The We-Branding of Downtown Manhattan


The new Fulton Street Transit Center, where nine train lines come together beneath the glittering oculus of the so-called “Sky-Reflector Net,” opened a little over a year ago to much fanfare more than a decade after part of it was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. “New Yorkers, accustomed to thinking of transit hubs like Penn Station and Times Square as places to suffer through, will find on Monday morning a kind of Crystal Palace, crowned by a dome that funnels daylight two stories below ground,” the New York Times wrote of its reopening. Adjacent to the Fulton Center, and providing a street-level entrance to the station is the nine-story Corbin Building.

This summer, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Corbin Building, constructed from 1888 to 1889, a landmark. But when the MTA announced its plans to build a new transit center, it was in sorry enough shape to come under threat of demolition until, in October 2003, the MTA committed to including the building in its vision. The Corbin Building is named for developer and financier Austin Corbin, who died shortly after a violent carriage accident at his house in New Hampshire and is best known now for his management and stewardship of the Long Island Railroad. It was designed by Frances Hatch Kimball, who, in a 1917 story noting his declaration of bankruptcy, the Times described, possibly with some irony, as the “‘Father of the Skyscraper’ and Designer of Notable Buildings.” Ultimately, the Corbin Building’s restoration accounted for over $67 million of the $1.5 billion transit center budget.

Emily Wells, "You Dream of China"

If this isn’t music for a dark, wet afternoon I don’t know what is. I usually say “enjoy” but I’m not quite sure what to tell you to do with this one, other than embrace it. It scares me a little, to be honest. Good luck.

A Poem by Shuzo Takiguchi


From a glass where birds live
a prisoner removes her gloves.
A moonlight bath gives her the equilibrium of someone in mourning.
Night clearly illuminates everything inside night.
A fountain continually sewed up the wrinkles of an empty bed.
She is as thin as a keyhole.
Soon, inside her pelvis, she felt free.

Between today and tomorrow, a white handkerchief.

An endless vacation of red lips.
The sun is sediment at the bottom of the glass,
together with the sleepless birds.

As someone who is always going on about how awful everything on the Internet is—how soul-crushing, intellect-depleting, energy-sapping and just purely destructive of any decent human impulse that remains to you after the battering you take each day from real life leaves you weakened and susceptible to its horrible poison—I feel like I have the occasional obligation to point out anything I see in my sad, doomed tour of the Internet’s terrible byways that doesn’t make me want to die (an occurrence rare enough that “occasional” is probably an exaggeration). This Guardian series on how to draw is aimed at children, but if you have spent any time on the Internet lately you will be aware that we are pretty much all children now, so it is universal in that way. Hopefully it will give you a few minutes of not wanting to die too! #

Arandel, "Section 6"

This eleven minutes of this track pass by so quickly that you are not even aware that eleven minutes have elapsed. Unfortunately, eleven minutes is about all the daylight we get these days, so once it’s over it’s dark again. Sorry. Enjoy, though!

New York City, November 17, 2015

weather review sky 111715★★★ So this was what the puffy vest was good for, the chilly wind coming through the lobby door to begin the march to preschool. The gum in the pocket had no elasticity left in it. The fallen leaves were not even brown, faded beyond color. Shocking berries, the color of fresh blood, hung in the branches of a scrawny tree. The flag at half-staff outside the high school knocked against its pole with that dull particular flagpole chime. Out the office window, across the street, the vertical patches of sun moved inexorably west to east along the south-facing building fronts, marking time. The moon in the clear dark sky over Union Square had thickened a little.

Watch Trevor Noah Get Diplomatic With David Holebrooke

In this clip, Trevor Noah interviews David Holbrooke, director of the documentary The Diplomat. Noah wastes no time employing the language of foreign affairs, calling his own recent appendectomy an “internal incident that happens when one part of your body disagrees with the rest of your body.”

One of the recurring subjects Noah and Holebrooke discussed at length was David’s father, the famous diplomat Richard Holebrook. Throughout the interview Holebrooke senior is called a ” diplomatic rockstar,” and compared to Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and…Forrest Gump. But you’ll have to watch the clip to find out why.

Catch the Daily Show weeknight on Comedy Central or on the Comedy Central App.

Quiet Village, "Untitled (Vocal Version)"

I had something happy to tell you but then I was made aware that the sun sets tonight at 4:35 and now there is nothing I know that will leaven your load. The best I’ve got is this music, which seems like it might work as a soundtrack to the darkness that rapidly approaches. That’s not a whole lot of help but it’s better than nothing. Sorry/enjoy.

RIP Details

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 1.11.42 PMIt had been expected for some time in the run-up to media layoff season that Condé Nast would close its less-loved-but-certainly-not-lesser men’s magazine Details and lifestyle publication Self. Well, here’s the official memo, announcing that Details will cease to exist—get ready for GQ Style Dot Com—while Self‘s sales team will be merged with Glamour‘s, possibly in a run-up to going digital-only:

The Cool Way to Brew Good Coffee

5699116731_e4a76186b0_bA month or so ago, at the emphatic suggestion of Foursquare, I walked into an unfamiliar coffee shop—one with tall brown bags of freshly roasted beans lined against one wall, each with a precise little sketch of the origin of its contents; a small armada of Mazzer and Mahlkonig coffee grinders; and the day’s menu scratched out in chalk above the barista’s head—and asked what was good. The barista waved off the pourover cone balanced on Hario’s official VSS-1T Acrylic Stand with Drip Tray, the Aeropress, the siphon brewer, and the espresso machine sitting on the bar. What I wanted, the barista said, was the regular coffee, fresh out of the giant automatic drip machine that everyone has seen in a million coffee shops and diners, which was guaranteed to be “unlike any other drip coffee I had ever tried.”

This exchange was a series of dog whistles between two obnoxious people: I wanted the coffee most appealing to a coffee jerk; the barista told me that this shop was aggressively Good. If you are not a beanboi, but are vaguely aware that a certain kind of highly conspicuous consumer likely enjoys “pourover” coffee which is made agonizingly slowly, one cup at a time, then you might be wondering how an automatic machine that brews like a gallon of coffee at once became a Cool Brewing Method in this age of All Things Craft. (Or not! RUN AWAY FROM THIS POST NOW, SAVE YOURSELF.)