Recently in Out and About Category


If you've been digging Alex's downtown then-and-now photos, check out these archival images from Harlem -- paired with what's (not) there now. [Harlem Bespoke]

Parks Department calls for volunteers on Saturday to clean up and help preserve the old New York State Pavilion in Queens. Meanwhile, Queens Crap readers raise their eyebrows. [HDC Newsstand; Queens Crap]

Or you can spend the weekend on one or more Brooklyn gallery tours. [Bed-Stuy Blog]

Brooklyn bonus from Brooks! "FYI, there is still room for a few more on the Nov. 29, Thanksgiving weekend walking tour of Carroll Gardens West/Columbia Heights Waterfront District. Please let me know if you'd like to join us." [Lost New York]

Or you can get ready for Thanksgiving by giving thanks with "Native American Circle" on the Harlem River. [Bronx Mama]

And plan ahead for a post-Thanksgiving tour of historic Richmond Town with the Staten Island Historical Society [NYC Arts]

Photo of the old Corn Exchange Building from Harlem Bespoke: "This was the section that was largely visible from the Metro North platform for the last 100 years until the city demolished it in the past six weeks."

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The following things are happening somewhere other than Manhattan below 14th street:


Forget bedbugs ... Queens Crap's readers debate the great ladybug invasion of 2009! [QC]

Miss Heather's Greenpoint-based New York Shitty wins the VOICE's "best of NYC" award for neighborhood blogs [VV]

Roosevelt Islanders want the Google Trike to come before it's too late! [RI]

Boogie Downer reminds readers that Saturday is It's My Park! Day throughout NYC [BD]

Move over Meatpacking! When Madonna ruled Staten Island's North Shore ... [SIL]

Okay, that last story deserves its own YouTube link. Now that's some New York nobody else is singing:

What's happening outside my neck of the woods?


The queen of food porn takes a trip to Woodside, Queens. [TGWAE]

Brooklyn by Bike plans a street vendor odyssey for Sunday (rain date the 25th). [BbB]

Bronx Bohemian is back, with the long-awaited second part of an interview with Bronx Borough Historian Lloyd Ultan. [BB]

The lowdown on the Uptown Salon: "This month marks the first anniversary of Harlem's Uptown Salon, a showcase and forum for the discussion of creative work, and an organization that seeks to foster a tightly knit artistic community in Harlem and the Upper West Side." (tonight!) [Free NYC]

Count us among those who're glad that Walking Is Transportation, our favorite Staten Island blog, is back. Here's a lovely meditation on writing and waterfronts. [WIT]


New Brighton painter Bill Murphy's heroic Along Arthur Kill (watercolor on paper, 54 x 62, 2007-08). Information: [painting via Walking Is Transportation]

The last time I checked our official Cambridge Companion page I was delighted to see that we officially have a cover. Even more delighted to see that they used the painting we recommended, by the Czech painter T. F. Simon:


The volume's due out in March. We just received proofs and think it looks pretty fantastic.

Some other highlights of the week ... via Stupefaction, a preview for a new film exploring the idea of "downtown" in the late 70s and early 80s. Narrated by Debbie Harry, Downtown Calling seems to have a special interest in exploring hip hop and underground dance. It premieres later this month in Austin.

Friends from LA are in town for a few days playing some shows. I caught them last night at Mercury Lounge and they're playing again at Union Hall in Brooklyn tomorrow. Not a lot of huge NYC content in this entry, if it weren't for the lovely and talented Sara Lov, the member of this tour I know best, who has a sweet little song called "New York":

Sara, who formerly fronted the band Devics, plays her set backed by a turntable that plays the instrumental tracks to her songs while she sings. I thought the trick worked quite well. Another LA band, Sea Wolf, headlines: friends of friends, they play perfectly pleasant indie rock. They had a nice crowd last night. My daughters have listened to them for the last few years and I took one of them, the 8th grader, to yesterday's sound check, since the show was 21+. Thanks to Sara and Tim for being so sweet to her while we were there.

And now? I think I'm going to go check out the much written about lobster rolls at Luke's. They're half the price of my favorites, at Ed's. I wonder if they'll only be half as good? Half the lobster? I'll report back.

You Are Here

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One of the things I like most about the moral orientation of David Freeland's new book Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville is its simultaneous focus on the lost and the found of living in the contemporary city. Most of the vanished forms of leisure he writes about require the archival efforts of a historian, to be sure, but they more often than not have left traces on the city -- architectural details or styles, fading signage, place names -- that even an observant amateur could spot and become curious about. Above all, it's the impulse toward curious observation that Freeland hopes to model and foster. (You'll see what I mean if you make it to the final session of our Lost New York conference next month, when Freeland will engage in conversation with another inveterate observer and urban theorist, Marshall Berman.)

You-Are-Here-Sign-300x292.jpgTo the end of fostering curiosity about traces of the lost city, Freeland has launched an interactive history installation he's calling "You Are Here." As he describes it on his blog, Gotham Lost and Found:

Throughout Manhattan I've put up 9 (with a bonus 10th to follow) dinner-plate sized signs, each on the surface of a building that once played a key role in the evolution of our entertainment culture.  When you find a "You Are Here" sign, simply text in the specified code to the number given on the sign - you'll receive an instant message back, telling you some interesting fact about where you are and why this building is important.  Think of it as my historian's fantasy - I'm putting up plaques on buildings that should have them, but don't.
These impromptu plaques might simply catch the eye of the curious and result in some spontaneous educating, but for those willing to play his game, he's devised a bit of a scavenger hunt, complete with rhyming clues:

#1 is south of Canal, along Elizabeth: you'll know the plot is getting thick, when you reach a site of russet brick.

