Hugh Ferriss: Delineator of Gotham. Through his charcoal renderings of dramatic, imaginary skyscrapers in early 1900s New York City, Ferriss influenced the aesthetics of numerous architects with his bold compositions.
What to my wondering eyes should appear but the suggestion that "A Visit From St. Nicholas," the classic poem which has defined the American Santa Claus, from red suit and big belly to reindeer and chimney-delivery method, was written not by classics professor Clement Clarke Moore but by poet and military man Henry Livingston. Though some think the authorship controversy is sugarplum vision of Livingston's descendents, other scholars the claim: literary 'detective' Donald Foster agrees (though his sleuthing record is not unblemished). Leading historian of Christmas Stephen Nissenbaum, says that either way, St. Nick is the product of the same social world, that of the wealthy white elite in the New York of the early Republic. If the claim is true, then in the convoluted history of the manuscript we've gotten some reindeer names wrong.
Working Class Cats documents the lives of gainfully employed felines in NYC. There is, of course, some controversy. [via]
New York No Wave Archive. "No Wave was a short-lived but influential music and art movement in downtown New York in the late 1970s and 1980s. The name was a reaction to the sanitized Punk Rock trading under the name 'New wave' for those people who wanted a sanitized version of punk." Also, outside of "No New York."
Punk Guitar Heroes - Television's Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd Television, and its guitar pas de deux between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, fit into the punk scene only because they are the ones basically responsible for CBGB becoming a punk rock club. Verlaine convinced Hilly Kristal to let them practice there and play shows, and the rest is history. [more inside]
The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair (1939). The Original Futurama. Featuring Elektro, the Smoking Robot.
Luc Sante has started a blog (according to Sasha Frere-Jones). Two entries so far, the first on a book cover from the 60's and the second on a picture of a rockabilly band. From the 2nd blog post: And that is why we come here once a year to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown rockabilly band: to persuade them to rest, and lay off the young. But just have a look at them--they were never meant to be! They should never have tried occupying the same stage, and they should have left music to find its own way home. The piano player, with his incipient Mickey Mouse ears, was clearly destined for a career working with puppets. The twins on guitar and bass were natural-born casino greeters. The other guitarist has the fine tapered hands of a pest-control agent specializing in silverfish. And the drummer--he was meant as an example. What happened to him should have been shown to driver-safety classes in every high school in the country. [more inside]
New York State goes after Amazon "affiliates." So if you, as a New Yorker, link to your book on Amazon, you are now an independent contractor and shall be taxed accordingly (PDF). [more inside]
EveryScape launched this morning. It's a ground-level mapping service similar to Google's "Street View", only it offers you an "autodrive" feature that automatically moves you through a city or down a ski slope. There are links to information about stores and restaurants in the view and the ability to go inside buildings and look around. It currently features views from Aspen, New York, Boston, and Miami. And of course the obligatory view of a colorful mime with a man-bag. [via]
The Buffalo State Hospital is a vast complex of moldering Victorian buildings, sitting right in the middle of a residential neighborhood of Buffalo. It is also an architectural gem, not only by Buffalo standards, but for the nation as a whole. It is one of the largest and most complex commissions of New England architect H. H. Richardson, who is known for promulgating his unique, heavy looking stone Romanesque variant of the then dominant Queen Anne style. The Buffalo asylum’s grounds were planned by landscape architect (and designer of Central Park) Fredrick Law Olmsted. [more inside]
Build your wild self using a flash game from the New York zoos and aquarium and the wildlife conservation society. [more inside]
"New York City 1968-1972" Some very compelling black and white street photography by Paul McDonough. via
A narrated bike-ride through NYC with David Byrne (requires Quicktime)
"Since 1862, many have heard the tale of a wandering vagrant who traveled in an endless 365-mile circle between the Connecticut and Hudson rivers. The strange man only spoke with grunts or gestures and dressed in crudely stitched leather from his hat to his shoes." [more inside]
"First we kill the architects..." Photographer Danny Lyon [1, 2, 3, 4] offers ten suggestions for New York City. Suggestion #6: "Leave the World Trade Center excavation exactly as it is and use the space as a freshwater pond planted with pink, white, and yellow lilies..." His essay is only one of many from names you'll recognize in a book called Block by Block: Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York. An associated exhibition opened yesterday [museum, NYT review]. Is New York City moving in the right direction? Is your city? [via] [more inside]
Randall's Lost New York City Collection "documents the destruction of many of New York City's 19th century tenement and other buildings, so that we can mourn the lost [and] appreciate the endangered." Gallery 1, 2. [more inside]
The Near-Fame Experience: A fascinating interview with former contestants of Bravo reality television shows Project Runway and Top Chef, presenting the fickle nature of fame and how it can come at significant professional and personal cost, if at all.
