new york city

Gritty City: Movies That Capture New York City’s Dirty Decade

Gritty City: Movies That Capture New York City’s Dirty Decade

New York in the ’80s was a time and place all its own: grimy subways, decaying buildings, violent crime and colorful characters. Here are some of movies that captured the essence of the city before Rudy Giuliani came along and cleaned the place up.

Are floating gardens New York's next agricultural frontier?

Are floating gardens New York's next agricultural frontier?

You want fresh produce in New York? No problem: Residents and activists are converting vacant lots and rooftops into growing spaces at a record pace. While those kinds of spaces aren’t likely to run out anytime soon, Cooper Union architecture student Karim Ahmed is tinkering with the technology necessary to take advantage of yet another: the city’s waterways. His project would grow food hydroponically on “floating gardens,” the first of which he’s anchored in Long Island City’s Anable Basin.

New York, New York, my kind of farm town

New York, New York, my kind of farm town

What are some of the qualities that make New York unique? World-class arts and entertainment? Certainly. A hub of international commerce? Yep. A gathering place for world leaders? Check. A leader in food-growing?… Huh?

Greener Consumption: The "don't buy it, share it" edition

Greener Consumption: The "don't buy it, share it" edition

The greenest product, so the saying goes, is one that you don’t buy. But for things you really need, the next best option may be the product you share. No longer limited to movie rentals, you can rent/share just about any durable good (or even not-so-durable goods) these days.

New York City's gayest and proudest (photos)

New York City's gayest and proudest (photos)

The Bois and Gurls over at Heritage of Pride felt it appropriate to use the theme “Spread the Love” for New York City’s 43rd annual Gay Pride parade. It was the first parade for New Yorkers since same-sex marriage became legal, which charged the air like it was the summer of love. For the singles in the crowd, it was nothing short of a miracle the way organizers and participants made monogamy look sexy. Check out our full report and more pretty pictures than you can shake a stick at:

Final stage of the High Line made public

Final stage of the High Line made public

Had a chance to visit Manhattan’s High Line yet? If not, we’ve got you covered: we’ve been keeping an eye on this conversion of a railroad trestle into a park since its opening in 2009. But that opening didn’t represent the completion of the High Line; it was more of a launch, with more envisioned as time and money permitted. Last year, developers completed the project’s second section, and, last week, they released plans for part three at the Rail Yards.

Here's what the Oscars can learn from NYC nightlife pageants!

Here's what the Oscars can learn from NYC nightlife pageants!

This year’s Oscar telecast (set for February 26) has been on a hopeful track ever since they announced that an actual comic was going to be the host.

But even Billy Crystal can only do so much. All the stuff around him needs to be spruced up pronto to ensure that the whole Oscar machine doesn’t become as obsolete as silent movies (except for THE ARTIST, of course).

And I know the answer.

For a lifeline, the producers need to venture into New York’s wildest nightclubs and learn some valuable lessons about how to put on a show.

Green tech finds: big ideas in small packages

Green tech finds: big ideas in small packages

A “camper van” built over an electric bicycle may not attract a lot of buyers, but a 480 square foot off-grid cabin (with plenty of amenities and style) just might. Those and more in this week’s green tech finds.

Pavements to Parks: Park(ing) Day, every day

Pavements to Parks: Park(ing) Day, every day

People, Parklets, and Pavement to Parks (plus Mojo Bicycle Café) from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

This year’s Park(ing) Day (an annual event I covered a few years ago) has come and gone and was another great success. In fact, it looks like they’re still counting the number of temporary “parks” people created in parking spaces around the world. Of course, all of those green spaces are gone now, but wouldn’t it be nice if parking spaces were being converted into spots for permanent enjoyment of the outdoors?

Solar Decathlon's Team New York discovers NYC's most underutilized real estate

Solar Decathlon's Team New York discovers NYC's most underutilized real estate

The phrase “underutilized real estate in New York City” may strike many as an oxymoron: isn’t every square inch of the city covered in asphalt, concrete, buildings or park space? If you’re equating “real estate” with “land,” you’re right, but like early 20th-century developers that saw opportunities to build upward, Solar Decathlon 2011′s Team New York thought creatively about the notion of available space in the Big Apple. While land’s at a premium, the students from the City College of New York’s Spitzer School of Architecture and the Grove School of Engineering realized that many of the city’s buildings have flat rooftops – and those rooftops represent 1.6 billion square feet ripe for sustainable development.

The vertical ecovillage: Vincent Callebaut's Dragonfly

The vertical ecovillage: Vincent Callebaut's Dragonfly

When you think of the concept of urban agriculture, you likely picture a small, reclaimed plot of land tended by neighbors or a non-profit organization. While this vision of food production in cities has captured the imagination of many urbanites, the ability to scale it is often limited. The notion of vertical farming, however, recognizes (as did the developers of the original skyscrapers) that building upward may offer more potential for inner city farming than land reclamation. Combined with indoor farming methods such as hydroponics, proponents of the vertical farm believe this concept could offer hyperlocal food production in the middle of even the most bustling urban center.

Leafsnap: the electronic field guide that gets smarter with use

Leafsnap: the electronic field guide that gets smarter with use

Ever been out on a hike, a camping trip or just a walk in the neighborhood and been faced with the question “What kind of tree is that?” More often than not, my own answer is “I don’t know.” Leafsnap, a new “electronic field guide” developed by Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institute (which I covered very briefly a few months ago) is designed, in part, to change that answer. Using your iPhone, you can take a picture of a leaf, flower, or fruit from a tree and identify it through comparison with images in the app’s database. Think of it as facial recognition software for the nature lover.

