On a recent afternoon, an older man and woman self-consciously configured themselves in front of the south reflecting pool at the 9/11 Memorial. The man placed his hand on the woman’s hip in an awkward clasp and grinned broadly as another person took their picture with a digital camera. A girl in a Yankees cap took a selfie with her camera phone, the Freedom Tower soaring into the sky behind her, the reflecting pool draining into nothingness. She was smiling. An Ethiopian man asked me to take a photo of him and his family. They wore blank expressions, though the youngest girl with them hammed for the camera with her [...]
"At first, Mermaid Flotilla seems like another tired variation on the 'low-impact foodboat' trend, down to the repurposed tug and biofluorescent strip lighting. But then you taste the braised mock bluefin tuna with lemon-tarragon crème fraîche. And while this reviewer has never tasted real bluefin, it’s hard to imagine the real thing could best this—there’s nothing mock about the intensity and flavor."
Late this evening—be ready by 8—the sun will fall into alignment with the Manhattan grid, illuminating the borough's cross streets with a full, golden glow. In return, the city's buildings will frame the sun perfectly: Photographers, charge your batteries!
You never know what else will happen during Manhattanhenge. In 1991, a dozen children rose from their strollers in the Upper West Side and walked into the park; they were found an hour later, pinned gently against the inside of the bandshell dome, laughing. During 1995's second Manhattanhenge, a cub reporter at the Post, acting on an anonymous phone tip, stared directly into the sun and repeated an unfamiliar name [...]
There are 39 gas stations left in Manhattan, down from 60 in 2004. Just 12 of these stations are below 96th Street. This is not because people aren't driving, or because cars are becoming more efficient, or because the public transportation system has expanded. It is a small problem created by a much larger problem, which is itself a symptom of enormous problems: Thanks to skyrocketing real estate prices, Manhattan gas stations are worth much more than the money the owner can make selling gas. Last year, a Getty near the High Line sold for $23.5 million. A few months later, another station in the borough went for $25 [...]
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 [...]
One of Bloomberg's parting legislative gifts to New Yorkers, a ban on electronic cigarettes anywhere that analog (is that what the kids call it? idk) smoking isn't allowed, goes into effect today. This is a blessing for soft, pusillanimous vapers; they now have common cause with the genuinely aggrieved smokers of real cigarettes and the intriguing hit of illegality when they furtively puff indoors, their heads tilted low toward their belly, hand wrapped completely around their mechanical nicotine stick to obscure the glow from that stupid little light at the end of it.
Photo by Lindsay Fox
For a few months now, residents of Crown Heights, in Brooklyn, have been hearing about a new place called Berg'n. You couldn't focus-group a better teaser for the target clientele: "A beer hall from the creators of the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg featuring the food of Asia Dog, Mighty Quinn's, Pizza Moto, and Ramen Burger." It's a big huge place with long tables with food truck food and a Recognizable Sensibility, situated on the middle of New York's most aggressively gentrifying neighborhood, brought to you by Goldman Sachs. It's going to be popular; the people for which it is intended look forward to the new leisure complex. They will [...]
It's weird that people would just say that marijuana is good for some ailments without any data to back that up at all, huh: The dearth of data has not prevented legislators and voters across the nation from endorsing marijuana for more than 40 conditions. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, for instance, qualify for marijuana treatment in at least three states.
Yet there are no published trials of smoked marijuana in rheumatoid arthritis patients, said Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, a rheumatologist at McGill University who reviewed the evidence of the drug’s efficacy in treating rheumatic diseases. “When we look at herbal cannabis, we have zero evidence for efficacy,” she said. “Unfortunately [...]
The big ugly Kentile sign, emblem of a lost industrial Brooklyn and Instagram subject for commuters coming to and from their much more beautiful neighborhoods, is done: The scaffolding has gone up, the letters are coming down.
Who is nostalgic for Kentile, the company that manufactured asbestos-laden flooring and collapsed under the weight of lawsuits two decades ago? Nobody: This is about the object. The sign's appeal was that it was very large and conspicuously old, and it had decayed, naturally, just so, in a location where such a thing would never be built today. It is the most general possible signifier of change and history, and one more [...]
