Brooklyn Deep Third Rail

Third Rail Eps 45: Nothin’ But a G Thing


On the eve of the NYC elections, the Brooklyn Deep team examines all the local gentrification drama that helped define the political landscape this summer. Joining us is Michael Higgins, the lead organizer for Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE). Also, Brooklyn Deep’s engineer and co-producer, TK, hooks on a mic and joins the action.

Segment One: Michael Higgins reviews this summer in Central Brooklyn gentrification and  discusses what prompted the recent Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network’s (BAN) “March Against Police Violence, Racism and Gentrification.”

Segment Two: The Brooklyn Deep team provides updates on the Summerhill controversy heating up on Nostrand Avenue in north Crown Heights.

Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"



Jay Smooth: How To Tell Someone They Sound Racist

FUREE: Upcoming Events

NYC Primary Election Results


Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.

 Episode Music: "Fog Lights” by VYVCH.

Third Rail Eps 44: Summer Black


If there is any question about what Black culture remains in Brooklyn, all you have to do is check out the summer scene on the streets of Brownsville, Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Fort Greene and even Dumbo where festivals and block parties celebrate Brooklyn negritude.

Mark, Veralyn and our guests, Zawadi Morris, Editor of BK Reader, and Tai Allen, poet and event curator dedicate this episode to look at Brooklyn Summers. Join us as we take a critical guided tour through the histories and happenings of the events that help define Black cultural life in the BK. 

Segment One: We take a walk through neighborhoods of Brooklyn to document the summer line up of events. Who is doing what and when.

Segment Two: We provide commentary on these events and how summers in Black Brooklyn have changed over the years, whether for better or for worse.

Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"

Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.

Episode Music: "Earth, Wind, Fire”, “Purpose”, & “Summer” by Ryan Little.

Third Rail Eps 43: Blewish: The easy myths and hard truths of Black-Jewish relations.


Crown Heights is America’s most infamous Black-Orthodox Jewish conflict zone. Mark and Veralyn explore the intersections of these identities with Chava Shervington, a Black orthodox woman who spent 5 years in Crown Heights, but now lives in California. Joining us remotely, Chava reflects on dueling narratives of Black anti-semitism and Jewish racism.

Segment One: We ride along Chava’s personal journey and public life while gaining insight into Jewish participation in whiteness.

Segment Two: We discuss the “othering” of each other’s communities by Blacks and Jews and consider their common interests.

Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"

Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.

Episode Music: Holy Roller (instrumental) by YACHT.


Third Rail Eps 42: Airbnb in Central Brooklyn: Chaos or Community?


A recent article in Brooklyn Deep ran an exclusive on a study by Inside Airbnb, an Airbnb activist project that has been largely critical of the Airbnb enterprise.  The study concludes that Airbnb acts as a racial gentrification tool in New York City’s predominantly Black neighborhoods.

“Across all 72 predominantly Black New York City neighborhoods, Airbnb hosts are 5 times more likely to be white” writes Murray Cox, the author of the report, and the founder of the Inside Airbnb project.  Also, White hosts in Black neighborhoods  earned $159.7 million, the report estimates, while only $48.3 million went to Black hosts.”

Critics of Airbnb have claimed that their hosts are taking rentable apartments and rooms off the rental market and impacting affordable housing.

On the other hand, hosts and Airbnb representatives themselves contend that Airbnb helps New Yorkers make ends meet. Furthermore, they argue, it serves as anchor for a growing neighborhood based tourist economy that helps lift the entire neighborhood. What could be wrong?

Guests, Murray Cox, founder of Inside Airbnb and Jason Mondesir-Caesar, Brooklyn resident and AirBnB Super Host join us for a stimulating conversation.

Segment One: Who? What? Where? Why Airbnb?

The Third Rail crew explores how Airbnb is being used in Central Brooklyn.

Segment Two: Mark and Veralyn ask the question...

Is Airbnb a good or bad thing? 

Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"

An unexpected plot twist, dating in 2017, and being policed in Brooklyn.


Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.

Episode Music:Instrumental clips from "Divider" and "It's Always Too Late to Start Over"  by Chris Zabriskie

Third Rail Eps 40: Toward a Black and Muslim Future



Mark and Veralyn discuss the intersections of Black and Muslim identity and the possibilities for Non-Muslim Black and Non-Black Muslim solidarity.

Segment One: On Being Black & Muslim.

The Third Rail crew explore the multi-layered relationship between Islam and Black American identity. In studio guest: Naima Muhammad, aka "Queen" of the podcast Tea with Queen and J .

Segment Two: Intersectional Solidarity.

Mark and Veralyn discuss what it would take to achieve deep and meaningful solidarity between Black folks and non-Black muslim immigrants. Field Interview Guest: Aber Kawas, the Youth Lead Organizer of the Arab American Association of New York.

Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"         

Mark, Veralyn, and Queen go through a topical range of emotions starting with Trans representation, Rachel Dolezal, & Van Jones/Donald Trump.

Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.

Episode Music:

"Brooklyn Bridge", "Cruise The World", & "Home Sweet Home" by Willbe.





Third Rail Eps 38: Dear White Friend

Through this provocative lens, Mark and Veralyn explore what it looks like to show up for racial justice as a white person, and how Black people should position themselves relative to white folks figuring that out.  This is a candid discussion about action and solidarity around combatting racial violence, privilege and institutionalized oppression.
Segment One: Dear White Friend
Mark and Veralyn have a candid discussion about action and solidarity around combatting racial violence, privilege and institutionalized oppression with their white friends. Featuring Mark’s friend, Jon Stout of Free Speech TV and Veralyn’s friend and collegue, Illana Millner at Slate.
Segment Two: Dear White Constituent
Councilmember Brad Lander, who represents District 39 a predominately white constituency in Brooklyn talks with us frankly about the role of white citizens taking action against racial oppression and what his role is in mobilizing his community as a politician.
Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"
Hamilton vs Golden Globes.
Veralyn and Mark go toe to toe with recent moments in media they are “mad” at.

Third Rail Eps 36: Family Affair: Living a Bed-Stuy Gentrification Story


This month we focus on 17-year-old Corinne Bobb-Semple’s reporting for the Radio Rookie series, not just as an act of journalism, but as something that springs from her family’s legacy of community entrepreneurship and civic action. We explore what it was like to discuss the intricacies of race, class and place in the Bobb-Semple home before, during and after Corinne shared her reporting and insights on gentrification in Central Brooklyn through the Rookies program.

Segment one: Family & Community
We discuss changes on Third Rail and introduce the Radio Rookies program. Our guests, Bed-Stuy residents- social entrepreneur Crystal Bobb-Semple and student Corrinne Bobb-Semple and tell us about the family and community experience that led to Corinne's piece for Radio Rookies.

Segment two: "Bed-Stuy the End of an Era"
We play Corinne Bobb-Semple’s piece about gentrification in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Co-produced by Brooklyn Deep and WNYC.

Segment 3: Can Black People gentrify?
We explore themes like Black versus White gentrifiers; what it means for the future Bed-Stuy and the Bobb- Semple family.
We discuss the process of creating the piece and what the types of responses it may elicit from people.

Segment 4: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"
Is it sustainable for People of Color to create media, facilitate conversations, and be consumers?  Veralyn and Mark go head to head to discuss what about Corrine's story gets them mad.

TR Express: In moments like these


We've been here before. Trying to process how easily black people die at the hands of police; how easily hashtags pile up: #DelrawnSmall #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile; and needing to find a way forward through it all.

Third Rail pauses to check-in with Anthonine Pierre (Brooklyn Movement Center's Lead Community Organizer) and Ryann Holmes (Bklyn Boihood Co-founder) about the impact of this moment (which includes five Dallas officers being killed) and how Central Brooklyn moves forward.

If you need a community base or resource for an initiative you are taking on, contact the Brooklyn Movement Center at or Bklyn Boihood here.

TR 33: Relevance of Race in Central Brooklyn


This month two oral historians, Amaka Okechukwu (Weeksville Heritage Center) and Zaheer Ali (Brooklyn Historical Society), come on to tackle the relevance of race in Central Brooklyn. First by examining the impact of the Crown Heights "Riots." Then we ask, are there dimensions that get missed by identifying Central Brooklyn neighborhoods, as black?

Segment one: Crown Heights 1991: Does the past matter?
As we gear up to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Crown Heights “riots," we discuss the neighborhood conditions that lead to what happened in 1991, and the impact those events still have on Central Brooklyn residents today.

Segment two: Do we miss something by calling Central Brooklyn, Black Brooklyn?
We use "black" to describe Central Brooklyn, but is there something overly reductive happening when we do this? Are we missing the rich dimensions of the way people really truly identify themselves, interact with each other, and identify their neighborhood?

Segment 3: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad" Roundup

Third Rail Eps 29: Race, Change and Central Brooklyn schools


Our conversation on this episode centers around race, change and Central Brooklyn schools-- where the personal meets the political. 


Faraji Hannah-Jones, Co-PTA President, P.S.307
Max Freedman, New School Graduate Student, Researching race and social change in NY’s public schools


1. The Political Stakes
Here we are exploring the political and racial dimensions in Central Brooklyn districts, including one next door to the Farragut Houses, on the outskirts of Forte Green. We'll look at what is at stake and the story of change that is impacting schools in this area.

2. The Personal Stakes
We discuss what is personally at stake for activist parents in Central Brooklyn who value both traditional public education and predominately black school environments.

3. "Tell em why you mad" Roundup