Top Tri-State Stories of 2014

From solemn events to celebrity stunts, political ploys, sports events, parties, concerts, crimes and corruption, see the photos from across the tri-state in 2014.

21 photos
AP Images/NBC 4 New York
NYPD Officers Shot, Killed in Brooklyn: On Dec. 20 officers Weijan Liu and Rafael Ramos were ambushed and shot to death by a man who posted his intention to kill cops on Instagram. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, ran into a subway station and took his own life after the killings, which police have called an "assassination." the case has put the city in mourning and inflamed already tense relations between the NYPD and city officials.
Shaun Smith/NBC 4 New York
Ebola crisis hits New York The Ebola outbreak that began in West Africa made landfall in New York City on Oct. 23 when recently returned Dr. Chris Spencer was diagnosed with the deadly virus. Spencer, who had recently returned from a stint with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, spent nearly three weeks in Bellevue Hospital for treatment of the disease and was declared virus free on Nov. 11. Spencer remains the only New Yorker to be diagnosed with Ebola, but hundreds of people remained under active monitoring in the city for weeks, while hospitals throughout the region stepped up measures to deal with someone sick with the disease.
The Death of Eric Garner In a case that sparked outrage over police brutality, an NYPD officer was seen on widely watched amateur video placing Staten Island man Eric Garner in an apparent chokehold as the heavyset, asthmatic 43-year-old yells repeatedly “I can’t breathe!” Garner, who was being arrested on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, was pronounced dead shortly after the July 17 altercation and a city medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. After hearing evidence for weeks, a specially convened grand jury decided to not indict officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was seen on video of the deadly altercation appearing to wrap his arm around Garner’s neck, on murder or homicide charges. The ruling enflamed already tense relations between law enforcement and a community still angry over a Missouri, grand jury’s decision to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown. The Garner grand jury decision sparked off protests across the country, with demonstrators in New York chanting Garner's last words as they blocked traffic on major roads and bridges across Manhattan.
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The Capitan Says Goodbye Derek Jeter, one of the greatest to ever play the gap between second and third bases, hung up the pinstripes after a 20-year career with the Yankees that was highlighted by three World Series titles and more than a dozen playoff appearances. Teams lined up to give Jeter retirement gifts, including a pinstriped surf board, a Stetson and cowboy boots, a custom No. 2 subway tile mosaic from the Mets and a Green Monster –themed placard from the archrival Boston Red Sox. The season didn’t go as many Yankees fans would have liked, but Jeter left fans with one final magic moment, hitting a game-winning single in his final game in the Bronx.
East Harlem Apartment Buildings Explosion: Upper Manhattan was rocked by a gas explosion on March 12 that leveled two buildings, killed eight people and injured 70 others. The blast, which was later determined to be caused by a gas leak, sent debris spewing into nearby stores on 116th Street and Park Avenue and displaced dozens of residents. After the explosion Consolidated Edison paid 90 victims and increased gas leak inspections across the city.
Andy Waller
Enterovirus Kills NJ Boy: In the fall, a particularly rare strain of the respiratory virus enterovirus swept across the country, infecting hundreds of people and killing five children. One of those was Eli Waller, a Mercer County 4-year-old who died in his sleep on Sept. 25. His father said he was "full of unconditional love." Several other cases of the virus were confirmed across the tri-state, and at least one school on Long Island closed for a day after a case was confirmed there.
Getty Images for Tribeca Film Fe
Joan Rivers Dies at 81: Legendary Comedian and lifelong New Yorker Joan Rivers passed away on Sept. 4, about a week after she went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing during a throat endoscopy at an Upper East Side medical clinic. Rivers, who will be remembered for her raunchy stand-up comedy acts and her no-filter take on red carpet looks as part of "The Fashion Police," was laid to rest a few days later at a star-studded funeral. The clinic where she went for her procedure, Yorkville Endoscopy, was dropped as a Medicare-accredited facility by federal health regulators, who said in a report that the clinic didn't help Rivers fast enough when her oxygen supply was cut off.
Student Killed in Bear Attack: On Sept. 21, a bear mauled and killed 22-year-old Darsh Patel while he was hiking with friend sin New Jersey. It was the state's first deadly bear attack on a human. The bear was later found and killed, and one of Patel's friends said in a later released 911 call that he was "scared out of (his) mind."
