The Wild & Wacky History of Trending

dancemarathonWe’ve all heard of or even participated in the weird trends that go viral – planking, the cinnamon challenge or the ice bucket challenge. But the viral nature of bizarre things is nothing new, it’s been happening for decades, even before the internet. Here are some curious trends that happened long before the world wide web.

Reporting, voicing and reenactments by: Julia Alsop, Sarah Barrett and Steve Trader
Produced by: Gwynne Hogan

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/ Library of Congress.

The Reconnect Café

By Sarah Barrett

Going to jail at a young age starts kids off on the wrong foot. Rikers Island, the jail in New York City, has been called a revolving door because three out of every four inmates will return to Rikers again.

Efrain Hernandez, 29, wants to break that cycle. When he was younger he spent a year on the island. While he was away from home, his two best friends were murdered in the gang wars in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

When he came out he reconnected with Father Jim O’Shea who he had met as a teenager in an after school program. Together O’Shea and Hernandez opened a coffee shop to try to reverse the violence in their neighborhood. Reconnect Café opened in 2013 as a way to give local youth a job.

“Why can’t we put on the same block, a business!” Said Jim O’Shea. “And the business is the same job..if you sell drugs, well you’re going to sell apples now.”

He boasted that the business is self-sustaining, and now they have their sights set on new businesses for the neighborhood.

Check out their website here:

Efrain Hernandez and co-workers clean up and lock up shop for the day.


Efrain Hernandez, co-founder of Reconnect Café in Brooklyn, checks that the menus are in order.


Reconnect Café just celebrated its one year anniversary and reaching its goal of becoming self-sufficient!


Efrain Hernandez takes a break from managing the shop and keeping his employees in line.


Big Sean runs the cash register at Reconnect Café where the a Bed-Stuy cookie only costs 50 cents. They keep the costs low so that the café is affordable for everyone in the community.


Reconnect Café, on Tompkins and Vernon in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, is changing the neighborhood. Not by gentrification, but by engaging and empowering the youth with gainful employment.


Wage Peace reads the back of every employee’s shirt at Reconnect Café


The sandwich sign outside Reconnect Café in Bed-Stuy says it all.