“I would not consider it fair if someone in Williamsburg were complaining that we weren’t portraying Williamsburg in an accurate light, considering that person probably just moved here from Ohio,” said Nick Carr, another location scout. “Did they come here for the same reason they’re filming here” — in search of a gritty-yet-glamorous fantasy of Williamsburg?
The New York Times generously saved this piece—"To Hollywood, All Things Hip Lie in Brooklyn"—for your return to work today, since you'll likely need all the fury you can muster to get through it. I mean have you seen the weather forecast, oof.
A "smell scientist" enjoys a warm morning in New York City:
The savor of a toasted bagel had traveled on a breeze.
“It’s windy, we don’t have to move around. The smells come to us,” she said.
“A few minutes ago, I smelled the East River,” she said. The telltale scent: “briny, salty, fishy.”
Steam rising from underground brought “a really powdery, moist, kind of sweet smell.”
“It’s like the world’s biggest humidifier.”
Walking through Grand Central, she picked up on pastries and coffee, after-shave and toothpaste.
There was also “disinfectant from the trains,” “brown-black shoe polish,” and “cheap air freshener from a Town Car” coming from one [...]
The most radioactive place in the entire city has just been declared an EPA Superfund site, joining two other recently honored features: The Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek. The first of NYC's toxic trio was designated worthy of federal intervention in early 2010. That's three new sites since early 2010. NYC is on a roll! But where will this roll take us? Data can provide answers.
Two of these Superfund sites are large waterways; one is basically a city block. This, along with the fact that 2+1=3, means that our data is useless. Anyway: Based on rough Google Maps measurements these sites average out to approximately 70.6 [...]
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.)
I interviewed Saul in 2011 for a project about sex addiction that never came to fruition, at least in the form I had originally envisioned. A sixty-something native of Bensonhurst, he had the most delicious speaking voice, which I dare describe as a potion of equal parts Jewish, gay, and old-school Brooklyn. But it was his untapped authorial voice that moved me to develop our conversation into a monologue, unburdened by an interviewer's questions, and strung together into a reflection on the intersection of sexuality, religion, and identity in the 1960s and 70s.
I didn’t have sex until I was already out of college, and was a social worker. I [...]
Ronald Herron, better known as the rapper Ra Diggs, "beat a body" once. He did not this time: The Gowanus Houses drug kingpin was convicted by a jury of three murders—including the one he had ducked in state court—and a number of drug and racketeering charges.
No one can afford to live anywhere, at least not in New York City or San Francisco, unless, of course, you can afford to buy a whole place to live, but then you have other problems, like all of the other people who can afford to buy a place to live, because there aren't that many places to live, even if you are capable of purchasing one outright: And just 1,163 new condos are expected this year in prime Brooklyn neighborhoods, according to Corcoran Sunshine, a new development marketing company. Fewer than 800 will come online next year. That’s nothing compared to the 10,000 new condominium units slated [...]
Sure, it was a "legendary local shoe store" and "now it's a fucking fro-yo place," but it probably won't be for long: Twist on Avenue A opened last fall, then promptly disappeared; the unrelated shop Twister on Second Avenue closed in March, lasting just over half a year. The festive-sounding Yogurt Crazy was first announced for Third Avenue in 2012 but instead, a notice from NYU — its landlord — appeared taped to the storefront last year demanding $37,134.87 in back rent. Over in Brooklyn, Forever Yogurt signed a lease near Barclays Center, but [...]
Good morning, it is now legal in New York to communicate with someone "in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm."
New York City is going to replace its ninety-six hundred or so public pay phones, which obviously nobody uses anymore because a) who even talks on the phone and b) on the occasions when people do speak into a small grill to transport their voices across time and space, it's typically one that they carry with them except c) people who can't afford miniature computers or the oppressively priced monthly service plans that allow them to work. They're going to be supplanted by some ten thousand "public communications structures" that will provide free Wi-Fi to anyone, so long as he or she stands close enough to view the [...]