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NYC report reveals troubling patterns in illegal chokeholds

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New York City's Department of Investigation released a report on 10 illegal NYPD chokeholds since 2009. Former Commissioner Ray Kelly rejected all 6 that were recommended for disciplinary action.

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WATCH: An insider's guide to NYC's best street food

Strap on your bib and put on your eatin' pants. The Food Warriors are back with a second season of their wonderful web series about good NYC grub, and they begin by taking the A train to 145th St, in Harlem's historic Sugar Hill.

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Shadows from NYC supertowers are a bummer

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Some New Yorkers are upset about the shadows cast by the new supertower skyscrapers near Central Park and other public hang-outs. Above, the shadow of One57, an 85-story skyscraper currently under construction, on Central Park. At a community meeting on the issue, the president of Extell Development, the firm behind One57, responded that "the shadows cast by tall, slender buildings, which is what most of the buildings going up are, are very brief — maybe they're 10 minutes in any one place — and cause no negative effect on the flora or fauna of the park." According to City Councilman Corey Johnson, the apartments in the superpowers "are being sold to foreign investors, who have tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, who are not making this their primary home." Central Park receives 40 million visitors annually. "New Yorkers Protest Long Shadows Cast By New Skyscrapers" (NPR)

The Chelsea Hotel: Warhol, Burroughs, and Nico

Here's a curious clip of Andy Warhol and William S. Burroughs having a chat at the iconic Chelsea Hotel in NYC. The topic is chicken fried steak. It's followed by the lovely Nico singing "Chelsea Girls." The video is from a 1981 BBC documentary about The Chelsea that you can watch in full right here. (via Dangerous Minds)

Stunning photo of NYC's last 2013 sunrise

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BB pal Scott Matthews took this magnificent photo of New York City during the last sunrise of 2013. The view is looking east from Morningside Heights, across Harlem and Central Park, toward the smokestacks at Queens' Astoria Generation Station. Click to see it larger. Scott says:

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Inside NYC's Balthazar bistro

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Balthazar is my favorite restaurant in New York City. Sometimes when I visit, I eat both lunch and dinner at the SoHo brasserie. It's good that I don't live in NYC because I'd be washing dishes there to work off my addiction to their steak frites. Apparently, one in 10 people order the steak frites. I learned this from Willy Staley's fascinating New York Times Magazine article this week, "22 Hours in Balthazar":

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What it's like to live in a 300-year-old farmhouse in New York City

The Vander-Ende Onderdonk House, on the border between Brooklyn and Queens, is the oldest surviving Dutch Colonial house in NYC. It is not just a museum. Real people live in it, too, navigating low ceilings, strange angles, and a creepy cellar full of almost four centuries of artifacts.

Subway Ballet

BB contributor Mark Dery points us to a lovely New York Time video and article about "Subway Ballet." Mark says:

Like breakdancing, parkour, urban climbing, and Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the World Trade Towers, this is my idea of the inspired wedding of art, sport, and what Hakim Bey called "temporary autonomous zones"---brief-lived pockets of anarcho-carnivalesque resistance to…call it what you will: the daily grind, the status quo, the "unitary urbanism" imposed on city life by capitalism.
Subway Ballet

I still love New York, the t-shirt

"I Still Love NY" shirt by Sebastian Errazuriz. Available at Grey Area. 100% of proceeds go to Sandy Relief. Photo by Clayton Cubitt.

New York City in post-storm darkness: photos by Randy Scott Slavin

NYC UNPLUGGED, a series by photographer Randy Scott Slavin documenting the darkness in New York City after Hurricane Sandy caused widespread power outages:

New York City is always bright. Street lights, business marquees, light from apartments and car headlights merge to light every corner of the city streets, even on the darkest nights. It is the night after NYC was decimated by Hurricane Sandy, downtown NYC is in the midst of a power outage that has plunged it into complete darkness. I felt the call to hit the eerily dark streets and show New York as it is rarely seen. Trekking around with my tripod I was able to get the long exposures necessary to see in the dark.

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The crowd psychology of Grand Central Station

New York's Grand Central Terminal, as it currently stands today, was built between 1903 and 1913. But it is the third Grand Central. Two earlier buildings — one called Grand Central Depot, and the other known as Grand Central Station (which remains the colloquial name for the Terminal) — existed on pretty much the exact same spot. But neither lasted nearly as long. The Depot opened in 1871, and was drastically reconstructed in 1899. The new building, the Station, only stood for three years before it began to come down in sections, eventually replaced by the current building.

