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]
Open House New York is one week away. Next weekend in New York City, there will be hundreds of talks, tours, and open houses in places that are normally not so accessible to the public. See the listings here. The good ones book fast.
BDBGS! Last time Christian Swinehart was on metafilter, it was for his gorgeous visualizations of the narrative pathways contained in the Choose Your Own Adventure books. His new interactive visualizations plot bedbug reports in New York City between 2004 and the present. [more inside]
On this day it's good to remember that Muslims are part of the fabric of New York. They live in downtown New York, they worked in the Twin Towers and were affected just like everyone else by the tragedy of 9/11.
Felix Salmon formulates a theory regarding the interaction of cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians in New York City: "Cyclists get no respect as road users. Instead, tragically, they’re treated like pedestrians."
Dutch MP and vehement Islam critic Geert Wilders will travel to New York to speak at a Sept. 11 protest against Park51, the so-called "Ground Zero mosque", sparking controversy in the Netherlands where he is currently taking part in negotiations to form a new government. Dutch diplomats are worried. [more inside]
"The goal of this journey is to find cuisines from every United Nations member state, within New York City limits, in alphabetical order. " For your gustatory delight, here is The Confined Nomad
Tourist Lanes & New Yorker Lanes One afternoon, field agents of Improv Everywhere "...created separate walking lanes for tourists and New Yorkers on a Fifth Avenue sidewalk. Department of Transportation 'employees' were on hand to enforce the new rules and ask pedestrians for their feedback on the initiative."
Where can you find the Sun, the Moon, nine giraffes, a lion and lamb lying together, the Archangel Michael holding a sword in one hand and the severed head of Satan in the other, all atop a giant crab which is itself standing on a double helix? Well, there is this one statue. [more inside]
8bit Cities: Amsterdam - Austin - Berlin - Detroit - London - New York - Paris - San Francisco - Seattle - Washington, D.C.
... on June 12, 1982, approximately a million people demonstrated in New York City's Central Park against nuclear arms and for an end to the arms race of the cold war. Nothing like it had ever happened before. It was not only the largest antinuclear demonstration but the largest political demonstration of any description in American history. Nothing like it has happened again, either. The tide of protest was at its high-water mark, and thereafter receded steadily. - Jonathan Schell, 2007. [more inside]
New York State is now poised to pass the nation's first laws mandating that domestic workers receive overtime pay, vacation and sick days and the right to a weekly day of rest. The legislation signed by the state Senate yesterday is based in part on the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which was conceived and lobbied for by Domestic Workers United, who estimate there are over 200,000 nannies, caregivers, and housekeepers in the New York Metropolitan area. Domestic Workers are currently exempt from most US employment laws and as a result remain unprotected by basic workplace guarantees that are given to most employees. [more inside]
Uneven Terrain is a series of short documentaries about urban exploration, about 10-15 minutes long each. There are six so far, about monumental ruins in New York, Centralia, the Pennsylvania town where an underground coalseam has been on fire since the 1960s, abandoned missile silos in the US and how they're being turned into homes, oil drilling in Los Angeles, the Teufelberg listening station and the abandoned bunkers under Tempelhof Airport in Berlin and pirate radio in London and on the old Redsand sea forts. Each short doc has a different presenter. All have accompanying photo galleries. [These are produced for the bootmaker Palladium, but it's pretty low-key]
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.
New York Public Library is crowdsourcing the rectification of maps in their digital gallery. Help match rare maps of NYC to more precise current maps, browse rectified maps, or lend a hand rectifying maps of Haiti to help relief efforts.
Broadway, block by block, 1899. (SLNYPL) "A 19th century version of Google's Street View, allowing us to flip through the images block by block, passing parks, churches, novelty stores, furriers, glaziers, and other businesses of the city's past."