Bill de Blasio’s win in New York’s Democratic primary isn’t a local story. It’s part of a vast shift that could upend three decades of American political thinking.
The story of Frederick Law Olmsted's 'Greensward Plan' for New York's Central Park. "From the NASA space shuttle, Central Park is visible to the naked eye as a bright emerald bar on the fat knuckle of Manhattan... If an astronaut were to plunge by re-entry capsule into the heart of the park, she could never be more than around 400 metres from the urban roar of a city of more than 8 million people densely packed. And yet, wandering the labyrinthine paths of the Ramble, surrounded by thick woodland, rocky headlands, rivulets and little stone bridges that cross ravines, she would neither hear nor see the metropolis. This is a miracle."
How often does a great story dominate the headlines, only to be dropped from the news cycle? How often do journalists tell us of a looming danger or important discovery – only to move quickly to the next new thing? What really happened? How did these events change us? And what are the lingering consequences that may affect our society to this day? These are the questions we are answering at Retro Report, an innovative documentary news organization launched in 2013 as a timely online counterweight to today’s 24/7 news cycle. Combining documentary techniques with shoe-leather reporting, we peel back the layers of some of the most perplexing news stories of our past with the goal of encouraging the public to think more critically about current events and the media in ~10 minute segments. [more inside]
British market-research firm Ipsos Mori has released the results of "The largest ever global study of the best city to do business in, live in, and visit." Interactive data here, more info here.
By now, the story is well known. A man sits in the backseat of a cab, sketching on a notepad as night falls over a crumbling city. He scribbles the letter I. He draws a heart. And then an N, and then a Y. Right away he knows he’s got something. This is it, he thinks. This is the campaign. The man was a designer named Milton Glaser. The city was New York. The year was 1977. [more inside]
As Thomas Pynchon's new novel Bleeding Edge's Sept. 17th release date approaches, New York Magazine's Vulture blog offers a capsule biography of the man. (SLVulture) [more inside]
Movin' On Up: A skewed history of New York City as depicted by the opening themes of 1970s TV shows
"Growing up in New York City has a lesser known side effect for those of us who were raised here. We grew up in a tourist attraction... [When] you’re from New York, the city is never a faraway place filled with Woody Allens and Notorious BIGs. It’s simply... here. But that here is increasingly there."
NYC Grid is hosting a neat photo-series which lets you slide back and forth between images of New York today and a similar shot from the early 20th century. [via]
How a Swath of 20-Somethings Have Tuned In to 1920s Pop. New Hot Jazz Is Warming Up(audio link). Looking to catch some live? Check out the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island this weekend, or the New York Hot Jazz Fest on August 25th. [more inside]
Men Who Want AIDS—and How It Improved Their Lives Some homeless people find that having AIDS entitles them to assistance that will allow them to get off the streets. Some are desperate enough to deliberately get infected as they see no other way to get the help they need.
Droning around New York's Cooper Union (a free-tuition school since 1859 - until this year) on OpenStreetMap, I discovered that it really ties the room together. Nearby are the offices of Village Voice news, Kristal's CBGB site, the Anthology Film Archives, Washington Square, Union Square and ... Antonin Dvorak?? Why's a Czech composer a site in Lower Manhattan? Lets do the James Burke ... [more inside]
Looking around the room, the producers were thinking the same thing. Belolo grabbed a napkin and jotted down: “Indian, Construction Worker, Leatherman, Cowboy, Cop, Sailor.” Morali walked over to the Indian (Rose was, in fact, Lakota) who’d enticed them into the bar. He wasn’t shy. “Hey you, Indian—you want to be in a group?” (SLTheBeliever)[more inside]
"Founded in 1912 as a farm colony of Brooklyn State Hospital, the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens [New York] became, by mid-century, a world unto itself. At its peak, it housed some 7,000 patients. They tended gardens and raised livestock on the hospital’s grounds. The hospital contained gymnasiums, a swimming pool, a theater, a television studio, and giant kitchens and laundries where patients were put to work. Today, Creedmoor, still run by the New York State Office of Mental Health, has only a few hundred patients" and houses The Living Museum, an 'art asylum within an asylum' where patients can create and exhibit their art. But what is life like inside the institution itself? In 2010, Katherine B. Olsen spent weeks interviewing staff and patients. Her essay, published this week, 'Something More Wrong' takes us inside Creedmoor's women's ward. [more inside]
After gossip site The Dirty posted explicit Facebook chats between NYC Mayoral frontrunner Anthony Weiner (previously) and a young Democratic organizer who initially wrote to castigate him for his original scandal, he was forced to acknowledge that "his habit of sending racy messages to women had persisted long after his resignation." The New York Times has called for him to drop out. So has the Wall Street Journal. So have his opponents, somewhat predictably, for obcuring the issues with "a never-ending sideshow." His support is dwindling, but a lingering question is: will (and should) voters even care?
