The ‘Teaching Garden‘ on Governors Island is currently home to NYC’s largest solar cooking array. The array looks like it wants to be trailer hitched but it isn’t capable of that – but it does appear about the same length and width as a trailer, so you could imagine it being strapped to a flatbed for transportation purposes. It measures about 11′ long and 6’ wide, and includes 48 mirror panels that can be directed to reflect light from the sun onto a receiving panel, which in turn bounces the then-focused light (and thereby heat) onto the bottom of whatever pot or pan is being used. The platform on which the pan sits is made of metal (presumably iron) and measures about 1’x2′, with a hole cut out for the pan to cover. This gives the array some flexibility as the sun moves through the sky slightly changing angles. (Perhaps…Continue Reading
Empress Voyage 2.22.1794, 1998 by Bing Lee is a public artwork in the Canal Street subway station. I guess it’s located at the western edge of the staircases exiting the N/Q platform. It’s a fabulous public art piece made up of 200 (8 x 25) tiles with icons and images both invented and referential. Each tile is about 9″ x 9″ or so, and are primarily two shades of blue and sometimes red, on a white background. The icons and symbols are what I’m drawn to; they’re like clip art, but way more meaningful and playful. I used to work in SoHo/Canal Street area in 2005-8 and saw this piece several times a week. I recently began working in the area again and while I’m farther away than my last gig I always make a point to inspect the tiles if I’m passing through the station; collectively I’ve probably spent…Continue Reading
And now for an exhibition of art by prisoners in the United States. As far as I could tell all the art was by currently-serving prisoners, save one artist now known for his activism outside of jail. Most of the work was visual, and flat, given the very limited resources prisoners have to work with. Pen was a common medium, and yet even something as simple as that was tested and pushed to the limits – fascinating what artists do when time (and rent, frankly) are not up against them. The setting was one of the fourteen houses surrounding Nolan Park on Governors Island – so the lighting is a bit inconsistent, the wall paint visibly cracking and peeling – likely lead-based. But the work was astounding and one of those surprises you always get on a visit to Governors Island and taking the extra effort to really explore what…Continue Reading
Chance Ecologies was an exhibition on view at RadiatorArts at the end of last year. It was comprised of “research interventions” in the Hunters Point neighborhood of Long Island City. Most of the ‘art’ took place in the Summer and Autumn of 2015 – as indicated by the lush amount of weeds and green-growth seen in many of the exhibition images (most of the vegetation being dead by December when the exhibition occurred). I didn’t know when I took a tour earlier that year the happening was leading towards an exhibition, but these are images from that tour. OK first let me get one thing clear: it is Hunters Point, not Hunter’s Point. It is not possessive, it does not belong to anyone named Hunter. It simply has an s on the end, and can be seen clearly as far back as this map from 1891. (Curiously, the project –…Continue Reading
Last month ProPublica published their graphic for Renter Beware: Ten Ways Unscrupulous Landlords Cheat NYC Tenants. With the weather mood swings this season I know a few friends who have even had their heat intentionally turned off on the warmer days, only for it to not get turned back on when the temperature drops – just so landlords can scrounge a few bucks. So the graphic is very timely, and needs to be shared. You can print it yourself, or I made it into a one-click PDF – just click the image below:
In the 2008 flick Punisher: War Zone there’s a lot of shot-scene trickery going on. The film clearly ‘takes place’ in NYC, with opening shots of the Empire State Building and George Washington bridge (along with very direct references to the borough of Queens – see below). But then there are oblique references to “the docks” and rooftop signs for non-existent electronics corporations – typical comic book liberty translated to film. Good stuff really. And then there’s Frank Castle’s lair, some underground bunker facility where he’s able to pour water from a constantly leaky faucet and store his massive ammo collection. In one earlier scene, the lair is very vaguely referenced as being near 5th Ave & 13th Street, a non-existent station. And then later in the film there’s this shot, which goes from a shot of the 7 subway heading towards Court Square (Manhattan-bound track), then of some station…Continue Reading
