Archives by Subject: New York
How many elevators does $1 million buy?
My college career is alas winding down, so tonight I went to attend a reception for graduating students in NYU's Kimmel Center. Situated on Washington Square South, it houses NYU's one swankiest spaces -- on the tenth floor houses is the Rosenthal Pavilion, a large ballroom with a a great view up Fifth Avenue.
Tonight, the Rosenthal Pavilion apparently was holding a reception for members of NYU's Sir Harold Acton Society, an exclusive club for NYU trustees and those that have given over one million dollars.
And so older people in tuxedos and gowns passed through the Kimmel lobby. Kimmel has four elevators, but apparently one had been "reserved" for the event, an NYU representative told me. "They probably paid for it!" she said. Well, perhaps, but my ever-growing tuition probably helped too. "It's actually a common misconception that tuition only covers..." she shot back.
So then another elevator arrived. "Actually, we're using this one, too," I was told. Yeah, not so much. I walked into the elevator anyway, and the 30 other students that had been waiting followed.
Meanwhile, I receive frequent solicitations to give money to my Senior class gift! I wonder how many elevators that will buy?
I'm a big supporter of giving back to institutions. I'm very active in fund raising for the school I attended in Baltimore.
But this whole experience makes me less than eager to start donating to NYU.
More on my Flickr.
L Magazine Knows Too Much
Most NYU stereotypes are pretty dumb -- and often inaccurate. But wait a minute! Maybe L Magazine is on to something here!
1 Phase I (Freshman Year) Fifth Avenue at Washington Square is a perfectly reasonable place for an 18-year-old from Beaver, Pennsylvania to get a sense of his societal standing in relation to the rest of New York, isn’t it?
Well, I lived on Washington Square West. And I'm not from Pennsylvania. But close enough.
2 Phase II (Senior Year) Having discovered that Greenwich Village no longer has any “bohemians,” our little hero convinces the ‘rents to help out with rent in Alphabet City, by which he means “pay it all.” Probably the coolest place he’ll ever live.
Okay, so not as accurate as above -- but I do live in Alphabet City. Oh L Magazine, tell me where I move to next?!?
3 Phase III (Age 23) At this point, as the territory known as “East Williamsburg” grows to include parts of Connecticut, our hero, weaned from the teat of parental generosity, learns all about “crazy” roomates and loft life.
No way am I moving to Connecticut.
Another one of the reasons I'm cool is that I tivo Good Morning America, and watch it when I wake up, whenever that might be. This morning during the local news break the top local story was Bull on the Loose!
Am I the only one who finds this funny?
If you don't find it funny yet, the headline on their website is:
Still not funny yet?
It happened in Newark, New Jersey!
Yesterday, my old nasty tennis shoes were stolen in the locker room of a New York Sports Club while I was showering. Curiously, nobody touched the jeans or nicer shoes in my unlocked locker.
Not sure what to make of this...
Overheard on Chicago's El
New York's subway car announcements are always extreme: either inaudible or annoying ("Thank you for riding New York City Transit!").
Yet I was surprised to hear "the voice" on Chicago's El inform me that
"Soliciting and gambling are prohibited on CTA vehicles".
Sorry, no poker games on the subway!
One of the things that makes me cool is my interest in local news. I've worked at Baltimore's ABC and NBC affiliates, but I certainly wasn't doing much of anything in 1987, the date of this news open.
They had a live announcer for the local news at WNBC in New York, announcing directly in front of the anchor desk -- how random yet cool.
Things You Don't Want to Hear on the 6 Train
While stopped in the middle of a tunnel:
"Downtown 6 service is currently suspended. We have a sick passenger at Spring Street. EMT units are on the way, and once the situation is resolved, downtown 6 service will continue."
First they tried to have us all go to the first car so they could edge into the station and let us out through one door. Eventually they decided to evacuate the train currently in the station, let it go slightly up the tunnel, and then let all us out.
Protesters Outside My Door
Regardless of what you think of their cause, their skills of organization are incredible.
· Protesters Photo Set [flickr]
Make the Bad Man Stop
Trying to work is difficult when they are filming a movie literally right outside your window.
Especially when that movie involves a car crash scene.
Which they are shooting approximately 3,466,352 times.
I'm just saying.
Barcamp New York
This weekend will be my first back in New York City for over four months, in addition to the last weekend of winter break before beginning my Spring semester. So, it's obvious what I'll be doing: spending Saturday and Sunday talking and learning about new technology at BarCampNYC.
BarCamp is an ad-hoc un-conference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees. All attendees must give a demo, a session, or help with one.
I Knew the MTA Was Lazy...
...but couldn't they find something else to do with the Times Square Subway Marquee 9 circle besides black it out when it was shut down?
Apparently workers had to place "black vinyl patches over 904 signs on platforms and entrances at 45 stations: 37 along the line itself and 8 transfer stations."
I wonder what the white circle used to be...
A New York Times article about changing the 9 signage explains the 9 isn't the only line to ever disappear:
The No. 9, then, enters a graveyard of other route designations that have graced the subway map over the years. The No. 8, an elevated line, ran above Third Avenue in the Bronx until it was demolished in 1973. Double-letter designations -- like the AA, GG and QB -- were phased out in 1986. The JFK Express ran alongside the A train, from Midtown to Howard Beach, Queens, until 1990.
· On Its Last Wheels, No. 9 Line Is Vanishing on Signs [New York Times]
· Abandoned Stations List [NYCSubway.org]
Another Day, Another CollegeHumor Article
Another glowing profile of CollegeHumor/Connected Ventures appeared in this morning's New York Times.
