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]
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]
With a tough economy and less money to go around, gang members in New York City are resorting to sharing guns hidden in easily accessible places.
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.
New York Yelp's hotest reviewer is Stefon K. Founded by an unknown Manhattanite, this user's got everything: Mother Theresa on a ketamine binge, live-action Furbies, Laotian children in birdcages and a connection to one of Saturday Night Live's favorite characters.
Boy Genius Report gets an extensive and informative tour of the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball and takes us along for a the highly-informative and photo-heavy ride.
The inside story of how The Cornell-Technion Partnership won the bid to bring applied sciences to New York City. Will it make NYC the next Silicon Valley? [more inside]
New York - The Wonder City - 1938 (SLOldTimeyYT)
June 25th 1906, was the opening night of the musical revue Mamzelle Champagne on the roof of Madison Square Garden. In attendance were Stanford White, renowned architect (Washington Square Arch, Judson Memorial Church, Madison Square Garden itself), and Harry Kendall Thaw, eccentric coal and railroad scion. During the performance of the song I Could Love a Million Girls, Thaw "left his seat near the stage, passed between a number of tables, and, in full view of the players and of scores of persons, shot White through the head." (pdf) Standing over White’s body, Thaw said “You’ll never go out with that woman again.” [more inside]
Upheaval at the New York Public Library: an article in The Nation which looks at the current state of the NYPL, and highlights many of the problems facing public libraries across the United States.
The New Yorker's music critic Alex Ross was at Lincoln Center last night to hear a Mahler symphony -- until NYPD officers shooed him out of Josie Robertson Plaza, a public space. The MacArthur Fellow stayed behind to observe an Occupy Wall Street action timed to coincide with the final performance of Philip Glass's Satyragraha at the Metropolitan Opera. The composer himself came out of the Met to join the action, reading via human microphone from the libretto of this opera about Mahatma Gandhi's activism in South Africa. Both the moving speech and the spectacle of operagoers herded out of Lincoln Center by armed police are documented by Ross on his blog The Rest is Noise.
For decades Dawn Powell was always just on the verge of ceasing to be a cult and becoming a major religion. But despite the work of such dedicated cultists as Edmund Wilson and Matthew Josephson, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway, Dawn Powell never became the popular writer that she ought to have been. In those days, with a bit of luck, a good writer eventually attracted voluntary readers and became popular. Today, of course, "popular" means bad writing that is widely read while good writing is that which is taught to involuntary readers. Powell failed on both counts. She needs no interpretation and in her lifetime she should have been as widely read as, say, Hemingway or the early Fitzgerald or the mid O'Hara or even the late, far too late, Katherine Anne Porter. But Powell was that unthinkable monster, a witty woman who felt no obligation to make a single, much less a final, down payment on Love or The Family; she saw life with a bright Petronian neutrality, and every host at life's feast was a potential Trimalchio to be sent up. - Gore Vidal
A Year of New York in 5 minutes. Cameraman Andrew Clancy lives in New York City, and was in the habit of shooting footage of what was going on around him whenever he was out. This is a compilation of life in the city, from the point of view of a New Yorker.
Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, a documentary by Ben Niles. "Invention for 900 Hands", a nine-part series in The New York Times. "K 2571: The Making of a Steinway Grand", an article in The Atlantic Monthly. [more inside]
Meet the contraption that wants to replace Central Park horses. NYCLASS and Ban HDC are two groups pushing for the change; the many unfortunate incidents involving carriage horses over the years (including one just today) have inspired a bill that would end the practice, and also a documentary about the treatment of the horses.
You need a permit (PDF) to use amplified sound in New York City. Which the #OccupyWallStreet protesters haven't got. So they've come up with a unique solution for transmitting their message - the human microphone.
Paul Lukas found hundreds of Manhattan Trade School for Girls "report cards" from the early 1900's and has posted several of them online. [more inside]
Stéphane Missier alias Charles le Brigand (and/or Carlito Brigante) is a Brooklyn-based urban photographer and filmmaker. "From the Bronx to Brooklyn, I capture the real New York, the one I like to call 'RottenbutBeautiful'." Flickr Sets. [more inside]
Where the sidewalk ends: A new walking code of conduct, 10 proposed rules for New York City sidewalks.
Straight outta Cleveland. Rapper Machine Gun Kelly headlined the Village Voice's music section last week ahead of a show in New York last weekend and after inking a deal with Bad Boy records earlier this month. [more inside]
Nisha Sondhe, a portait photographer and photojournalist, has been documenting similarieis between New York and Bombay (Mumbai) since 2008: An art director once told me, “I know you can shoot exotic things abroad and make them look beautiful, but can you take pictures of familiar things and make them look beautiful as well.” Which was interesting to me because when I would show work for jobs in India, people would ask me why they needed to see “photos of boring everyday things in India.” New York art directors are just like Bombay art directors. In fact, New Yorkers in general are just like Bombayites and the more I looked around the more I realized that the two cities are exactly the same. (via)
The Welikia Project goes beyond Mannahatta to encompass the entire city, discover its original ecology and compare it what we have today.
