AGBC News Episode 38: Rice Cooker Subway Scare and Cyclone Rider

Podcast artwork
Podcast artwork via AGBC

The highs and lows of this week's history 🎒

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AGBC News Episode 38: Rice Cooker Subway Scare and Cyclone Rider
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  • Last week, I started out with a quick measles update saying that the outbreak has mostly subsided, but I want to reiterate how important it is to get yourself and any young children vaccinated before the next outbreak begins. Israel-based Ynetnews revealed this week that a 43-year-old flight attendant who had contracted measles while working on the New York to Tel Aviv route for Israeli airline El Al died this week after a long hospital stay. Rotem Amitai was a mother of three who fell ill and was admitted to a hospital in Israel, where there has been a serious ongoing measles outbreak. She had only received one dose of the measles vaccination and was therefore still susceptible to the disease. In the United States, one does of vaccine is usually administered when a child turns one year old and a second is administered before the child enters school, and in city data, 46 of the total 653 measles cases in this year's outbreak were children or adults who had only received one does of the vaccine. El Al Airlines now requires all flight attendants to be vaccinated against the disease, and it's believed that people flying home from overseas trips and returning to communities in Williamsburg and upstate in Rockland County were the initial sources of New York's current measles outbreaks.

  • 16 years ago on August 14, 2003 β€” A cascading power outage plunges millions into darkness across the northeast β€” What began as a damaged power line and a software malfunction in Ohio led to overloaded equipment throughout the interconnected power system stretching from Canada into the northeast United States. The power surge from Ohio triggered safety systems across the region, creating what is thought to have been the most widespread outage in both United States and Canadian history and the second-most-widespread in the world. It took around two days for all overloaded components to be checked and brought back online, with some smaller areas remaining without power for nearly a week. In New York, the city and most of the state were in the dark. Traffic lights were out and elevators and the subway were stopped, leaving many commuters in need of emergency evacuation and with no way to reach their homes as night began to fall. Some stayed in office buildings, on the floors of generous co-workers who lived nearby, or even slept outside, while others attempted to walk home or catch a ride on a bus or taxi, turning Manhattan's bridges into one-way exits.

  • Update: The suspect was taken into custody around 1am on August 17th β€” Police are still looking for a possible suspect in Friday morning's bomb scare where two empty rice cookers were left in the Fulton Street subway station downtown. The proximity of the station to many government offices and the sheer number of commuters that pass through the station during morning rush hour, the area was quickly evacuated and subway lines were disrupted beginning around 7:30am. Police found the large silver rice cookers to be empty and deemed the situation safe, but a third, identical rice cooker was then found next to a city trash can in Chelsea at Seventh and 16th. The rice cookers were empty, and they may have been intended as hoax devices to cause disruption. Police released stills from security camera footage showing a white man in his 20s or 30s with dark, curly hair and a distinctive tattoo on his outer forearm, and described him as a person of interest. After seeing the security camera footage, a West Virginia man identified the person as his son, who may have recently been pan-handling in the city. No further info has been released and the police are still searching for the suspect as of this recording. Although the incident brings to mind the Chelsea pressure-cooker bombing of 2016, there have also been recent scares from abandoned rice cookers, one found in a suitcase in Midtown at a 6 Train station in 2017 and another in an F Train station on the Lower East Side in 2018.

Rice cookers via NYPD
Rice cooker suspect via NYPD

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Park of the day

Parks Events

  • FlyNYC Kite Festival in Riverside Park South β€” Learn to fly a kite or just enjoy the view as decorative kites take to the skies above the Hudson River at Pier I in Riverside Park South across from 70th Street in Manhattan. If you have your own kite, bring it along, or a limited number of free kites will be available for children to try. Saturday, August 17, 2019 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Concert Calendar

Here's the AGBC Concert Calendar for the upcoming week:

Find more fun things to do at

New York Fact

Here's something you may not have known about New York:


The extreme highs and lows for this week in weather history:
Record High: 97Β°F on August 20, 1955
Record Low: 52Β°F on August 22, 1895

Weather for the week ahead:
Possible light rain tomorrow through Wednesday, with high temperatures peaking at 92Β°F on Monday.

Intro and outro music: 'Start the Day' by Lee Rosevere β€” Concert Calendar music from


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