoga class at Inwood Hill Park in Inwood. 5:30 p.m. [Free]
• A panel of artists, activists and historians discuss the removal of the J. Marion Sims monument from Central Park at the CUNY Graduate Center in Midtown Manhattan. 6 p.m. [Free]
• Opera fans can take in a shortened performance of “Madama Butterfly” at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan at 6 p.m. or arias from a number of operas during the Met Opera’s summer recital series at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park at 7 p.m. [Both free]
• Take a boating course on Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. 7 p.m. [$ 65]
• At Summer Art Slam, 10 artists paint live as they compete for a month of studio access at the Con Artist Collective on the Lower East Side. 7 p.m. [Free]
On this week in 1951, The New York Times reported that articles lost in subway trains and stations would be auctioned off at the Sixth Avenue L train station.
Up for sale back then: 3,500 umbrellas, 250 “valises” (suitcases), 50 cameras, eight radios, cigarette lighters and an assortment of sporting goods.
Which made us wonder: What happens when you drop an item on the subway today?
They still go up for auction, according to Shams Tarek, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
So far this year, the M.T.A. has made a little over $ 10,000 selling off our unclaimed items — including ukuleles, trumpets and a pair of skis.
If you dropped your umbrella on the F train this morning, you still have time to get it back. Items are retained based on the estimated value of the item. Trinkets deemed to be worth less than $ 100 are held for three months, while anything valued at more than $ 5,000 is kept for three years.
The last auction took place in May. If you’re in the market for, say, a gently used trombone, the next set goes on the block in July.
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