Rights And Reactions: Lesbian & Gay Rights On Trial is a 1987 documentary about the culmination in 1986 of the struggle to pass "Intro 2", the New York City "Gay Rights Bill", which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in matters of housing, employment, and public accommodation. Made by Phil Zwickler and Jane Lippman, it is available in 3 Quicktime segments: Part 1 (22m), Part 2 (19m), Part 3 (16m). Total running time: 56m. [more inside]
From Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez, of Avenue Q, comes the new Broadway show "The Book of Mormon." The show "tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent off to spread the word in a dangerous part of Uganda" while gently (and no so gently) lampooning organized religion and traditional musical theatre. The entire show is now streaming on NPR. Songs are extremely Not Safe For Work.
Have you ever gotten lost in the Myst-inspired architecture of Anthology Film Archives’ website, or struggled awkwardly with the Chinese puzzle box-construction of BAMcinematek’s calendars? Have you ever circled the block at Lincoln Plaza in search of the secret entrance to the fabled Walter Reade Theater? (Hint: look behind the waterfall.) Have you found yourself asking time and again, “What the fuck is Union Docs?”The brainchild of critic Paul Brunick, Alt Screen is a new site billed as "a comprehensive digital resource covering film exhibitions and related special events in the New York City area." The contributing editors include blogger Jim Emerson, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky [previously] and Nathan Lee (apparently coming out of retirement).
She adored New York City. She idolized it all out of proportion. Sure, she paid $700 for a 90-square-foot microstudio, but New York was her town, and it always would be (via).
"The New York Public Library launched a website Friday to introduce a massive, smartphone-based scavenger hunt that will officially kick off May 20 with an invitation-only, all-night lock-in in New York City. The game, which will continue through 2011, works by getting players to download an app for their iPhone or Android-based smartphones and then head to the library's Stephen A. Schwarzman building, which celebrates its centennial this year, to play (folks not near New York can play a digital version on the Web)."* [more inside]
How Manhattan’s Grid Grew. Interactive New York Times map comparing 1811 New York with present day, plus other cool historical stuff. Huzzah, as the kids say.
The Coolest Locksmith Shop in New York City "From a distance, it looks like a bunch of golden squiggles and spirals have been added, snaking whimsically across the facade. But get a little closer and you’ll find the real magic… The new design is made up entirely of keys, literally thousands, and thousands, and thousands of keys, twisting into wonderful assortment of swoops and twirls."
City of New York extends full smoking ban to public parks, beaches, and public concourses like Times Square. (slnyt). A surprisingly metafilteresque flamewar can be observed in the comments of the huffington post re-reportage.
There is Housing Works in NYC, which raises money for community based AIDS/HIV treatment and housing for the homeless. Here in Chicago we have Open Books, who uses the money raised from selling donated books to run literacy programs and tutoring programs for children. Now Minneapolis is getting Boneshaker Books; an all volunteer run radical bookstore that will house the Women's Prison Book Project and offer bike book delivery.
After more threats of extinction than anyone could remember, the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation unexpectedly made good on a threat of its own and closed the doors to its parlors on Tuesday night. ... About 50 parlors around the city were shuttered. Some 1,000 employees lost their jobs. And a revenue stream that had funneled tens of millions of dollars a year to breeders, track owners and related businesses dried up. Another piece of gritty old New York had gone the way of the Automat and the Times Square peep show.
"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.
Elaine Kaufman, who became something of a symbol of New York as the salty den mother of Elaine’s, one of the city’s best-known restaurants and a second home for almost half a century to a bevy of writers, actors, athletes and other celebrities, died Friday in Manhattan. She was 81.
Patti Smith, best known as a singer-songwriter (whose lyrics have occasionally been collected into books of poetry) has won the National Book Award in Nonfiction for Just Kids, her memoir of the years she spent living with the late artist Robert Mapplethorpe.
In 2007, City officials convened a group of stakeholders, including representatives of taxi drivers, owner and passengers, to create a set of goals for the next New York City taxi cab, a project called the Taxi of Tomorrow.
Tomorrow in New York City, the Quiddich World Championship will be decided. Invented in 2005, Muggle Quiddich is now played at hundreds of high schools and colleges around the world. Forty six teams are meeting this weekend for the fourth annual world championship. [more inside]