Want to be a New York City tour guide
? You can't just jump right in and start doing it
. First, you'll need to pass
the Sightseeing Guide license test
, a surprisingly difficult exam meant to ensure that only the best and brightest NYC history nerds can conduct tours. [more inside]
At the 36th St. subway station in Brooklyn, one of the subway stairs is a little bit higher
than the others. Filmmaker Dean Peterson
set up a camera at the top of the stairs for about an hour, and taped what happens.
The Manhattan Project
is an HD timelapse short showing off different aspects of life in New York City. [via]
Underground New York Public Library
, a photo tumblr of NYC Subway riders and the books they read.
"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
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban
on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts.
Mr. Bloomberg’s proposal requires the approval of the Board of Health, a step that is considered likely because the members are all appointed by him, and the board’s chairman is the city’s health commissioner, who joined the mayor in supporting the measure on Wednesday.
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 maverick theater and industrial designer, Norman Bel Geddes
is best remembered for creating the undisputed hit of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Mounted in the midst of the Great Depression, the Fair focused on America’s promise of a utopian tomorrow. Geddes’s Futurama
, a piece of “immersion theater,” took six hundred visitors at a time on a swooping, simulated airplane ride across America circa 1960."
"The City of Tomorrow, a model of Manhattan that Geddes created, in 1937, to promote Shell Oil Company’s new “motor-digestible” gasoline, is often cited as [Futurama
's inspiration.] But Futurama’s beginnings actually harken back much further, to the meticulous, insanely detailed private games he created in the 1920s and early ’30s for the amusement of his friends.
" [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]
"What we're going to do is have a map of the city of New York, where you can click on any neighborhood and scroll through the faces of the people that live there."
Photographer Brandon Stanton has now compiled more than 3700 street portraits
and 50 stories
for his project Humans of New York
. Photos are also posted with captions to a public Facebook group
.) The Map
currently shows 1500+ portraits, arranged by the location in which they were taken. Previously on MeFi [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]
The Titanic Guide to New York City.
An exploration of traces of the disaster, revealing history still written on the landscape.
Pomander Walk is a play
(pdf) also a small
, hidden street
in New York City.
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]
Why this lady is wearing a horse costume. previously.
"For the drama and the way it may happen to be played, and the plot or moral or meaning of it, nobody seems particularly to care. The point of interest is, first, the dancing; next, the dancers, and last, the scenery." [more inside]
! "The infamous Panther Five has pulled an audacious new heist: they’ve stolen the world’s 3rd most expensive jewel, the Adly Diamond, from the Overholt Showroom in Washington, DC. Now they’ve split up and fled—dispersed to five different cities. We’re offering a reward to help find them. We’ll release their mugshots here on game day: March 31, 2012."
If you can get a team together that can cover these 5 cities, then you've got a shot at $5000 (USD).
| New York City
| Bratislava [more inside]
A Didactic Tale
to Illustrate Just How Much the (new NYC) Teacher Rating
System Pisses Me Off.
"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).
The web site of The Costume Institute
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has more than 30,000 images searchable by who, what, where, and when.
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]
The Cabbie v. the Morgan Stanley Executive
"Those of you who have any degree of contact with the financial blogosphere no doubt caught the news today that one William Bryan Jennings, the co-head of fixed income for the Americas for Morgan Stanley, was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, theft of services and intimidation by bias or bigotry and released on bail of $9,500. He has been put on leave." [Via
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
on another site). See also: The New York Skate Movie
trailer on YouTube. [more inside]
Longtime New Yorker Bob Egan's PopSpots
tracks down the original New York City locations where famous images were shot, then superimposes the original picture over the present-day location. Did you know the iconic The Kids are Alright
album-cover shot of The Who, asleep and wrapped by the Union Jack, was staged just east of Columbia University? Ever wonder where, exactly, the shot of the Central Park "pretzle" guy from Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic
was taken? Or curious whether it would be possible to figure out the exact spot in Greenwich Village where the solarized cover photo of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush
was snapped? The exact fire escape where Paul Simon was photographed for Still Crazy After All These Years
? Egan reveals all, then shows you how he figured it out. [more inside]
The last 24 hours
has demonstrated that the site has become a major player. At 12:45pm Thursday, NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn
announced that the city work work with Kickstarter to spotlight community projects and businesses in need of funding in those same areas
. Just over an hour later, at 2:08pm, Elevation Dock
becomes the first Kickstarter project to reach $1M in pledges. Four hours later, at 6:42pm, Double Fine
hits the $1M mark after being on Kickstarter for just under 22 hours. By the end of the day on Thursday, Kickstarter has seen its largest day of pledges, with $1,605,981 put towards projects. As VC Fred Wilson
tweeted, "they don't come very often, but days like this are why startups are exhilarating.
Hiya Freddie baby, give me a dozen...my life's blood, without bagels what is a day? Yah make it a dozen assorted. Dat's it, give me the garlic, the sesame, the onion, give me them all baby, that's it! They're still handmade eh? Hot Bagels!
Wait a second let me PAY yah! Here you are, kid. Thank you. Have a good day.
Best known for the (exaggerated) tales of her miserliness, Hetty Green
was arguably the greatest female investor
in history. During the 1907 Bankers' Panic
, her loan of $1.1 million helped keep New York City solvent. Her estate - greater than that of J.P. Morgan's - was valued at more than $2 billion in today's money. [more inside]
"They stuck me at P.S.A. 7 in the South Bronx," he said, referring to Police Service Area No. 7 in the department’s housing bureau. "They cover all the housing projects in that area." It was dangerous work, performing vertical patrols — marching up and down staircases — watching for drug deals, responding to violent fights and domestic brawls, and worse.
Two years passed, and Officer Bolfo brought something else to work, along with his radio and his gun. A camera
How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back: New York’s biggest borough has reinvented itself as a postindustrial hot spot.
In City Journal
, Kay S. Hymowitz walks us through a story of entrepreneurial "creative class gentrification" in NYC's most populous borough. [more inside]
- A bike in New York is locked to a pole and photographed everyday as it slowly disappears. [via]
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
Standing over White’s body, Thaw said “You’ll never go out with that woman again.” [more inside]
In 1783, John Jacob Astor
set out for the United States with $25 and five flutes. Upon his death in 1848, he was the wealthiest person in the US, having amassed a fortune of at least $20,000,000, making him the third wealthiest person in American history (measuring wealth as a fraction of GDP)
. [more inside]
In 1999 MTV launched Downtown
, an animated slice of life show about young people in Manhattan's Lower East Side based on interviews with non-actors
(Pilot part 2 part 3
) created by animator Chris Prynoski (Daria, Beavis And Butt-head, Metalocalypse). Despite an Emmy nomination, the show was cancelled after one season (with one unaired episode). Like so many MTV shows, licensing complications prevented it from reaching DVD, meaning the only way to watch the show was to e-mail Chris directly
. Until someone uploaded the entire series to Youtube.
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.
Stanley Kubrick's New York
"One thing about life in New York: wherever you are, the neighborhood is always changing. An Italian enclave becomes Senegalese; a historically African-American corridor becomes a magnet for white professionals. The accents and rhythms shift; the aromas become spicy or vegetal. The transition is sometimes smooth, sometimes bumpy. But there is a sense of loss among the people left behind, wondering what happened to the neighborhood they once thought of as their own." For Sophia Goldberg (98), Holocaust survivor, change has meant the end of a way of life.