Ray Rice Saga: On Sept. 9, former NFL running back Ray Rice was cut from the Baltimore Ravens after video surfaced showing the former Rutgers star punching and knocking out fiancé Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City elevator. The video was recorded at a casino in February, and resulted in an indefinite suspension from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The case put a harsh spotlight on the way America’s most popular sports league handles domestic abuse, and had many questioning if Goodell and other NFL officials knew about the video when the league initially suspended Rice for 2 games after an initial video showed him dragging Palmer out of the elevator. Rice later appealed his suspension, and the decision was overturned. The former pro bowler hasn’t been signed by an NFL team since being reinstated.
NBC 4 New York/Israeli State Police
Gaza Conflict Hits the Tri-State: The human toll of 2014’s Israeli-Palestinian conflict hit home in the tri-state more than once. In August, New Jersey yeshiva student Aaron Sofer was after going missing during a hike in New Jersey. Then, in October, two young parents originally from Rockland County were killed along with their baby in an attack on a Jerusalem train station. Meanwhile, supporters from both sides of the conflict made their voices heard in New York throughout the conflict.
Security Breaches at the Brooklyn BridgeThe Brooklyn Bridge, like One World Trade Center, was the site of security breaches in 2014. In the most high-profile incident on July 22, white flags were placed atop the towers of the span. Police hunted for the culprits for weeks, with a duo of German artists claiming to have planted the flags atop the bridge. No arrests were made in that case, but at least two tourists were later charged with trespassing after they allegedly climbed the span to take photos.
Sayreville High Cancels Football Season: Sayreville was rocked when a school board there announced Oct. 6 that it was canceling football for the remainder of the season at Sayreville High School because of hazing allegations. Many in the town were initially outraged by the decision, but the tenor of the conversation changed as details of the alleged hazing emerged. Seven players were later arrested in the case and the school’s football future remains unclear heading into the new year.
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New York City Catches Royal Fever: New York City welcomed Prince William and Kate Middleton for a short trip on Dec. 7. In their whirlwind trip, they met NBA royalty LeBron James while attending a basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets, visited a school in Harlem and took a somber tour of the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum.
Mayor de Blaiso is Sworn In: Mayor Bill de Blasio, the mayor’s first Democratic mayor in two decades, was sworn in on Jan. 1. The mayor was incredibly active in his first term, helping to overturn the police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy, changing marijuana arrest policies and introducing several initiatives to curb pedestrian deaths. His first year was also a tumultuous one, marked by the Garner grand jury decision and ensuing fallout and the shooting deaths of two officers.
The Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman: New York City mourned the death of Oscar-winning actor and New Yorker Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of a heroin overdose on Feb. 3. Theaters on Broadway dimmed their lights after his death, and three people were arrested for allegedly selling him the drugs that killed him.
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Polar Vortex Wallops Tri-State: The weather was the biggest story in the tri-state for much of the first month of 2014, with a weather pattern called the Polar Vortex walloping the region with snow, arctic winds and temperatures as much as 20 degrees below normal for much of the winter. The winter saw dozens of snowstorms stretching into March. This winter season has started out more temperate, but the mention of the Polar Vortex is enough to send shivers up any New Yorker’s spine.
NYPD Officers Attacked With Hatchet: On Oct. 23, an NYPD rookie was nearly killed by a deranged attacker wielding a hatchet in Queens. Police later determined the attack to be perpetrated by a lone wolf and not connected to threats being made by the Middle East terrorist group ISIS.
Security Breaches at One World Trade Center: The Western Hemisphere's tallest building was also the site of two high-profile security breaches as daredevils scaled the under-construction tower. In one, a 14-year-old boy sneaked past a sleeping security guard to make his way to the top, where he stayed for hours, only being caught when construction crews arriving in the morning for work pointed out the out-of-place teen. Then, a few weeks later, four BASE jumpers were arrested after they posted video online showing them parachute from the top of the 1,776-foot skyscraper. The breaches led to ramped-up security at the site.
Azalea Boutique Blog
Conde Nast Moves into One World Trade Center: 2014 marked two powerful milestones for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. In May, the Sept. 11 Museum opened to the public for the first time, and the walls around the adjacent memorials were taken down, opening up the public space. Then, on Nov. 3, about 150 workers for Conde Nast moved into One World Trade Center, marking the first time since the attack that tenants went to work at the site. The magazine giant, which will be the 1,776-foot-tall building's primary tenant, will move the rest of its operaitons into the building in 2015.
Drill Pierces Subway Tunnel: Hundreds of subway riders got a shock while riding an F train on Oct. 30 when a huge drill bit pierced the tunnel and nearly hit a train. The piercing was ruled accidental, with an MTA official blaming contractors' "stupidity" for the accident.
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