The Shame of Borough Park by Rachel Aviv [The New Yorker] After a child-molestation case, many leaders of the Hasidic community turned against the whistle-blower.
Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., was a lonely aspiring writer in New York, generally unhappy. Then she moved to Brooklyn and found that community made all the difference.
PIZZA: The Brooklyn Story - Scott Wiener (from Scott's Pizza Tours) gives a lecture weaving together the history of Italian immigrants, Pizza and Brooklyn.
How one developer is attracting the 'right kind of people' to new locales with, among others things, dance parties.
Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili is now living in Williamsburg. When he's not plotting a return to power (charges of corruption and human rights violations in his home country notwithstanding), he is trying to live a "normal life" in the neighborhood synonymous with hipsters and Hasids. [more inside]
Are you trying to write a period-correct Captain America story or just have questions about NYC in the 1930s-40s in general? The tumblr Steve Rogers Is Historically Accurate is here to help.
Advice on how to survive late capitalism: "Your life is sold to serve an economy that does not serve your life. You don’t seem to be entertained, Bank-robbin’; your white-hot rage festers. It probably doesn’t help that you live in Brooklyn—this place where in the last ten years rent has spiked 77 percent while real median income has dropped, where the rich (the top 10 percent of earners who, as is well known, control 80 percent of the wealth) and their children live right on top of some of the worst poverty known to this country, while 20 percent of Brooklynites survive somehow below the poverty level, such that the widening income and wealth gap becomes achingly visible here. I could advise you to leave Brooklyn. But I don’t want you to leave Brooklyn."
Smith doesn’t really have an hour to spare tonight. He and his bandmates are scrambling through what might be their only rehearsal for their first US headlining tour, which launches later this week. The goal is to road-test new material for the follow-up to DIIV’s 2012 debut album, Oshin, an underground breakout hit that marked them as one of indie rock’s most promising bands on the rise. Tomorrow he has to take care of countless logistical matters for the tour such as picking up borrowed gear and buying a van, which would be stressful enough for a random Tuesday. But tomorrow is also the 22nd birthday of Smith’s girlfriend, the model and acclaimed pop singer Sky Ferreira, and he needs to make it special after spending much of her 21st birthday stressing out about an impending European tour. “Last year I blew it,” Smith says. “She was so upset.” On top of all that, he’s also supposed to meet with his probation officer upstate, one of many unpleasant consequences of being arrested for heroin possession and other crimes last September in upstate Saugerties, New York.
All the Buildings in New York. James Gulliver Hancock, an Australian illustrator living in Astoria, draws buildings in New York City. Lots and lots of buildings. (NYTimes interview -- more press) (via) [more inside]
The Morbid Anatomy Museum, a treasure trove of pathological and funereal curiosities, antique medical models, and anatomical art pledged to "exploring the intersections of death, beauty, and that which falls between the cracks," has opened its doors to the public in Gowanus, Brooklyn. [more inside]
The Complex City Guide has a bit of information on 15 possible headquarters for the Illuminati, but it's a slideshow with limited information, and there's a lot of information out there, so let's get into it. [more inside]
An army of NYPD cops on Thursday evicted a homeless man from his Manhattan Bridge "home" — which was complete with a gas heater, hot sauce and beer.
The Toddler Who Survived, And the Cop Who Became Her Mom: [New York Times]
As a baby, Christina Rivera survived a massacre in Brooklyn whose 10 victims included her mother. Police Officer Joanne Jaffe was assigned to care for her that night, a task that was the first link in a bond that led Ms. Jaffe to adopt Christina. [Image][more inside]
Back in 1995, Wayne Wang directed a film called "Smoke", which starred Harvey Keitel and William Hurt and whose story largely centered on a Brooklyn Cigar shop on the corner of 16th Street and Prospect Park West. The movie was very well received by critics and stands as one of the great films of the 1990's... but that's not the whole story. [more inside]
What 11-Year-Old Kareem Granton Saw During 5 Days Roaming New York City (Warning: Slideshow format, but with original artwork.) [more inside]
American Promise is a PBS documentary (live streaming through March 6) that follows two middle class African-American boys, Idris and Seun, who enter The Dalton School as young children, and follows them for 13 years. [more inside]
How an obsessed explorer found and lost the world's oldest subway. "The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel was sealed in 1861, shortly after Brooklyn banned steam locomotives within city limits. Legend has it that the tunnel was reopened in the 1920s when it was used for mushroom growing and bootlegging, and in the 1940s when the FBI opened it looking for Nazis. But soon after, it was lost. In the 1950s two historians attempted to find it and failed."
