Brooklyn's Afropunk festival has gone from a small gathering of friends celebrating an underground documentary to a massive, celebrated boutique fashion and mainstream music cornucopia. Some say they have sold out. But in Pitchfork, author Hanif Abdurraqib, (previously) makes a case that it still represents something very real and important to black youth culture.
Although most New Yorkers haven't been there, the Hole hides in plain sight. Many pass it on the way to John F Kennedy International Airport, on a bleak road above which jets wheeze in on their final descent toward the runways along Jamaica Bay. Behind a tatty curtain of trees and weeds, there is a strange depression in the land, as if a sinkhole had opened here on the desultory border between Brooklyn and Queens. It looks less like a New York neighbourhood than an Arkansas village, only with housing projects on the horizon instead of the Ozark Mountains. Welcome to the Hole.
"The thing I find very exciting is waiting for the subway train and sometimes you'll get a glorious one that arrives decorated like a birthday cake!" Watching My Name Go By is a short 1976 BBC documentary about graffiti, artists, and graffiti artists in New York City. The film is based on Norman Mailer's 1974 essay for Esquire magazine, "The Faith of Grafitti." [via]
The NYPD uniform is as iconic as it is polarizing. Wearing it makes me a target for both praise and censure—neither of which I, in most cases, did anything to deserve. My character becomes a many-sided die, the cast contingent on the preconceptions and experiences of whoever is looking. With each person I encounter I wonder how it’s going to be: Am I an oaf? A hero? A pawn? A tyrant?An anonymous female NYPD officer reflects on what it's like to wear the blue.
Cleveland Police Officer Acquitted of Manslaughter in 2012 Deaths [New York Times]
A police officer who climbed onto the hood of a car after a chase in 2012 and fired repeatedly at its unarmed occupants, both of them black, was acquitted of manslaughter on Saturday by an Ohio judge. The trial of the white officer, Michael Brelo, following harrowing episodes in communities such as Baltimore, Staten Island and Ferguson, Mo., played out amid broader questions of how the police interact with African-Americans and use force, in Cleveland and across the country.[more inside]
"That’s when I realised we were looking for something that only exists in the movies." (slTheGrauniad)
Eighty years ago, New York City needed another tunnel under the Hudson River. The Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge could no longer handle the mounting traffic between New Jersey and Manhattan. Thus began construction of the Lincoln Tunnel. But this is not a story about the Lincoln Tunnel. This is about the men who made it. The Sandhogs.
Globalization is a brutal phenomenon. It brings us mass displacement, wars, terrorism, unchecked financial capitalism, inequality, xenophobia, climate change. But if globalization is capable of holding out any fundamental promise to us, any temptation to go along with its havoc, then surely that promise ought to be this: we will be more free to invent ourselves. In that country, this city, in Lahore, in New York, in London, that factory, this office, in those clothes, that occupation, in wherever it is we long for, we will be liberated to be what we choose to be.- Discontent and Its Civilizations (excerpt), by Mohsin Hamid (previously); reviewed [more inside]
Odd Drinks To Be Had.
Here, from the December 26, 1893, issue of the New York Sun, is an article about the various drinking establishments of Lower Manhattan, from the Battery up to about 28th Street. Be aware, some of the ethnic attitudes expressed in this piece are very much of their time. You’ll also note peculiarities of style and spelling; those are all in the original.
Essentially two-hand-touch taken to bloodsport level, with two 25-minute halves, a mostly running clock, and referees to nominally control the mayhem, it's the closest these weekend warriors will come to professional sport, though many are high-caliber athletes.
The much esteemed eight-part history of New York City "New York: A Documentary Film" is available. (approximate length 17 hrs. 30 min.) [more inside]
Imagine leaning out of an open door of a helicopter 7,500 feet over New York City on a very dark and chilly night... (making of)
The Partisan Review, a critical magazine founded by William Phillips and Philip Rahv (and Kenneth Fearing) and originally created as an arm of the American Communist Party was 'more a literary event than a literary magazine,' that lost its purpose after perestroika: The Death of a Literary Magazine. But even in death, the archives are not 'down the memory hole', but rather digitized and available online. [more inside]
Dérive is a smartphone app inspired by the Situationists that encourages you to wander your city. You can use the general deck, use one for Abu Dhabi, Biella, Ithaca, Johannesburg, Kampala, New York City, Paris or San Francisco, or make your own
Following Hook Creek past ghost towns and discarded highways to the lost waterways of New York City. - By Nathan Kensinger
In light of Dries Verhoeven's public art of his Grindr interactions (since cancelled), Arne Svenson's show, "The Neighbors" (previously) and Future Femme's piece, Show Me More: A collection of DickPix, and amid questions of legality and ethics, the Guardian examines art, consent and privacy.
Earlier this year, Chris Whong made a FOIL request to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, receiving fare and trip data for all licensed cabs in New York in 2013. (previously) The data was anonymised, but as Vijay Pandurangan realised, only partially. [more inside]
How one developer is attracting the 'right kind of people' to new locales with, among others things, dance parties.
