The Delights and Perils of Navigating New York City with a Guidebook from 1899, in which Luke Spencer at Atlas Obscura spends a weekend with the 1899 Baedeker guide to NYC.
"In New York City, the police now maintain an unknown number of military-grade vans outfitted with X-ray radiation, enabling cops to look through the walls of buildings or the sides of trucks ... The NYPD will not reveal when, where, or how often they are used."
Hart Island is a 131 acre island found at the western end of Long Island Sound. From the air, you can see paths, clearings, buildings and docks, but you can't clearly see the Riker's Island inmates who bury the forgotten dead in mass graves. Since 1869, there have been close to a million bodies buried on the 101 acre potter's field, but only recently was the site re-opened to the public. Still, access is limited, and finding a grave site is difficult. That's where the Hart Island Project comes in, by helping to map graves, identify the dead, and allow people to share their memories of loved ones. [more inside]
Since the release of his North American debut album “Racine Carrée,” international superstar Stromae has gone on to sell more than 3.5 million albums, performed for thousands of fans in stadiums across the globe, and for the first time in pop history, will be the first ever French spoken artist to have headlined the prestigious Madison Square Garden in New York City this fall. Here, he travels around NYC to sing "Papaoutai" and meet all his American fans. [more inside]
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]
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)
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.
“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.
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]
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.
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.
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]
The Roaring Twenties: An Interactive Exploration of the Historical Soundscape of New York City (sound autoplays). via i09, which says The map uses a combination of noise complaints and old reel footage to plot everything from what must have been an exceptionally noisy subway turnstile (complete with notes from the police report) all the way to a carnival barkers in Coney Island, and is a great way to listen in on the everyday life of a New York City gone-by.
There are a few ways to end up on Hart Island. One third of its inhabitants are infants—some parents couldn’t afford a burial, others didn’t realize what a “city burial” meant when they checked it on the form. Many of the dead here were homeless, while others were simply unclaimed; if your body remains at the city morgue for more than two weeks, you, too, will be sent for burial by a team of prisoners on Hart Island.
If you declare, in a famous poem affixed to the Statue of Liberty, in New York Harbor, “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me,” you might consider that a certain commitment has been made. (SLNYer)
NY 41×41 is a very cool Infinite Zoom Illusion Video of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue created by Paul Trillo. [via] [more inside]
Between 1897 and 1953, the New York City post office used a system of pneumatic tubes to move up to 30% of its mail around the city. Among the first things sent whizzing across Manhattan during the inauguration of the system: a black cat. Via the links in that Atlantic article, you can find other strange aspects to the story. For example, there was a pneumatic subway in use in NYC by 1870 — The Beach Pneumatic Transit covered an entire block for three years!
By now, the story is well known. A man sits in the backseat of a cab, sketching on a notepad as night falls over a crumbling city. He scribbles the letter I. He draws a heart. And then an N, and then a Y. Right away he knows he’s got something. This is it, he thinks. This is the campaign. The man was a designer named Milton Glaser. The city was New York. The year was 1977. [more inside]
From The Atlantic, a series of photography that documents America in the 1970s: the Pacific Northwest | New York City | the Southwest | Chicago's African-American community | Texas [more inside]
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]
In 2002, now-disgraced stock analyst Jack Grubman (previously) was the central figure in a preschool-placement scandal in New York's famously Wall Street connected 92nd Street Y.
The Price Of Perfection
The Price Of Perfection
"For 400 years, New York has embraced, spurned, ignored, harnessed, and feared the water that made its greatness possible. Now our relationship must get even more complex." [more inside]
"'If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.' So goes the old saying. Yet conditions in some American facilities are so obscene that they amount to a form of extrajudicial punishment." Mother Jones is profiling "America's 10 Worst Prisons." Facilities were chosen for the list based on "...three years of research, correspondence with prisoners, and interviews with reform advocates." [more inside]
How I Became a Hipster (SLNYT)
Street signs at NYC intersections featuring rap lyrics about them.
Here's the recipe for chef Hadley Schmitt's famous Pork Sticky Rolls with Dijon-Maple Glaze and Parsnip Icing served at Northern Spy Food Company, East Village, NYC.
NYC Past Large-format historical photos of New York City.