In other (more important) Connected Ventures news, with my new camera, I can finally post videos on Vimeo! You have no idea how happy this makes me.
Restaurant Months 2005?
One of the coolest times to be in New York is during Restaurant Week, when delicious and expensive restaurants offer three course prix-fixe meals for around $20 for lunch and around $35 for dinner. As its name implies, restaurant week usually lasts for... a week.
Apparently, however, it's been extended until Labor Day (September 5!), excluding weekends.
Maybe they should change the name?
7,500 Safe Deposit Boxes
If the weather were a bit better, I'd probably venture to the opening of the new Commerce Bank in Chinatown. A fun article in Friday's New York Times discusses how the branch is dealing with the special needs of a bank in Chinatown.
Personally, the most interesting part of the article discusses why the Chinese are drawn to safe deposit boxes. The new branch in Chinatown will have 7,500 safe deposit boxes, while the average branch has only 500:
"My parents are a good example," said Paul W. Ho, senior vice president for the Asian market domain at HSBC Bank U.S.A., a unit of HSBC Holdings Corporation. "Every time they get invited to a wedding, they go to the safe deposit box. They retrieve their jewelry, and go to the wedding. Then they put it back. That's my mom."
A Sticky Situation for Snapple
Talk about a publicity stunt gone wrong: in a sad effort to break the Guinness Book of World Records for biggest popsicle, a 20 ton and 2-and-a-half story kiwi-strawberry Snapplesicile melted all over Union Square, and "sent unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists slipping and sliding," at least according to the New York Post. I wish I could find better pictures.
Amazingly, the press release seems to have been delinked from Snapple's Press page.
· Huge Popsicle Melts on a Hot Summer Day [Gothamist]
· Snapple Slips Up in Ice-Pop Flop [New York Post]
· A Shocking Thing Happened to the Big Popsicle. It Melted. [New York Times]
Overheard on the Subway
A group of kids that couldn't have been older than 15 were hovering over their peer playing Tetris on a calculator. All of the sudden, the game player screams out "NO!" at the top of his lungs, frustrating much of my fellow riders.
His friend informs him, "You can't scream on the subway unless everybody already is."
Words to live by!
MTA Now Uses Address Verification for Credit Cards?
Hardly the most exciting story of the day, but as I was coming home from work today, I needed to refill my metrocard -- something I've done dozens of times. But this time the machine asked me to enter my billing zip code on the keypad.
As a merchant that accepts credit cards myself, I know all about AVS (the Address Verification System). You can send the system the billing zip code and the first part of the billing street address when processing the transaction, and use the results to help you determine if it's fraudulent.
Has the MTA had problems with people using stolen credit cards at Metrocard machines? Gas stations are notorious for being one of the places credit card theives see if a card is still active.
How will this affect the already-long lines at Metrocard machines during rush hour? Certainly I'm not the only one that was surprised by this.
It's also possible that this was some sort of fluke or test.
NYC2012 Signs on Subway Cars: A Good Use of Funding?
The system is expensive to maintain, and money is scarce. So, can't New York City find a better way to spend available money then putting NYC2012 decals on the side of almost every subway car?
Just a few weeks ago, the IOC bid committee came to evaluate New York. According to Newsday: "Approximately $1 million in privately raised funds and another $2 million in donated goods and services will be spent during the 4 1/2 days following the scouts' arrival Sunday night. Signs boosting NYC2012's bid will be on 13,000 taxicabs, 4,000 subway cars and 7,000 buses, on banners hanging from lamp posts and in newspaper ads and television commercials."
I can think of a much better use for $3 million dollars. I doubt that $3 million worth of poorly placed advertisements all over the city influenced the IOC one way or another. After all, at their only press conference, they said the proposed West Side Stadium was a critical issue yet to be resolved. Oh, yeah, the city and state want to contribute $600 million to that thing.
I guess the subway doesn't really matter.
An Excellent and Awful Restaurant
To those that live or frequent New York: Sandobe is an excellent sushi restaurant, and Otto is an awful restaurant with awful service.
Let's get this awful experience out of the way. I made the mistake of having lunch yesterday at Otto. The coolest thing about this place is the fact their address is 1 Fifth Avenue. After that, it's all down hill.
A friend and I arrived to a relatively empty house and were promptly seated in the back. A minute later, bread and water arrived. Yet our waiter took fifteen minutes to take our orders. I had to get up and try and ask someone to track him down for us. After convincing him to take our orders, he wasn't seen again until the end of the meal, when I had to once again flag him down to ask for our check. What's worse is that our waiter was helping tables immediately surrounding us in the relatively empty house, but apparently chose to ignore us.
So, if you like having your orders taken when you dine, stay away from Otto.
Sandobe is incredible. This East Village sushi restaurant has delicious food and an incredible value. Unlike most Sushi restaurants, a filling dinner for two came to $16! The house special rolls range in price from four to six dollars and have what I'd estimate to be four or five usual pieces of Sushi.
If you're a fan of sushi, you have to check out Sandobe.
Cheap Airfare from New York Area Airports
I always admire people that can blog on a daily basis. They have time and dedication that I don't.
But I really admire people that blog on a daily basis and could save me loads of money. The New York Airfare Report is one of these blogs.
Here's the deal: Every day, airlines lower a few, or a few hundred, fares to amazingly low levels. No one knows why. The airlines won't talk about it, and they don't advertise them. Fares like JFK to Venice, Italy for $138 RT....in August. Or New York to Honolulu to for $298 RT. Or Newark to LA for $88 RT. These aren't typos...they're real examples of recent "hidden" fare sales.
It doesn't seem like he even makes much (if any) money from this.
If you live in the New York area, this is worth checking out.