Inside NYC's Balthazar bistro

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": Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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

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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. Read the rest

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.

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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!)

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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. Read the rest

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.

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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! Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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)

 BB Video: Photographer Glen E. Friedman - Early Hip Hop, and The ... BB Video: Glen E. Friedman, Skate + Hardcore Punk Photo-History ... BB Video: Photographer Glen E. Friedman in Conversation (and ... Boing Boing Video: Our 4-part Glen E. Friedman/Shepard Fairey ... Glen E. Friedman's new photo book: Fugazi - Keep Your Eyes Open ... Of Mosques and Men: a new Liberty Street message - Boing Boing Russell Simmons, Glen E. Friedman, the WTC, the RNC, and a ... Read the rest

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. Read the rest

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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