Sunday, May 25, 2008

City Reliquary Celebrates Brooklyn Bridge's 125th

In honor of the Brooklyn Bridge's 125th birthday, the City Reliquary hosted a ride Saturday to the Brooklyn Bridge with birthday cake and song atop the bridge. Here, City Reliquary president Dave Herman gives a thumbs-up before cutting the birthday cake.
The group prepares to depart the City Reliquary.
Birthday cupcakes for the birthday bridge!
Bikes lines the bridge.
NYC tour guide and City Reliquary events
coordinator Matt Levy gives a rousing history
of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Finally, Goodbye to Zimbabwe's Mugabe?

Results of Saturday's presidential election in Zimbabwe are still undisclosed. However, it appears possible that the 28-year reign of President Mugabe, a former independence hero who has since thoroughly destroyed his nation's economy, may finally be over. But, a new leader is in no way a foregone conclusion. It's widely believed that he rigged the election results in the last presidential election, and many fear he will find a way to do the same this year.

Martin Weaver at the UK's Guardian Unlimited has been live-blogging the developing situation over the last few days. He posts this very funny spoof call to the Zimbabwean embassy:

Other useful sites:
Sokwanele's blog This is Zimbabwe
Blog Kubatana
Blog Cry Beloved Zimbabwe
Blog Comrade Fatso
Official Zimbabwean paper The Herald

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bike Racks for a New City

On Friday the NYC Department of Transportation and the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum announced an international design competition for bike parking in New York City. The design competition's website explains that although U-racks, the current model, are functional in many ways, the current design "does not fulfill the potential to be an icon for New York City cycling."

They are soliciting a new design that will become the standard for sidewalk bike racks and racks inside buildings and garages. The City plans to add at least 500 bike racks per year to the existing stock of approximately 4,000 bike racks. Your design could be the new model. The international competition will be juried by a panel of experts from the worlds of industrial design, art and transportation.

Find out more and register at City Racks Design Competition.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

It's Spring, Let's Play!

I may be getting a wee bit ahead of the season but I saw my first Mr. Softee truck last night. It's spring!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hearing Today on Proposed Gowanus Development

Thanks to Eric McClure over at Park Slope Neighbor for this heads up on a hearing that's happening today about proposed development along the Gowanus Canal.
1) City Planning Scoping Hearing for Proposed Toll Brothers Gowanus Project, Thursday

Just wanted to remind everyone that the Department of City Planning will be holding a public scoping hearing tomorrow pertaining to the large housing project being proposed by Toll Brothers for a site along the western bank of the Gowanus Canal. A scoping hearing is the first step in the City's land-use review process. The final scoping document sets the "scope," or the parameters for what will be studied in the Environmental Impact Statement.

Toll Brothers Gowanus Scoping Hearing
Thursday, March 13th
2:00 to 5:45 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:45 p.m.
Department of City Planning
Spector Hall
22 Reade Street

Toll Brothers only recently revealed details about its plans to build a 577-unit mixed-income project (130 of the units would be below market rate) on a three-acre site along the Gowanus, bordered by Bond, 2nd and Carroll Streets. The development would include buildings ranging from four to 12 stories in height, with the tallest building, at about 125 feet, adjacent to the canal. The project would include a small amount of retail and "community" space, and 260 off-street parking spots.

The developer is seeking a special "spot rezoning" of the parcel in advance of a likely overall rezoning of the Gowanus by City Planning. The Gowanus Lounge has renderings and a map of the project.

More information, including downloads of the Draft Scoping document and scoping meeting protocol, and contact information, is available at the Department of City Planning website. Written comments regarding the draft scope can be submitted through March 24th.

If you're interested in the future of the Gowanus Canal, you might want to attend the hearing or submit comments. The City's willingness to consider a special rezoning for one site seems backward; some critics believe that a multi-agency Master Plan for the entire Gowanus should be put into place before any rezoning is undertaken. Count us among them.

Opening Screening of 'A Hole in a Fence'

I had the pleasure last night of attending the opening screening of A Hole in a Fence, a documentary by Brooklyn-based filmmaker D.W. Young. A Hole in a Fence visits a hidden corner of Red Hook where a massive boat repair yard used to be. By interviewing neighbors, homeless residents, graffiti artists, photographers (full disclosure - me), businesses and non-profits, Young captures varying visions of and perspectives on a quickly changing site. It was exciting to see the final cut, and a lot of fun to meet some of the other interviewees.

For anyone who's enjoyed a summer afternoon eating tacos at the Red Hook Ball Fields and wondered what else Red Hook is about, here's your answer.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Vote or Die

Seen on Crosby St, just south of Houston. But I'm not sure what Laser Guided Democracy means.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Photoblogging Valentine's Day

Thanks to Jeff over at Urban Velo for blogging a photo of mine today for Valentine's Day. Be sure to check out Urban Velo for more hot bike pics.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bronx Courthouse Finally Opens

Three years late and $100 million over-budget, the new Bronx courthouse finally opened today. Many structual and design problems still exist - for example, a mere handful of elevators and defendant interview rooms were built - and are unlikely to be remedied.
Meanwhile, the block-long line continues unabated outside Bronx Criminal court.

