Archive for November, 2006

New York’s Gifts to the World: Gift #3

Over the next week, many Metroblogging communities will be posting a list of 7 unique things (one per day) that their cities contribute to the world. Being such an important part of world culture, New York couldn’t pass up this opportunity!

Without further ado, below is today’s gift:

NY22%20ESB%20Top%2002.jpgNYC is the land of BIG… No, Sex & The city Fans, I am not referring to Chris Noth. I am referring to the architecture and infrastructure that separates NYC from every other US mega-city and makes it the most easily traversed and interesting destinations in the world. NY does everything large. Big buildings, the broadest and most utilized subway system in the world, our well-designed road system and, of course, some of the largest and most beautiful bridges in the country.

Metblogs NYC Meetup

Metblogs NYC Meetup

Originally uploaded by benkay.

Hey everyone! Maybe next month you can come out and have as much fun as we did. Top topics of conversation at this months Metblog Meetup: Cocaine, porn, Microsoft, college, porn, beer, burgers and porn.

Life Without Toilet Paper

I was just browsing around the internet, trying to bore myself to sleep with random useless information when I ran across this fun fact: Joseph C. Gayetty of New York City invented toilet paper in 1857. What a marvelous year that must have been! Did everybody up until then use coarse objects, or perhaps nothing at all? To me it’s always interesting to think back to before a time that I could never even imagine living in, and to be alive during the invention of toilet paper would seem like such an amazing “invention,” one would think. Or maybe that is just because our present day culture is so wrapped up in vanity and hygiene, and we’re used to it, so maybe it wasn’t really such a big deal afterall? Regardless, I thought it was interesting, especially because a man of New York City invented it. I’ve honestly never really thought about the invention of toilet paper, but I would have always thought it would have been a suburban farmer or something?

New York’s Gifts to the World: Gift #4

Over the next week, many Metroblogging communities will be posting a list of 7 unique things (one per day) that their cities contribute to the world. Being such an important part of world culture, New York couldn’t pass up this opportunity!

Without further ado, below is today’s gift:

I come from Portland, Oregon, a city not really renowned for racial diversity and integration. I moved here late summer, and immediately noticed how many people weren’t white. This wasn’t a bad thing, just something out of my usual frame of reference and therefore noteworthy.

Over the past few months, I’ve come to realize why diversity is such a prized commodity. In a city like where I come from, where the black people are unofficially relegated to the North quadrant of Portland (NoPo, as it’s called–white-folks language for that part of Portland), the rest of the city is mostly white, and when a neighborhood diversifies, the white-controlled media doesn’t really see it as a good thing. But in New York, my new home, I’ve come to appreciate hearing ten different languages just walking down 14th street. I love that I can get pitas in a restaurant owned by the same guy who’s behind the counter (or maybe his nephew) from halfway around the world. I love that I might not be able to understand the guy behind the bodega counter, but he knows me from my nightly dutch-and-candy runs.

But there are whispers: real-estate brokers are chosen on their ability to keep buildings all-white, or all-black. People who can’t afford to live in Manhattan (most, unsurprisingly) have to move into one of the boroughs, and I hear that those are just as segregated. I don’t know much about the outlying areas (dorm living in a neighborhood where I don’t have to walk more than 5 blocks for anything at any hour spoiled me this year) but when I take the 7 out to Flushing-Corona–the best park that I’ve discovered–I can feel the truth of those rumors.

Yes, it’s diverse here. There are more opportunities for people who aren’t white here. I’d love to raise my kids in an environment like this. At the same time, red-lining is alive and well on the sales side of real-estate, and the fact that a brand-new NYC resident knows this suggests that we have a bit of a problem.

Thanks, New York. Thanks for giving me a diverse place to live.

Tags: Metblogs7Gifts 7Gifts Metroblogging7Gifts 7 gifts to the world

24 Ice Cold Frosted Bottles Clanking Merrily

I left my house this evening in search for a gift for my Dad. Into the city I went taking the Williamsburg bridge the city skyline is misty tonight; a quiet joy has settled in merrily (at least that’s what it feels like.) I’m in an odd mood tonight, so here is what happened:

The weather was just past warm and just below cool – so I put my windows down and drove fast – I hit 80 mph on the Billyburg bridge. I slowed down suddenly in case coppers were near me or worst I was being tracked by evil radars. . .

Thanksgiving Travels

FINALLY my internet is back up & running properly! It’s amazing what us New Yorkers will sacrifice for an affordable living space. My apartment has had building wide internet issues, no hot water for a few days, and roach & mice problems. Any other town and I would have moved out a month ago! But for this price in this location, with this view, the thought of moving gets pushed to the bottom of my list of things to do.

