Joel Rose

Joel Rose covers the northeast for the National Desk out of NPR's New York bureau.

Rose's reporting often focuses on criminal justice, technology and culture. He's interviewed grieving parents after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, resettled refugees in Buffalo, and a lineup of musicians that includes Solomon Burke, Tom Waits and Arcade Fire.

Rose collaborated with NPR's Planet Money podcast for a story on smart guns. He was part of NPR's award-winning coverage of Pope Francis's visit to the US. He's also contributed to breakings news coverage of the mass shooting at Mother Bethel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, and major protests after the deaths of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Eric Garner in New York.

Before coming to NPR, Rose held a number of jobs in public radio. He spent a decade in Philadelphia, including six years as a reporter at member station WHYY. He was also a producer at KQED in San Francisco and American Routes in New Orleans.

Rose has a bachelor's degree in history and music from Brown University, where he got his start in broadcasting as an overnight DJ at the college radio station. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.

First, a confession: I've never liked gefilte fish. The slimy, grey balls of fish from a jar have always struck me as icky.

Turns out, I am not alone.

"I had the same experience as you. I never ate gefilte fish," says Liz Alpern. "It was disgusting to me. I literally think I never ate it, until I started making it."

That's a remarkable statement coming from someone in the gefilte fish business. Alpern is half of the team behind the Gefilteria, which makes artisanal gefilte fish. Yes, that is a thing. Alpern gave me a demonstration at a catering kitchen in Brooklyn.

If you were alive in the 1980s, you've probably seen the art of Keith Haring. His graffiti-inspired images were everywhere: canvases and T-shirts, walls and subway stations.

Now one of Haring's lesser-known murals in New York is threatened. It's in the stairwell of a former convent called Grace House, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan — a pretty unlikely place, even for Haring. But here are Haring's familiar, cartoonish figures — the radiant baby, the barking dog — dancing up and down three flights of stairs.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

At the White Rose Diner in Linden, N.J., owner Rich Belfer tosses a dozen round, thick slices of processed pork to sizzle on the grill. To Belfer, it's beyond dispute that those are slices of Taylor Ham.

"It's pork, it's spices, it's salt, it's water. It's common ingredients," Belfer says.

But the flavor is more difficult to explain. "I don't know if anybody can really describe it," he says. "It has a little smoky flavor. It has a little spice. It has a little original Jersey flavor in it."

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One of the country's largest pizza chains faces a lawsuit over alleged wage theft.

New York's attorney general accuses Domino's Pizza of systematically undercounting the hours worked by employees at its franchises.

The case could deliver big changes in the fast-food industry and beyond.

When you own a Domino's franchise there are some rules you just have to follow.

Seventeen states have legal protections to prevent discrimination against transgender people in areas like housing and employment.

One of those states is New Jersey, and when employers there want to know how state law applies to transgender people, many of them call Robyn Gigl. She's a partner at a top law firm; a board member of Garden State Equality, a nonprofit that works on LGBT issues, and is also a transgender woman.

"I put a human face on something, and I consider myself the most normal person in the room," she says.

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When you ride on buses or trains in many parts of the United States, what you say could be recorded. Get on a New Jersey Transit light rail train in Hoboken or Jersey City, for example, and you might notice an inconspicuous sign that says "video and audio systems in use."

A lot of riders are not happy about it.

"Yeah I don't like that," says Michael Dolan of Bayonne, N.J. "I don't want conversations being picked up because it's too Orwellian for me. It reeks of Big Brother."

The late Harry Bertoia is most famous for the iconic chairs he designed in the 1950s, which are now coveted by collectors of mid-century modern furniture.

Sunny Balzano's modest watering-hole in Brooklyn was a throwback to another time. It was known simply as Sunny's, after the beloved bartender and raconteur who transformed a faded longshoremen's bar into a local institution. He died Thursday at the age of 81, just weeks after the publication of Sunny's Nights, a new book about his life and times.

Sunny was not a master of artisanal cocktails, as he was quick to admit. "I still don't know how to mix drinks, do I?," he joked during an interview at the bar last month. No one disagreed.

Korean food is built on bold flavors: spicy pickled vegetables, sweet, smoky meats and pungent, salty stews. That can be a little intimidating for some American diners. But the authors of a new book called Koreatown hope to change that.

The New York art world was shocked when the city's oldest gallery abruptly closed its doors more than four years ago. A few days later, news broke that Knoedler & Company was accused of selling paintings it now admits were forgeries for millions of dollars each. The gallery and its former president face several lawsuits by angry collectors and the first trial began this week.

