Streams

Times Sq. Hotel Ranked Among America's Filthiest

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hotel Carter, ranked the No. 4 dirtiest hotel in the U.S., has made the annual survey of the nation's top 10 filthiest hotels for the fifth time in six years, according to TripAdvisor's Dirtiest Hotels 2011.

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China Takes PR Blitz to Times Square

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Losing sleep over the US-China trade deficit? Worried about China taking over the world?

China understands. Or at least its publicists do. After decades of watching American spinmeisters work their magic across the world, they're bringing their game onto U.S. soil.

This promotional video debuted at Times Square. From the WSJ:

"As President Hu Jintao begins his visit to the U.S. this week, China is blitzing America with a flashy television ad that mixes images of ordinary Chinese citizens with celebrities like NBA star Yao Ming, Web tycoon Jack Ma, and a quartet of fashion models. The minute-long video is scheduled to run on CNN and to be shown 300 times a day—once every four minutes during peak periods—on the giant display in New York's Times Square from now until Feb. 14.

"The ad is part of China's broader push in recent years to use its culture and people to ease international fears about its rise."

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Pale Male's Lady Hawk Has Gone Missing

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The fuss over Pale Male may have seemed more like a stealth Upper East Side real estate story than about urban wildlife, but now Lola, the red tailed hawk's famous mate with whom he shared a nest at 927 Fifth Ave., has gone missing and may be dead.

From Bruce Yolton at the Urban Hawks blog: "Lola hasn't been seen since mid-December and is unfortunately presumed dead."

But Bruce posted this really nice video, so you can get a sense of how a hawk snacks on squirrel (scroll to 1:44). Seriously, at times it's quite beautiful but can be graphic.

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The Edge of Desi Art

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Under pressure from my friend, I caught the end of Peter Greenaway's multimedia spectacle at the Park Avenue Armory, The Last Supper, which turned out to be spectacularly underwhelming. So when that same friend told me to come and see his work as well as that of other young South Asian artists in a new group show, I expected a mixed bag.

As it turned out, I was way off the mark: The show, Reprise 2010 (at Aicon Gallery, on Great Jones) is consistently good, at times great, and showcases the vitality of Indian and Pakistani contemporary art in a variety of media. This at a time when the Indian economy is booming, creating a generation of new collectors and galleries. Also figuring into this is the growth of big trade events like the India Art Summit, which takes place this week in New Delhi and includes Aicon artists from New York.

The Reprise show's on through Feb. 5. Take a look.

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Post-Arizona, Bloomberg Gun Group Returns to Spotlight

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

There was a period when Mayors Against Illegal Guns made serious waves. The group, formed by Mayors Bloomberg and Thomas Menino, in Boston, grew by leaps and bounds, signing up hundreds of mayors across the country and prompting the NRA to target the group in campaign ads.

However, over the last year or so, that growth has reached a plateau (it still claims to have around 500 members), and the group has had a quieter presence. But the shootings in Arizona have thrust the mayor and his group back into the national spotlight. For a mayor who's been dogged by a snowstorm furor, the issue of gun control appears to present steady ground.

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Pop-Tarts World NYC Shuts Down

Thursday, January 06, 2011

If you're like me, you may occasionally surprised to discover that things like Pop-Tarts still exist. Mmm, two wafers of hyrolyzed plywood, tightly encasing a layer of synthetic fruitiness. Just pop it in the toaster, take a bite, and find your tongue irreparably burned. But we're being unnecessarily snarky.

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Bloomberg's Snowpocalypse: The Animation, in Taiwanese

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A new viral video entitled "Bloomberg Blamed for Mishandling Snowpocalypse" is making the rounds online in a segment that takes jabs at the city's blizzard response with the help of strangely compelling CGI animation.

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Snow Topples Gravestones -- and Sanitation Is Blamed

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The blizzard may be long over but the damage and bad PR keeps on coming. Ned Berke at Sheepshead Bites brings to our attention the matter of dozens of gravestones that were toppled in Brooklyn, after a snow-packed cemetery fence gave way. Locals say sanitation workers are to blame.

From his blog post:

...Department of Sanitation workers packed load after load of snow and ice against the fence of Washington Cemetery on Bay Parkway, between McDonald Avenue and 57th Street. The metal gates buckled under the weight, toppling approximately 30 gravestone over the weekend.

“[Sanitation workers] were continually dumping snow there for several days,” said Washington Cemetery (5400 Bay Parkway) employee Mike Ciamaga, who added that cemetery officials first noticed the broken gravestones on Sunday morning.  ”As of this morning they were still dumping there.”

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308,745,538 Americans and Other Census News

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Government statisticians may not be born entertainers, but god knows the men and women of the U.S. Census Bureau try. Tuesday's big announcement -- the biggest census event in 10 years -- managed to ramp up the suspense before finally delivering the goods.

How many people live in this country? Which states grew the most? Which states are going to ask for a recount?

Answers forthcoming. But first, a video featuring some of the notables who publicized the Census outreach: Donny Osmond, Dora the Explorer, Karl Rove. They are all America.

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New York: First at Losing People to Other States

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."

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Get Ready, Get Set: the Park 51 Issue is Back

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.

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92nd St Y's Apology Not Enough for Steve Martin

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."

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A Rat Island, But Alas, No Rats

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.

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Press Release of the Day: Candles That Smell Like Burgers

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.


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Press Release of the Day: Deli Meat Philanthropy

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."

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Saturday Night Live Does Charlie Rangel

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.

 

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New Metrocard Prices: Choosing Unlimited vs. Pay-per-ride

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
42 $88.20 -15.80 $82.32 -6.68
43 $90.30 -13.70 $84.28 -4.72
44 $92.40 -11.60 $86.24 -2.76
45 $94.50 -9.50 $88.20 -0.80
46 $96.60 -7.40 $90.16 +1.16
47 $98.70 -5.30 $92.12 +3.12
48 $100.80 -3.20 $94.08 +5.08
49 $102.90 -1.10 $96.04 +7.04
50 $105.00 +1.00 $98.00 +9.00
51 $107.10 +3.10 $99.96 +10.96
52 $109.20 +5.20 $101.92 +12.92
$111.30 +7.30 $103.88 +14.88

 




 
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Artists Flee NYC: Less Funding But the Same High Rents

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.

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Four Thousand Rabbis Make a Party

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How many rabbis can you fit in a room? The organizers of the 27th International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries say about 4,000. The men -- they're all men -- flew in from 76 countries and sat down to a nice meal, some kosher wine and entertainment. The dinner, held this past Sunday, followed several days of conference workshops, as well as a big class picture.

The dining hall was a vast cruiseship terminal on the Brooklyn waterfront. Normally, it's used to process international tourists coming off fancy boats. However, for this occasion the room was rather lovingly decorated and lit to a soft, pastel glow. With great pride, an announcer highlighted the geographical diversity of the gathering: "The shliach to Japan! The shliach to Laos! The shliach to Nepal! The shluchim to Singapore!" (a shliach is an emissary; its plural form is shluchim)

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Scary or Campy? The FDA's New Cigarette Warnings

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?

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