John Niedermeyer is a Brooklyn-based design manager and internets enthusiast at <a href="http://buzzfeed.com">BuzzFeed</a>. Previously, he was a digital designer and editor at <a href="http://nytimes.com">The New York Times</a>.
Lisa and I on the Brooklyn Bridge, taken some time in 2004. (I realize that it was not taken in the past year, but it’s a great photo!)
I can’t let this pass without a mention – last Friday was the 1-year anniversary of our move from Cambridge to Brooklyn. Since then, we’ve started new jobs, reconnected with old friends and made new ones, and had an all-around great time.
I miss Boston from time to time, but couldn’t be happier living and working in New York City. Why would anybody live anywhere else?
I’ve been known to make some blanket pronouncements over the years – such as, “I don’t like cover bands,” only to be proven wrong later. What I discovered was that I quite loved cover bands when they play music that I like, as opposed to the baby boomer prog rock and frat boy drivel that you usually hear.
Apply the same lesson to light shows… fancy lights at rock shows always seemed ridiculous to me; a stoner cliché. Ahh, but fancy light shows accompanying music that I love? That’s awesome!
Ladytron is one such band. As good as many of their records are, their live shows are something bordering on the transcendent. Now, I realize that it is nothing new for electronic bands to have light shows synced to the music, but what is impressive to me about them is their seriousness about playing real instruments, live, in the room. It brings a lot more energy to the show.
But, it has me wondering… how do they sync the lights so perfectly? It’s almost like there is a computer with a line-in feed, processing everything as it’s played.
This morning, Lisa and I had lunch with her Grandma and Grandpa, who visiting this weekend from Buffalo. Grandpa Dick is a retired professional wrestler, who used to be quite big in Japan. In addition to winning numerous wrestling titles, the masked “Destroyer” was a star on the most watched comedy show in Japan’s television history, along with Wada Akiko. But he also was famous in the West – Debbie Harry of Blondie sported some camel-toe in a t-shirt from Dick’s bad guy alter-ego, Dr. X… Hott.
So, we ate a ton of Japanese food while Dick entertained the chefs and waitstaff with his antics and Japanese linguistic skills. The shot above is of a Japanese newspaper.
More photos, and a video of The Destroyer wrestling a bear, after the fold.
This past Sunday, we attended the Banksy opening at the Vanina Holasek Gallery in Chelsea. I love Banksy’s work, but it seemed a little odd to see his stenciled work framed and matted in a gallery, with penciled-in price tags labeled on the wall – $30k, $60k, $150k. It seemed a far cry from the street art and subversive work that he’s known for.
In six years, Kenny’s vision has grown into a trio of charter schools under the rubric of Village Academies, located in New York precincts where a muscular poverty has thrived for generations. The numbers alone tell a compelling story. Locally, passing rates for seventh-grade math hover around 30 percent. At HVA, the rate is a stunning 96 percent.
In High School, I was always jealous of other kids who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life – it took me until half-way through college before I really found my calling, which explains my liberal arts degree.
So, I’m amazed that there is a Design High School in the Lower East Side. It has a pretty interesting mission:
We believe that when students are engaged in the process of designing, they are learning to observe, seek problems, identify needs, frame problems, work collaboratively, explore and appreciate solutions, weigh alternatives, and communicate their ideas verbally, graphically and physically.
And they even invited artists, students, and staff to create streetart on the roof of the school. Here is a video, from Rocketboom:
MUJI opened in Soho yesterday, and if the crowds were any indication, people are excited. The shop has a nice mix of nicely designed inexpensive clothes and housewares. maxwellgillinghamryan has a video tour on vimeo.
More photos of MUJI, and the new CB2 store next door, after the jump. [from iPhone]
“The Wi-Fi HotZone, which is available today in certain areas, will be fully operational on by month’s end with a footprint of more than 20 city blocks from Times Square to Central Park South and from 6th Avenue to 8th Avenue.”
Holy iPhone grail! Who needs to wait for muni-Wi-Fi?
A new Robert Scarano “luxury” condo building at 326 State Street, in Boerum Hill.
