NYC

What Does Your Manhattan Look Like?

Back in 2009, native New Yorker Becky Cooper walked Manhattan from top to bottom. Along the way, she handed out blank maps of the borough, along with stamped envelopes bearing her address. Her request to recipients: Fill in the map with your experience of Manhattan. Tons of people obliged; weeks later, Cooper was inundated with personalized maps.

She’s compiled the best ones for her book,В Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers, which comes out in April.В This weekend, the NY Times ran an awesome gallery of a few of the maps. It included entries from New Yorker staff writer Patricia Marx (who themed her map around her lost gloves) and the head of the New York Public Library’s map division (whose map pointed out directions to key places in her life). The one below especially amused me—it’s funny how territorial New Yorkers can be, whether intentionally or unintentionally!
migration patterns
If you were given one of those blank maps, how would you have filled it out? (I think I would have highlighted 30 spots, each representing a significant place for each year or my life, numbered accordingly.)

(Image via NY Times)

MetroCard Art

In my humble opinion,В few things are asВ quintessentially NYC as MetroCards. They’re literally your keys to the city, allowing you to travel pretty huge distances (e.g. my Washington Heights apartment to Coney Island) with a single swipe.

That’s why I’m loving Single Fare 3, a new exhibit that showcases art created on MetroCards. More than 1,000 artists submitted pieces for a chance to have their tiny works displayed. The exhibit runs at Tribeca’s RH GalleryВ through February 22, and individual cards are available for purchase through March 15.

Some of my favorites:

McKean Thomas MetroCard

Dina Brodsky MetroCard

Stacy Seiler MetroCard

Jeff Faerber MetroCard

Jeff Bellerose MetroCard

Not all the cards are NYC-themed; those are just the ones that I was most attracted to. (Surprise, right?) Check out all of them here.

(Images fromВ Single Fare 3В via WNYC)

A Round of Applause for NYC Commuters

In this city of nearly 9 million people, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a single person who enjoys commuting. Yet it’s something we do every day, cramming into packed subway cars and scurrying through a vast network of underground tunnels.

That’s why I’m loving this video of NYC commuters being greeted by a cheering crowd at the Times Square subway station. For years, on my way to and from work, I trudged up and down that same steep ramp connecting the 1, 2, 3, 7, N, R and Q to the A, C, E. This occurred at the end of the day, but boy, would I have loved this during one of my morning commutes!

I haven’t seen any mentions of the group behind this, so if you know, please tell me—I’d like to thank them for brightening a lot of peoples’ days!

(Video from Transportation Nation, via Gothamist)

Berlin or NYC?

As an NYC native, I’m loathe to say anything negative about another neighborhood. But I have to admit that I’ve always found Roosevelt Island to be an odd place.

For those who’ve never been there, it’s a skinny little island between Manhattan and Queens, accessible by subway, bridge or, most notably, tram. Roosevelt Island is technically part of Manhattan (New York County, that is), but, in my opinion, doesn’t feel like it—maybe because you can see the actual island of Manhattan from most points on the island. AndВ the buildings are shorter and generic-looking. And there’s no hustle and bustle of people. Roosevelt Island doesn’t feel like Queens, either.

To be completely honest, the place weirds me out, a little. Each time I visited, I was very aware that I was extremely close to Manhattan and Queens—two places very familiar to me—but felt worlds away, as if I were marooned on a strange, in-between land.В I can’t even think of a place I can liken it to.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks Roosevelt Island has a foreign vibe.В Residents, themselves, have compared its Main Street to East Berlin. And last week, CBS’ Person of InterestВ actually transformed it into Berlin, for a shoot, with surprisingly few props.

Roosevelt Islander has these amusing photos:

berlin bus

berlin/roosevelt island

berlin kiosk

berlin motorgate

berlin motorgate2

My favorite quote from the post?

Pop Culture BrainВ adds:

I used to live on Roosevelt Island so I just wanted to chime in here and say 1) it’s sad how easily they were able to make it look like East Berlin but 2) it’s even more sad that it looks better as East Berlin.

What do you think of the transformation?

(All photos via Roosevelt Islander)

One Day of NYC’s MTA Traffic, Animated

This video made my day.

Sumus Technology, a Canadian software company, used MTA data to animate 24 hours of public transportation in NYC. The visual is totally cool; I love how you can see the city awaken as the various lines—which include the subway, buses, LIRR, Metro-North and NY Waterway in their corresponding colors—light up until you can basically see a map of their routes. (I was even able to pick out the LIRR line that runs out to Bayside, where I grew up!)

But really, the music makes the video! The old-school, honky-tonk rendition of “New York, New York,” alone, is enough to make me smile.

(And if you love this, check out “Flight Patterns,” another awesome animation of—you guessed it—airplane traffic over the U.S.)

(found via the Atlantic)

An Up-Close Look at NYCB’s Nutcracker Costumes

As far as I’m concerned, the holiday season isn’t complete without seeing a performance of the Nutcracker. (Or, at least listening to the soundtrack a couple times in its entirety—something that’s driven my family mad over the years!)

Tonight, I’m seeing City Ballet’s production (with my mom :)). It’s been several years since I’ve seen their version, and I’m pretty excited—there’s nothing as inspiring as seeing the pros dance, live!

Recently, NYCB posted behind-the-scenes photos of their Nutcracker costumes on their Facebook page. I thought it was super-cool that they gave us normal folks (and professional dancer wannabes!) a little peek behind the curtains!

Reams of fabric at the NYCB Costume Shop

Reams of fabric at the NYCB Costume Shop

Waltz of the Flowers tutus

Waltz of the Flowers tutus

Marzipan costumes

Marzipan costumes

Sugarplum fairy costumes

Sugarplum fairy costumes

Sugarplum fairy costume

Sugarplum fairy costume

Are you a Nutcracker fan, too? What’s your favorite number? (Mine has always been the “Waltz of the Snowflakes”—which I was thrilled to perform earlier this season.)

(Photos via NYCB’s Facebook page)

Shadow Monsters

shadow monsters

I hadn’t been to MOMAВ in years, but on Saturday, I spent an afternoon making up for lost time. While exploring the museum from top to bottom, I came across lots of cool or iconic works—including an original version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. But one that I found especially awesome was an interactive installation in the second floor atrium.

The concept behind Philip Worthington’s “Shadow Monsters” is delightfully simple: Bring shadow puppets to life. Museum-goers stand in front of a light box that projects their shadows onto two walls. While they move around, crazy hair-dos appear on their heads, hands become roaring dinosaurs and birds chirp and land on outstretched arms. You can’t help but grin when you see your shadow take on a life of its own!

shadow monsters

shadow monsters

The photos definitely don’t do it justice, but if you happen to be at the museum in the next few weeks, check it out. The installation runs through December 31.

(Top image via MOMA)