The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'new york'
In Williamsburg, tensions between hipsters and Hasidim have erupted in conflicts over bike lanes. Some Hasidim want them removed to keep fast-moving, indecently-clad cyclists out of their neighbourhood, whereas the cyclists want their direct route to Williamsburg Bridge, and are willing to repaint removed bike lanes to get it:
Many of the hipster cyclists wear too little clothing for the Hasids, who are not supposed to stare at members of the opposite sex and wanted the enticement removed.
Maciej Ceglowski has written up an illuminating history of the Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel, the spectacular feat of engineering which delivers fresh burritos from the San Francisco Mission District to New York, in a chord under the continental United States:
Who can imagine New York City without the Mission burrito? Like the Yankees, the Brooklyn Bridge or the bagel, the oversize burritos have become a New York institution. And yet it wasn’t long ago that it was impossible to find a good burrito of any kind in the city. As the 30th anniversary of the Alameda-Weehawken burrito tunnel approaches, it’s worth taking a look at the remarkable sequence of events that takes place between the time we click “deliver” on the burrito.nyc.us.gov website and the moment that our hot El Farolito burrito arrives in the lunchroom with its satisfying pneumatic hiss.
Once in the tubes, it’s a quick dash for the burritos across San Francisco Bay. Propelled by powerful bursts of compressed air, the burritos speed along the same tunnel as the BART commuter train, whose passengers remain oblivious to the hundreds of delicious cylinders whizzing along overhead. Within twelve minutes, even the remotest burrito has arrived at its final destination, the Alameda Transfer Station, where it will be prepared for its transcontinental journey.
Not everyone is as delighted with the tunnel as the geologists. Old-time San Franciscans will be quick to point out that the comestibles in the tunnel flow strictly one way. “In the old days you’d go to a place like Pancho Villa and get yourself a steak burrito in five minutes, maybe ten if it was near lunchtime,” says lifelong Mission resident Howard Washington. “Now the line is out the door even in the morning. And some of those places down in the South Bay won’t even take customers anymore. If you want a burrito in the daytime you have to get it first thing, or else you go to one of the places that isn’t hooked up to the tunnel.”
It looks like hopes for a reprieve for legendary New York rock venue CBGB were short-lived; the venue will now close on Halloween of 2006. The owners are planning to open a new venue in the Lower East Side some time afterward, and/or to devote their energies to the lucrative "CBGB's & OMFUG" merchandise business.
After 14 years, New York's finest purveyors of beautifully poetic upbeat angst-pop, My Favorite are no more. The band have broken up after frontwoman Andrea Vaughn left. From songwriter Michael Grace Jr.'s characteristically poetic communiqué:
After more than a decade of making music and memories together, life suggests (or demands) changes. And in the cracks that faith won't fill, fractures will occur. You can't build palaces upon rubble. Few things live forever. And that which does—never dies. Thus mourn judiciously, and celebrate what you can.
When I started down this road, all those years ago... a tender teenager in horn rimmed glasses and a second hand Fred Perry, surrounded by misfits and prophets, glue sniffers and geniuses... all I hoped to do was share something of the urgent loveliness and sadness of our lives, surrounded as we were by a plainness of architecture, and ugliness of spirit which defined the suburbs, and (sadly) much of America itself. There was almost something glamorous in defying it, in defining it, as we did. I was consumed with being that dark star, that obscure saint. I wanted to make an art that was as rainy and lush and real and spectral as the coastal towns that comforted us at twilight. I wanted to be a sword swallower, and nostalgia was to be my sword. I wanted to do something courageous.Grace is reportedly putting together a new band called The Secret History; which will be the New Order to My Favorite's Joy Division, or perhaps the Trembling Blue Stars to their Field Mice. I hope more the former than the latter. Anyway, I'll be looking out for it.
That leaves us with a partially recorded could-be masterpiece, one that never truly felt much like a My Favorite record to me in the end anyway. It is also an album which Andrea ended up not recording very much for. An unfinished novel missing a main character.
During the last two years of this band's shaky solidarity, I began to plan—sadly—for this moment. I wrote the name of an imaginary band called The Secret History in the margins of my New York Times. I thought of what I would do, what I could do, if I had to start again. In the next couple months, this will all begin to take shape; a new project, old faces, a new website and diary, a resurrection of the record, a search for a new Nico, a crime to end all crimes. The last battle.I had the good fortune to see My Favorite, once, when they played in London some three months before they broke up. It was a privilege I didn't have with the various favourite bands I discovered posthumously (such as Slowdive and The Field Mice), though it is bittersweet to think that that is it; that there is no more where that came from.
