Kei Igawa arrived in the US with a lot of fanfare in 2007. After failing miserably with the Yankees, he was sent to the minor leagues. Since then, he has existed in an uncomfortable limbo, not completely part of either world.
After beating the Texas Rangers on Sept. 3, the Boston Red Sox were 84-54. Although half a game behind the Yankees in the American League East, the Red Sox had a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild card and roughly a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. Fast forward one excruciating month to a dead heat with Tampa coming into tonight's bitter imbroglio. Boston struggles ahead of laughingstock Baltimore by a single run until a rain delay clears the field, leaving them in the surreal position of rooting for the hated Yankees playing down in Florida. They can only watch from the sidelines as the rival Rays, tied with Boston in the pennant race but down 7-0 against New York, roar back to life with six runs in the eighth inning and a tie run on the final pitch at the bottom of the ninth. And then, after blowing two different strikes that would have salvaged the game, Boston loses to Baltimore, completing what is arguably the worst late-breaking collapse in the history of major league baseball.
Which place looks safer? Which place looks more unique? Which place looks more upper-class? MIT is crowdsourcing a "perception network" to analyze people's subconscious judgments about urban spaces. Preliminary results for Boston, New York City, Vienna, Salzburg, and Linz (Austria). [more inside]
The American Folk Art Museum in New York City is said to be considering dissolution and dispersal of its outstanding collection of folk and outsider art.
A short history of New York City's sirens. In the first years of the twenty-first century, New York City police officers had six different siren noises at their fingertips to alternate and overdub as they attempted to bore through stagnant traffic. The “Yelp” is a high-pitched, rapidly oscillating, jumpy sound that suggests a small dog with large teeth has hold of your thigh and is not about to let go ..... . From Cabinet Magazine.
Black and White and Hebrew All Over. The Village Voice profiles the Hebrew Language Academy, a dual-language charter school in Brooklyn. Is it a rare success story for the big-city ideal of educational innovation simultaneously serving rich and poor communities? A clever way for Jewish New Yorkers to get their kids Hebrew instruction on the states's dime? A little of both?
The Chelsea Hotel of NYC, surviving The Great Depression, fires, deaths, but maybe not a change of ownership
Late July 2011, would-be guests of the historic and storied Chelsea Hotel (also known as Hotel Chelsea or simply The Chelsea) were informed on their reservations were suddenly canceled, in preparation for a year-long renovation project, which some people speculate is a union-busting strategy. Given the concerns for the future of The Chelsea, some came to throw last-minute parties, while long-term tenants held more somber gatherings. On August 1st, current guests were abruptly escorted out, increasing anxieties about the plans of the new owner, elusive real estate investor Joseph Chetrit. Even if this is the end of the era, the hotel's long and varied legacy lives on ... [more inside]
The Newport. Harry's. Fluties. Indochine. Nell's. Cornell Club. The New York Yacht Club. The regular places.
The Corners Project. For three years, photographer Friko Starc took candid, spontaneous portraits of people who passed by one of five Manhattan street corners. Video [more inside]
Evolution Right Under Our Noses. "A small but growing number of field biologists study urban evolution — the biological changes that cities bring to the wildlife that inhabits them." [Via]
Early this morning, the law that legalized Same-Sex Marriage in New York State went into effect, with many couples choosing to tie the knot at the stroke of midnight. In New York City, the city clerk will be working overtime to process marriage licenses for the 823 same-sex couples expected to wed there today, having adding extra capacity to ensure that all couples who signed up in advance would not be turned away. LGBT weddings are expected to bring an additional $155 million in tourism revenues into the state over the next 12 months, and governor Andrew Cuomo's approval ratings are currently the highest of any US state governor following the passage of the bill.
