In 1992, Lynn Brooks founded the non-profit Big Apple Greeter program, to help make a visit to New York City seem less intimidating and dangerous to first-time visitors: Pick a date, time and neighborhood, and the organization will match you up with a local who will spend several hours with you, helping you find your way around, teaching you the ins and outs of subways and buses, the cool shops, the great places to eat. (Their site also has some outstanding neighborhood profiles and cultural attraction guides that should be of just as much interest to local residents.) The idea spread, leading to the formation of the Global Greeter Network, which now has greeter programs in cities all over the world.
High maintenance: a nameless cannabis delivery guy delivers his much-needed medication to stressed-out New Yorkers in this character-driven web series.
Lena Dunham shows her art-world roots in her 2009 web-series: Season 1 at Index Magazine, Season 2 at delusionaldowntowndivas.com. Meanwhile Season 2 of Dunham's HBO series "Girls" arrives Sunday night, expect online fireworks.
"On a good day, the street maintenance team tasked by the New York City Department of Transportation with roadway repair might fill 4,000 potholes in eight hours. In an average week, they could resurface 100,000 square yards of road. After Hurricane Sandy, their crews removed 2,500 tons of debris. And every day, on a Tumblr called The Daily Pothole, New Yorkers can take a peek inside the workings of a city system few have likely thought about." Storyboard: A Day with New York City’s Pothole Repair Crew. [more inside]
In the 1990's, Michael Doret was tasked with creating a new logo for the New York Knicks. Here is the story of how his ideas were scaled back to create the logo the team uses to this day.
A man buys a tiny 400sq foot apartment in Soho, and over a period of two years, creates an amazing, transforming living space than can reasonably sleep four.
Fresh is the story of a 12 year old drug pusher and the world he inhabits. It stars Sean Nelson as Fresh, Samuel L. Jackson as his father, Sam, and Giancarlo Esposito as the dealer Esteban. The whole film is on Youtube in multiple parts.
This unassuming, feel-good spice "has been one of the saddest stories of history," from the gruesome, grisly tale of how the Dutch tortured and massacred the people of the Banda Islands in Indonesia in an attempt to monopolize the nutmeg trade. [more inside]
Lets Swim To Work! "Centuries of boat traffic, heavy industry, sewage runoff and toxic dumping have ingrained in us the idea that urban waterways are not places for people. Even as cities have rushed to the water’s edge over the past couple of decades, building elaborate waterfront parks and esplanades, few have taken the next logical step: encouraging residents to dive in." [more inside]
No one expected the force of the tempest that hit the New York Public Library in late 2011—not its new president, Anthony Marx, and maybe not even the literary lions up in arms over plans for an ambitious, $300 million renovation. Will the “palace of culture” on Fifth Avenue become a glorified Starbucks, as some fear? Interviewing all sides, Paul Goldberger walks the controversy back to its flash point: the nature of the library’s 21st-century mission and the values at the center of the Norman Foster–designed project. - Paul Goldberger, Firestorm on Fifth Avenue
NOLA to New York Katrina survivors reach out to Sandy survivors
Savagery - Arcadia - Consummation - Destruction - Desolation. The five stages of The Course of Empire, a fascinating quintet of paintings by 19th century artist and Hudson River School pioneer Thomas Cole. In it, an imaginary settlement by the sea becomes the stage for all the dreams and nightmares of civilized life, a rural woodland grown in time into a glorious metropolis... only to be ransacked by corruption, war, and a terrible storm, at last reduced to a forgotten ruin. At times deceptively simple, each landscape teems with references to cultural and philosophical markers that dominated the era's debate about the future of America. Interactive analysis of the series on a zoomable canvas is available via the excellent Explore Thomas Cole project, which also offers a guided tour and complete gallery of the dozens of other richly detailed and beautifully luminous works by this master of American landscape art.
