Thursday, October 30th, 2014
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The Value of Space

More facts about spaaaaaace in New York City, particularly in the newest wave of luxury buildings:

Space with no views at the Sterling Mason, a 33-unit condominium at 71 Laight Street in TriBeCa with 24 such areas, costs between $30,000 for a 28-square-foot storage unit (or $1,071 a square foot) to $55,000 for 94 square feet ($585 a square foot). … “Storage is no longer an afterthought,” said Elizabeth Unger, a senior sales director at the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which is marketing 56 Leonard and several other uber-luxury condos. “It’s as thought-out as designing a lobby.” And with many owners requesting storage space, parking spots and other extras, she added, “it’s also an income producer.”

Buyers at 56 Leonard who pay $72,000 for a storage cage will not actually own it, however. As in many new buildings with subterranean space, they are buying long-term licenses for their storage units and parking spots, entitling them to use the space as long as they are residents of the building and requiring that it be sold in the event of a move.

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A Night at the Kaiju Big Battel

jtm_kaiju_1A couple of weeks ago, a battle between good and evil took place in a wrestling ring on Manhattan's west side, when Silver Potato, a former Blockbuster video employee managled in a tinfoil-microwaving accident, fought off the minions of Dr. Cube, the mastermind of an evil kaiju cohort, who were pummeling Steam-Powered Tentacle Boulder. According to Kaiju Big Battel legend, regular wrestling matches, like the one between Silver Potato and his foes, prevent kaiju and their humanoid combatants from destroying earth’s cities by constraining them to a ring, so that the war between good and evil can be settled with minimal property damage. The event, “Shpadoinkel Mania XX,” marked the beginning of the live-action WWE-Godzilla-Japanese-anime hybrid's twentieth season and fall tour.

jtm_kaiju_2#13 vs. Steam Powered Tentacle Boulder READ MORE

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A Poem by Jennifer L. Knox

Certainty Is Born of Pain

Biting down wrong would’ve done it.
Too many chips scarfed at happy hour.
Don Cucos’ two buck margaritas, 4-6.
I’ve never been big on chewing. I more like
chomp-chomp-chomp-gulp—a Hoover.
Maybe I’m trying to power through the meal
to the empty place on the other side where I can
stuff more in, no subtleties of pleasure slowing
me down. A komodo dragon unhinges its jaw
to swallow whole sick pigs and dozing deer.
Afterwards, it sleeps weeks as the prey’s shape
dissipates into its guts like the face on a melting coin.
I envy its contentment—or whatever you call it.
So who knows why, when I was nineteen, I got that
horribly swollen taste bud worthy of an ER visit,
but I do know when I cut it off with toenail clippers
it bled for days—hurt way worse—my tongue
needed a cast—and now when people speak
of piercing their tongues, I know I know
too much to follow them there.

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MikeWiLLMakonnen, "Wishin You Well"

Here is a perfect beat from Mike WiLL Made It laid over with an EXTREMELY DIVISIVE vocal track from iLoveMakonnen. (Among the more generous Soundcloud comments: "This isn't 'good', but I don't hate it at all…") Makonnen's "Tuesday" caught a lot of people off-guard, too, but then Drake showed up and sort of brute-forced the matter before anyone had time to figure out if they really enjoyed Makonnen's strange, almost over-familiar style. Give this one two or three chances, anyway, it grew on me.

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My Last $100: Should I Own My Date at Mario Kart?

MarioKartOr, What Prompted Me to Change My Tinder Bio to Simply: Buy me a drink.

Date 1
$18, Downtown Brown (2)
If the beautiful oblivion that only the vague promise of not spending your life alone could take a physical form, it would most certainly be the act of paying $9 for a beer you have at least three of in your fridge.

Date 2
$10 – arcade tokens
The eternal second date question: How hard should I own this guy at Mario Kart?

READ MORE

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Serial tackles one story over the course of many installments–roughly as many as encompass a season of an HBO drama such as True Detective, the show to which Serial is often compared because the first serial Koenig has tackled is the story of Adnan Syed, a high school student convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend. Did he do it? Or has he been wrongly jailed for a crime he didn't commit? Each episode is an installment in an ongoing attempt to figure that out.

The producers themselves don't know how their story ends: They approach the subject as intensely curious storytellers, not crusaders for the accused or the deceased.

The new episode of Serial is out this morning, and it's not too late to catch up. It is, I agree, "So Good You Want to Binge-Listen." But don't hold off until it's over to do that: The waiting, week-to-week, is enriching in a way that's totally obvious and yet still somehow surprising, and really sort of damning for all the new season-release binge TV, much of which has been great but none of which I can remember in any episodic way at all. Talking about Transparent with friends has been depressing: Everyone watched it all at once and nobody remembers anything specific, so it's all "the acting was good" and "what great ideas for characters." We are addled and dazed by the things we do to relax! We are weak. We demand structure.

