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Grand by Design

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)
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 17, 2014 - 6 comments

 

The Invention of Jaywalking and the Rise of Car Culture

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 26, 2014 - 125 comments

Lincoln Highway, the first (attempt at a) transcontinental US highway

On July 1, 1913, a group of automobile enthusiasts and industry officials established the Lincoln Highway Association "to procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all description without toll charges," and to be a lasting memorial to Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Highway efforts started about three years before the first federal road act would provide funding to states to improve the broad network of roads. Never officially finished, the first transcontinental highway eventually became renumbered as various interstate and US routes. To celebrate its centennial, there was a cross-country tour in June. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 17, 2013 - 33 comments

New York Biotopes, abstract plants and creatures growing in NYC

New York Biotopes deals with abstract plants and creatures, which change their forms because of insufficient living space and adapt themselves to the surroundings of the metropolis New York City. Set to the music of Man Mantis. More videos from Lena Steinkühler on her Vimeo channel.
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 8, 2013 - 5 comments

Nutmeg: smells of holidays from a history of battles and massacres

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 30, 2012 - 40 comments

Wigstock: New York's other Labor Day tradition (while it lasted)

"I know you are out there, just wanting to put your wig on, just like me. And I know you're just waiting to have a good time. Just put a little ball earring on, a little bad sunglasses, and a big, bad wig on, 'cause it's good. It feels good, works, it does." It is, or was, Wigstock, an annual outdoor drag festival held in NYC, starting in 1985 by "Lady" Bunny and friends. Each year the party grew, moving to Union Square in 1991, then to Christopher Street waterfront in 1994 to deal with the expanding crowd. 2001 was supposed to be the last year, but the party came back in 2003, in conjunction with the annual HOWL festival. That carried the tradition on for another two years, and Wigstock's official website is stuck in 2005, a reminder of the festivities that were. You can reminisce with Gawker, or take a short journey back to 1987 with Wigstock: The Movie (part 1 of 4), not to be confused with the longer film of the same name, capturing Wigstock 1995 (part 1 of 8).
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 9, 2012 - 18 comments

Too much moxie breeds mayhem in the streets: skateboarding in NYC, 1965

A two-foot piece of wood or plastic mounted on wheels, it yields to the skillful user the excitements of skiing or surfing. To the unskilled it gives the effect of having stepped on a banana peel while dashing down the back stairs. It is also a menace to live and even limb. Life magazine article on skateboarding in New York City, from the May 14, 1965 issue. Pictures from that article are now online in larger form (one-page view on another site). See also: The New York Skate Movie trailer on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 28, 2012 - 15 comments

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 6, 2011 - 47 comments

Beating the heat, and the pollution, in New York rivers

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.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 24, 2011 - 26 comments

The 46 Dumpling Picture, and other photography from Damon Winter

Damon Winter is a photojournalist who has worked for The Dallas Morning News, The Los Angeles Times and now works for The New York Times. His work on a more sports-focused beat in Dallas lead to his update on athletes from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics as part of the 2008 Olympics coverage. As a photographer with The New York Times, he won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography, for his first time out on the road, covering campaigns (narrated slideshow, 3min 19sec). Currently, he is sharing his photos and writing from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, which are included in NY Times Lens Blog (prev. Lens Blog features: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). If that's a bit heavy, check his photographers journal (narrated slide show, 2min 34sec) and his article on creating double-exposure juxtapositions from days or weeks of shooting large-form film. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 20, 2010 - 6 comments

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