For the first time since the 70s, New York State is set to enshrine sweeping tenants' protections

There isn't single county in the nation where a minimum-wage worker can afford to rent a two-bedroom home; and although LA has the worst homelessness crisis in the country, New York state is catching up, with homelessness growing by 46% since the financial crisis -- the fastest rate in the nation. Read the rest

10 fascinating online collections at the New York Public Library

We've written extensively about the glories of the New York Public Library, from its talented book-sorters to its circulating collection of neckties and briefcases for job-seekers to the subway cars it turned into virtual ebook libraries to its pioneering work on e-lending platforms to its astounding online collections, which include some of the best-presented public domain resources in the world. Read the rest

AOC has backed a progressive, anti-establishment public defender for DA of Queens

Tiffany Cabán is a 31 year old, Democratic Socialist, queer, Latinx public defender in New York City, who is running a grassroots campaign for the District Attorney's office in Queens; she's secured backing from the Democratic Socialists of America and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Read the rest

NYC adopts law targeting the handful of skyscrapers that are spiking the city's carbon footprint

New York City's just-passed Climate Mobilization Act rolls up six climate-mitigation laws that comprehensively remake the city's approach to climate change (it's colloquially known as the Green New York Deal). Read the rest

Reviews of New York City's subway bathrooms

New York Times reporters Andy Newman and Ana Fota took one (and sometimes two) for the team by visiting subway station restrooms across New York City. It was a shitty job, but someone had to do it. I guess. From the New York Times:

Norwood-205th Street, Bronx D line

The cracked concrete floor of the men’s room looked like it had not been mopped in years. But on the plus side, on the frigid day of our visit, the room was toasty hot.

So hot that someone had wedged takeout Chinese food between the scalding radiator and the wall, possibly to keep it warm — a full container of shrimp-fried rice and brown-breaded nuggets.

“That’s no good,” said the station supervisor, S. Hope, when we brought it to his attention. “That will melt and catch fire.” He threw it out.

In the women’s room, fire safety has apparently been learned the hard way. “No storage within three (3) feet,” read a sign on the floor beside a radiator covered in burn marks. The radiator was working fine, though. The environment was reminiscent of the tropical monkey habitat at the Central Park Zoo.

(Mr. Hope said the bathrooms are cleaned three times a day.)

The main door to the women’s room has a peephole to let you see who’s in the hall. But it does not lock. “People hert people,” reads graffiti on the door.

The women’s room offered another unexpected sight: a man, standing at the toilet. He apologized on his way out, but offered no explanation.

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NYC! I'm coming to The Strand tonight at 7PM with my new book RADICALIZED! Next up: Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco...

Thanks to everyone who came to last night's launch event at San Diego's Mysterious Galaxy! The next stop on my tour is an event at 7PM at The Strand in NYC where I'll be appearing with the award-winning investigative journalist Julia Angwin, who is pinch-hitting for Anand Giridharadas, who has had a family emergency. Read the rest

Regular says she was banned from eating at the bar at Manhattan's scammy Nello restaurant because she might be a sex-worker

After marketing executive Clementine Crawford published an essay about being banned from eating at the bar at her favorite New York restaurant, Nello (a notorious ripoff joint), because the owner (already notorious for labor abuses) was "cracking down on escorts" and had decreed that only men would be permitted to dine at the bar, The Cut tried to get a comment on it from Balan, whose employees repeatedly hung up on them. Read the rest

An archive of Freedom, Paul Robeson and Louis Burnham's radical Harlem newspaper

Freedom, published in Harlem during the Cold War and McCarthy years, was Paul Robeson and Louis Burnham's radical black paper that "ppenly challenged racism, imperialism, colonialism, and political repression and advocated for civil rights, labor rights and world peace"; NYU's Freedom archive holds browsable (but not searchable, alas!) scans of issues with contributions from "W.E.B. Du Bois, Alice Childress and Lorraine Hansberry" and many others. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Lin-Manuel Miranda rescues New York's beloved, century-old Drama Book Shop