The East Village's glorious and infamous Mars Bar, on the chopping block since winter, is closed for good. [more inside]
One day in 1984 character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day, the original, unaired pilot of Buffy The Vampire Slayer) was walking down the street when Jonathan Demme pulled up and asked if he wanted to see a movie he was finishing. Tobolowsky accepted: taking his girlfriend Beth Henley, they went to the Academy Linwood Dunn Theatre to watch the rough cut of the movie, Stop Making Sense. The audience in the otherwise empty theatre consisted of Tobolowsky, Henley, and Demme, along with members of Talking Heads, including David Byrne and Tina Weymouth. Later, Byrne passed Tobolowsky on his bike and asked if he wanted to work on a new movie. Interest sparked again, and during the ensuing collaboration Tobolowsky shared his past experience of psychic phenomena. Inspired, Byrne went on to write Radio Head. The song was heard by Thom Yorke and became the name of his band. All of this is a true story, based on puzzling evidence. [more inside]
"Better a broken bone than a broken spirit". So said the appropriately-named Lady Allen of Hurtwood, pioneer of adventure playgrounds - play spaces which sacrificed a little security in the interests of imagination and creativity. Her work on adventure playgrounds - along with the sight of young Londoners playing in the bombed-out sites of post-Blitz London - inspired a young Richard Dattner, a New York architect now probably best-known for the Bronx Public Library Center. [more inside]
The Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Paul Ford. When it comes to IVF, in-vitro fertilization, nothing is normal. Your world is upside-down. Your doctor compliments your wife on her monkeys. Then, when every dollar and exertion has gone toward a single hour of hope, it begins to snow.
Sunday in the Park With Boobs The Gloss writer Jamie Peck, inspired by an anonymous woman exercising her legal right in to walk around topless in New York, goes boobs to the breeze on a summer day. (NSFW). Sort of previously, previously.
The New York State Senate has just passed a religious exemption amendment to a bill granting marriage rights to gay couples. A vote on the full bill is currently underway (live stream) and seems headed for passage.
Gay Pride in New York in the 1970s - a collection of photos.
The long-polluted New York rivers are getting cleaner, but can still be dangerous to swim in. There are efforts underway to clean up the Bronx River, but that will take years, if not decades. Until then, signs are posted, warning would-be swimmers, yet people still risk sickness to battle the heat. One current safe solution is the Floating Pool Lady, a barge that was remade into an 82-foot-long city parks department swimming pool. She first arrived in the Bronx in 2008, and she'll return to the Bronx in a week. There's a new Big Idea to bring swimmers back into the rivers: the +Pool, a floating swimming pool located within a river, designed with a series exterior walls to filter the river water and make it safe to swim in. While that's in the early design stages, you can take a chance and jump in a swimming hole.
[Urban planning] allows discrimination but dresses it up as discriminating taste. So says an opinion piece in Reason magazine titled Urban Design Hipsters are Evil. [more inside]
Joel Klein wrote an essay in the Atlantic about the reasons for the current problems in the primary educational system.
"This is it." This week, the final push is on for marriage equality in New York and it looks like the state is closer than ever. [more inside]
Street View New York 1982. Black and white photographs of New York City streets [ a work in progress] | Street View 1982 Storefronts NYC. Created by Dan Weeks.
Katherine Goldstein writes about working as a fact checker for Cosmopolitan.
"For five cents Coney Island will feed you, frighten you, cool you, toast you, flatter you, or destroy your inhibitions. And in this nickel empire boy meets girl." [more inside]
Step Across the Border (previously, link now broken) "as long as I was playing in a band I didn't have to actually go out there and talk to girls and dance, I could just be on stage and watch everybody else doing it". The critically acclaimed music documentary on Fred Frith, written and directed by Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel (amazon link). It is also available in 8 parts, on youtube. [more inside]
Think you love to crochet? I can guarantee you’re not a patch on Polish-born New York artist Agata Oleksiak, now known as Olek. Olek has covered everything in her apartment with its own custom-made crocheted sweater, and a installation of those items is on display at the Christopher Henry Gallery in Nolita until May 28. She’s also done people, bicycles, cars, windows in abandoned buildings, the bull on Wall Street, and pretty much anything else that would stay still long enough. She keeps track of her crocheting time by counting the number of movies she watches while making an item. I notice she uses variegated acrylic, which is the cheapest yarn on the market. I always wondered who was still buying that "ugly afghan" yarn.
