Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., was a lonely aspiring writer in New York, generally unhappy. Then she moved to Brooklyn and found that community made all the difference.
How one developer is attracting the 'right kind of people' to new locales with, among others things, dance parties.
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]
How an obsessed explorer found and lost the world's oldest subway. "The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel was sealed in 1861, shortly after Brooklyn banned steam locomotives within city limits. Legend has it that the tunnel was reopened in the 1920s when it was used for mushroom growing and bootlegging, and in the 1940s when the FBI opened it looking for Nazis. But soon after, it was lost. In the 1950s two historians attempted to find it and failed."
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]
In the history of roads, pedestrians have long been the dominant user class. In the early 20th century, the use of automobiles was increasing, and with it, the conflicts between cars and people on foot. This conflict came to a head in 1923 in Cincinnati, when people were outraged about the number of children killed by autos, and a there was a petition that "would have required all vehicles in the city to be fitted with speed governors limiting them to 25 miles per hour." In response, the young automotive companies organized and started a move to give dominance to cars in the streets. The petition failed, and pedestrians had lost. This was a key moment, marked with the invention of jaywalking. [more inside]
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]
Movin' On Up: A skewed history of New York City as depicted by the opening themes of 1970s TV shows
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).
“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.
How I Became a Hipster (SLNYT)
Once the home of the Weckquaesgeek tribe, and more recently, William Shatner, Hastings-on-Hudson might sound like the next village over from Downton Abbey, but according to the New York Times, it's "a village, in a Wittgensteinian sort of way" seeing an influx of ex-Brooklynites fleeing to the suburbs in the face of creeping real estate prices. Sure, these new hipsturbanites may miss the creative density of urban New York, but at least the river setting matches their Filson/woolrich heritage-brand aesthetic. Read on if you set your cultural compass to the Brooklyn Flea, or your NYT Style section appreciation to ironic twee.
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."
"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]
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.
Spike Lee on New York, Obama, film, Hollywood, reality teevee, marriage equality, Taylor Lautner, and so forth.
How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back: New York’s biggest borough has reinvented itself as a postindustrial hot spot. In City Journal, Kay S. Hymowitz walks us through a story of entrepreneurial "creative class gentrification" in NYC's most populous borough. [more inside]
15 photographs taken at the scene of the 1960 Park Slope, Brooklyn passenger plane collision. These are horrifying, view with caution. Previously. Sorry it had to be from the Daily Mail, folks.
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?
"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]
"Toity poiple boids / Sittin on da koib / A-choipin an’ a-boipin / An’ eatin doity woims." From Atlantic Avenue to Zerega Avenue (map), the kinds of New York City accents made famous by the likes of Archie Bunker, Jimmy Breslin and Travis Bickle are disappearing. But though you may not often hear “foath floah” for "fourth floor" in Manhattan anymore, documentary filmmaker Heather Quinlan knows you can still hear strains of the old mellifluous tones in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, and that's exactly what she's setting out to document in her film If These Knishes Could Talk.
Brooklyn to New York via the Brooklyn Bridge as shot by the Edison Manufacturing Co. in 1899. (SLYT) [more inside]
Once upon a time, cows were milked in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. The city dairy provided a safe, affordable source of nutrition for children in 19th-century New York, and was an important bulwark against one of the city's most insidious killers: swill milk. The dairy and its cows have disappeared, but the story of the swill milk scandals lives on. [more inside]
Ice Cream Club is a group in Brooklyn which meets twice a month to exchange homemade ice cream. Today's seen some media coverage, and their website provides tips and troubleshooting.
"Reading 'Our tribute to a brave little boy,' you will also find 65 cents in nickels and dimes melded to the plaque." Some mismatched bricks on an unremarkable building in Park Slope and a plaque in a hospital are the clues to an astonishing story of two airplanes, a mid-air crash, and a little boy traveling alone. [more inside]
Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, long nicknamed the "Lavender Lake" for its copious oil slicks, has gained a new title : Superfund Site. New Yorkers respond with really cool photography. While some developers bow out in light of the recent news, other area developers, hoping for a speedy cleanup of the industrial waste and, uh ... other things ... vow to continue their plans to revitalize the formerly-industrial corridor.
Signs that point to both a tenuously emerging future, as well as the dusty fingerprints of the neglected past. Brooklyn Signs.
Want to find a bar in New York near you? Try New York on Tap's Google mashup map. Most entries have pithy homegrown reviews attached, and all entries have links to reviews from other websites.
Working Class Cats documents the lives of gainfully employed felines in NYC. There is, of course, some controversy. [via]
First discovered by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1978, the Greenpoint spill has been estimated at anywhere between 17 million and 30 million gallons—three times more oil than the Exxon Valdez spill. [NY mag permalink, with ads]
No rest stop? Try latex. From consumerist.com, a tale of... what can i say? Just a funny story. With pictures.
Bike Kill 2004 - a 5 min QT clip documenting the Black Label Bike Club’s annual Bike Kill in Brooklyn, recently shown at Bicycle Film Festival 2005. These guys party hard. via in case of mishaps
Bizarre child support battle in Brooklyn A Brooklyn, New York man who stopped paying storage fees for his frozen sperm after divorcing his wife has filed suit against the sperm bank, his ex, and a notary public after learning she picked up the payments and used the sperm to get pregnant. Deon Francois, who now must pay child support, says he didn't want a child and never gave consent for the use of his sperm.
The Wild Parrots of Brooklyn. "I'm amazed at how many people living on the island of Manhattan regard these birds as urban legends, just like the crocodiles once reputed to live in the sewers. But these birds are real, they're thriving and yet they're also endangered." Theories, studies, photos and an audio sample of these non-native birds, which are found elsewhere in the US, throughout the world and on film. [prior discussion, first link via memepool.]
Brooklyn Tenant Is Charged With Murdering City Marshal "As the marshal, Erskine G. Bryce, lay injured and disoriented, the police said, Ms. Jones bounded down the steps, beat him with an aluminum rod and stripped him of his .380-caliber pistol. The attack ended, the police said, only after she splashed him with a flammable liquid, took out a cigarette lighter and set him afire." (Free NY Times registration required)
If anyone is (or will be) in New York and have nothing else planned for this evening, may I suggest a trip to the Brooklyn Museum of Art. BMA is free on every first saturday of the month (from 5 PM - 11 PM). Today's theme for the evening entertainment revolves around their special exhibition, Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes and Rage. There will be an outdoor dance party (at the BMA parking lot) starting at 9 PM featuring samples from 20 years of Hip-Hop music. You can also walk through their current exhibitions, of which the Robots and Space Toys seems promising.