That's a lot of structural shuffling, and at the Anthropology in Practice blog, Krystal D'Costa explains some of the history behind it. Turns out, the rapid reconfiguration of Grand Central had a lot to do with crowd control — figuring out how to use architecture to make the unruly masses a little more ruly. One early account that D'Costa quotes describes regular mad scrambles to board the train — intimidating altercations that could leave less-aggressive passengers stranded on the platform as their train left them behind.

The problem it seemed was that the interior of the depot did nothing to manage the Crowd—which could resume the same patterns of movement as they did on the street—and believe me, it was just as unruly out there. In the depot, where passengers were confronted with the unbridled power of locomotives, it was necessary to impose some sort of structure to the meeting: the Crowd had to be domesticated.

... A deadly collision in 1902 preceded public demand for an even safer, more accessible terminal. Warren and Wetmore won the bid for reconstruction, and the plan they produced included galleries, which added yet another transition area but, more importantly, rendered the Crowd into a spectacle. This design, which is the one visitors experience today, preserves the Crowd in a central area, providing raised balconies from which there are plenty of opportunities to people-watch. Being placed on display is not lost on the subconscious of the Crowd: what appears to be hustle and bustle are manifestations of many synchronizations happening at once. So what appears to be chaos to the casual observer is actually a play directed by design that makes the Crowd a key feature of the space even as it is minimized by the architectural elements that Grand Central Terminal is known for: the grand ceiling, the large windows, and the deep main concourse. These items add perspective to the Crowd and diminish its psychological power as an uncontrollable mass.

Read the rest of the story at Anthropology in Practice

Image: Grand Central Terminal, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from maha-online's photostream

Fake celebrity pranks New York City in social experiment caught on video

Brett Cohen pranked NYC on the night of July 27th, 2012, and he has video proof: he "came up with a crazy idea to fool thousands of pedestrians walking the streets of Times Square into thinking he was a huge celebrity," and succeeded.

He is not a celebrity—or at least, he wasn't before this video went viral. He's a 21 year old SUNY New Paltz student. Snip from the project description:

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A moveable mosque: One young Muslim woman's daily photoblog (video)

The "30 Mosques" guys are producing some wonderful "30 Days Ramadan" videos this year that really give you a sense of what it's like to be a Muslim person in America. I enjoyed this one, featuring a young woman named Deena who loses her job, then decides chronicle her life through a photoblog. More about the project here. Subscribe to their video channel here. Deena's photoblog is here, and full of beautiful things. (thanks, Bassam Tariq!)

Should you buy an unlimited-ride Metrocard?

Unless you count a three-month internship in college, I've never lived in New York City. But, between friends and work, I've managed to visit every couple years or so and I've nearly always picked up an unlimited-ride Metrocard for my week in town. Turns out, choosing to do so is an excellent example of Maggie not being super great at math. Michael Moyer has plotted out the numbers on unlimited-ride Metrocards. He says the purchase only makes sense if you're riding a lot—averaging 14 rides a week for the 7-Day-Pass or 12 rides a week for the 30-Day-Pass. Any less and you're actually better off paying a la carte.

Space Shuttle Enterprise floats to a new home: New York's Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum (photos)

Photo: C.S. MUNCY

The Space Shuttle Enterprise (OV-101) floated to its "retirement home" today, Wednesday June 6, 2012: the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. The museum's Space Shuttle Pavillion will open on July 19. The arrival of Enterprise was planned for 24 hours earlier, but weather delayed. During its voyage by water, the barge carrying Enterprise moved too close to the Jamaica Bay Bridge and clipped the Shuttle's wing. Ouch. But, you know: sadly, it's not like they're gonna need that wing for space travel now.

Special thanks to photographer C.S. Muncy, who is pretty intrepid himself—we understand these terrific shots cost him quite a sunburn.

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How to: Experience Manhattanhenge

Step 1, naturally, is to be in Manhattan.

I'm in New York City today and Scientific American contributing editor Steven Ashley was kind enough to reminded me that my visit is coinciding with Manhattanhenge—a twice-a-year event when the sun lines up with Manhattan's street grid. This year, there will be a Manhattanhenge on May 29/30 and another on July 11/12.

You'll note that Manhattanhenge does not actually occur on the same day as the solstice—when the Sun is at the highest point in the sky and the length of the day begins to get either longer (winter solstice) or shorter (summer solstice). That's because Manhattan's grid is rotated 30 degrees east off of true north, writes Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Hayden Planetarium website. That's enough to make Manhattanhenge less astronomically accurate than Stonehenge. But it's still awfully nifty and is supposed to look really, really cool.

