art

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)

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.)

Landfillharmonic

I don’t know too much about Paraguay, beyond the fact that I want to visit it. The country is less of a mainstream tourist destination than its neighbors, Brazil and Argentina—which makes it all the more appealing to me. And after learning about the “Los Reciclados” orchestra,” I want to go there even more.

Just outside of Asuncion, Paraguay’s capital, is Cateura, a slum built upon a garbage dump. To give its young residents a hopeful alternative to the poverty and strife around them, local music teacher Favio Chavez started a youth orchestra—where every instrument is handmade from trash from the landfill.

Cellos are crafted from oil drums, flutes from water pipes. But what’s most astounding is how good these instruments sound. Check out the video below to see how Chavez and “Cola,” a trash picker, create the instruments, and hear the kids play—it’s truly amazing!

(Landfillharmonic, a documentary about the orchestra, is scheduled to be released next year)

Faux Inflatable Ducks

Remember that amazing, giant inflatable rubber duck that was hanging out in Sydney Harbor a while back? It’s still making its way around the world—Florentijn Hofman’s sculpture also made a stop in Hong Kong this year:

duck_hong kong 1

duck_hong kong 2

(How I wish I could have seen it in my second favorite city!)

But the funny thing is, since then,В China’s knockoff industry has been churning out look-a-like ducks. Though Chinese officials aren’t thrilled about that, at least 10 replicas have been spotted inВ Wenzhou

Visitors look at a scaled replica of the rubber duck by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman as employees try to pull it upright on a lake at a park in Shenyang

Shanghai…

A scaled replica of the "Rubber Duck" by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman is seen along a street next to a vendor waiting for customers in Shanghai

and Luoyang, to name a few places.

A labourer walks in water after setting up a scaled replica of the rubber duck, by Dutch conceptual artist Hofman, on an artificial lake in Luoyang

I’m wondering how many more are floating (ha) around out there!

(Top two photos viaВ Florentijn Hofman; bottom three by Reuters via Atlantic Cities)

Runways of the World

This is pretty astounding.

Using data from ourairports.com, James Davenport,В a Ph.D. candidate in astronomy at the University of Washington, plotted the locations of 45,132 runways around the world. The result: a map of the world.В (I know it’s a little hard to see, so please click on the image to view the high res version.)

airports of the world

As Davenport puts it:

Think about that number for a moment: there areВ at leastВ 45,000 places to land an airplane!В These range from small dirt fields to LAX, and the data seems to be more complete in the USA. Still, runways on every continent, seemingly every country.

Incredible!

I wholeheartedly agree.

(Image by James Davenport)

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)

Subway Maps You Can Wear on Your Wrist

This is genius.

When Tiffany Burnette was researching women who travel solo, for her master’s project, sheВ stumbled upon one voyager’s gripe: Having to pull out a map to navigate the NYC subway—thus clearly branding herself a tourist. Inspired, Tiffany came up with a simple and stylish solution: subway maps embossed on cuff bracelets. While wearing them, female travelers can navigate a transit system with a discreet glance at the wrist.

So far, her company, designhype, has cuffs for NYC

nyc metro cuff

London

london metro cuff

Paris

paris metro cuff

…as well as Milan, Berlin, Chicago and Brooklyn.

As a woman who’s often traveled solo, I can attest to how many times I could have used these! One safety measure I always take when traveling alone is to look like I know where I’m going. And nothing blows your cover more than when you have to study a subway map, whip out a guidebook or consult your smartphone—if you’re in a place where you even get service. These cuffs could have helped me out in several cities.

Plus, I love how the bracelets are very understated, so you wouldn’t be flashing around expensive-looking jewelry. I actually just want the NYC one to wear every day!

Here’s to hoping city map cuffs will be designhype’s next project!

(Photos via designhype; found via Scoutmob)

P.S. — I had an amazing time onВ EleutheraВ and I’m looking forward to posting about it, in a few days!