Monday, April 7th, 2014
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Fake Hawaii: Your American Jungle

Remember when Alec Baldwin quit public life? While others were dissecting the tone and psyche behind his alleged farewell, I got hung up in the piece’s intro, where he talked about phoning a gay-rights group in Hawaii and learning about their torment at growing up in "traditional Hawaiian families"—"Macho fathers. Religious mothers." Others wouldn't have stumbled there, but I was born and raised in Hawaii, and this is the kind of stuff that I notice.

Not to single out Alec, because nearly everyone makes this mistake, but a Hawaiian is a native Hawaiian, a descendant of the Polynesian people who first inhabited the Pacific island chain; generalizing all [...]

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Inside New York City's "Cooling Centers"

Last Friday, otherwise known as the day the sun bludgeoned us all to a weak, cranky pulp, I decided to take the City’s advice and check out those places that TV people yammer on about when temps reach the 4 jillion-degree mark: a cooling center.

I wasn’t sure what I’d find. Would we all be sequestered in an air-conditioned room to play board games? (If so, would there be Boggle?) Would it be like the cafeteria in middle school where I’d have to immediately figure out which clique to sit with, so I wouldn't get stuck hanging with the duds all day? Would there be footbaths and kiddie [...]

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Tiny Gardens: The Terrific Stoops, Roofs and Bitty Front Lawns of Brooklyn

Last August, Jill Harrison bought a house on a very manicured block of Crown Heights. She hasn’t had to leave her property to meet the neighbors. The time she spends on her front lawn, installing native plants, herbs and sedum, brings neighborhood kids wanting “to pick something” and nods of approval from old-timers headed to the nearby Baptist church or West Indian restaurant. Most impressive to passers-by: her stoop, where, in more than 17 pots and containers, she’s growing wild strawberries, Portuguese peppers, a blueberry bush, lemon verbena and cucumbers—basically, she said, “things we can eat or put in our drinks.”

“It’s an easy conversation starter,” she said [...]

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Brooklyn Is Hardcover Book Country

A recent Friday expedition on an uptown F train found not a single Kindle, iPad or knickety-knack Nook in sight.

Two young ladies, one clutching her canvas shopping bag, the other with a smart pageboy haircut, were instead reading the ultimate fuck you to the e-reader, the original ambiguous literary doodad: a jacketless hardcover book.

“Feel it,” said Pratt student Chelsea Dowell, about her bare-skinned copy of The Enchantment of Lily Dahl. “It’s sturdy and formidable. Jackets on hardbacks don’t look nice. And I like my book to look good.”

Dowell said she even has no intention to own an e-reader. She instead has bookshelves upon [...]

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