Artist creates touristy NYC statue

Artist creates touristy NYC statue

Selected for this year’s Art In Odd Places festival on Oct 1-10, 2011 in New York City, artist Leon Reid IV is planning on adorning the statue of George Washington in Union Square with “large scale props such as an “I Love NY” hat, camera, NYC subway map, and local shopping bags” in a piece…

Ai Weiwei's photos of New York City

Ai Weiwei's photos of New York City

Currently on display at NYC’s Asia Society Museum are a selection of 227 photographs (curated from thousands) snapped by artist Ai Weiwei of daily life during his residency here in the Big Apple in the 1980s. This is the first exhibition of his NYC photographs outside of Beijing. “Mr. Ai worked as a street artist…

Public art to provide renewable power at Freshkills Park

Public art to provide renewable power at Freshkills Park

Almost exactly two years ago, we took a look at the ambitious plans for turning Staten Island’s closed Fresh Kills landfill into a massive recreational complex and park that rivals Central Park. Those plans have moved forward in the interim, and the Land Art Generator Initiative is contributing to the development of Freshkills Park with a design competition for “site-specific public artwork” that also generates energy from renewable sources.

Hey you! What song are you listening to?

Hey you! What song are you listening to?

Tyler Cullen stops random Manhattan pedestrians lost in their headphones and asks them what song they’re listening to in this video. Conclusion: appearance is not always an indicator of musical taste.

Notes from Chris

Notes from Chris

While reading this New York Times piece about a note posted on a pole at the intersection of 43rd and 6th Avenue by a guy named Chris who with apparent sincerity reviews two different coffee carts, I learned via the article’s comments that this note was just one in a series called “Notes from Chris.”…

Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world

Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world

In 1952 an aspiring actor wrote the above note expressing his frustrations soon after he moved to New York City for his acting career. This despondent actor wrote: Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world. The stage is like a religion you dedicate yourself to and then suddenly you find that you…

Where the starving artists slept

Where the starving artists slept

New York Magazine has a photo gallery of various artists who called New York City their home, even if that home was at times decidedly humble and threadbare as seen in many of these photos. Above is a photo from 1983 of “[Keith] Haring with his boyfriend, Juan Dubose, in the railroad apartment they shared…

New York City makes the heart grow fonder

New York City makes the heart grow fonder

Ariel Sabar’s new book, Heart of the City: Nine Stories of Love and Serendipity on the Streets of New York, follows couples from the 1940s to the present whose matchmaker was New York City. We chatted with him about location-location-location — and what it means for love.

EM & LO: What got you first interested in how place interacts with the way strangers meet and fall in love?

ARIEL SABAR: The spark for me was my parents’ love story. My mom, Stephanie, and dad, Yona, were these really different people. Stephanie was the daughter of a well-off Manhattan businessman and his sophisticated wife, the kind of folks who held season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera. Yona was born to an illiterate teenage mother and peddler father in a mud hut in northern Iraq. But one fall day in 1966, they both somehow find themselves in Washington Square Park, that wonderful gathering place in the heart of Greenwich Village. Through a series of circumstances I describe in the book, Yona, lonely and homesick, strikes up a conversation this interesting woman — thinking mistakenly that she is also a “tourist.” Four months later they are married. The more I quizzed them about their story, the more convinced I became that the park itself had played a kind of matchmaking role. Forty-four years, two kids, and four grandkids later, they’re still happily married.

Norman Mailer's "jungle gym" apartment

Norman Mailer's "jungle gym" apartment

The New York Times has a great photo gallery of Norman Mailer’s stunning and highly personal Brooklyn Heights apartment on its website. Norman Mailer, who passed away in 2007, tackled his fear of heights (stemming from his vertigo problem) when he drastically remodeled his apartment over forty years ago “by designing a space that resembled…

The Fresh Kills landfill comes to film

The Fresh Kills landfill comes to film

A couple of year ago, I took a look at New York City’s 20+ year plan to transform the closed Fresh Kills landfill into the city’s largest park. That plan represents the end of the story: for years, residents and leaders on Staten Island worked to get the landfill closed… with some even threatening “secession” from the city over the health hazards and sensory displeasure created by the US’ largest dump.

2011 Armory Show epic roundup

2011 Armory Show epic roundup

Like last year, I’ve compiled an epic photo roundup of the art that caught my eye at this year’s Armory Show, a leading contemporary art show. This year I was also lucky enough to be included (Thanks Paul!) in the Armory Show’s opening benefit party held at the Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday night. The party included a fashionable and festive crowd that enjoyed the live performance of Kate Nash and her big bow headpiece, the DJing of Justin Miller and Will Robbins, and of course the ever-popular open bar.

Bandwidth warning: Lost of photos and more after the jump, including one awesome surprise guest appearance (at least for this fanboy)…

Tree planting = green jobs? MillionTreesNYC thinks so…

Tree planting = green jobs? MillionTreesNYC thinks so…

Green jobs involve installing solar panels, maintaining wind turbines, and weatherizing houses… right? Yes… and no. The technical aspect of renewable energy and efficiency have received the most attention as both the public and private sectors move towards a lower-carbon economy… but that doesn’t mean the job prospects are limited to the techies, engineers, and mechanically inclined. As more locales recognize the natural services provided by urban plants and forests, those skilled in tree care, landscaping, and natural systems maintenance will find demand for their abilities.

Improv Everywhere: Worst ice skater ever?

Improv Everywhere: Worst ice skater ever?

Improv Everywhere’s (previously) latest mission entertained and warmed the hearts of unaware tourists and locals around the ice rink at New York’s Bryant Park by “an ice skater stranded alone on the rink transformed from a novice into an expert.” The skating “agent” is played by a former professional figure skater Kenny Moir, now the…