Through the use of Photoshop, Swiss photographer Gus Petro shows us what it would look like if Manhattan was dropped into the middle of the Grand Canyon.
On July 1, 1913, a group of automobile enthusiasts and industry officials established the Lincoln Highway Association "to procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all description without toll charges," and to be a lasting memorial to Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Highway efforts started about three years before the first federal road act would provide funding to states to improve the broad network of roads. Never officially finished, the first transcontinental highway eventually became renumbered as various interstate and US routes. To celebrate its centennial, there was a cross-country tour in June. [more inside]
Darius McCollum was recently arrested in New York for stealing a Trailways bus. Evidently he drove the bus to a Manhattan hotel where he picked up a flight crew and drove them to JFK Airport. On the way back to a New Jersey bus depot, he was pulled over by the cops. This wasn't the first time Mr. McCollum was arrested while (unlawfully) transporting the public. In fact, it was the 29th time. [more inside]
In 2002, now-disgraced stock analyst Jack Grubman (previously) was the central figure in a preschool-placement scandal in New York's famously Wall Street connected 92nd Street Y.
The Price Of Perfection
The Price Of Perfection
Mark Holman was a severely disabled teenager who had been living in an institution since his mother became ill. Upon her death, her lawyer petitioned for his guardianship before Judge Kristen Booth Glen, who asked a simple question: when did you last see Mark? "I haven't seen him since he was eight or nine," responded the lawyer. "His mother used to bring him to our office with his brother, just to show him my face and so forth and so on, so I haven't seen him probably since 1995 or 1996." Appalled by both the poor standard of care in Mark's case and the breathtaking lack of regulations compelling anything better, Judge Glen set about writing an opinion that would change the way trusts for people with disabilities are managed in New York State in very, very significant ways.
"For 400 years, New York has embraced, spurned, ignored, harnessed, and feared the water that made its greatness possible. Now our relationship must get even more complex." [more inside]
A New York woman turned 100 recently and she only has one thing on her mind. (NSFW)
Filling the East River. Filling the HUDSON River. Building a dome over Midtown. Borderline crazy proposed infrastructure projects for New York City.
Chris Pace (some images NSFW) creates 8-bit portraits of people on New York City's subways.
If New York Were A Blank Slate, How Would You Fill It In? is a piece on Becky Cooper's book Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers both famous and not. Cooper's Map Your Memories tumblr. Found from Brain Pickings, which has much more. [more inside]
The New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery offers over 870,000 historical images related to the 'city that never sleeps,' including maps as well as video and audio recordings. A selection of 53 images from the collection can be seen at In Focus. [more inside]
The Self-Transcendence race starts today. It's a run around the block, 5,649 times around the block. Runners cover 3,100 miles, running 6 am to midnight over 52 days, at least 60 miles a day over concrete. The best runners average 75 miles a day. All the runners seem to have the same mantra. The first race was in 1997, “The first couple years, the kids threw things at us.”
PUNK: Chaos To Couture is an exhibit running at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Reactions have been mixed. [more inside]
Are coders worth it? We call ourselves web developers, software engineers, builders, entrepreneurs, innovators. We’re celebrated, we capture a lot of wealth and attention and talent. We’ve become a vortex on a par with Wall Street for precocious college grads. But we’re not making the self-driving car. We’re not making a smarter pill bottle. Most of what we’re doing, in fact, is putting boxes on a page. Users put words and pictures into one box; we store that stuff in a database; and then out it comes into another box.