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New York City, October 28, 2014

★★★★ Leaves on the trees still dappled the long west-thrusting rays of sun under the scaffolding. Spotlights raised vignettes of gleam and color all around. Even one Trump tower looked OK, for a moment. Textured brick on a townhouse looked like a nubby wool blanket; wide bars of light fell through the narrow slats of fire escapes. A woman walking and talking on a cell phone in the open keened with joy that sounded close to grief, echoing back news about someone's pregnancy tests. By downtown there was a little scattering haze, but a passing airplane was still a sharply snipped white-paper form overhead. A starling, rich motor-oil brown, less flew down than fell from a tree, landing on its feet and starting to jog up the street. Clouds spread over the afternoon. Breezes sloshed around easefully. The smells on the evening air were pleasant ones.

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The Diary of Samantha Pepys

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October 8: Up betimes and to the office to do business. After copying and writing some documents, so to luncheon, where I desired fricassee of rabbit and a leg of mutton boiled and three carps in a dish, but instead ate a sandwich. Then back to the office to discourse with students regarding the preparation of their documents, and I took pains to find out what amongst the students was wanted and fitting to be done. So by Subaru home, and by and by to Whole Foods, where I purchased pasta, which pleased me much. The saleslady did request if I would like to contribute to a charity, and I declined, having not the inclination. There was a great shower in the streets, so an employee walked me to my car with an umbrella, and I had cause to reflect on this practice as not enjoyable for the employee and uncomfortable for myself. And so home to dine in my chamber, where I ate heartily and lustily, and then to bed and the weather very chilly and requiring another blanket.

October 9: Woke late and to the office, where I prepared my affairs and papers. Having an old dress new furbished, I was pretty neat in clothes today—and my mongrel dog very clean and proper, having received an unwelcome bath after rolling in something deceased. Walked the streets a half an hour with the mongrel dog and then to the market for a roasted chicken and potatoes, where people discoursed in the aisles about problems concerning airline miles. Then home to sit in my commodious room and to pay bills and copy documents, which pleased me much, and I had a pretty dinner of the chicken. Having put things in order, a desire for good cheer and discourse prompted a telephone call to my sister in California, who is great with child and fatigued. Drank a Manhattan and good Malago wine. Persistent sniffles suggest a malady is coming on, and I am plagued by a cold sore, which lends the appearance of a diseased French prostitute. And so up and to bed.

READ MORE

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In Defense of an Unlikable Protagonist, When the Unlikable Protagonist is Yourself

timthumbThere’s this thing I’ve done since I was a kid that I rarely talk about—mainly because it’s embarrassing. Anytime I’m alone, I'm probably scripting scenarios in my head of how my life should go. Not the kind of fantastical daydreaming that encompasses what would happen if the fates were ever to align and I finally got to meet my pun-loving idol Dave Coulier; actual, real-life situations ranging from romantically tense showdowns with men (that never actually come to fruition), to the mundane small talk I practice to ensure I’m the most charming customer in the cramped waiting room of my local auto body shop.

Maybe it's a childhood tic, born out of severe unpopularity coupled with an overactive imagination. Maybe it's the machinations of a subconscious pushing me to become a writer long before I ever realized I wanted to spend my life putting words on paper. Whatever the reason, it’s something I still do, to this day, almost to the point of obsession. I’m rarely living in the moment because it’s a veritable television writer’s room in my head, with a million self-contained voices pitching different narratives, joke arcs, and real-time admonishments to their leading lady: me.

The thing that each of those scenarios have in common? In each and every one, I am always right. I am always the best. Even when spurned, I am always the most downtrodden heroine who will rise again, likely by way of a cleverly crafted monologue filled with dated references and verbal cues worthy of an Amy Sherman-Palladino television program. After all, when you’re constantly crafting your own narrative, you’re never the villain. But that’s the thing—it’s just a narrative. In my actual world, I rarely stick to the script, and I’m the villain far more often than I’d care to admit. READ MORE

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Shot Through the Heart

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Last Thursday night, the governor of New York State and the mayor of New York City announced that the first case of Ebola had been diagnosed at Bellevue Hospital. The man—a doctor who had recently returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa—had fallen ill that morning, after a night of bowling in Williamsburg, they said. I live in Greenpoint, less than a mile away from the bowling alley he had been in just twenty-four hours earlier.

Hearing this struck fear in my heart. Not because I thought there was any real risk of me getting Ebola: I trusted the information the CDC reported, that Ebola can only be contracted from a person with active symptoms, and even in cases of a very sick person coming in casual contact with me, it would be relatively hard to contract Ebola. I am a fairly pragmatic person, capable of talking myself through the logical ends of various what-if scenarios. I have faith in modern medicine.

