NYC

Official NYC Swag

You can find street vendors hawking NYC paraphernalia on practically every corner, but did you know that there are two stores that sell official NYC merchandise? I didn’t, but discovered that while I was going down an internet rabbit hole, the other day.

There are two aptly named CityStores, run by the NYC government: one at the Manhattan Municipal Building and one at City Hall. I’ve yet to visit either (maybe I’ll stop by the next time I get called to jury duty!). But their online shop shows that they’re selling some kitschy yet cool stuff.

Like this tote:

The Brooklyn Bridge Bag

and these coasters:

Set of 4 Manhole Cover Coasters

and this City College subway tile:

City College Subway Tile

and this sanitary grade onesie! (Of course, there’s a Grade Pending shirt, as well.)

Grade A Baby Onesie!

They’re also hawking those awesome Metro Cuffs I wrote about a few months ago:

metrocuff

Best of all, they have a number of wedding items—and fresh flowers!—for those who get married at City Hall. I especially love the Emergency Bow Tie.

(Images via CityStore)

NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette

I’m sure that in every city, there are unspoken but almost universally agreed upon truths and learnings, among residents. Here in NYC, we certainly have tons.

Like not standing directly in front of the doors after entering the subway.

And that the left sides of escalators are for walkers.

And that the city isn’t so hard to navigate once you remember that even streets go east and odd streets go west.

And that you can always identify tourists by their tendency to walk super slowly while looking up.

And so on.

Artist Nathan W. Pyle has taken to illustrating such wisdoms in NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette, his book that comes out next April. He’s sharing illustrations that probably won’t make it—and a few that will—on Facebook, and they’re spot-on and hilarious! I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at many of them.

A few of my faves:

empty subway car

passenger distribution

who should sit there?

close the door

trip zone

eating on the subway

Genius, right? I can’t wait to see what else Pyle will illustrate. I’m wondering if he’ll design some of my other peeves…like people who bring bikes on the subway…or people who don’t move after going through a revolving door…

What are some of your “favorite” NYC etiquette gripes?

(Illustrations by Nathan W. Pyle via the NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette Facebook page)

Jones Beach

As a kid growing up in Queens, I always ended up at Jones Beach a few times, each summer. That and Long Beach were the go-to day trip spots for most people in our part of the city. I remember jumping through the waves there (before I developed my fear of rough water, which I still have today!), swimming in the shallows of Zach’s Bay and sunbathing in the ever-crowded—and sometimes scuzzy—Field 4.

This weekend, I went to Jones Beach with Mal and Peter—and realized it had been several years since I’d been. (Probably due to getting all my beach time in MD and DE, the past few summers!) The Field 6 parking lot was pretty crowded when we arrived at 9 a.m., but luckily, the beach wasn’t. We claimed a spot right by the water…and stayed for eight hours! The sand and water were actually cleaner and nicer than I remembered, and I had to drag myself away at the end of the day. But I was glad to have rediscovered that spot from my childhood—and am already looking forward to more days there!

Coincidentally, I stumbled upon this photo today. I couldn’t help but smile when I instantly recognized it as Jones Beach in the 1930s. The tower in the background is an unmistakeable landmark!

jones beach

(Photo by Willard Culver via National Geographic’s Tumblr)

Voice Tunnel

This looks super-cool.

voice tunnel

“Voice Tunnel” is the signature art installation at this year’s Summer Streets. (Three Saturdays when nearly seven miles of NYC streets are closed to cars, and open to pedestrians and bikers.)

Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer lined the Park Avenue Tunnel,В which runs from 33rd to 42nd Street, with 300 theatrical spotlights and 150 speakers. Pedestrians who pass through can speak into an intercom that records and loops their voices—and affects the brightness of the lights. The result will be constantly changing light and sound patterns.

I appreciate how understated the installation seems—how it utilizes the space but doesn’t completely take it over. Because for me, one of the coolest parts of experiencing it would just be walking through the tunnel.

Turns out, that was one of Lozano-Hemmer’s goals. As he puts it, in the video below:

I wanted to do something that would not be a big intervention because the tunnel, itself, is quite pretty—the beautiful sort of rock shapes, the metal cladding. You feel special just walking into it.

Will definitely have to check it out.

(Photo by Julie Hau via Summer Streets’ Facebook page; video by NYC DOT via Transportation Nation’s Tumblr. Summer Streets are August 3, 10 and 17.)

MTA Tattoos

As a non-driver and native New Yorker, I have a soft spot for the MTA and the NYCВ subwayВ system—even though I’m often frustrated when I can’t get a seat in the morning. (I’m the fourth stop on the A train!)

Nevertheless, I’m loving Tattly’s new line of MTA temporary tattoos. I especially appreciate how it includes the diamond shaped icons for the 6 and 7 trains!

mta set

Love this example of A/C/E pride…

a c e

and this double display of NYC pride!

bagel

(Photos via Tattly; found via Swissmiss)

Stay Cool

Children escape the heat of the East Side by using fire hydrant as a shower bath

It is crazy hot, here in NYC, but of course, I’m loving every sticky minute of it!В I’m still forgoing fans or an AC in my apartment, but I’ve been indulging in lots of ice showers—my indoor version of what those kids are doing in the photo above.

Maybe because it’s so old school, but I love that cooling off via fire hydrant is an NYC tradition.В (This photo was taken in 1943.) Today, local fire departments even distribute free “spray caps” for hydrants, to save water and create makeshift sprinklers for anyone looking for heat relief.

Stay cool (and safe)!

(Photo by Roger Smith via the Library of Congress)

Ariel Erestingcol’s Times Square Portraits

Did you play with Perler beads when you were a kid? I did, and I loved making things out of them! (In case you need a refresher on what they are, they’re tiny colored beads that you arrange onto grids in various shapes and formations. Then, an adult would run an iron over them, thus fusing the beads together to make little plastic creations.)

Perhaps it’s the nostalgia factor, but I’m loving Ariel Erestingcol‘s Time Square portraits made by a similar method. To create them, the Los Angeles-based artist pixelated images of 42nd Street and plotted out which colored beads would go where. Then, he placed each bead onto a grid…

Ariel Erestingcol’s beadwork

Ariel Erestingcol’s beadwork

…and created plastic portraits of Times Square. Each one contains more than 5,000 beads.

ariel erestingcol times square ariel erestingcol times square

The limited edition pieces were available at CB2 and now,В unsurprisingly, appear to be sold out. I would have loved to get one! But I’m going to keep my eye out for Erestingcol’s future creations.

(Top images via CB2, bottom images via The Luxury Spot)