Help crowdfund the Harlem Cryptoparty and 100 unlimited, privacy-protecting wifi hotspots for Puerto Rico

Calyx is an amazing nonprofit, privacy-oriented activist ISP (they were the first ISP to successfully resist a secret Patriot Act warrant); they are notable for offering an unlimited, unfiltered, unthrottled 4G/wifi hotspot for a tax-deductible $400 year (mine has repeatedly saved my bacon). Read the rest

Machine-learning-based image classifier can tell when the bus and bike-lanes are illegally obstructed

New York's cyclists and bus-riders are certain they're being slowed and endangered by an epidemic of illegal lane-obstructions from delivery vehicles, taxis and Ubers, but policymakers have refused to do anything about it, saying that the evidence is all anaecdotal. Read the rest

After Airbnb hosts converted New York's available housing stock to unlicensed hotel rooms, rents soared

Airbnb hosts are supposed to be smallholders: people who rent out a spare room or let out their homes while they're out of town -- but in New York (and other cities), the system is dominated by professional landlords who have illegally converted huge swathes of the city's available housing stock into unlicensed, highly profitable hotel rooms. Read the rest

Learn to speak like a New York City subway conductor

As anyone who travels frequently by bus, plane or train can tell you, important service announcements are best when they're utterly incomprehensible: being able to hear and understand that your gate has changed or that you left your phone at a security checkpoint denies people of that rush of adrenaline and feeling of vitriol that makes getting from point A to B such a rewarding experience.

If you've ever wondered how the men and women behind the microphone are able to ensure that no one EVER has a clue of what in the hell they're saying, you'll want to head on over to Paste Magazine – they've got the goods on how New York City subway conductors warm up their voices before going on shift. It's all useful stuff. Knowing this one handy hint alone could help speed you on your way to a new career in the transportation industry:

When used correctly, your tongue can make any vital service change announcement sound like it’s dialogue in a movie where an explosion just happened and everyone’s ears are ringing. As a warm up exercise, try to keep your tongue completely still, hovering in the middle of your mouth. Now try announcing, “F trains are now running along the A line.” With your tongue motionless, you won’t be able to articulate a single consonant sound. Your passengers will have no idea what the hell is going on. Feel free to also try this exercise while holding your tongue between two of your fingers.

Read the rest

New York cops furious that the union has reduced the number of "get out of jail free" cards they can give to their pals

Every active NYPD cop used to get 30 Patrolmen's Benevolent Association "courtesy cards" from their union per year; now they'll only get 20 (retired cops used to get 20 and now they'll get 10). Read the rest

Racist authoritarians insisted that ending stop-and-frisk would increase violent crime, but the opposite just happened

For years, racist authoritarians in New York City defended the stop-and-frisk program in which primarily black and brown people were repeatedly stopped without any particularized suspicion and forced to turn out their pockets, empty their bags, even strip naked in public on frozen-street corners. Read the rest

New York City's Right to Know Act requires cops to record people's explicit consent to warrantless stop-and-frisks

You could write books about the evils of "broken windows" policing and its handmaiden, stop-and-frisk searches (this is a rather good one, in fact), and few places have been more prolific in the racist pursuit of this policy than New York City, where walking-while-brown is a one-way ticket to being stopped, searched, even stripped, all without a warrant or any particularized suspicion. Read the rest

To do in NYC: David Byrne's Reasons to Be Cheerful

Talking Heads frontman and all-round happy mutant hero David Byrne's "Reasons to be Cheerful" project seeks out "encouraging things that are happening anywhere, and if they have been tested, if they have been proven to work, if they can be transferred and adopted in other places, if they can scale up." Read the rest

Motherboard announces a neutral, meshing community ISP based at Vice's Brooklyn headquarters

Motherboard -- an imprint of Vice -- has announced that it will build a community ISP branching off its Brooklyn headquarters, built on meshing wireless protocols, and connected to the internet via high-speed fiber lines terminating at a network exchange. Read the rest

How killing Net Neutrality irreparably harms public libraries and the communities they serve

New York Public Library president Tony Marx presides over the largest public library system in America, in a city where 2,000,000 people lack broadband internet access, so he understands as well as anyone the way that libraries bridge the digital divide, a divide that gets deeper and more daunting every day, as key services and opportunities move online. Read the rest

Trump Soho, funded by mobbed-up Russians, is taking Trump's name off the door

11 years ago, Trump made a big deal out of the Trump Soho, a 46-story luxury hotel/condo that paid Trump for the use of his name and the dubious management services of the Trump Organization; now, after a string of scandals including the revelation that Trump's business-partners were money-laundering Russian mafiosi, the revelation that Trump had defrauded buyers with lies about the sell-through, and the toxification of Trump's name for anyone with a lick of sense of decency, the business is parting ways with Trump. Read the rest

In NYC, every tenant facing eviction is now entitled to a lawyer

America's hedge-fund driven eviction epidemic is most keenly felt in New York City, where deep-pocketed corporate landlords use dirty tricks to evict families from rent-controlled apartments, creating an epidemic of homeless working families with children. Read the rest

Just look at these complicated, fragile independent New York banana supply-chains

Just look at them. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) (Photo: cropped from a picture by Vincent Tullo for the New York Times) Read the rest

Tired of being gouged, Secret Service moves out of Trump Tower and into a box on the sidewalk

Trump's Secret Service detail's command-post is no longer leasing high-priced office-space in Trump Tower; now they operate out of a portable trailer on the sidewalk somewhere nearby, having vacated after a dispute over the high rents levied by the Trump Organization. Read the rest

New York property speculators have figured out how to evict everyone

New York's catastrophic homelessness is about to get much, much worse: the skyrocketing property values (driven by speculators who buy apartments in order to get their money out of corrupt and failing states abroad, leaving them empty with the understanding that they can be cashed out on short notice, thanks to the white-hot market of other money-launderers) have attracted very deep-pocketed, anonymous hedge-funds that are snapping up buildings with rent-stabilized and rent-controlled units, who use a ruthless set of highly refined tactics to kick out all their tenants and then flip the building. Read the rest

Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac hang out with New York's beats, 1959

Bruce Sterling: *THEY DON’T LOOK countercultural cliche-dramatic, they don’t have beatnik berets or bongos. You wouldn’t look at them twice in New York City, but there’s still something subtly off about them. I think it’s that plethora of pens in Ginsberg’s untucked shirt." Read the rest

Arbitrary Stupid Goal: a memoir of growing up under the tables of the best restaurant in New York

To call Shopsin's "a Greenwich Village institution" was to understate something profound and important and weird and funny: Shopsin's (first a grocery store, later a restaurant) was a kind of secret reservoir of the odd and wonderful and informal world that New York City once represented, in the pre-Trumpian days of Sesame Street and Times Square sleaze: Tamara Shopsin grew up in Shopsin's, and Arbitrary Stupid Goal is her new, "no-muss memoir," is at once charming and sorrowing, a magnificent time-capsule containing the soul of a drowned city.

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