What is the Williamsburg of your city? [SLGawker]
Visiting the Big Apple? "Don't ask a pedestrian where a certain street is. He is usually too busy to stop, and if polite enough to stop, won't know. No New Yorker knows anything about New York." And another kind reminder: "Don't gape at women smoking cigarettes in restaurants. They are harmless and respectable, notwithstanding and nevertheless. They are also smart." Advice from Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book, published in 1920. [more inside]
Because the film is a period piece, The Godfather actually presents a fascinating record of what 1940s-era New York City locations still existed in the early-1970s. Sadly, many of them are now gone. What still remains? Let’s take a closer look.
In the history of roads, pedestrians have long been the dominant user class. In the early 20th century, the use of automobiles was increasing, and with it, the conflicts between cars and people on foot. This conflict came to a head in 1923 in Cincinnati, when people were outraged about the number of children killed by autos, and a there was a petition that "would have required all vehicles in the city to be fitted with speed governors limiting them to 25 miles per hour." In response, the young automotive companies organized and started a move to give dominance to cars in the streets. The petition failed, and pedestrians had lost. This was a key moment, marked with the invention of jaywalking. [more inside]
Hart Crane was a poet, one who was known by and friends with other notable poets. The poet e. e. cummings claimed that "Crane’s mind was no bigger than a pin, but it didn’t matter; he was a born poet" (Google books preview). Tennessee Williams said he could "hardly understand a single line" but insisted he wanted to be buried at sea at the "point most nearly determined as the point at which Hart Crane gave himself back." Crane had his critics — Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound come to mind, and William Carlos Williams wrote "There is good there but it’s not for me" — but Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg used to read "The Bridge" together, John Berryman wrote one of his famous elegies on Crane and heavyweight Robert Lowell included his “Words for Hart Crane” in "Life Studies." Science/Fiction author, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) also wrote that "nobody seems to have noticed that Hart Crane really was the first space poet," quoting lines from his epic The Bridge in the story Mother in the Sky with Diamonds. Those are all words by other people, why not read a few from Crane? [more inside]
In January 1978, a then unknown, and still very much undiscovered photographer by the name of Dinanda H. Nooney began documenting Brooklynites in their homes. She gained access to the private lives of hundreds of perfect strangers, who showed her around, introduced her to their families and became part of a collection of over 500 largely unseen gelatin silver prints, known as The Nooney Brooklyn Photographs.
Never Forever is Prince Rama's new 18-minute rock epic. "I think music videos will evolve to a point where they are embedded holographically within the songs themselves, so that as your brain is translating the music as auditory information, it will simultaneously be reading it as visual material as well, projecting a unique holographic map of imagery onto the brain that is tailored to the memories and desires of the listener himself." [more inside]
The number of homeless New Yorkers in shelters has risen by more than 69 percent since 2002, when Mayor Bloomberg took office. Each night as many as 60,000 people -- including more than 22,000 children, the highest number since the Great Depression, -- experience homelessness in NYC, and during the course of each year, more than 111,000 different homeless New Yorkers, including more than 40,000 children, will sleep in the city's municipal shelter system. Meet Dasani, one of the city's 'invisible children.' [more inside]
The Yellow Dogs was a NYC-based group of young expatriates who fled their native Iran for Williamsburg, Brooklyn in order to freely pursue their dream of playing rock music, saying what they wanted to say, and, well, having fun, which were three things they couldn't do back home. Three members of the band were found murdered today. A sad farewell to The Yellow Dogs. [more inside]
"The midi-trigger’s connected to the laptop, the laptop’s connected to the PA" Mommy and baby yoga, music and sign language classes are apparently so over. Some parents are instead giving baby disc jockey classes a spin.