"My name is Chris Murray, and I'm an artist and I'm very talented... And I’m a dairy stocker at the Edge of the Woods organic grocery store in New Haven, Connecticut." [more inside]
An amateur film shot in 1939 by French tourist Jean Vivier documents a trip to New York City, in color.
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).
The Night Heron (SL NYTimes), an invitation-only club held in an abandoned water tower in Chelsea for 8 weekends in March, April and May.
Photographer Arne Svenson has sparked a bit of controversy with his recent show "The Neighbors," about which he says, "I turned to the residents of a glass-walled apartment building across the street from my NYC studio. The Neighbors don’t know they are being photographed; I carefully shoot from the shadows of my home into theirs. I am not unlike the birder, quietly waiting for hours, watching for the flutter of a hand or the movement of a curtain as an indication that there is life within." [more inside]
Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts: From 1958-1973, composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein (Previously on MeFi) played live, educational concerts with the New York Philharmonic that were televised nationwide on CBS. Tapes of the broadcasts were eventually syndicated to 40 countries, introducing an entire generation of children to a wide range musical concepts, styles and composers. The first concert to air was "What Does Music Mean." [more inside]
In what could be the largest strike of its kind, hundreds of fast food workers in Detroit walked off their jobs on Friday, echoing the rallying cry heard (or not?) across the country that the currently underpaid workers deserve $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Friday's strike in Detroit comes on the heels of similar actions in other cities—Wednesday and Thursday in St. Louis, and in Chicago and New York City last month.
“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.
Vivian Maier was a photographer who made some incredible images of 20th century America. But almost no one knew about her until 2007. And now a new documentary is being made about this enigmatic character whose incredible eye documented street life and characters in New York, Chicago and beyond.
My Psychic Garburator by Margaret Atwood [The New York Review of Books]
"Most dreams of writers aren’t about dead people or writing, and—like everyone else’s dreams—they aren’t very memorable. They just seem to be the products of a psychic garburator chewing through the potato peels and coffee grounds of the day and burping them up to you as mush."[more inside]
Dan Grover and Mike Belfrage have mapped transit inequality in the Bay Area after reading a New Yorker piece on the New York City subway (previously). The ways in which a widening income gap are changing the demography of San Francisco have been widely reported of late (previously, previously). The project's code is available if you'd like to try mapping your own city.
How I Became a Hipster (SLNYT)
Bostonians Tyler Balliet and Morgan First love wine. Drinking it, talking about it, introducing other people to it. But wine, unfortunately, is often perceived to have an attitude, a culture of snottiness and pretension that puts people off before they even get close to a wine glass. Why swirl it? What's with that obnoxious sucking sound? What the hell is the deal with spitting it out? What about the confusing vocabulary and snooty descriptors? When did wine become "sassy" or "understated", instead of "delicious"? [more inside]
Remember the Central Park jogger case from 1990? Here's a (lengthy, fascinating) New York Magazine article discussing the case just around the time of the 2002 exoneration of the initial five accused, four of whom had previously confessed to the crime. 24 years after the attack, a group of filmmakers, together with the five wrongly convicted men, have created a documentary telling the tale: The Central Park Five. Criminal reform activists everywhere are hoping the story might change a few minds. Previously
"Them and Them." "Rockland County, New York's East Ramapo school district is a taxpayer-funded system fighting financial insolvency. It is also bitterly divided between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools." Also see: A District Divided. [more inside]
After Sandy, a great and complex city reveals traumas new and old. "Occupy Sandy" represented a disaster cooperativism in opposition to "disaster capitalism" (previously: 1, 2, 3) [more inside]
Inequality and the New York subway. An infographic from the New Yorker: The United States has a problem with income inequality. And it’s particularly bad in New York City—according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, if the borough of Manhattan were a country, the income gap between the richest twenty per cent and the poorest twenty per cent would be on par with countries like Sierra Leone, Namibia, and Lesotho.