Posts Tagged: Brendan O’Connor

A Night Walking with Dinosaurs

Earlier this month, the Barclays Center was filled with children and animatronic dinosaurs. Both of them made a lot of noise. "Walking With Dinosaurs" was an approximately two-hour long show, hosted by a man with an Australian accent in a leather duster who claimed to be a paleontologist. His name was Huxley, and he invited us to join him on a journey through time, "to see how far dusting off a few old bones can take us."

There were no bones, but the kids in the audience didn’t care. "That dinosaur is pretty big," observed the young man next to me. "Are they gonna fight?" he asked his [...]


A Night at America's Oldest Weekly Rodeo Show

America's oldest weekly rodeo show, The Cowtown Rodeo, is not in Colorado or Oklahoma or Texas, or anywhere else that most people might imagine cowboys still roam. It’s in New Jersey, past the oil refineries of Newark and Perth Amboy, beyond the reedy Raritan Bay, west of Springsteen Country and south of the Pine Barrens, just off Highway 40, in a small town called Pilesgrove. In a place like Pilesgrove, a kind of anonymously American space that is everywhere and nowhere at once—a repeating, hypnotic pattern of rolling hills, tall grass, cornfields and strip malls—you may as well be in Ohio or Missouri as in New Jersey.

Cowtown Rodeo [...]


Who's Living In Your House?

Bill de Blasio, who is very tall, opened his new home at 88th Street and East End Avenue to the public this Sunday, shaking hands and taking pictures with the citizens of the city of which he is the newly-inaugurated mayor.

Four thousand tickets were released for the open house; scalpers immediately took to Craigslist to hawk their holdings. Despite the cold, rain, and ice, New Yorkers were lined up to see their new mayor as early as ten a.m. (The doors wouldn't open until noon.) Volunteers passed out handwarmers called "Little Hotties."

Susan Krakenberg, formerly of Brooklyn Heights and currently of Midtown East, is happy to have de [...]


What's Wrong With Addiction Literature?

Elizabeth Wurtzel is writing a new book. You may have accidentally read some of it already. Her piece published on Thought Catalog earlier this month is an excerpt from it. The book is titled Yes because that is Elizabeth Wurtzel's favorite one-word sentence. She told us so last night, during her reading at "Addiction Literature," hosted by the No. 8 Literary Society at the bar No. 8, which is the descendant of Bungalow 8. The working subtitle of Wurtzel's book is "A History Of Love At First Sight In New York."

The excerpt—as it first appeared on Thought Catalog—is titled "Just That Way." It is about how she has [...]


Millennial Fired For Tweet

Until last week, I worked at a food truck downtown. We sold grilled cheese and milkshakes. One of the unusual things about this particular food service job was that the owner used customer comments and pictures on social media—especially Twitter and Instagram—to monitor his workers. Grilled cheese: gamified.

And it was explicitly framed as a game for workers. Members of whichever 'crew' got the most positive feedback on social media each month would win a $25 iTunes gift card.

But compliments are hard to track online. Even if a customer thinks she is paying a compliment online, she might not be. Like if you enjoyed your sandwich enough to [...]


Meet The Brave Entrepreneurs Who Will Save Us From Mayor Mike's Polystyrene Ban

Captains of industry, restaurateurs, and members of the New York City Council gathered on the steps of City Hall yesterday in protest. Councilmember Lewis Fidler has a bill, introduced yesterday and supported by Mayor Bloomberg, that would ban the use of polystyrene foam food service products—takeout containers, cups and plates, mostly.

This brave team of polystyrene advocates has strong support. Put A Lid On It NYC, who are sharing facts about the environmental benefits of polystyrene, is funded by the American Chemistry Council, whose mission is "to deliver business value through exceptional advocacy." There, you can learn that the proposed ban would cost the city $100 million a [...]


An Afternoon in the Gaze of Braco

Braco is a middle-aged Croatian man with long, graying hair and a face permanently molded into a close-lipped smile. His eyes are dark, soft and gooey, like slightly melted Tootsie Rolls, and tens of thousands of people have traveled enormous distances to be caught, if only for a moment, in their field of view.

"Braco does not teach, talk or diagnose to give treatments—he simply gazes in silence and offers his gift to visitors—independent from religion, ideology, race, color and culture," his website states. "Amazing transformations happen, and many find new power, vitality and a zest for life resulting from their experience." His verified Facebook adds, "many report about [...]


How New York City Would Officially Respond to a Godzilla Attack

Godzilla is traditionally understood to be a denizen of the Pacific Ocean, attacking coastal cities from eastern Asia to western North America. That did not stop me from worrying, as a five-year-old growing up in Manasquan, New Jersey—a beach town—about what might happen if Godzilla emerged one day from the Atlantic Ocean. But even then, I had no illusions about my heroism: I would not stop Godzilla through some ingenious act of immense violence or by coercing some other, slightly more friendly kaiju to fight Godzilla on humanity's behalf. No, I knew that I would be one of the tens (hundreds?) of thousands of human insects scurrying away from the [...]


