Streams

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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President Bush on Park 51: No Comment

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.

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Musharraf Takes Manhattan

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.

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Urbanists: Time to Get Religion

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."

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Hotel For Orthodox Jews: Yes to Yiddish, No to TVs

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:

To accommodate families of Hasidic Jews who limit their kids' exposure to popular culture, there are no TVs in the rooms. You won't find Bibles there either, but you will find stands for the wigs traditionally worn by married Hasidic women.

The concierge at the front desk speaks Yiddish. Of course, don't expect anyone to answer the phone from sundown to sunset on the Sabbath, which runs from Friday evening to Saturday evening, or on holidays when the use of phones and other electrical devices is shunned by observant Jews. Also during the Sabbath and holidays, so-called Shabbos elevators stop on every floor.

With a 3,000-square-foot ballroom in the basement (including separate entrances for men and women), the hotel will also try to compete with neighborhood catering halls for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

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Halloween Horror: Hurled Rocks, Eggs, Potatoes on Gerritsen Beach

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.

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Mets Tickets Just Got Cheaper

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.

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Jimmy "Rent is Too Damn High" McMillan's New Ad

Monday, November 01, 2010

I know -- the rent is too damn high -- but they couldn't afford a single lightbulb? Seems he made 10k off the commercial, though -- so says Capitol Confidential. Does Jimmy have more ads left in him, or is he getting too damn overexposed?

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Halloween: Parade Pics

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Alright, PRE-parade pics.

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98 Percent of Manhattan's Parks are Way Too Loud

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.

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Puerto Ricans: The Worst-Off of NYC's Latinos

Friday, October 29, 2010

From a study by the Community Service Society of New York:

Roughly 17 percent of young Puerto Rican men were not in school, employed or looking for work, compared with 9 percent of Dominicans and 8 percent of Mexicans. Of those Latinos born in the United States, only 55 percent of Puerto Rican youth were enrolled in school, compared with 68 percent of Dominicans and 67 percent of Mexicans. Regardless of birthplace, about 33 percent of Puerto Rican families lived below the poverty line, compared with 29 percent of Dominicans and 27 percent of Mexicans. [NYT]

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New Yorkers: Giuliani and Sharpton Necessary to Public Life? Not So Much.

Friday, October 29, 2010

This pre-election poll by the WSJ could be a game-changer:

For fun, the poll asked registered voters whom among the following public figures they'd most want to leave public life: radio's Howard Stern; former Gov. Eliot Spitzer; real-estate mogul Donald Trump; Rep. Charlie Rangel; TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford; former Mayor Rudy Giuliani; or Rev. Al Sharpton. The former mayor and the reverend earned the most votes, both with 19%, followed by Mr. Stern, with 12%, and Mr. Spitzer, newly of CNN, with 10%. Aides to Rev. Sharpton and Mr. Giuliani did not return a request for comment.

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Halloween: Do Muslims Celebrate?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

As a kid, my parents didn't have an issue with my going out on Halloween and trick-or-treating. They didn't even hassle us much about bringing home too much candy. Their main concern was probably the same one my sisters and I had: what if we bit into an apple with a razor blade into it?? That was the fear much of America seemed to have in my day -- as if kids of our generation actually had an iota of interest in healthy apples when presented with so many other, more decadent options.

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Miniskirt Over Munsters: A Halloween Tattoo Special

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Caught this girl on the E train. Does inking Lily and Herman on your calves make a bold statement or what?

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Remember the "Ground Zero Mosque?" Voters Don't

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Take your mind back to a time long, long ago -- back to the hazy summer days of 2010. Return to September, if you will, when the only issue on everyone's lips was "The Mosque." Beyond the predictable frenzy on cable news, it seemed not a week went by without crowds gathering near Ground Zero, either to voice support for Park 51 and religious freedom, or to rail against The Monster Mosque and sharia. Opponents even issued an ultimatum: Stand with us, and you'll be fine. Stand with the mosque, however, and the voters will remember, and they'll drive you out of office, come November.

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My License Plate Says "Tibetan"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seen in Jackson Heights, which has a small but noticeable community of Tibetans. But I can't help wonder: At what point does a member of a tiny ethnic minority decides s/he needs to "represent"? I suspect it requires some amount of solidarity -- no point in having a license plate that says "Tibetan" if there aren't any other Tibetans around, is there?

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