Dead Horse Bay was the site of a 19th-century horse rendering plant on the far edge of Brooklyn. It was also a massive landfill that was capped in the 1930s. In the 1950s, the cap burst. The organic debris rotted away, but the remaining glass, ceramic, and metal spilled onto the beach. At low tide, the sand is covered with a dense layer of bottles, broken dishes, and other hundred-year-old detritus. More is washed free every day. [more inside]
Movin' On Up: A skewed history of New York City as depicted by the opening themes of 1970s TV shows
"Consider some iconic acre of Brooklyn vacant lot. You could grow food on it—or you could throw up a 30-story apartment complex housing 600 people. That’s 600 people who won’t be settling in low-density exurbs where they would be smeared across 60 acres of subdivision; in turn, those 60 acres of vacant exurb could remain farmland or forest. Using communal laundromats and lacking basements to put junk in, those new Brooklynites would lead lives of anti-consumerism. And because they would use mass transit instead of driving everywhere, their carbon footprints would be roughly a third as large as the average American’s. That fundamental land-use equation is the key to understanding how cities promote global sustainability. By concentrating high-density housing, business and lifestyles inside its borders, New York lifts enormous burdens from the ecosystem outside its borders, but that potential is squandered when we consign pristine brownfields to low-density crop-growing. We may root for the community gardeners in their eternal battle with real-estate developers, but it’s the developers who are, despite themselves, the better environmentalists." -- The case against locavorism and or urban farming.
The folks at Mellow Pages, a community-run library/salon in Brooklyn (recently profiled in the NYT), have put together a how-to guide for building a similar kind of space in your neighborhood: short version here, long version (and Google Doc) here.
In April, French cartoonist Boulet (previous, more previous) was invited to go on tour in the US, courtesy of the French embassy in New York. As a good 'webcomic', he kept a diary of his impressions of New York, the language barrier and going to the MoCCaFest, and also had a book to sell, a reworked edition of his 2012 24-hours comic Darkness (previous).
Park Slope Family Circus: Old Family Circus panels combined with jokes poking fun at denizens of Park Slope, Brooklyn.
“Used to steal clothes, was considered a thief/Until I started hustlin’ on Fulton Street.” The mean streets of the borough that rappers like the Notorious B.I.G. crowed about are now hipster havens, where cupcakes and organic kale rule and “Brooklyn” now evokes artisanal cheese rather than rap artists.
How I Became a Hipster (SLNYT)
This year's winner of the Eustace Tilley contest features a Brooklyn hipster. The New Yorker Magazine received hundreds of entries for the contest. A little bit more about Eustace. (Previously.) [more inside]
Of Ministers and Merchants, Sinners and Saints. The writer moved from Manhattan to same street in Brooklyn where his grandmother grew up. This prompts him to delve into his family history, where he discovers a cast of characters that includes Ulpianus Van Sinderen, a Dutch Reformed Minister who came to Brooklyn in 1747, prosperous merchants, tenant housing reformer Alfred Tredway White, and an embezzler. Brief appearances by Jacob Riis and Truman Capote.
Once the home of the Weckquaesgeek tribe, and more recently, William Shatner, Hastings-on-Hudson might sound like the next village over from Downton Abbey, but according to the New York Times, it's "a village, in a Wittgensteinian sort of way" seeing an influx of ex-Brooklynites fleeing to the suburbs in the face of creeping real estate prices. Sure, these new hipsturbanites may miss the creative density of urban New York, but at least the river setting matches their Filson/woolrich heritage-brand aesthetic. Read on if you set your cultural compass to the Brooklyn Flea, or your NYT Style section appreciation to ironic twee.
In an article titled "So You're From Brooklyn," Brooklyn is declared a "bourgeois borough" full of "baby carriages, rubber plants, gold fish and green grocers.” The author warns that "Your average Manhattanite's conception of that great unexplored area beyond the three bridges is at once as naive as a child's idea of Alice's mythical Wonderland and as weird as a futurist artist's impression of Heaven."The Brooklynite magazine (1926-1930) rediscovered and reviewed.
"American Pastoral" inadvertently reveals Brooks and Halard to be deeply insecure, crass noveau riche, lowballing their renovations by hiring desperate, dirt-cheap Chinese laborers, and whining about maids who can't get to work on time, just because Hurricane Sandy knocked out train service. Where's the Vogue-style profiles of those poor souls? [more inside]
That Night In Williamsburg is a neat little motion capture time-lapse (with After Effects) of office lights synced to music. [slvimeo] [via]