After years of trying and failing to push new laws through Congress, gun control advocates are targeting American firearms makers from a different angle.

"The only thing they really understand is money," says Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of the nonprofit New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. She's also part of a coalition called the Campaign to Unload, which encourages investors large and small to divest from owning stock in companies that make guns and ammunition.

With the New Year comes a long list of new laws taking effect across the country.

In some cases, those laws show states moving in starkly different directions on polarizing issues — especially voting and gun rights. Here are four examples of controversial laws taking effect now that 2016 has arrived:

Tightening Voting Rules In N.C. ...

Starting this week, North Carolinians are required to show photo ID at the polls. It's the most controversial part of a set of changes to the state's voter registration laws that were passed more than two years ago.

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How much does $1 billion buy these days? The city of Buffalo is about to find out.

New York state is funneling $1 billion in cash and tax incentives into the region. Fully half of the "Buffalo Billion," as it's known, is going to one place: a massive solar panel factory, rising on the site of a demolished steel factory in South Buffalo. With an additional $250 million from other state sources, the solar project is getting a total of $750 million from New York.

At least once a week, federal defender Deirdre von Dornum travels across Brooklyn to meet with her incarcerated clients. The round trip takes three hours, on a good day.

First von Dornum rides the subway. Then she walks half a mile to the Metropolitan Detention Center, a pair of nondescript high-rise buildings on the Brooklyn waterfront. At this point, she still has to wait — sometimes for hours — for guards to bring her client down from his cell.

It was 30 years ago today that a single American hostage was killed by terrorists during the hijacking of a cruise ship by pro-Palestinian terrorists in the Mediterranean Sea. Leon Klinghoffer's death was the inspiration for a controversial opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, composed by John Adams, with a libretto by Alice Goodman and directed by Peter Sellars.

New York City may have dodged a major storm recently when Hurricane Joaquin headed out to sea, but it was an unwelcome reminder of what happened three years ago when the city suffered catastrophic flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Now, the New York subway system is racing to get new flood-proofing technologies ready in time for the next big storm.

One of those methods is called the Flex-Gate, a big sheet of waterproof fabric designed to cover subway entrances and keep the water out.

Pioneering sound artist Henry Jacobs has died. Jacobs was a humorist, record producer, sound designer and more. None of these pursuits made him wealthy or famous, but his audio experiments influenced far better-known comedians and filmmakers. He died last Friday of a heart attack at the age of 90.

In the late 1960s, Jacobs worked on an animated TV series called The Fine Art of Goofing Off," which he described as Sesame Street for grown-ups.

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Republicans eager to blunt Donald Trump's front-runner status in the GOP presidential primary think they've found the issue that will finally sink the billionaire's White House hopes: eminent domain.

The legal process by which states acquire private property for public use, eminent domain is generally far from a big campaign issue. But with other GOP attacks on Trump's record having done little to blunt the real estate mogul's rise in the race, conservative operatives have launched an ad campaign criticizing Trump's past support for eminent domain.

The phrase "papal encyclical" isn't one you'll commonly find in headlines in the secular world. But that's exactly where news of Pope Francis' 192-page letter on climate change landed in June.

The pope wrote that humans are responsible for climate change, urging all people to do a better job of caring for the environment — and his words resonated far beyond the church.

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The numbers on Wall Street today spelled panic, but if you could get a glimpse at the financial district in Manhattan today, you wouldn't know there was a historic thousand-point drop of the Dow this morning. NPR's Joel Rose takes us there.

The workweek got off to a rough start for New Jersey rail commuters recently. A disabled train blocked one of the two rail tunnels under the Hudson River to Penn Station during the Monday morning rush hour.

Thousands of people were left scrambling to find another way into Manhattan.

"This really sucks," said Ira Kaplan of Basking Ridge, N.J. "Much worse than past summers."

Kaplan was among thousands of commuters who took a train to Hoboken, where they waited on sweltering platforms for another train to New York.

Michael McCabe knows what it's like to be surrounded by zombies.

Zombie houses, that is.

McCabe still lives in the neighborhood where he grew up, Woodbury Heights, N.J., a middle-class suburb of Philadelphia. He knows which houses are in foreclosure and which have been abandoned. The latest seems to be right behind his own.

From the outside, the AeroFarms headquarters looks like any other rundown building in downtown Newark, N.J. It used to be a store, and more recently a nightclub. Now it's a test farm.

"My favorite is the mustard green that's called a Ruby Streak, which is this leaf right here," says AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg, sampling some of the company's greens. "And my second favorite is cress, watercress, which is this guy right here."