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]
As Thomas Pynchon's new novel Bleeding Edge's Sept. 17th release date approaches, New York Magazine's Vulture blog offers a capsule biography of the man. (SLVulture) [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]
Ghosts of the past revisit little-changed streets and avenues of New York City in Famous Daily News photos brought back to life.
Mealku is a service designed to help people obtain home-cooked meals, by connecting strangers online. It's sort of like AirBNB for leftovers as takeout meals, though right now it's only in New York City. An article from The Atlantic Cities describes Ted D’Cruz-Young's vision for the network and addresses concerns. “There’s always food left over. It’s nice to know it could be someone’s dinner", said one fan.
Looking around the room, the producers were thinking the same thing. Belolo grabbed a napkin and jotted down: “Indian, Construction Worker, Leatherman, Cowboy, Cop, Sailor.” Morali walked over to the Indian (Rose was, in fact, Lakota) who’d enticed them into the bar. He wasn’t shy. “Hey you, Indian—you want to be in a group?” (SLTheBeliever)[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 New York Were A Blank Slate, How Would You Fill It In? is a piece on Becky Cooper's book Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers both famous and not. Cooper's Map Your Memories tumblr. Found from Brain Pickings, which has much more. [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)
After Sandy, a great and complex city reveals traumas new and old. "Occupy Sandy" represented a disaster cooperativism in opposition to "disaster capitalism" (previously: 1, 2, 3) [more inside]
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.
"But placing sand in island shapes is not enough. Because the islands are appearing in the blink of an eye, ecologically speaking, they are at risk of incredibly rapid erosion. Natural islands develop a healthy covering of plant life over the course of their accumulation, which serves as an anchor. New plants are not strong enough to provide the same utility, and so, created islands demand millions of transition plants, grown in nurseries, to pre-age the island. Once planted, their sturdier roots help the islands hold together long enough for a full ecosystem to boot up." Just one detail from the tour of New York City’s dredged landscapes Tim Maly, founder of the Dredge Research Collaborative, undertook to help understand the enormous scale on which dredging shapes New York and its harbors.
"He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II." - a self-written epitaph by the former 105"Hizzoner" passed away on Friday morning at the age of 88, and the New York Times City Room blog spent the day collecting and posting stories about him. [more inside]
thMayor of New York City: Edward Irving Koch.
On February 2nd, Grand Central Terminal turns 100. It's full of history, secrets, the location for many movies, and the site of a major squash tournament.
"On a good day, the street maintenance team tasked by the New York City Department of Transportation with roadway repair might fill 4,000 potholes in eight hours. In an average week, they could resurface 100,000 square yards of road. After Hurricane Sandy, their crews removed 2,500 tons of debris. And every day, on a Tumblr called The Daily Pothole, New Yorkers can take a peek inside the workings of a city system few have likely thought about." Storyboard: A Day with New York City’s Pothole Repair Crew. [more inside]
A man buys a tiny 400sq foot apartment in Soho, and over a period of two years, creates an amazing, transforming living space than can reasonably sleep four.
SLYT: The New York Times released a video today of an incident from September 10th: Preacher Terry Jones was in Times Square, staging a one-man anti-Muslim demonstration, and a Beatles fan who was passing by chose to weigh in.
In 1993, 18-year-old Trevell Coleman shot a man in East Harlem and fled the scene. In the following years, he became part of the New York City rap community and eventually signed with Bad Boy Records, though he never stopped wondering what had happened to the man he'd shot. At the end of 2010, Coleman decided to find out. [more inside]
Bloomberg finally cancels NYC Marathon Reversing his earlier position, Mayor Bloomberg decides to cancel this year's marathon. [more inside]
In a few weeks, ground-breaking will begin on the far West Side. The project: Hudson Yards, the largest real-estate development ever undertaken in the city's history, an enormous mini-metropolis whose planning might have left even Robert Moses dumbstruck. - Wendy Goodman [more inside]
Narratively is "devoted exclusively to sharing New York’s untold stories—the rich, intricate narratives that get at the heart of what this city’s all about." The site, launched in September, presents one long-form piece of journalism, sometimes text, sometimes video, sometimes a photo essay, sometimes audio.