No, the above quote is not the answer to “How many total episodes are there of the various “Law & Order” franchises?”. In actuality, those nine words conclude one of the most exciting films of the 1940’s (and the direct ancestor of Dick Wolf’s prolific franchise). Welcome to “The Naked City”. [more inside]
In June 2001, Estonian immigrant Konstantin Petrov got a job as an electrician for Windows on the World, the famous restaurant in the World Trade Center. The New Yorker has an article about the recent discovery of a trove of photographs he took during lulls in his shifts, an incredible record of the complex before the events of thirteen years ago. [more inside]
“These are young people who refuse to be put in a box, but are still trying to make sense of themselves. Over the years, the concept of Black rock has been rejected by both Blacks and whites. Afropunk shows that there are other types of Black experiences. It’s exciting to see Blacks who are unafraid to go a different way.” Afropunk Before Afropunk [more inside]
Jenny Kutner wrote an article about her upcoming abortion; after her abortion, her doctor wrote her back.
With the approaching end of the last Mondo Kim's Video & Music, the one on First Avenue, here's an oral history of the iconic, idiosyncratic East Village video store from its clerks and customers, including Richard Foreman, Chloe Sevigny, Andrew WK, and many more. (previously)
Bill de Blasio has reduced the use of stop-and-frisk, but he still supports the kind of policing that led to Eric Garner’s death. New York City cops are fuming. On Tuesday, union officials gathered to publicly denounce “police haters” and defend the conduct of police officers involved in the apprehension of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who was killed while being placed under arrest for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. Last week, the state medical examiner’s office said Garner died as a result of being put in a chokehold — a tactic banned by the New York Police Department. [more inside]
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for changing the admissions criteria of NYC's elite high schools, arguing that relying solely on a single exam (the SHSAT) "creates a “rich-get-richer” dynamic that benefits the wealthy, who can afford expensive test prep. However, the reality is just the opposite. It’s not affluent whites, but rather the city’s burgeoning population of Asian-American immigrants — a group that, despite its successes, remains disproportionately poor and working-class — whose children have aced the exam in overwhelming numbers." [more inside]
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]
Every Fourth of July, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture is heard all over the United States, timed to the burst of fireworks. How did this Russian composition, celebrating the Russian victory over the French in that War of 1812 (not the war between England and the US), become a staple of the United States' Independence Day celebrations? We can thank the Boston Pops. [more inside]
NYT Dining & Wine's Ice Cream Issue:
- The Only Ice Cream Recipe You’ll Ever Need (video) (recipe)
- Ever True to You, Local Parlor – A Cone to Remember
- Chocolate Ganache, an Easygoing French Treat (video) (recipe)
- You Say Soft, I Say Serve
- At Morgenstern’s Finest, a Swirl of Innovation
- A Crush of Summer Flavors
- A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Scoop
- A Malted Milk Crawl in New York
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]
A day in the life of New York City's public libraries: Traveling from borough to borough, this short documentary by Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks reveals just how important the modern library is for millions of people. Why Libraries Matter.
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.
"Squatters took up the fight where the homesteaders had shown the way, occupying abandoned buildings with a more DIY approach. Whereas homesteaders, beholden to the rules of the government programs that sponsored them, hadn’t been permitted to occupy a building until the work was complete, squatters moved in and lived in the raw spaces from the beginning, putting in the time and effort to transform the buildings without the financial support or sanction of the government. They scavenged materials where they could, and employed skill-sharing, learning building skills from those with experience and then passing that knowledge along. By 1989, there were an estimated two-dozen squatted buildings in the Lower East Side."
The drought in California has brought about a number of things, from exposing part of Mormon Island, an old mining town that has partially emerged from Folsom Lake (news coverage clip; aerial view of a re-emerged bridge with overly dramatic music; a tour of the exposed ruins), to being good news for gold prospectors. But if there's too much of a crowd in the Sierra Nevada foothills, you can always dig for gold in New York City (alt: YouTube), in the cracks of Midtown's Diamond District with Raffi Stepanian.
A Complete Guide to New York City Pizza Styles
Although New York City has long had a clearly defined and ubiquitous style of pizza, the city's appetite for the dish knows no bounds. While New Yorkers can certainly be parochial and protective of their home slice, they can also be open and accepting of different pizza points of view. Here is a look at the predominant forms of pizza found in New York City with information about how they developed over the years, and a glimpse at some of the more eclectic and disparate variations on the theme.
The New York Public Library has released more than 20,000 high resolution cartographic works (maps!) for free, to view and download. "We believe these maps have no known US copyright restrictions." All can be viewed through the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections page and downloaded through their Map Warper. (Via) [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]
Grand by Design is a Centennial Celebration of Grand Central Terminal. It's a looong page with a lot of nice images and facts from the history of the Grand Central Depot/ Station/ Terminal. (Previously)
NFL holds Super Bowl in NYC; NYC unimpressed. While the stadium is technically in New Jersey, it is considered equally if not primarily a New York stadium, and the NFL turned Times Square and Broadway into Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered By GMC. Visitors can kick a football, watch television, ride a toboggan, shop, enjoy a free slice of Papa John's pizza, play XBox, take a photo with the oversized Roman numerals 'XLVIII', use relevant Twitter hashtags, and more. It is not decadent and depraved, though Vice and Gothamist would tend to disagree. The Times discusses less vehement disapproval and disappointment, while Business Insider wishes ill upon the city. Ticket sales are faltering relative to recent years, with the new mayor among those skipping out.
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.
Ernest Flagg (1857-1947) was an architect in the United States, who worked mostly in New York, and in 1904 had a radical plan to remake Central Park. New York's Central Park That Never Was [more inside]
"Am I safe? Is what I have, my memory of the event and your scribbled notes, enough to get this guy? Should I tweet about this?" C. D. Hermelin is mugged in broad daylight in Manhattan’s Financial District.
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]