Sunday, December 12, 2010
The housing bust may have been at the center of the Great Recession, but the fact that New York state has suffered less on the housing front has, ironically, meant it leads the nation in out-migration. This according to Forbes:
At No.1 on our list, New York is expected to wave goodbye to 49,000 more people than it gains this year. The state has seen a steady loss of residents over the past five years, losing an average of 100,000 people per year. [Economist Nathaniel] Karp explains that, because New York is a large state, it may report greater movement than others, but notes that population size is not the only reason residents are fleeing.
"In order to move, you need to be able to sell your home," says Karp. "The housing market [in New York] has not gone through the meltdown that other states have gone through."
Friday, December 10, 2010
Now and then, people ask me, "Whatever happened to that mosque issue?" As if the subject that dominated the airwaves like no other, over the entire summer, had somehow, mysteriously vanished. As we reported a few weeks ago, Park 51 didn't appear to gain any traction as an issue with voters leading up to the November elections. But now, it seems supporters and opponents alike are mobilizing their troops, ready to battle once again over the public perception.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Maybe he should've just worn an arrow through his head, or danced like a pharaoh.
Whatever Steve Martin did while on-stage at the 92nd Street Y, it clearly wasn't interesting enough for some patrons. Last Monday, Martin sat down for a chat with Deborah Solomon of The New York Times. The discussion was about art -- in light of his Martin's book set in the art world -- but according to Sol Adler, the executive director of the Y, the institution "received numerous complaints from audience members about how the interview was conducted."
Thursday, December 02, 2010
I was heartened to hear that our city has a Rat Island -- near City Island, off the Bronx -- but frankly, a bit disappointed that it was never home to a huge, writhing colony of untameable super-rodents. From Ephemeral New York (via MAS):
Purchased from Native Americans in 1654 by the Pell family, the island’s name supposedly stems from the inmates then jailed on Hart Island. When inmates—who were nicknamed rats—escaped, they swam to Rat Island first before making a go at reaching City Island.
By the 1800s, it was the location of the “Pelham Pesthouse,” a yellow fever hospital that quarantined 40 people.
Last year, the 2.5 acre island was up for sale, for $300,000. Not sure what became of that, although it's never too late to build that rodent colony and amusement park. I actually know the parks commissioner, fyi.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
As with our inaugural press-release-of-the-day item yesterday, this one combines two things that publicists absolutely love -- invoking holiday spirit, and attaching an important social cause (hunger, autism) to a merchandising opportunity.
"With eight nights of giving, it’s easy to run out of gift ideas for that hard-to-buy for person. Let the aroma of steam-grilled-on-a-bed-of-onions fill the house this Hanukkah season by giving White Castle's Original slider®-scented candle as a quirky, yet distinctive Hanukkah gift.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
We reporters are blessed to receive email from a cross-section of society, or at least their publicists. Today's is as selfless as they come: Eat our meat, feed the hungry.
"New Yorkers are invited to take a Deli Challenge this Thursday, December 2nd, and decide for themselves who has the best deli meat – Dietz & Watson or Boar’s Head. This friendly taste-testing is being conducted in an effort to help fight hunger during this holiday season. Shoppers will be asked to take a blind taste test, and in return, Dietz & Watson will donate one pound of food per participant to the Food Bank For New York City."
Monday, November 22, 2010
The beleagured Charlie Rangel, rather his likeness, made the cut on this weekend's Saturday Night Live, during a segment also featuring Rachel Maddow, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi. There were a few nice bits of dialogue -- and Pelosi's sudden eye bulge made me laugh out loud -- but all in all, I found the sketch lackluster, especially the Rangel impersonation. Where was the trademark rasp, or the magical rhetorical flow? Judge for yourself.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Agonizing over whether to keep buying an unlimited Metrocard? We certainly are. The new $104 unlimited, effective December 30, packs a budgetary whallop. But Capndesign put together this handy chart (via Gothamist), so you can run the numbers yourself. The main lesson here is that you need more rides per month -- 50, versus 46 with the current card -- to make it worth the new price of the unlimited. Godspeed, commuter.
|New Price ($104/mo.)||Old Price ($89/mo.)|
|Trips||Single Cost||Diff vs. Monthly||Single Cost||Diff vs. Monthly|
Monday, November 15, 2010
Here's one of those depressing articles you've probably seen variations of over the years -- New York City is expensive; artists can't afford to live here -- and may be tempted to roll your eyes at. But this Crain's piece is worth reading because it speaks to the current economic climate:
...a survey of 1,000 artists conducted in 2009 by the New York Foundation for the Arts found that more than 43% expected their annual income to drop by 26% to 50% over the next six months, and 11% believed they would have to leave New York within six months. Even more troubling, cultural boosters say, is that for the first time, artists fresh out of art schools around the country are choosing to live in nascent artist communities in regional cities like Detroit and Cleveland—which are dangling incentives to attract this group—and bypassing New York altogether.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The FDA has proposed making cigarette smoking an even more terrifying experience: they want smokers to confront, in visual form, the consequences of long-term addiction. If a proposal is passed, cigarette manufacturers would be required to put on the packs not just the classic verbal warning, but graphic images like the ones below.
