Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Curtis Kulig Explains "Love Me"

Here's video of Curtis Kulig, the artist behind the "Love Me" tag you've likely seen in your travels around New York City, giving a talk at the TedxTeen event held in New York on April 2. "I want to explain to you guys my story," he said, "and I think I'm just going to start from the beginning."

Speaking of his ubiquitous tag, "Whatever it has become," he explained, "it's kind of my everything."

Hear more from Kulig in a recent video profile with Juxtapoz magazine and an interview with Downtown Diaries last month.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

City Seals Off Section Of Rat Zoo

Collect Pond Park, sitting between Centre Street and Lafayette Street across the street from the New York Criminal Court in Manhattan, is still a haven for rats. But the city has sealed off some broken sidewalk that lies adjacent, preventing the rats from gathering in one of their favorite spots. Now to tackle the 98 other tunnels throughout the park, and the other patch of broken sidewalk a few feet away, near where this photo was taken.

Here's video highlighting the Rat Zoo in Collect Pond Park, filmed last summer at the very spot seen in the photo above.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Public Auction At Farinella's Bakery And Pizza Follows Closing

Farinella Italian Bakery & Pizzeria, owned and operated by Alberto Cretara, a well known Italian rapper, closed their Worth Street location after two years. Like George Jefferson perhaps, they have moved on up to the Upper East Side, on Lexington Avenue between 78th and 79th Street. Here's video from their opening party for their new UES location, held downtown at the now closed Chinatown Fair. A public auction was held in their Worth Street location yesterday and attracted a crowd of people. Two more photos from the auction below.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

MTA Producing Pleasant Time Lapse Videos Of Sunsets For Unknown Reasons

In what must be an attempt to divert attention from the reality of your commute in the New York City subway system—in train cars packed with people at their wits end, where rats run amok, meals are being tossed about, elevators and escalators do not work and intoxicated passengers vomit from drinking too much; all while you are bombarded with advertising—the MTA has produced a beautifully pleasant and calming high-definition time lapse video of the sunset over the Triborough Bridge Robert F. Kennedy Bridge on Sunday evening, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Flowers In Full Bloom On Varick Street In West Soho

Flowers from an unknown artist bloom on the edge of an empty lot on Varick Street in West Soho. Can anyone identify the artist?

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

917 Area Code Numbers Available On Google Voice Now

On the eve of the new 929 area code rolling out in New York City's outer boroughs, a random check of  Google Voice revealed nearly 100 "917" area codes available, which are rarely available from any provider. See all the 917 area codes currently available in the photo below, (click through for larger version), and claim your own at Google Voice. But you better hurry... four have been snapped up in the time this post was written.
[UPDATE: All gone!]

If you don't use Google Voice or get there too late, and the thought of getting stuck with any thing less makes you uneasy, you can always look to Ebay and other sites online for a 212 or 917 area code, as The Wall Street Journal pointed out in August of last year.

Friday, April 15, 2011

NYPD Continues Crackdown On Cyclists, Stops Brooklyn Rider On Sidewalk, Arrests Bystander (Video)

[UPDATED BELOW] A quiet corner in Brooklyn became the scene of an unfortunate arrest by the NYPD after they stopped a cyclist for riding on the sidewalk, and ended up arresting a vocal bystander.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The MTA's Optimistic Video Report On Construction Of East River Tunnel

In 1971, the MTA produced a video progress report documenting the excavation and construction of the East River Tunnel at 63rd Street, from March 1970 to June 1971. Work on the two-level tunnel, extending to Queens under the East River and through Roosevelt Island, then called Welfare Island, began on November 25, 1969. The project was budgeted at 69.5 million dollars. "A monumental MTA project," the video informs, "carried out with care and precision. By 1976, it will be in daily use."

After years of delays, the upper level finally opened in 1989, and was dubbed the 'Tunnel to Nowhere' "because all it did," Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney wrote, "was bring passengers one stop into Queens." It ultimately cost nearly 1.5 billion dollars to complete, and the lower level has never been used for train service. That lower level is now being planned to extend all the way to Grand Central Station, at a reported cost of 6.3 billion dollars. Watch the MTA's 1971 "Film Report" on the 63rd Street tunnel project, below.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hells Angels Forever: The Abridged 3rd Street Version

An abridged version of the early 80s documentary Hells Angels Forever has been uploaded to YouTube, edited down to a 14 minute clip of "most of the footage that was filmed on 3rd [Street]" in front of the Hells Angel club house in the late 70s.

"I lived across the street from the clubhouse for 10 years," wrote the YouTube user who uploaded the clip, "from mid-1970s to mid-1980s. The first guy speaking is Howie Weisbrod, who's apartment was directly across the street from mine. Next guy is Big Vinny Girolamo, who later lost his life in a knife fight with an Oakland Hells Angel, back in 1979."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chorus Of Straphangers Perform "Lean On Me" In Lexington Avenue Station

New York City's subway systems are pretty lively spaces. And they're not always so stressful and crazy, filled with rats and physical violence. Sometime people break out an impromptu song and dance. The video below, wrote the YouTube user who uploaded it, "might just be 'The Feel Good Video of the Year.'" Uploaded last week, it captures a lone subway performer singing Bill Withers' Lean on Me at the Lexington Avenue & 53rd Street station, with what looks like two dozen, teenaged straphangers joining in.

Monday, April 11, 2011

28 People Trapped Inside A Crowded Subway Elevator (Video)

The 181st Street subway station on the 1 line in Washington Heights—the same station where the roof collapsed in 2009—has no stairs, leaving elevators the only means into and out of the tunnel. This past Friday at 8:35pm, one of those elevators stopped working and trapped 28 people inside. Here's what happened...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Oxygen Ads Reinforcing Stereotypical Images Of Beauty Get Embellished

Someone isn't happy with an ad campaign for the Oxygen network reinforcing stereotypical standards of beauty, currently on display in one of connecting tunnels at the 14th Street 8th Avenue L train station.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Activity At Former Cinema Nolita Storefront

New plywood is up around the old Cinema Nolita space at 178 Mulberry Street, (formerly of 202 Elizabeth Street), the neighborhood's beloved but short lived video rental store that closed in 2009. Mums the word on l'internets on what's to come.

See what the storefront previously looked like in 2009, via this great photo by by epicharmus on Flickr.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Street Team Hustles Napoleon Da Legend CD (With Audio)

Street promoters work the corner of 59th Street and 5th Avenue during the recent cold snap, trying to put the CD of aspiring rap stars into passersby hands. Though you'd think that would be a tough sell on such a corner, the one on the left succeeded in slipping me a CD, The Myth or The Legend, by Washington D.C. based Napoleon Da Legend. Listen to the fourth track on the album, "Ruff Kut (Intermission)," in the player at left.

[Napoleon Da Legend]

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