The fear wasn’t about me, though: It was for my nine-month-old daughter. The what-if scenarios, though only momentary, were extreme. For just one second, it seemed absolutely certain to me that she would somehow, devastatingly skirt the odds and come down with Ebola.

A thing I have learned about myself-as-parent: When my child is involved, it takes some extra arguing with my brain for rationality to prevail.

READ MORE

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It's funny when people make distinctions about whether it's darker in the morning or the evening, as if it isn't the most obvious truth of our time that it's all darkness, and it's not going to get any better, ever. That said, the clocks go back this Sunday, so the inherent sense of gloom and futility you feel of an afternoon—the crushing knowledge that there's no point to any of it and no one is less useful than you and the sorrowful certainty that the things you spend your sad little days worrying about are just additions to the list of wasted time and chances missed—will be settling in an hour earlier starting next week. Enjoy.

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"McDonald’s Corp. is hoping a new marketing campaign can add some much-needed flavor to its business. Facing sagging profits, the fast food giant plans to launch a new advertising campaign starting early next year with the slogan “Lovin’ Beats Hatin’” — which aims to spread happiness in the face of Internet hate, said people familiar with the matter."

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Atelje, "Transition"

A gentle instrumental opening theme for your morning; a six-minute postponement before whatever is going to happen today just loses its patience and happens already. Also worth a listen: "Ode to Studio." (Studio was Dan Lissvik's previous project.)

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The Cost of Traveling and Moving Across Canada

driving in CanadaI recently moved across Canada, from Vancouver, BC to Toronto, ON, with my boyfriend, in a van with all of our worldly possessions! Here’s what it cost us:

Van rental: $842.11, ALL IN. I emphasize that because it should have been significantly more. The prices we were initially quoted for the 11-foot cargo van were at least that much, plus an additional $1,000 drop-off fee because it was a one-way rental. Had that been the case, we definitely would have just thrown away all of our stuff and flown. Then we discovered that my boyfriend was able to use his company’s corporate account for the rental, which meant a huge discount (no fees for insurance or additional drivers) and no drop-off fee. We rented the van for six days, but were able to make it Toronto in five, so we also saved money by returning the rental a day early.

Gas: $826.02. I’d like to say that we did a lot of research and budget planning for this move, but we most definitely did not, and it showed the most with gas. Our very rough estimate (based on nothing, I guess? Phantoms and vapors?) was that gas would be $500-$600. We were very wrong! Gas prices were highest in Ontario ($1.43/L) and BC ($1.42/L), and cheapest in Alberta ($1.16/L). We could have saved money if we had driven through ‘MURICA, but we were afraid crossing the border with all of our stuff might be a headache. The van was just a terrible gas guzzler, period, but our gas mileage also took a beating because of the terrain through BC, Alberta, and Ontario (where large parts of the trip involve very twisty roads through mountains, or at least mountain-ish areas), and the DEMON WINDS in the prairies, where you have to keep the steering wheel turned 45 degrees just to go in a straight line. READ MORE

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Spaceport New York

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 9.26.38 AMWhen One World Trade Center formally opens next week, it will not have a fancy restaurant at the very top of the building, like Windows on the World in the North Tower of the World Trade Center before it, even though the building's owner, the Port Authority, originally planned for one. Instead, the Port Authority realized, its top three floors would be more valuable as functionally empty space—it will be an observation area for an expected three-and-a-half million people a year.

According to the Wall Street Journal, The revenue produced by this massive observation space—which the Port Authority hopes will approach some fifty-three million dollars annually by 2019, or around one quarter of the building's revenues—will help it fill in the gap caused by site's nearly four-billion-dollar construction costs. (If, by 2019, the building pulls in the hundred and forty-four million dollars a year it is expecting, it will only be generating the kind of income that a three-billion-dollar building is currently expected to make.)

Further uptown, at the luxury condo building One57, a thirteen-and-a-half-thousand-square-foot penthouse known as the Winter Garden, which was purchased for ninety million dollars, making it the most most expensive single apartment in Manhattan's history, sits empty. It will continue to do so, but "for the occasional party," because its owner, William Ackman, the activist investor and founder of Pershing Square Capital Management, has no plans whatsoever to relocate his family from their current Upper West Side residence. Rather, "myself and a couple of very good friends bought into this idea that someday, someone will really want it and they’ll let me know." READ MORE

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New York City, October 27, 2014

weather review sky 102714★★★★ A golden dawn led into a brilliant morning, almost dazzling enough to hide the dogshit on the sidewalk. A sweater was the right choice aboveground, but the subway was too hot for it. The blue of the sky suffused the stairs back up to the street; a streak of blue reflected in a passerby's shiny oxblood boots. The office was hotter than the subwayhad been. Outside was the kind of coolness identified with cleanliness. Cirrus wisps feathered back and forth on the sky. Now the light on the buildings was generous. Sunset was pink and blushing, and the day lingered as best it could under the circumstances.  