The NYC Stop-and-Frisk Program (wiki). Previously. Previously. Previously. And previously. Now there is new audio of how the stop-and-frisk program is being carried out by the NYPD, revealing the discriminatory and unprofessional way in which this controversial policy is being implemented. Includes some discussion on the culture of being a cop and how these orders are being handed down from the top.
Ephemeral New York 'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
The Jumper Squad. "Each year, the New York City Police Department receives hundreds of 911 calls for so-called jumper jobs, or reports of people on bridges and rooftops threatening to jump. The department’s Emergency Service Unit responds to those calls. Roughly 300 officers in the unit are specially trained in suicide rescue, the delicate art of saving people from themselves; they know just what to say and, perhaps more important, what not to say."
Josh Fox, director of the documentary Gasland (previously, 2), took his fight to New York with an emergency short film The Sky is Pink [vimeo] with favourable results, for now. [more inside]
"The Hole is a small triangle of land divided in half by Brooklyn and Queens, and is located west of the intersection of Linden and Conduit Boulevard. The Hole is literally a hole. It is "30 feet below grade," according to the NY Times, sunken down from the busy roads around it. The neighborhood floods often and is only a few feet above the water table, so its homes are "not incorporated into the city sewer system. They all have cesspools," according to the NY Times. Streets are threatened by reedy marshes, and many residents keep a boat parked in the driveway." It's also home to some stables used by the Federation of Black Cowboys. Brooklyn's Lost Neighborhood [more inside]
Rovt shakes his head. “I would not pay $88 million for an apartment,” he said. “For $88 million, I would buy a house.”
From Martha Kemper at RH Reality Check, Vaginas Are Sperm Depositories and Other Scary Things About the State of New York's Sex Ed Curricula, a commentary on the New York Civil Liberties Union's recent report on the state of health education and sex ed in schools in New York state. [more inside]
"It's horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point." Astronaut Frank Culbertson's reflections as he orbited the Earth on Sept. 11th, 2001.
The Land that Time and Money Forgot New York City’s housing projects are the last of their kind in the country. And they may be on their way to extinction (New York magazine).
"I replied to ads people had posted to the casual encounters section of craigslist. I asked if I could photograph them in visual representations of their ads. Some said yes." [NSFW: naked people.]
Buffalo chicken wings were invented by Teressa Bellissimo at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York in 1964. Americans will eat 25 billion of them this year - not a few of them at the 10th annual National Buffalo Wing Festival. Some people eat nothing else. Alton Brown steams his. But will any of them be more delicious than these Sriracha Garlic Wings?
"If your $257,000 Ferrari is parked in the valet zone of The Mercer Hotel in SoHo and a cop starts writing your ass a ticket for being parked in the valet zone, you should just take the ticket, drive your car to a $75-a-day parking garage (and that's probably the cheapest parking garage in that neighborhood)" ... [more inside]
The upcoming New York Times Magazine cover story is about the excavation of the Second Avenue Subway line below the East Side of Manhattan. It features some stunning photography and a video that explains how the work is done. [more inside]
During his tenure as Mayor of New York City, "public health autocrat" Michael Bloomberg has attempted to regulate trans fats, smoking and sugar-filled sodas. Now, he has a fresh target: moms who don't breastfeed. Beginning September 3, NYC hospitals participating in a new, voluntary program: Latch-On NYC (press release / posters / FAQ -pdf-), will make formula less accessible, to encourage moms of newborns to breastfeed instead of using formula. [more inside]
One man's trash is another man's treasure — we've all heard the old adage, but Nelson Molina, a longtime sanitation worker in Manhattan, takes the saying to an entirely new level: a self-curated, full-fledged art gallery — from other people's trash. The New York Times toured Mr. Molina's gallery recently, getting a rare peek into the collection that contains everything from a Masters of Business Administration diploma (from Harvard!) to a portrait of Winston Churchill. Via
"This technology cannot simply substitute for the great libraries of the present. After all, libraries are not just repositories of books. They are communities, sources of expertise, and homes to lovingly compiled collections that amount to far more than the sum of their individual printed parts. Their physical spaces, especially in grand temples of learning like the NYPL, subtly influence the way that reading and writing takes place in them. And yet it is foolish to think that libraries can remain the same with the new technology on the scene. The Bookless Library, by David Bell (print ready version). [more inside]
A new piece for the Awl, by writer Amy Sohn "The 40-Year-Old Reversion" satirizing the group of parents she parties with in Brooklyn, has sparked some pretty harsh criticism around the web, from scenester blogs, mainstream sources, and parenting sites alike. But others see it as a very useful lesson about contraception.