For more than 100 years, New York City's Tony-award-winning Drama Book Shop has been a stalwart of the city's thronging theater community; but like so many independent bookstores, it has struggled (it recently announced that it would have to leave its Times Square location on January 20 due to rent hikes). Read the rest

NYC to name streets after Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan, and Woody Guthrie

The New York City Council voted to rename streets after hip-hop artists Christopher Wallace (aka the Notorious BIG) and the Wu-Tang Clan and folk musician/activist Woodie Guthrie. If Mayor Bill de Blasio gives his final approval, a block in Brooklyn where Notorious B.I.G. was raised will be called Christopher Wallace Way, Staten Island will have a Wu-Tang Clan District, and part of Coney Island's Mermaid Avenue will be renamed Woody Guthrie Way to celebrate his 1940s home. From Rolling Stone:

Cultural advocate LeRoy McCarthy spearheaded the efforts to rename the streets after the legendary hip-hop acts. “I’m happy that NYC officials are finally giving the city’s indigenous ‘Hip Hop’ music the respect and recognition that it deserves. It took a long time and lots of hard work to advance the Christopher Wallace Way & Wu-Tang Clan District street co-naming, but ya know what, Hip Hop Don’t Stop,” McCarthy told Gothamist.

Additionally, Woody Guthrie Way located at Coney Island’s Mermaid Avenue between West 35th and West 36th marks the section of Brooklyn where the folk legend lived in the early 1940s.

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(FAKE) The most intense street fight you will ever see

UPDATE: Alas, it's funny but it's fake.

Watch below. A triumphant Manhattan moment. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. I'm going to see it again and again and again and again and again.

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New York City's municipal debt collectors have forged an unholy alliance with sleazy subprime lenders

New York City's "marshal" service is a throwback to the Dutch colonial days; the 35 marshals are appointed by the mayor, draw no salary, and earn their livings by skimming a percentage off of the debts they collect, operating with impunity and reaching around the world. Read the rest

Where did this rare Mandarin duck in New York City's Central Park come from?

A rare and beautiful Mandarin duck, native to East Asia, has turned up in New York City's Central Park. The bird spends most of its time entertaining curious on-lookers in a pond near 59th Street and Fifth Avenue. City official plan to leave the duck alone so long as it's safe. From CBS News:

(Bird enthusiast Dave) Barrett said he's checked with every zoo in the city and none are missing a duck. It leads the bird-watching community to believe it was a domestic pet, which is illegal in New York City.

"It might have got away or someone might have got tired of it and dumped it," Barrett said.

It also may have flown to Manhattan from a neighboring town.

Read the rest

Catch a glimpse of a New York City legend for the price of an MTA ticket

City Hall Loop was one of the terminus stations for the first subway line to be built under New York City. Opened to the public in 1904, it was beautiful, featuring brass chandeliers, glass tiling and sky lighting to fill it with a warm glow during the day. Unfortunately, the station was closed to the public back in 1945.

Happily, it's still possible and totally legal to catch a glimpse of this wonder from a bygone architectural era. All it takes is a little patience and a ticket to ride the MTA.

Image: by Rhododendrites - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link Read the rest

One in ten of New York's public school students is homeless

114,659 of New York's public school students is homeless, bouncing from shelters to relatives' beds: homelessness is a predictor of poor academic performance for all the obvious reasons, including very long commutes to school (some students' families have ended up at shelters that are two boroughs away from their schools). Read the rest

Aw, shit: New York's McNally Jackson Books is closing its Nolita store

New York City's amazing McNally Jackson Books is closing its flagship bookstore on Prince Street in Nolita; the store is a neighborhood fixture and a hub of literary events (I've appeared there); they also sport a cafe and a book-printing machine. Read the rest

New York's luxury real-estate market is crashing

New York is a great city that has been hollowed out by real-estate speculation, where the conversion of housing to safe-deposit boxes in the sky has pushed out the city's people and the city's businesses, who can't compete with financiers and oligarchs who value property as an investment, rather than as part of the fabric of a city. Read the rest

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