Before his death, Mickey Mantle spoke to Sports Illustrated about the effect that alcoholism had on his life and career. [more inside]
Media outlets are declaring a winner in NY-26 as Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul has a 6% lead (with 91% reporting) over Republican Jane Corwin (previously) in Tuesday's special election. [more inside]
The last gasp of the arcade. Several months ago, two of the last major arcades on the west coast and east coast, Chinatown Fair in New York and Arcade Infinity in Los Angeles, shut down. [more inside]
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the IMF and likely French Presidential Candidate, was arrested in New York for sexual assualt today. The Port Authority of New York removed Strauss-Kahn from the first class cabin of an Air France flight ten minutes before it departed for Paris and handed him over to the NYPD, whose Special Victims Unit is handling the case, for questioning. He is expected to be arraigned later tonight. [more inside]
Down and out in Toronto and New York: Freelance film critic Steven Boone recounts his experiences with the soup kitchens of Toronto and New York in First rate, second rate: In and out of the soup kitchens of Toronto and New York
For their 43rd anniversary issue, New York Magazine chose "to explore, across time, one of the things that has most defined New York life for centuries and has become a unit of measurement for our successes and failures: The Apartment: A History of Vertical Living" / Sardine Life: What a century and a half of piled-up housing reveals about us. [more inside]
/ / R | | P \ \ for the recently departed John McCracken (1934 – 2011), a West Coast artist who brought a New Age openness to Minimalist sculpture, along with a vocabulary of bright, sleek slabs, blocks and columns that balanced teasingly between painting and sculpture. [more inside]
Have you ever gotten lost in the Myst-inspired architecture of Anthology Film Archives’ website, or struggled awkwardly with the Chinese puzzle box-construction of BAMcinematek’s calendars? Have you ever circled the block at Lincoln Plaza in search of the secret entrance to the fabled Walter Reade Theater? (Hint: look behind the waterfall.) Have you found yourself asking time and again, “What the fuck is Union Docs?”The brainchild of critic Paul Brunick, Alt Screen is a new site billed as "a comprehensive digital resource covering film exhibitions and related special events in the New York City area." The contributing editors include blogger Jim Emerson, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky [previously] and Nathan Lee (apparently coming out of retirement).
With the crackdown on smoking and higher cigarette taxes in New York City, people who sell individual cigarettes, also known as loosies, are rapidly gaining new customers.
She adored New York City. She idolized it all out of proportion. Sure, she paid $700 for a 90-square-foot microstudio, but New York was her town, and it always would be (via).
New York State Congressman Anthony Weiner (D) did an IAMA (I Am A Democrat Who Fights) Q and A on reddit last week. While he answered many questions, he responded to the top five most popular questions questions in video form. [more inside]
Wijnanda Deroo: Inside New York Eateries "Continuing her long-term exploration of the architectural interior as a genre of photographic investigation, artist Wijnanda Deroo has scoured New York's five boroughs documenting the full spectrum of the city's culinary institutions. From Café des Artistes to Papaya Dog, the Russian Tea Room to Yonah Schimmel's Knishes, Deroo's viewfinder alights on diverse sites (and sights) where we New Yorkers sit (or stand) to consume our daily bread." More interiors at the artist's website -- Indonesia :: Curacao :: Mexico :: Berlin
The New York Times launches digital subscriptions, only for Canadians at the moment and on March 28 for everyone else. Packages start at $3.75/week. Readers will be allowed 20 free articles a month sans subscription. (previously, previously)
"Anyone who was around New York City in the late 1980s and early '90s couldn't have missed the work of the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, better known as ACT UP. Its group's activism reached a fever pitch during the early '90s, when the iconic black 'Silence=Death' posters and t-shirts seemed ubiquitous downtown and served as somewhat more defiant symbols for the Gay community than the rainbow flags that took over to serve that role slightly later. ... So what were we to think as we wandered through Barneys Co-op in Chelsea yesterday when we spied a whole shelf full of T-shirts featuring ACT UP's famous imagery [priced each at $50 ... 'a portion of that price tag will go to the activist group'] as if they were magically transported there from 20 years ago?" [more inside]
A short film about that moment when you emerge from the subway and find yourself in a new and sometimes unexpected world. [SLVimeo]
The Madoff Tapes "One evening, my home phone rang. “You have a collect call from Bernard Madoff, an inmate at a federal prison,” a recording announced. And there he was." [more inside]
An Urban Teacher's Education is a intelligent, touching and very personal blog about the challenges that a high school teacher faces in the Bronx. [via]