Yesterday, a New York Redditor was approached by a shaggy man and handed a $50 bill and a cryptic note. [more inside]
Spike Lee on New York, Obama, film, Hollywood, reality teevee, marriage equality, Taylor Lautner, and so forth.
Street Tucker: leftovers from the streets of New York City
How Money Makes People Act Less Human: Earlier this year, [Paul] Piff, who is 30, published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that made him semi-famous. Titled “Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior,” it showed through quizzes, online games, questionnaires, in-lab manipulations, and field studies that living high on the socioeconomic ladder can, colloquially speaking, dehumanize people. It can make them less ethical, more selfish, more insular, and less compassionate than other people. It can make them more likely, as Piff demonstrated in one of his experiments, to take candy from a bowl of sweets designated for children. “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,” Piff says, “the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people. It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.”
The Manhattan Project is an HD timelapse short showing off different aspects of life in New York City. [via]
Arthur Miller describes New York summers before air-conditioning. (New Yorker Archive)
"Thanks largely to smartphones, this is probably the best time ever to live in a packed city... Steve Jobs was a lifelong suburbanite, but it turns out he perfected the city." [google cache for those getting a log-in page.]
Underground New York Public Library, a photo tumblr of NYC Subway riders and the books they read.
New York finally starting to reveal her secrets to me as I walk around, thanks to past and present contrasting pictures at Manhattan Unlocked and a collective block by block history.
"In 1943, four newspapers published a "NYC Market Analysis" with photos, maps, data, and a profile of each NY neighborhood. Largely forgotten since, it offers a unique window into New York from another era. The CUNY graduate center has republished the profiles via this map." The Center for Urban Research has also provided a comparison of a number of characteristics between 1940 and today. (Links via Sociological Images: 1943 Map of New York City; photos of 1940s NYC previously on MeFi here and here.)
"When New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission held a public hearing last week to consider whether to raise taxi fares by 20 percent, cabdrivers pled poverty and passengers argued that fares are too high. Paradoxically, both groups were right." - Slate: The taxi medallion system in New York and other cities raises fares, impoverishes drivers, and hurts passengers. So why can’t we get rid of it?
Meet Your Neighbor, Thomas Pynchon, From the November 11, 1996 issue of New York Magazine.
Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the New York Court of Appeals announced that beginning next year, prospective lawyers must show that they have performed at least 50 hours of law-related pro bono service before being admitted to the New York state bar. [more inside]
Missing Foundation was an underground industrial band formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1984 and year later, in 1985, the band relocated to New York City. Formed by Pete Missing along with two members of KMFDM and Florian Langmaack they were known for their destructive shows. They were active in 1988 riot in Tompkins Square Park (attempting to start another one in 1993) and lighting the stage of CBGBs on fire and destroying their sound system. Other members include Vern Toulon, the father of kid-punk band Old Skull. One of the indelible and lasting marks of the group was their logo: inverted martini over a three pronged tally along with slogans such as "1988 - 1933" and "Your House Is Mine". The slogans were illusions to what founder Peter Missing described as society verge of collapse and that a police state was imminent. The years representative of the year the Nazi's overtook the Weimar Republic. The logo symbolized the bands personal slogan of "the party's over". Founder Peter Missing now lives in Berlin and his artwork has exhibited at The Whitney, The Getty, MOMA after riding out some tough times in the mid-aughts.