Tonight's event should start around 8:17 pm (Eastern time, of course). Here's Neil deGrasse Tyson's advice on getting a good view:

For best effect, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible. But ensure that when you look west across the avenues you can still see New Jersey. Clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th. 42nd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them. The Empire State building and the Chrysler building render 34th street and 42nd streets especially striking vistas.

Note that any city crossed by a rectangular grid can identify days where the setting Sun aligns with their streets. But a closer look at such cities around the world shows them to be less than ideal for this purpose. Beyond the grid you need a clear view to the horizon, as Manhattan has across the Hudson River to New Jersey. And tall buildings that line the streets create a vertical channel to frame the setting Sun, creating a striking photographic opportunity.

Read the rest at the Hayden Planetarium website

Check out some reader-submitted photos of Manhattanhenge that Xeni posted last year.

Image: Manhattanhenge 2011 | The Commuter, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from 59949757@N06's photostream

Bronx Parkour: Jose The Amazing (a photo essay)

Photo: Chris Arnade

Chris Arnade is a photographer based in New York City. I've blogged his urban photography before. Check out these fantastic shots of young men in Hunts Point Bronx, doing crazy gravity-defying freestyle jumps. Below: more photos, and the story behind those photos, from Chris.—XJ

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New Yorkers: Spend Memorial Day with Maggie and Dean!

Neither I nor Dean Putney—BoingBoing's intrepid web developer—live in New York City. But we realized recently that we're both going to be visiting at the same time. So we're planning on meeting up for a little, informal Memorial Day picnic in Prospect Park, and we'd like you to join us. We'll be meeting up on Monday, May 28th, at 3:00 pm in front of the Brooklyn Museum. Bring whatever you want to eat and, if you so choose, a nifty object or DIY project for show-and-tell. Hope to see you there!

Maggie talking about decentralized electricity and the future of energy in New York City

I'm going to be in New York at the end of May, talking about my new book Before the Lights Go Out. There's two great events you should join me for. On May 29th at 6:00 pm, I'll be talking about the electric grid, the process of writing a book, and how writing online has improved my work as a science journalist. On May 30th at 6:30 pm, I'll be leading a panel on decentralized energy. Chris Hackett—of the Science Channel's Stuck with Hackett—will be joining me to talk about DIY energy, and Susan Covino, who works for one of the independent organizations that controls movement of electricity around the grid, will talk about integrating decentralized power into our existing infrastructure. Both events are free and open to the public, but you do need to follow those links and RSVP.

Video: Punk/hiphop photog Glen E. Friedman interviewed by Paradigm Magazine

Snip from a wonderful interview by Paradigm Magazine with one of my favorite photographers (and people), Glen E. Friedman:

Don’t care about what other people think about what you’re doing, if you’re inspired to do something, if you want to do something, if you have some kind of feeling that you should do something...then you should just do it; don’t let what other people’s preconceived ideas of good behavior, or whatever it is, limit you to thinking what you should and shouldn’t do.

(via Dangerous Minds)

New Yorker on the origins of OWS

For your post-Thansksgiving long read list, "Pre-Occupied: The origins and future of Occupy Wall Street," in the New Yorker today by Mattathias Schwartz. "It's very tl;dr," said the friend who forwarded it, but we both agree it's an essential read. Not everything fits in 140 characters, after all.

CUNY police bully peaceful Baruch College students during OWS protest over unfair labor practices, tuition hikes

Photographer and Boing Boing reader Timothy Krause shares the photos and videos above and below in this post, and says,

Here are some videos of police violence and beatings that occurred around 5:15 at Baruch College, CUNY, in response to an Occupy CUNY OWS protest about tuition hikes, unfair labor practices targeted toward adjunct and other faculty, and the privatization of the public CUNY system. Protesters had planned to attend a public trustees meeting, but we were not permitted to voice our grievances, in contravention of CUNY's policies and the rights belonging to a free people.

The first (below) is CUNY security and the order to disperse (protesters are occupying the building's lobby.

The second (further below) is CUNY security staff pushing and hitting protesters with nightsticks.

More shots by Krause. Here's a livestream. Related reporting at the Baruch college newspaper with more video from another POV, and here's a related item in the New York Times.