Urban miniaturist Alan Wolfson (previously) unveils his latest masterpiece: Katz's Delicatessen (related) [more inside]
"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]
The Land that Time and Money Forgot New York City’s housing projects are the last of their kind in the country. And they may be on their way to extinction (New York magazine).
"If your $257,000 Ferrari is parked in the valet zone of The Mercer Hotel in SoHo and a cop starts writing your ass a ticket for being parked in the valet zone, you should just take the ticket, drive your car to a $75-a-day parking garage (and that's probably the cheapest parking garage in that neighborhood)" ... [more inside]
The upcoming New York Times Magazine cover story is about the excavation of the Second Avenue Subway line below the East Side of Manhattan. It features some stunning photography and a video that explains how the work is done. [more inside]
During his tenure as Mayor of New York City, "public health autocrat" Michael Bloomberg has attempted to regulate trans fats, smoking and sugar-filled sodas. Now, he has a fresh target: moms who don't breastfeed. Beginning September 3, NYC hospitals participating in a new, voluntary program: Latch-On NYC (press release / posters / FAQ -pdf-), will make formula less accessible, to encourage moms of newborns to breastfeed instead of using formula. [more inside]
"This technology cannot simply substitute for the great libraries of the present. After all, libraries are not just repositories of books. They are communities, sources of expertise, and homes to lovingly compiled collections that amount to far more than the sum of their individual printed parts. Their physical spaces, especially in grand temples of learning like the NYPL, subtly influence the way that reading and writing takes place in them. And yet it is foolish to think that libraries can remain the same with the new technology on the scene. The Bookless Library, by David Bell (print ready version). [more inside]
Street Tucker: leftovers from the streets of New York City
"In 1943, four newspapers published a "NYC Market Analysis" with photos, maps, data, and a profile of each NY neighborhood. Largely forgotten since, it offers a unique window into New York from another era. The CUNY graduate center has republished the profiles via this map." The Center for Urban Research has also provided a comparison of a number of characteristics between 1940 and today. (Links via Sociological Images: 1943 Map of New York City; photos of 1940s NYC previously on MeFi here and here.)
Meet Your Neighbor, Thomas Pynchon, From the November 11, 1996 issue of New York Magazine.
On May 15, 1981, at The Ritz in New York City, Public Image Ltd. performed as a last-minute replacement for Bow Wow Wow. It didn't end well. (previously) [more inside]
"A great ballclub, a beautiful demonstration of what talent can do when assembled with planning and guided by intelligence." - Bill James, on the 1986 New York Mets [more inside]
Did P.T. Barnum keep live whales in his museum on Broadway? When were penguins stolen from the Coney Island Aquarium? How much horse manure was deposited on the streets of New York City before the automobile, and what happened to it? Answers to these question and more at the New York Historical Society Library's short video series When did the Statue of Liberty Turn Green? [more inside]
You know what our attitude was toward people who didn’t like avant-garde films? ‘Oh, you don’t like it? We’ll show it again.’
Amos Vogel, the founder of the Cinema 16 film society in New York City and later co-founder of the New York Film Festival, has died at the age of 91. [more inside]
NYC's Department of Records has officially announced the debut of its photo database, releasing 870,000 photos of the city and its operations to the public. Here are some of the best ones. Here is the link to the gallery itself (though good luck getting in right now). [more inside]
In December 1974, there was a memorial service at St. James Episcopal Church on Madison Avenue for Louise Fitzhugh, author and illustrator of Harriet the Spy, the groundbreaking children's novel that has sold 2.5 million copies since its publication in 1964. [more inside]
"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).
A group of high school students from The Bronx calling themselves The Resistance have released a 10-point plan to reform NYC public schooling. (via Colorlines) [more inside]