Jessica Dimmock: I was approached by a cocaine dealer who made it clear that he was a dealer. Over the course of the conversation he made it clear that if I wanted to follow him and photograph him I could. He took me to a variety of places - parties, people's apartments, the owner of an escort service. The last place he ever took me was the apartment where the project starts. Jessica Dimmock is the 2006 recipient of the Inge Morath Award to encourage young female photojournalists. Her series, The Ninth Floor is epic in its savage and true depiction of the reality of drugs in New York City. NSFW.
Busted! In one of the biggest counterfeit busts in years, a 19-month investigation reached its climax on Tuesday as federal officials conducted early-morning raids throughout the NY metropolitan area, arresting 29 people, seizing more than $230 million in merchandise and ultimately dismantling three operations believed to have imported more than $700 million in fake products over the last 24 months.
First discovered by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1978, the Greenpoint spill has been estimated at anywhere between 17 million and 30 million gallons—three times more oil than the Exxon Valdez spill. [NY mag permalink, with ads]
The wild risks, unexpected niches, and day-in-day-out grind behind making a dollar in New York...for everyone from a drug dealer to Goldman Sachs. The Profit Calculator, New York Magazine article.
How the Other Half Lives :: Studies Among the Tenements of New York (1890)
No rest stop? Try latex. From consumerist.com, a tale of... what can i say? Just a funny story. With pictures.
The caferteria had garbage an all tables. At my middle school in Staten Island, thought the dean, this cannot stand. So he sent home a letter.
The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis. In 1978, renowned structural engineer William LeMessurier discovered a mistake in his design for the Citicorp (now Citigroup) Center. With hurricane season approaching, the skyscraper was in imminent danger of collapse. His handling of the situation has been praised as a "stunning example of good ethics in action" – but some disagree.
Hear our demands: give us back New York. Just think of the possibilities! Join the struggle. Or else.
Horton's Historical Articles. "Gerald (Jerry) Horton has always been interested in American History, particularly the era from 1750 to 1820. Upon his retirement in 2000, he found more time for reading and research. It was through this research Jerry became intrigued with the Mohawk Valley during the Revolutionary War." It's a narrow focus, but if you're interested in the American Revolution the articles on this site provide incredibly detailed timelines, with impartial attention to all sides. What Happened to 7,000 People?, for example, explains just how the population of the Mohawk Valley dropped from 10,000 to 3,000 people in a few years in a "civil war that pitted neighbor against neighbor."
"What kind of schmuck would pay $500 to meet a bunch of gold diggers?" Radar covers/mocks a speed dating event in Manhattan.
This gem got me thinking: Songs about a place. Some are more evocative of the geography, some of a tangential longing merely rooted in a place and others -- while about a place -- are really rooted more in a time. Some places immortalized in song you want to visit, others you don't , and others don't really exist at all, though we may know somewhere like it. But near or far, border to border, coast-to-coast (from the west side* to the east side and somewhere in the middle as well, there's musical pins all over the map. [links go to videos] *no direct link, second entry
A Google Map mash-up shows how hospital closures in NYC disproportionately effect the poor and people of colour. It's a pretty slick presentation of the data.