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And the bride wore zip ties: Nice day for an Occupy Wall Street wedding

A cute couple is getting married in Zuccotti park this morning in New York City. Have fun occupying a happy future together, kids. Here's a photo of the bride, and here's the "sacred space." Here's the ring. @Newyorkist says, "Friends of couple inform they met here at spiritual circle months ago. Emery and Micha. Being married by NYU chaplain."

(Photo: Newyorkist. Via Greg Mitchell, Allison Kilkenny and others)

Occupation in October: beautiful, long-form OWS radio documentary by Alex Chadwick

I've been wondering when the first great radio documentary about Occupy Wall Street would come out, and when I was driving around in LA yesterday doing errands, I tuned into it by accident on KCRW.

Longtime public radio producer, reporter, documentarian and host Alex Chadwick, with whom I worked at the NPR program "Day to Day," produced a beautiful and evocative audio documentary about the Occupy Wall Street movement, after embedding at Zucotti Park to hear the stories of the occupiers there. He ended up witnessing history.

Alex is the greatest at this art, and I was so happy to hear new work from the man behind those great radio expeditions, which he produced with his late wife Carolyn. Those acquainted with his "Interviews 50 Cents" series will hear a familiar chord, too. Alex, man, it is so great to hear you back on the air doing what no one else can. Everyone else? You *must* carve out some undistracted time, and just listen. And then when you're done? Make someone else listen. Someone who doesn't understand what the Occupy movement is all about.

This is the story of how Occupy Wall Street finds itself over three days in October. How it faces down the police, the political powers, and its own demons. This is the moment when Occupy Wall Street won.

"Occupation in October," on the KCRW radio documentary series "Unfictional," produced by Bob Carlson.

Photo: A demonstrator from the Occupy Wall Street campaign stands with a dollar taped over his mouth in Zucotti Park near the financial district of New York. Reuters/Lucas Jackson.

Occupy the Nor-easter: NYC OWS protesters braved a snowstorm this weekend

Boing Boing reader Peter Brauer says,

I went down to OWS to see how folks were fairing during the nor-easter. The weather was bleak, but spirits were high. I don't think these folks are going any where any time soon. Support your local #occupation this winter.

via Video Link: YouTube.

Occupy Wall Street takes over Times Square (updated)

Watch live streaming video from occupynyc at livestream.com

445pm ET: Happening as I post this. Watch live video here.

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Portraits of Occupy Wall Street: "OccupiedNYC"

Fetzer, 51, From Waitsboro, North Carolina. Military Veteran, Arabic Linguist.

Boing Boing reader Eddie McShane, aka Macdawg, has been doing an amazing portrait series of people at the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City. He shared some of the photographs in Boing Boing's Flickr pool. I spotted them while skimming the pool for interesting new contributions from our readers, and was blown away. I asked him to tell us more about the project. Eddie writes:

I live in New York City and until this week I had been following the protests via the internet and watching them grow but I didn't know how to get involved.

I have two jobs, and no money or resources to donate, so I decided to go down there and offer the one thing that I felt was useful: my time and skills as a photographer.

I wanted to show the faces of the occupiers and their supporters in a studio style setting, blank and deviod of any other context in order to highlight the human face of this protest.

The representation in the media has been that this is a bunch of unruly, hippie kids having a party downtown and that is simply not true. There are people from all walks of life and an incredible diversity of ages, races, and opinions and I wanted to show them as they wanted to be portrayed, simply, as people.

I have been down there in between working and when I am home I am editing furiously. I have to run off now to my day job but I am planning on continuing this series in what spare time I can carve out of my other obligations.

Eddie now has a tumblog where you can see the photos all in one set: OccupiedNYC.

Earl, 41, From Queens, New York

Right Here All Over: a short film on Occupy Wall Street by Alex Mallis

Alex Mallis directed this beautiful short film about Occupy Wall Street.

Occupy Wall Street: images, reports, and ambient soundscapes, from Dan Patterson

Broadcast journalist Dan Patterson of ABC News Radio went down to Occupy Wall Street on Friday, and has posted extensive reports in Storify, image, and audio form. Below, an ambient soundscape of the protest. Dan, I'm glad you did this—in any story, the background is as important as the foreground, and nothing makes me feel like I'm there like this:

The Sounds of #OccupyWallStreet by danpatterson

Summer in the Bronx (BB Flickr Pool photo)

"Damian and Wayne 2: Point Morris Bronx," Photo contributed to the BB flickr pool by Chris Arnade.