The Golden Era Of Spam Comments Has Ended

The search engine optimization community has spent the last two years in a panic. SEO people flood our Internet with spam links and fake Twitter bots and paid traffic, to help bad websites look more popular than they are, to deliver fake viewers to web ads.

They now spend their lives on the run, Google nipping at their heels. Their biggest project? Removing all the spam links on websites like this one—the spam links that they put there.

In early 2011, Google issued an update to its search algorithm—they called it "Panda"—that elevated social media and news sites. Sites both big and small, usually spammy and sometimes not, saw [...]


"Celebrities Are People Too": Meet The Folks Behind "Snark Free Day"

The PRConsultants Group (slogan: "National Strength. Local Power.") has declared October 22nd to be "Snark Free Day." We emailed with the members behind the endeavor—Atlanta-based restaurant publicist Melissa Libby, of Melissa Libby & Associates, and Louisville-based Nicole Candler, of Nic Creative—about their hopes and dreams for the national discourse.

What started all this? Nicole Candler: The idea developed out of a discussion among our PRCG Directors. Melissa and some others were commenting on how ugly online communication has become and the role that PR consultants must play in helping clients prevent it, monitor it and respond (or not respond) to it.

Melissa Libby: It kind of [...]


Rich Kids Of The Internet: Inside The Astounding Troll-Hole That Is Elite Daily

The website Elite Daily is "the premier online destination for aspiring men and women alike." It is the first true editorial product of the post-sex-tape era. It specializes in two kinds of attention-trawling: Luxurious images of beautiful people doing things that require a lot of money, like looking at each other on yachts and driving along cliffs and also frank and sexist outrage trolling. One article informs the reader, "How To Always Get What You Want," while another offers "The 10 Signs She’s The Perfect Mistress." The site's original slogan was "How much is enough?" The undeclared nouns there were things like money, women, cars, boats, sex.


Kickball Is Destroying The Lower East Side

“I like to think of the organization as a friend factory,” said Amy Short. “Our mission is to eradicate loneliness." The end of loneliness comes in the form of the Notwork Network Society, which runs a kickball league four nights a week on the Lower East Side, mostly attended by twenty- and thirty-somethings new to New York City.

The trouble with eradicating loneliness is that when it involves lights and generators and 40+ adults running around a school yard at night, the neighbors start to complain.

And so, last Thursday, Short showed up to answer to Community Board 3, in her role as president of the for-profit [...]


The Rise and Fall of Vincent Winfield

Two weeks ago, at the Eastern District Court of New York, federal prosecutors played a video of the rapper and alleged drug kingpin Ronald Herron, better known as Ra Diggs, driving around Boerum Hill, monologuing about his life and his environment. "This is not my 'hood like I'm from here. This is My Hood," Herron says, looking out the window as he drives. Herron throws his whole weight behind the last two words as the tall, brick buildings of the Gowanus Houses flash by in the background. "I am surveying my terrain."

The video was filmed in the fall of 2008 by a man named Vincent Winfield. Also known [...]


Who Will Save the Airbnb Faithful?

In October, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a subpoena to Airbnb, ordering it to turn data about its 15,000 registered hosts in New York over to the state. While neither Airbnb nor its hosts pay the 15 percent lodging tax that most New York City hotels are subject to—no small part of the reason why startups like Airbnb have been able to "disrupt" the established hospitality industry—the attorney general's primary concern was not the stream of potential tax revenue trickling past the state's coffers. (Airbnb kindly offered to induce its users to pay the tax, which would amount to some $21 million.)

Rather, [...]


First Reports: Ali Rafie And Revisions Of Fact

The first reports early last week told the story of a disgruntled young man who had been kicked out of a band called the Yellow Dogs, a band of Iranian expatriates. The man, traumatized by his exile and enraged at his friends, the story went, killed his former bandmates before killing himself.

"Iranian 'murdered bandmates' after group ousted him," read the New York Post headline. "Rafie betrayed his bandmates, stealing money and equipment last year," that story went. "Rafie was kicked out of the group, but on Monday returned with a vengeance." A source told the Post that Rafie shouted, "something like, 'Why did you bring me over here [...]


Anthony Weiner And Human Dignity Debased Before A Hungry Audience

It was standing room only at The Ainsworth on 26th Street last night, right by BuzzFeed's headquarters, so that BuzzFeed edit honcho Ben Smith could interview Anthony Weiner. "You're gonna wanna whip out your press passes," said the bouncer. "Go ahead. Whip 'em out." He laughed. Onstage, Smith sipped what looked like a very light beer. Weiner got wolf-whistled as he walked onto the stage. For him, there was something that was maybe an iced coffee. "Anthony has stopped drinking, in case you missed that," Smith said. For the audience, there were a lot of snacks.

A woman in town from Boston for work told me that she found [...]


Why Were You Outside Yesterday?

Yesterday: it was disgusting. Like, a million degrees. And it was a Sunday. So why were people outside? We went out and asked some guys.