Opposite the courthouse on 161st street, New York parents protest the court house opening.

More: New York Times, NY1.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Rural Massachusetts Through the Viewfinder

While home with my family over the holidays, I spent some time playing around with "TTV" - a technique known as Through the Viewfinder, where you shoot through the viewfinder of a 1950s era camera with another camera, using the older camera solely as a lens. In trying this out, I was inspired by the flickr group Through the Viewfinder. This technique produces a slightly distorted effect, softens the colors, and allows you to capture the crackles and scratches on the older lens.

Though not without its difficulties - I found myself wishing I had a third hand to help juggle two cameras while also keeping my image framed, in focus, and out of the sun's glare - I like the new way it lets me see the world.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Flashback to 1979: Military Ads

Since America ended the draft, the military has had to recruit. Like any good advertiser, they've learned how to couch their message in the style and medium of teen culture. Today, they produce video games where you can fly combat aircraft. In 1979, their target audience wore bell bottoms and rode Harleys. And in that more innocent time, the selling point could still be the path to an affordable college education that the Army could provide.

Army National Guard ad, November 1979, from Currents Events magazine

Army ad, December 1979, from Scholastic Search magazine

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Extravanza

To those of you who, like me, have an odd soft spot in your heart for suburban homes dedecked with over the top Christmas decorations (yet have no car), look no further. Let me point you to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dyker Heights.

Dyker Heights sits between Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, and Gravesend Bay, with a lovely view of the Verrazano Bridge. Its residents go to town at Christmas time, festooning their homes and yards (yes, Virginia, they have yards) with lights, moving reindeer, and plastic blow-up Santa dolls. I wouldn't want to pay anyone's light bill, but it's quite a spectacle.
In the early days, I'm sure each family was responsible for their own decorating, and a few clearly still do the work themselves. But many call in the professionals. B&R Floral Decorators, for example, take some time out from their usual work providing floral arrangements for funerals to decorate some of the most elaborate houses.

If you plan to visit, the epicenter is 84th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. And, if you don't have a friend with a car and are too lazy or cold to brave the walk from the subway, you can watch Conan O'Brian's trip in 2000 from the comfort of your warm living room.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lost in Red Hook

Seen on the streets of Red Hook - someone lost their cat.

Despite the cat's technical difficulties ("does not meow properly"), mediocrity ("not worth very much") and "general scruffiness and bad behavior," the owner does sorta love kitty and wouldn't mind having him back, if just for the whoa-dude trippiness of its two different colored eyes.

Mini Concerts in Back Alleys

Totally last minute but this looks cool. Enjoy before we're all confined to our mini-apartment muffled worlds by tomorrow's snow. Here's the 411 on today's performance, presented by Lower East Side gallery Smith-Stewart and local nonprofit Creative Time, just back from a nationally-acclaimed performance in New Orleans of Waiting for Godot:

Though your mother may have warned you not to go into the back alleys, this certainly won’t be the first time you ignore her, and this time for good reason. Creative Council Member Carlton DeWoody, with Jen DeNike and Smith-Stewart Gallery, invite you to a one-day rock out in Lower East Side.

Mini Concerts in Back Alleys
Saturday, December 1, 2007
2:00 – 11:30 PM
locations throughout the Lower East Side (see schedule below or click for more info)

Mini Concerts will make various interventions on sites chosen by each artist throughout the Lower East Side. Be it on a mews or median, in an alley or cellar, each site specific location marries the audience to the performance, which collectively can only be described as shiny moments in dusty corners. All performances are between 5 and 15 minutes long, and are only performed once, serving to expose the drama of time. In a land where ‘before’ and ‘after’ are as significant as the ‘during’, the planned meets the impromptu and the important meets the forgotten.

Here’s the musical line up featuring Creative Time curator Mark Beasley.
2:03 pm Rachel Mason Hamilton Fish Park- Pitt btw Houston and Stanton
3:11 pm Mind Castle Freeman Alley- Rivington btw Bowery and Chrystie
3:41 pm Dirt Mound Rivington btw Chrystie and Forsyth
4:29 pm Artic Circle Hester btw Chrystie and Forsyth
5:43.21 pm Y.O.U. 1st btw 1st and A
6:27 pm Mads Lynnerup 227 Bowery btw Rivington and Stanton
9:03 pm Georgia Sagri Delancy and Allen
9:36 pm Caroline Breton 162 Eldridge btw Delancy and Rivington
10:16 pm Brian Bellot 71 Hestor btw Orchard and Ludlow
11:01 pm Mark Beasley and Rose Kallal 35 Orchard btw Hester and Canal