When Kirby came to the neighborhood in 1979 she was a community organizer trying to save buildings from abandonment or neglect. Part of her job was begging businesses to re-occupy the empty storefronts along Bedford Avenue, where Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks now pay premium rents. At the end of a long day, Teddy's was her local bar. When dinner time rolled around, Mary and Teddy would lock the door and say, "Watch the place." They'd be back in ten minutes with white bread and bologna for sandwiches.
Porters, Bouncers, and Bartenders, third installment of the amazing Terminal Bar film series. For ten years, Sheldon Nadelman took thousands of black and white photographs while bartending at the Terminal Bar, Times Square's most notorious watering hole of the 1970s. Murray Goldman, the bar's owner since 1957 was Sheldon's father-in-law as well as the filmmaker's grandfather. The Terminal Bar was featured in Martin Scorsese's film Taxi Driver. [more inside]
Meet the people hanging out in Times Square late at night. Over 330,000 people pass through Times Square every day. Here you can see the Times Square eccentrics in the 90s before the corporations took over.
No Your City In a city of over 8 million people, it is impossible to walk the streets without running into interesting New Yorkers with unique relationships to the city. Whether it is Don Ward, the best shoe-shiner in Manhattan or Te'Devan the 6'7" Nomadic-Jewish-Healing-Freestyler. Everyone has a story that is worth hearing, but unfortunately most of them go unheard. New York City is the busiest place on earth and it is rare for someone to take a few minutes out of their schedule to stop and chat with a fellow New Yorker. No Your City is an 8-part documentary series that offers a glimpse into the lives of these extraordinary New York City inhabitants. [more inside]
Visiting the Big Apple? "Don't ask a pedestrian where a certain street is. He is usually too busy to stop, and if polite enough to stop, won't know. No New Yorker knows anything about New York." And another kind reminder: "Don't gape at women smoking cigarettes in restaurants. They are harmless and respectable, notwithstanding and nevertheless. They are also smart." Advice from Valentine’s City of New York: A Guide Book, published in 1920. [more inside]
Recalling 1993 lets you "Step back twenty years into New York City's past. Call from any NYC pay phone to hear what was happening on that block in 1993." Other notable public history projects include the History Pin app and Shimon Attie's installations in Berlin and Rome.
Hurricane Sandy's proximity to Election Day means that the response to it is highly politicized. [more inside]
In 1783, John Jacob Astor set out for the United States with $25 and five flutes. Upon his death in 1848, he was the wealthiest person in the US, having amassed a fortune of at least $20,000,000, making him the third wealthiest person in American history (measuring wealth as a fraction of GDP). [more inside]
Norman Mailer's apartment. Available now.
Pizza! Slice Harvester is one man's quest to taste and review every pizza slice offered by NYC's pizzerias. His mission statement reads, "...I'm going by neighborhood, starting in Manhattan, getting a plain slice at every place. I am f***ing sick of the current trend in Pizza Journalism that's all about f***ing artichoke guacamole tahini pizza on rice dough. That s*** isn't pizza. Sorry."
New York's MTA has a YouTube channel that features some pretty great historical videos from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. [more inside]
The entire five-part television documentary series Brick City is currently available through Netflix streaming. The four and a half-hour Sundance Channel documentary chronicles the summer and fall of 2008 in the city of Newark, New Jersey. Among the people the series profiles are Cory Booker, mayor of Newark and subject of the great documentary Street Fight; Garry McCarthy, the white, Bronx-born police director whose innovative measures have reduced the murder rate in the city; Ras Baraka, a charismatic poet and activist who is also the principal of Newark Central High school; Jayda Jacques, former Blood gang member who now mentors young women in Newark; Jiwe Morris, author of the book War of the Bloods in My Veins: A Street Soldier's March Toward Redemption; and many other interesting Newark residents like the Street Doctor and Ali Muslim. The series has often been referred to as a sort of real-life version of The Wire, and has been well-received by critics
When do you know the cupcake fad is dead? When Germans start selling them at McDonald's with names inspired by New York City neighborhoods.
"I'm needy, but I'm not greedy. It's better to be honest." A New York City cabbie returns over $21,000 left in his taxi. A similar case occurred three years ago when a Manhattan cabbie returned half a million dollars worth of diamond rings. Honest taxi drivers can be found on the West Coast, as well.
Sex, drugs and sleaze! Were the bad old days really the good old days? Native New Yorkers who remember the City in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, speak up! Was the Big Apple better off then or now?
The Garbage Game. What would you do with 64,000 tons of garbage every week? The Gotham Gazette is a not-for-profit newspaper that reports on New York City politics and policy. On their site is a highly informative game that puts you in the place of a resident and then the Sanitation Commissioner, shedding some light on NYC's garbage problem.
Getting around underground in NYC is no longer only for people who already know how to get around underground in NYC. Graphic Designer Eric Jabbour has been spending his free time obsessively redesigning MTA transit maps. And the results are striking. Non-New Yorkers will undoubtedly be able to figure out what's what. Cleaner lines and neighborhood boundaries are just a few features. Also, one can clearly see and understand transfer points and more street names.