I feel the need to more or less “vent” about my traveling experiences this past weekend. So if you’re interested, read on.

Fair Fares?

subwayfares.jpgAnd speaking of taxis, don’t forget that up until midnight tonight will be the last time you will have the privilege to sit in bumper to bumper traffic in an NYC taxi for the bargain price of just $.20 per minute. Starting tonight the surcharge for vehicles moving slowly will rise to $.40 per minute. And to add insult to injury a “slow moving vehicle” is now defined as one moving under 12 mph as opposed to the current 6 miles per hour. How often to you really get above 12 mph in a taxi for an extended period of time? I thought so. It’s pretty safe to say we are being screwed.

In good transportation cost news, the MTA has decided to not raise fares for subways, buses, Metro North, LIRR and/or bridges and tunnels during 2007, which was originally part of their plan. Since we were just hit with a pretty big hike in 2003 and another big one for the unlimited Metrocard users in 2005, not to mention the memory of the “Awful Transit Strike of Late 2005” it’s a good thing that the MTA is trying to stay on our good side for just a bit longer. But expect fare increases, perhaps to $2.25 or $2.50 per ride in early 2008. Note to self: Buy a bike!


nytraffic.jpgMaybe it is because I have been at my parents house upstate for much of the last week, or maybe it just is a function of me finally realizing something that has always been there, but I have never been so frustrated with honking as I have been the last few days. As Kim astutely pointed out a number of weeks back, there seems to be no real consequence to over-honkers, but I feel that the cops should be cracking down on this. Taxi drivers seem to be the biggest culprit of this.

I understand the idea of getting impatient when driving in NYC, but does honking really help at all? What I don’t get is the people who are stuck in the middle of two avenues, and lay on the horn for 20 seconds or so. Do they honestly think they are the only ones who want to move? What is the thought process? Is it as if the honker thinks that other people are not looking to drive, and are just fine with sitting idle? There is literally no use to the horn.

But if you are in fact in a cab, as a passenger in a NYC public vehicle, you do have rights! Make sure to read the Taxicab Riders Bill of Rights so you know what you can and cannot do, and more importantly, what the driver can and cannot do. And if you feel the rules have been violated, file a complaint.

Also, here’s a little-known fact for you: According to the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission’s FAQ section,” “drivers are not allowed to use cellular phones or any communication device, hands free or otherwise, while operating a cab.”

So, next time a cabby is giving you shit or being a prick, use this information as leverage.

[Photo courtesy of Wired NY]

New York’s Gifts to the World: Gift #5

Over the next week, many Metroblogging communities will be posting a list of 7 unique things (one per day) that their cities contribute to the world. Being such an important part of world culture, New York couldn’t pass up this opportunity!

Without further ado, below is today’s gift: Music and Theater

normal_broadway_sign.jpgIf you’ve only been to New York as a tourist, you may have a narrow view of music and theater here. Our town is famous for Broadway musicals and Lincoln Center extravaganzas, but most performances don’t involve $100 tickets, elaborate sets, or dancers in cat costumes.

Some of the best shows I’ve seen in New York cost next to nothing:
student productions at Julliard (chock-a-block with future movie stars), the workshop readings at Playwrights Horizons, the hole-in-the-wall nightclub where you hear an unknown jazz singer who, five years later, goes double platinum. (Oh. And when I was a kid, there was that offbeat musical about chorus dancers I saw in a grotty little place downtown called the Public Theater…) The thrill of discovering new talent is what sets New York apart from towns that only get stale Miss Saigon touring companies and arena rock bands.

Holiday Movies

bathrobe.jpgAah, holiday time in New York, there is nothing like it. The brisk air, the crowded subway cars, getting bumped by overly large bags as you walk down the street… The NY Post has compiled this guide to all of the upcoming holiday activities, like the Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center and the Holiday Market at Union Square.

But to me, what makes XMas time so exciting is the preponderance of great movies that are seemingly played on a loop on TBS, TNT, FX, and the other second-rate cable channels. It isn’t Christmas until you see Chevy Chase trying to turn on the juice to his overly decorated house, or Will Ferrell freaking out about Santa coming to the store because he “knows him.”

So, with the holidays approaching, I thought it would be interesting to see what NYers think is the best Christmas movie of all time… Please answer this poll (you can pick up to 2 movies) and once you vote, you will see what everyone else thought.

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