A week or two ago, I walked past a new Robert Scarano “luxury” condo building at 326 State Street, in the northern reaches of Boerum Hill. This past Saturday, Tyler and Sarah were down from Boston for a visit, and we walked by again – and they were having an Open House. Why not have a look? [from iPhone]
They were cleaning the Broadway-Lafayette station last night. It always struck me as a particularly filthy station, so I suppose this is good. But, people were walking through the suds, slipping around – the MTA must have some good insurance. [from iPhone]
I haven’t seen this movie since it came out almost 15 years ago, but it really is an animation classic. The stop motion method looks just as cutting-edge and inspiring as anything done by Pixar in the past few years, and I love the many homages to Beetlejuice and other Burton films, (details here). [from iPhone]
We saw it at the Pavilion Park Slope, but I think that it is up in other theaters around the city this week. More photos below the fold.
I’m not sure that I agree with this – we chose to live in Brooklyn over Manhattan, and I would argue that the neighborhoods to the north (Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill) are probably more fitting equivalents. Also, with few exceptions, Carroll Gardens is still very much a family neighborhood. Sure, it might be changing, but take a walk down our street during the day, and you’re going to see a lot of old men who’ve lived there for 50 years, as well as kids playing on the sidewalk. Err, maybe that is what the West Village is like.
Still, can’t deny that Carroll Gardens is awesome, and relatively affordable, considering the restaurant and bar options – we rarely make it into the city on weekends.
I’m not sure how I feel about the concept of free wi-fi in coffee shops and bars – sure, we all like “free”, and I’m always careful to order refills and tip the baristas copiously. But, it can be impossible to get a table, because of wi-fi squatters.
This afternoon, I’m sitting at Fall Cafe in our new neighborhood, and looking around at the other tables – each with a laptop – and I see a lot of empty cups – these people have been sitting here for hours. As you can see from the new signage in the window (left), this cafe believes that free wi-fi brings in customers. But I wonder if some people won’t become frustrated with the squatters, and go elsewhere for their coffee?
Thanks to Mint, I noticed that a few visitors were referred here looking for the text of a New Yorker article writted in February 2004 titled, Underground Man: Can the former C.I.A. agent who saved New York’s subway get the Tube back on track?. I had scanned the text a while back, but my directory security settings on my server were tightened, and the scans were no longer available.
So, if you’re looking for the article, it’s is now properly linked in the orginal post.
I still wish I had a way of extracting the text via OCR…
Well, we survived the Gotham rally this past weekend. We met a lot of cool scooterists, and enjoyed riding around Manhattan and Brooklyn.
I think we put brought joy and curiosity (and maybe envy?) to the people of New York—seeing a hundred scooters coming through your neighborhood in a giant pack is not something people see every day. Those kids down in NYC know how to throw a good time. Too bad I didn’t win the bike raffle.
We were given tickets to see the boys tape a few songs on Last Call w/ Carson Daly in New York on Wednesday, and were able to catch them live at Avalon in Boston on Friday night. And the best part was that there were no mishaps this time ’round.
Carson Daly is really misunderstood by music fans– especially those who fancy themselves hipper-than-thou. Maybe it’s because they blame him for the dominance of boy bands and Brittney in the past few years… or, maybe it is just that they think he’s a massive tool.
I think this is unfair— the guy is doing more with his little 1:30 am show than most other talk shows… he has terrific bands on, many that you won’t see on MTV or Jay Leno, and I think he’s truly a music fan first. I mean — they guy is always playing air drums in-between commercial breaks… I’m there with ya Carson!
Anyway, Blur. They played an acoustic set of Out of Time and Good Song from their excellent new album Think Tank. Make sure to tune in to NBC Friday, July 25 after Conan. We’re the two embarrassed jerks sitting in the second row, with plastic-rim eyeglasses.
Fridays show was really special– they played a wide ranging set that stretched back more than 10 years, including favorites For Tomorrow, Girls and Boys, the Universal, and the ever-moshing Song 2.
Damon was in top form, jumping around and really singing better than I’ve ever heard him sing. He doesn’t really play keyboards anymore, which is a minor peeve, but he’s doing his frontman thing well with the help of an electric guitar.
At 35 years, post-Gorillaz, he seems to have something more to prove — and 2,000 people and I were glad for it.