OK so I was tipped off to contemplating this phenomenon – where is the geographic center of the five boroughs of New York City? – when someone passingly mentioned needing a convergence spot later this year for a project I’m involved with. I had considered this question before, but never with such tools-precision or concern for logistics – planning for something takes a lot more strategy than simply thinking about something. I did some googling and of course there are other sources that have drilled down into the subject, from news sites to blogs like this one. For starters there’s this New York Times article from nearly 11 years ago (seek to the final Q&A for the relevant text). It makes an interesting distinction between the population center and the geographic center – noted as “on Stockholm Streetbetween [sic] Wyckoff Avenue and St. Nicholas Avenue.” Basically in front of the…Continue Reading
Hoffman Island sits in Richmond County and is therefore part of the borough of Staten Island. It’s approximately 1.5 miles south of Fort Wadsworth and can be seen on a clear day from the outer lane of the north/east path of the I-278 over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It’s off-limits to the public and is maintained by Gateway – a division of the National Park Service – primarily as an avian habitat. But a more auspicious creature may be lurking on the island. Recently spotted in flip-flops and wearing several garments all containing stripes in some form or another is … Captain America! Sadly, even with the thus far mild Winter he hasn’t fared so well, and is somehow surviving without the use of both of his arms, as seen in this photo sphere screenshot: I wish him the best, I really do. Now I can only wonder if this is…Continue Reading
To be an ‘orphan’ in New York City always raises interesting prospects. What to do? Without knowing just how good the weather would turn out to be, I decided to join Moe and Andrew on a #GreatSaunter of the island of Manhattan – a circumnavigation on foot. This is a grueling ~40 mile stomp (billed as 32 or 33.5 depending on what material you read, we closed at 39.59!) of one of the most densely-populated areas in the US (at nearly 70k people per square mile) yet includes some fabulous trails and waterfront features. Our original plan was to begin at 8AM but we bumped it up at the last minute to both start ahead of the sunrise and because if 8AM was already early, why not begin earlier! I like that we all began in shorts – even at 7AM it was that warm out, and we all knew…Continue Reading
I love it when my fascination for seemingly disparate things – bicycles, maps, Flickr, WNYC, and community-sourced data – all come together. Contemporary life can be fun like that. This map crowdsources images of obstructed bike lanes in the five boroughs of NYC to create an interactive map: The map provides quick visual markers; you can click any number to zoom in, and click on any marker to see a pop-in image of the obstruction. And you can see there’s direct causality between the increase in bike lanes and then-obstructed lanes (primarily by vehicles, but also construction debris); you can hover over any number and see the general geographic area that number of photographs cover. For instance Downtown Brooklyn has an astounding 324 images covering just a portion of it’s area: A few of the images require scrutiny, and even suspicion. But some are obvious a-hole-ish moves by drivers, and…Continue Reading
In 1967 the New York City Transit Authority hired Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda of the design firm Unimark International to design a signage and wayfinding system that would solve the problem underground. The work they delivered, the 1970 New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual, succeeded in that goal and, perhaps unintentionally, the Standards Manual became one of the world’s classic examples of modern design. -via the Kickstarter campaign to reprint the manual More history on the book and the campaign over at the book’s project website.
BMX has always been about expressing your point of view. For the first time, Nigel gives us a true, up close and personal experience of what riding his bike is really like. He launches the premiere episode with a few familiar faces and where it all began, New York City. I nearly vomited a few times while watching this video – some moments are sick!