An artist in New York has pasted 50,000 blank speech bubble stickers to ads and posters, waited for the public to fill them in, and then photographed the results. The results included political commentary, existential angst, ribald humour, self-promotion and personal messages.
Subversive underground artist and/or attention-seeking tosser Banksy strikes again, this time droplifting four artworks into famous New York museums, disguised as an old-age pensioner. (via 1.0)
Via bOING bOING, a comprehensive archive of flyers from 1980s NYC new-wave club Danceteria; Attention new-new-wavers: if you need artwork ideas for your discopunk/electrocoolsie night/band/party, there's plenty of material here for
Famous New York rock venue CBGB may soon be forced to close by rising property rents. Now where have I heard that before? (via bOING bOING)
Concorde, the 1960s-vintage supersonic airliner, is being retired. British Airways and Air France, the two operators of Concorde flights, have announced that they will be permanently grounding the planes, which have been troubled by technical problems and the decline in air travel. So now, supersonic air travel will cease to be a luxury for the super-wealthy or aviation obsessives and become another part of a bygone era, like passenger airships.
And quite a bit further down, another era is ending on the New York Subway, as the introduction of a new ticketing system brings to extinction a species of lowlife indigenous to the system: the token sucker:
The criminal carefully jams the token slot with a matchbook or a gum wrapper and waits for a would-be rider to plunk a token down. The token plunker bangs against the locked turnstile and walks away in frustration. Then from the shadows, the token sucker appears like a vampire, quickly sealing his lips over the token slot, inhaling powerfully and producing his prize: a $1.50 token, hard earned and obviously badly needed.
And deterrence, when dealing with someone willing to clamp his mouth to one of the most public surfaces in all of New York City, was next to impossible. "These guys were on their last legs," Officer McGarry said. "If they were going to jail, it was just an inconvenience for them." (In an interview with a reporter for The Los Angeles Times in the early 1990's, one token sucker acknowledged the depths of his desperation. "Hard times makes you do it," he explained, adding: "Anyways, I've kissed women that's worse.")
What is it about trains and public transport that attracts the unhinged? A 21-year-old New York man was arrested for impersonating a Subway motorman -- for the 16th time. Edward Brown, described as a "transit buff", wore a stolen uniform and hung around in subway employee lounges chatting with employees; he says he won't stop doing so until the Transit Authority hires him. (via rotten.com)
It turns out that the black boxes labelled "Fear" on the New York Subway were an art project, by a student from the New York School of Visual Arts. The artist in question will be charged with public endangerment, becoming another casualty of post-9/11 paranoia.
"Terrorists are the last true performance artists." -- Laurie Anderson
"The greatest surrealist act would be to point a loaded revolver into the crowd and then fire at random." -- Andre Breton
Unknown prankster, performance artist or random lunatic tapes black cardboard boxes labelled FEAR to walls and girders of Union Square subway station in Manhattan; police evacuate station, fearing terrorist attack. This reminds me of the case of the paranoid schizophrenic who taped vials of water to lamp posts in Milwaukee, to detect a radio station broadcasting into his head, two years ago.
A European skeptic investigates the strange case of Rudolph Fentz, a man attired in 19th-century clothing who mysteriously appeared in Times Square in 1950 and was killed by a car; when his body was examined, police found a letter addressed to Fentz, who had disappeared in 1876. Or had he? (via rotten.com)
This is fairly interesting, in a global-economy sort of way: impressions of New York as perceived by data entry workers in Ghana who transcribe fines issued by police in New York. (via bOING bOING)
Only in New York would you expect something like this to arise: A dating service run by therapists, matching up people with compatible issues and neuroses. But the question is, is it any more crazy than the conventional dating system? (via Plastic)
Routes of Least Surveillance: A group of civil libertarians has created a map of New York showing routes with the fewest surveillance cameras.
"We've designed iSee to be useful to a wide range of ordinary people," said an IAA operative who declined to be identified. "The demonstrated tendency of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) operators to single out ethnic minorities for observation and to voyeuristically focus on women's breasts and buttocks provides the majority of the population ample legitimate reasons to avoid public surveillance cameras."
"The advent of sophisticated face-recognition technologies are further reasons to use iSee. They will allow companies, private investigators, and journalists to browse video databases for footage of spouses, employees, and neighbors engaged in perfectly legal, but nonetheless private acts like attending job interviews and psychiatric appointments."
Expect it to become a big hit with dissidents, adulterers and the aluminium-hat set, before possibly being shut down lest it help potential terrorists.