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Two Minutes of Walking on the Internet as a Woman

Here is a video that will surprise only men. In it, a woman walks through the streets of New York City, briskly and silently, eyes ahead. Over the course of ten hours she is approached, catcalled and harassed dozens upon dozens of times, all in broad daylight.

The effect is powerful and useful—"10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman" is a succinct answer to anyone who asks, incredulously, if street harassment is really that bad. People who couldn't see for themselves—the ones who needed to, at least—now can.

But the video works in two ways: It's also a neat portrayal of what it is like to be a woman talking about gender on the mainstream internet. This became apparent within minutes of publication, at which point the video's comment section was flooded with furious responses. The following are all "Top Comments" as determined by YouTube's viewers and voting system—this is what outwardly appears, among people who chose to engage with this video, to be a consensus (most dissent is voted into oblivion). It is a VAST MAJORITY. Starting with the very top post:

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Amy Poehler's 'Yes Please' Is the Best Non-Self-Help Self-Help Book Ever

yespleaseBefore I can start my thoughts on Amy Poehler’s Yes Please (Dey Street Press, out today), I have to put aside Professional Writer Voice and make a confession: I love self-help books. I’m not talking about the ones that promise if you just think positively piles of money will magically appear. I mean the ones that urge us to be better people, that gently tell us it’s slowly inch-by-inch going to be okay and that it helps our hearts to be kinder to others and to ourselves. I have an entire shelf of them. If there’s a Brene Brown book to be had, I own a dog-eared, heavily-underlined copy, and I’ve kept lists of self-help books quoted by other self-help books. All of them are by Pema Chodron.

I mention this because Poehler’s Yes Please reads like a self-help book, and I mean that very much as a compliment. Actually, Yes Please is better, because it’s funny and lacks self-helpy cheesiness. Throughout, Poehler reflects on her life, gives advice through the lessons she’s learned (particularly those learned through improv), and delivers enough comedic nonsense to keep it entertaining. I want to hug this book, and not just because Poehler also suggests reading Pema Chodron. This isn’t to suggest she gives advice the whole time, but that in describing her experiences, it’s easy to see how much further cultivating healthy habits and relationships can take us.

With section titles like “Say whatever you want,” and “Be whoever you are,” Yes Please is even structured like a self-help book, and throughout, Poehler offers stand alone pages of wisdom like, “Nobody looks stupid when they are having fun,” and “forget the facts and remember the feelings.” But it’s sharing her experience of the world that makes Yes Please relatable. In “Plain girl vs. the demon,” she describes her own difficulties with self criticism, i.e. the demon that resides in her brain, and offers a smart way of countering it. “When the demon starts to… say bad shit about me I turn around and say, ‘Hey, cool it. Amy is my friend. Don’t talk about her like that.’ Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do.” READ MORE

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A Modern History of Thirst

We need water. And maybe somebody's daughter. — The Who, "Water"

Recently, in a story about brands and hashtags, the New York Times defined a word.

The effort to co-opt cool can backfire, Mr. Roan said. When someone is "watching a topic that's trending and then whips up some contrived way to get their voice in that conversation, it's very predatory and a super-false way to speak," he said. Or worse: "It reeks of thirst," he said. (We looked it up, and "thirst," in this case, means "desperate.")

This definition may or may not come from UrbanDictionary.com, where the top entry for the word 'thirsty' is dated to 2003 and contains two definitions. The first is, "Too eager to get something (especially play)"; the second, merely "desperate." Ten years later, another user defined thirsty as "The need to gain fame and admiration through social media," specifically "by posting 'selfie' pictures to boost the self esteem."

Now, not to universalize anyone's experience, but one of the things about having a living human body is that there are certain functions with which we are all necessarily familiar—one of those is the physical imperative to imbibe water. If we don't have water, we die. To one degree or another, everyone is familiar with this bodily phenomenon, which, as far as shared language is concerned, makes for a powerful, experiential reference point.

In this sense, to be "thirsty" is a natural state of being; to describe someone in this context as "thirsty" is not a value-judgement—or it is, but only in so far as the state of being "thirsty" is reflective of the bodily state of being dehydrated. But calling someone "dehydrated" doesn't roll off the tongue in quite the same way as calling someone "thirsty." "'Thirst' sounds gross as a word," one friend told me. "It slithers around in your mouth."

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Windows 93.

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