Mayor Bloomberg, noted opponent of smoking, had this to say: "The FDA's proposal to put far tougher – or, to put it another way, accurate – warnings on cigarette packages is a bold step by the Obama Administration to improve our nation’s health and help save countless lives."
But how good are the images themselves? I'd say that in terms of possible effectiveness, they're a mixed bag. While the ones that show actual cancer spots on the lips, and someone who is presumably in a hospital bed, dying, are pretty harrowing, others look like they've been lifted from a comic book. As if they'd become collector's items rather than grotesque reminders of what smoking can do to a person.
Check out the images below -- what do you think?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Former president George W. Bush was on the Today Show with Matt Lauer, promoting his new book, Decision Points, and he was pushed to take a stand on Park 51, the Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero. As you may recall, at the peak of the controversy this summer, a number of supporters of Park 51 called on him to speak up, in hopes that he would voice support for the project and perhaps chide the most virulently anti-Islamic speakers.
He didn't then, and he refused to today, saying he didn't want to have his words on the issue -- or any other issue -- constantly compared to those of President Obama. Lauer tried to elicit some response, any response on the issue, but didn't get very far.
LAUER: Well, without saying whether they should build the community center or not, are you disappointed by the increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country that we’ve seen recently?
BUSH: I think most Americans welcome freedom of religion and honor religions. I truly do. And the problem with the arena today is a few loud voices can dominate the discussion and I don’t intend to be one of the voices in the discussion.
See this video clip of the interview, from Think Progress.
The full interview is also worth watching, if only to see Kanye West apologize for calling Bush a racist, once upon a time. I think we need to impose an immediate moratorium on Kanye West apologies.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Pervez Musharraf is on a world tour, and apparently he wants his old job back. On Tuesday, the former president of Pakistan (by way of coup) was at the Council on Foreign Relations on the Upper East Side, and, I'm sorry to say, I didn't make the event. But this blistering interrogation, conducted afterward by the BBC's Matt Frei, is as entertaining as it is squirm-inducing.
Pressed by Frei to justify his campaign to return to office, Musharraf says he's more popular than people realize.
MUSHARRAF: I am popular. I know I'm popular.
FREI: How do you know that?
MUSHARRAF: Well, I have a good assessment. I have a good assessment from the Facebook that I have.
FREI: You're basing your popularity on the number of hits you've had on your Facebook site?
MUSHARRAF: No, this is one indicator. I don't take everything so wrong. I mean, obviously, it's one indicator. It's an indicator. I'm not saying it's entirely the Facebook.
Frei grilled Musharraf on his decision to campaign abroad, rather than at home, but Musharraf cited security concerns. He also said people are clamoring for him to come back and "save Pakistan."
Musharraf launched his party, the All-Pakistan Muslim League, this summer. His Facebook page currently has more than 346,000 fans.
Monday, November 08, 2010
Years ago, when I was trying to break into journalism, I pitched a couple of stories to an editor who worked for some big magazines. She seemed to like me, but wasn't too kicked by my ideas.
"I'm sorry," she said. "But religion just isn't... sexy."
It was, of course, a profoundly silly thing to say, and representative of a problem within certain segments of the media: religion, as some see it, is a mawkish, suburban affair, one hardly worth devoting much ink to. Or, as this article at "The Urbanophile" (via Daily Dish) put it, "there's a lot more to religion in the city than abortion protests." The author argues that urbanists need to pay more attention to religious groups "because many urban congregations have mastered the art of outreach and conversion in a way that transit and density advocates can only dream of."
Monday, November 08, 2010
There's a Brooklyn hotel boom underway, according to the Daily News -- with four times as many rooms today as there were five years ago -- and that includes hyper-specialized hotels, like the new, 35-room Condor, in Williamsburg. It's the third in the borough targeting Orthodox families and businessmen:
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
So, where exactly is Gerritsen Beach? That's what was going through my mind as I read a sensational story about boys being boys (GerritsenBeach.net via Gothamist) on Halloween. An idyllic nook of the city, perhaps, preserving bygone ways of waterfront life and maybe an impenetrable accent that even nearby Sheepshead Bay-ers can't understand?
Well, not so idyllic, it turns out. For these were boys being bad boys. It seems they were out "bombing," Brooklyn style on Sunday night, according to a community blog:
An older man in his late 60′s was driving along Gerritsen Avenue when his car was hit by eggs, when he exited the vehicle he was pelted by dozens of eggs, rocks were thrown, chucks of brick, and someone tossed a hammer. Parents and community members stepped in to protect this man and started to chase the kids to away.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
There are serious fringe benefits to liking a team that keeps losing. From MLB.com:
Coming off a second consecutive fourth-place finish in 2010, the Mets on Wednesday announced a pricing program that will reduce the average cost of a ticket by more than 14 percent next year. In total, the team reduced the face values of 62 percent of Citi Field's 41,800 seats.
Som single-game tickets will actually go up, from $11 to $12. But the Mets increased the percentage of tickets available at $15 or less.
Season-ticket holders, ticket-plan and group-ticket customers will also receive an additional 10 percent discount on their tickets.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
From the Post:
Noise in 98 percent of Manhattan's public space exceeds healthy levels, says a study co-authored by Columbia University researchers to be released today. Honking cars or quarreling neighbors raise our stress, but background noise like truck traffic that New Yorkers take in stride may be even worse, said Robyn Gershon, a Columbia professor.