In November of 2014 the Forbes Gallery located at 62 Fifth Ave. shuttered its doors. The Gallery was one of the city’s best-kept secrets known more by tourists than NYers, as Richard Shepard in 1991 suggested for the NY Times, “New Yorkers … do not get to the Forbes Magazine Galleries in Manhattan as often as out-of-towners beat a path to the door of this sleeper of a museum.” That, written in 1991, would prove true even through the emerging era of social media and handheld-supercomputer mobility. Most art-going NYers and museum lovers I’ve met never knew of the place or its collection, listed on Wikipedia to include “a number of Faberge Eggs, an armada of 500 ships and 12,000 toy soldiers.” Sally Holmes from NY Mag wrote for the gallery’s Entertainment attraction listing, Located on the ground floor of the Forbes building, the galleries feature permanent exhibits as well…Continue Reading
A simple slider shows how 1-to-10 feet in rising sea levels would effect the coastal United States, presented by Surging Seas, a project of Climate Central. While most NYers live on land – it’s true – the boroughs are made up of more than two dozen islands, and thus NYC is a city of islands. The snapshots below show how the entire NYC coastline would change if sea levels were to rise a mere foot, and how huge swaths of land would be absolutely overtaken and underwater (including entire airports) if sea levels were to raise 10 feet. Governors Island and Red Hook, Brooklyn 1 ft of rising seas would flood the shorelines of Governors Island and Red Hook, Brooklyn, while 10 ft would turn Red Hook into Brooklyn’s Venice, splurge Gowanus sewage into that namesake neighborhood, and leave Governors Island completely underwater save the hilly land around Fort Jay.…Continue Reading
In typical NYC fashion the available data is equally concerned with the adjacent building number, but the open data contains valuable info like species, diameter, along with a “condit”ion rating; some obscure data like “FID_1” and “COMMDIST” is also available. See for yourself. Where I live there are definitely some barren “tree deserts” – I guess those would just be called deserts? Or rather, a concrete jungle. And I’m also curious about this lone tree in the heart of JFK airport. I’ll look for the next time I take the AirTrain (which I’ll be doing early next month, en route to Maker Faire Bay Area!). But now for the really juicy bit. Because the data is open, and because it is driven by an accessible database, programmers like Jill Hubley have gone ahead and compiled the data into a beautiful color-coded map where you can drill-down to specific species across…Continue Reading
This story is nothing new, but standing inside the former Mars Bar yesterday was shocking. (And not quinoa shocking.) Where there was once a nice little corner to sit and drink at while light flooded in through graffiti- and ephemera-covered windows: Is now a corner like any other corner of a … ATM room: … Where there was once life and activity now there is … But perhaps most shocking is the exterior, the public-facing facade, gone forever, even the remnants: becomes becomes and disappears See the Street View history for yourself. Featured image via Observer.
Your browser does not support the video tag. The recently un-earthed “oldest footage” of New York City (that means all five boroughs people) includes shots of the construction of the Queensboro Bridge, apparently shot from the east side of Roosevelt Island (then Blackwell’s Island) looking west, showing the bridge pillars planted on the island that you can spot so easily now in Google Maps earth-view: And if you think, “Yeah, but, meh,” then you’re not paying attention. This really is the best (looking) bridge in NYC. You can watch – you really should watch this – the entire reel of oldest footage: …
It’s been years since I stepped foot into this place but I remember everyone being really kind and even sweet (for a repair shop). Not surprised they lasted this long, given their clientele. But their closing shop is definitely an indicator of the incoming clientele and the digital divide between then and now; as a younger generation move in to the neighborhood not only are their incomes disposable but the electronics they buy with that income are too. WNYC reports:
Imagine all these rental properties taken off the market, thereby reducing the availability of housing stock, which in turn raises the cost of rent and living for ordinary New Yorkers who are looking for long-term affordable housing. That’s an easy association to make. This map puts it in visual perspective: interactive map at http://insideairbnb.com/
OK OK the title is hyperbole – clickbait! But the Landmarks Preservation Committee is about to remove nearly 100 sites from their “calendared” list of structures, sites, and buildings. While it doesn’t mean they will be demolished, it paves the way (pun intended) for them to be. Below is an embed of the site locations. Staten Island has a surprising number of locations, with the Bronx not surprisingly have the least amount of representation on the map (I mean that politically): Landmarks Preservation Commission to Remove ALmost 100 Sites From Consideration [via DNAinfo & Gothamist]
Mapping the building of Manhattan, Morphocode’s Urban Layers project shows construction peaks in 1900, 1910, and 1920, with nominal peaks at 1930, ’40, and ’50 also — after that it’s a pretty flat but consistent line. Which is amazing, since one might think the island is fully built upon, but the timeline shows staggering development in the borough still during the years of 2000-current — 1,549 buildings in that time!! Which is only to say that the folks at the Queens Museum panorama must surely be busy.
Decades before the Dr. Zizmor dog parody ads, Etti the Courtesy Cat was an actual public service rep on NYC subways, and went so far as having a book published (page scans available here). Two things: I like how Etti’s white whiskers become black when cast against a white background. When did “PLEASE SORRY THANKS” go out of style? Aside: During my meta-hunt, it would appear this advertising copywriter plagiarised the PST slogan for a Ted Baker campaign in Australia. (It’s also apparently the name of a Telugu film.)