#2 sits on twisting Doyers, above hidden foyers.

#3 lies east of Cooper Square; great Yiddish names once gathered there.

#4 captured New York scenes, in a building along Broadway in the lower teens.

#5 is on Second Avenue, in the East Village: where stars once ate, sushi takes the plate.

#6: They say old 28th sounded like a Tin Pan; see it now, while you still can.

#7: in the 130s east of 7th, the stars of swing would sing.

#8: On 135th, 'neath a 60s-styled wall, sat a great Harlem theater, accepting to all.

#9: Near the spot where Duffy stands, the food was served with invisible hands.

I'll provide a bonus clue for our readers. That's not the first time the name Duffy has appeared on this site.

Freeland writes about each of these locations in his book in great detail. Sure, you could pick up the book and use it as a guide on your quest to find his plaques. But he's also holding out, as a carrot to get you to hunt, the prize of a signed copy, plus a pass to the Museum of the City of New York, for the first five people to send in all the answers. Onward toward the production of cultural memory!

I've had a couple great trips out to Governors Island with friends and family this summer and hope to go a few more times before the season ends. I fished with my daughter off the eastern shore, listened to poetry and music produced by Patti Smith and her daughter, and really inspected Fort Jay closely for the first time. I haven't biked out there this year but hope to. I wouldn't mind seeing Lupe Fiasco's beach show, either, but damn -- for $40?

In case you missed it, The New Yorker had a big old piece on the Island by Nick Paumgarten. There's video from one of the magazine's blogs, too:

Earlier this summer I noticed that real progress is being made on the Harbor School's new home in an old, historic Coast Guard hospital. The LA Times had a sprawling piece on the school -- a NYC public high school rooted in studying the city's waterways -- a couple weeks back. It's well worth a read.


photo from Harlem Hybrid, via Animal

Damn, what a week. Is everyone else as pooped as I am? (I'm tempted to speak for Cyrus and say "as we are," since I didn't see his sorry ass posting here the last two days either. Then again, I think he's on single-parent duty this week.)

What's happening beyond the narrow blinders of our downtown lives?

Officials fear Fort Greene Park won't be big enough to house Spike Lee's planned birthday bash for MJ a week from Saturday. [The Local]

Who walks in Brooklyn? Burn Some Dust does on Saturday, 8/22: "20 miles: Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, Plum Beach, Floyd Bennett Field, Fort Tilden, swimming at Breezy Point. Meet at southeast corner of Kings Hwy and McDonald Ave in Brooklyn at 10 AM. Bring a swimsuit! There will also be a bit of wandering through the woods, so you may want to wear/bring long pants or high socks." [Burn Some Dust (Click on Walk #40 on the calendar for details)]

More walking? Try Grymes Hill, Staten Island [FNY]

The Yoga Room is offering a FREE Yoga class (accompanied by live drumming) on Pier 1 of Gantry Plaza State Park, 9am-10:15am, Sunday 8/23. Please come early to set yourself up; a mat, comfortable clothing, and a desire to have fun are all that's necessary to participate. 50th Ave & the East River, LIC [liQcity]

Bronx Bohemian is apparently on vacation. Come back BB! We miss your posts from up north!

One more from Harlem Hybrid to close up shop:



Jackrabbits at JFK [Queens Crap]

72-year-old Harlem small business owner blasts would-be robbers with shotgun, provokes admiration and reasoned discussion of gun rights in comments section. [City Room]

City Lore's blogger makes a pilgrimage to see rock sculptures on Staten Island's southeastern shore. [Sense & The City]

More Staten Island, in case you missed this in last week's paper: DIY St. George outing! [NYTimes]

Bronx teen gymnast takes third national title in Dallas. [Dallas News]

"Brooklyn Typology": The borough as art. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]

Bonus: Day and Night in NYC -- mapped! [via RooseveltIsland360]

What's going on out there?


Brooks reports on $13 lobster rolls coming to Red Hook ... less than half the price of those found in my neighborhood! (I'll admit, though, that I've never had a better one than Ed's, which is worth the bucks.) [Lost City]

More from Brooklyn: Have you been following Jeremiah's dispatches from Coney Island? [JVNY]

Celebrating Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation. [Bronx Latino]

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival comes to Queens. [NY1 and]

Have you checked out the blog for Staten Island PS 22's 5th grade chorus? They're the kids singing in the background on one of this summer's guilty pleasures, as seen on Fader.

Free Thursday evening yoga in Inwood Park. [Manhattanspeak]

Closer to home, I loved this:


Have a nice weekend!


City Room reports that this year's Summer Streets events -- beginning this Saturday -- will include pilot programs for public bikeshares, allowing bikeless New Yorkers to enjoy car-free streets from lower Manhattan all the way up to Central Park:

At two places between Park and Lexington Avenues, at 26th and 47th Streets, several bike-share companies will demonstrate on a small scale the kind of systems that exist elsewhere in the world. ...

Around 180 bikes will be available -- the majority provided by the Dutch government as part of its contribution to the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Henry Hudson in present-day New York.

Read the rest here. More on Summer Streets here, including info on events in other boroughs.

Apparently there aren't yet plans for a long-term program in NYC, but that could change if enough people use the service and write thank you notes to Janette Sadik-Khan.

Previously on AHNY. Image from

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