Famous Fat Dave is an NYC cabbie. Try his Famous Fat Dave's Five Borough Eating Tour on the Wheels of Steel (myspace, embedded theme song). (via)
a Google Maps view of NYC, centered on Central Park Google Maps has started displaying subway stops (with the names of the lines that serve each each stop) in New York City. Clearly this is a work in progress (full building outlines are available only in some parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and some subway stops currently list only one of the multiple trains that serve the stop). Still, this is excellent news not only for natives but also for tourists (whose only subway-map reference may be the significantly, sometimes radically "not to scale" version put out by the MTA).
Creativity, Inc: Dave Eggers of McSweeney's is a proprietor. A shopkeeper. Perhaps even a franchise magnate! It was his keen perception of unmet needs in niche markets that led to the opening of a growing array of supply houses across the country. Among them: The Pirate Store, for the well-outfitted swashbuckler; The Boring Store, a subtle, unassuming purveyor of goods for secret agents; the Superhero Supply Store, in Brooklyn, carrying all the eyewear and accessories today's world-savers require; and Greenwood Space Travel Supply, where customers are reminded of the space-travel axiom "A lack of preparation is a prescription for mishaps." If these sound like curious business ventures for a celebrated author, there's a reason: the storefronts, though real, are just that - fronts. They're the streetside faces (and fundraising arms) of the nonprofit 826National, a family of learning centers for kids ages 6-18. The 826 'stores' provide free field trips, creatively themed writing workshops, publishing, and one-on-one instruction. Supported by an impressive field of cultural types (including Ira Glass, Sarah Vowell, Sherman Alexie, and others), the program is growing. Coming soon: Michigan 826 will open Monster Union Local 826, and 826LA will open the Echo Park Time Travel Mart.
If you do not label every aspect of your personality with different colors, you will not recognize them and they will come up and seize you.
Where are you going? Where we came from. Where have we come from? Every place and no place, so come, let’s go.
The Corduroy Appreciation Club meets annually in New York on November 11, "because 11/11 is the date that most resembles corduroy." Pictures, as well as an interview with a corduroy fan who came all the way from the UK to the meeting.
A new documentary on the Jonestown Massacre (YouTube) raises a few key questions about The People's Temple and mass suicide; yet the most pertinent quandary at the moment (posed by New York Magazine) has little to do with tainted Kool-Aid and instead focuses on an unfortunately named rapper from Harlem. This week, it's Jim Jones versus Jim Jones.
The Penthouse Wondering what to do with the $70 mil. that Granny left you in her will? You could buy that private tropical island you have had your eye on but that's a 30 hour trip in your private jet. Wouldn't you really be happier here?
Like old cheese and vomit, mixed with dog food ... Halitosis and aged cabbage ... Rank Swiss cheese ... Sour milk ... Pee in the air every day ... Like an open corpse ... Like a musty homeless person decomposing in musky homeless person urine ... Caramel with a slight undertone of mildly rank underarm ... Rodenticide. It's Gawker's New York City Subway Smell Map.
New York Justice. Because every woman needs a good pounding every now and then.
Garbage of New York City - litter that is collected, packaged up in a neat plastic box, and then sold for $50 a pop.
How to make pizza. Jeff Varasano has finished his recipe, and his page now includes everything you need to know about making a real pizza.
Extracts from the journals of Susan Sontag dating from the 1950s and 1960s were published in this morning's Guardian G2.
In 2002 Salon.com ran an article on "forbidden thoughts" about 9/11 that they had heard expressed around them or reported by others. Apparently the response from their viewers was so overwhelming that they ran a second feature based on emails they received. All of which goes to show that while 9/11 united people in thinking about a certain subject, it certainly didn't mean that everyone thought the same thing about that same subject.
Remember this picture? Arguably the most famous flag raised since this one was, and apparently its now gone missing. And now the three firefighters who didn't know they were being photographed won't talk to the press about a flag appraised to be worth over $500K.
Young Folks in the city playing kids' games with expensive toys. Or you can get budget version, for those who just prefer to whack each other. Who exactly does this sort of thing? It's getting more popular.