NYC has hired Rachel Sterne as its first Chief Digital Officer. She is 27 and will be making $115,000. NYC's tech entrepreneurs are said to be happy with the choice -- she's one! First assignment: find the real nerds in this town.
Frank Bruni on ephemeral/crowdsourced restaurants. The guy from Dovetail and other successful chefs can feel encumbered by their big places and out-sized expectations, so they go back to basics, with a twist or two (at least temporarily). Possibly related, but also more complicated: Grant Achatz of Alinea (America's best restaurant?) plans a new restaurant that will change every quarter, as part of his new year's resolution for 2011.
This is pretty much how I felt for the first 30 years of my life. Still somewhat now.
The thing that everyone is going to talk about today so why even bother linking to anything else: Life is Tweet.
Since I know many of you reading this are in New York, this London Review of Books event there includes a panel entitled "The Author in the Age of the Internet". -NA
Today marks the 99th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Cornell's Industrial and Labor Relations school has an extensive web archive of original documents and secondary sources related to the event. :DS
I guess I'm on the record being annoyed with NYC's recent look-at-me-look-at-me glee over a handful of successful startups. Obviously, it's not that I don't want this fair city to succeed; it's just that I shun boosterism for its own sake, and there's a lot of that here. Go social media!
That said, Jenna Wortham's Sunday NYTimes piece on the scene hits all the right spots, namechecks all risers, and generally feels informed about what's at stake. If NYC digerati can position themselves as the next version of their key fracturing industries (media, fashion, finance, advertising, publishing), it should be poised to find the next versions of those sectors. --RX
Serious Eats has a profile of Robert Caplin, the photographer who takes many of the photos that accompany the New York Times' restaurant reviews. FAQ #1: Does he get to eat the food? "We aren't supposed to sit down and have a meal, but the chef often insists you try something..." He also takes pictures of things besides food, and has a blog. --ADM
"If you're a white student and you arrive at the public elementary school building on 95th Street and Third Avenue, you'll probably walk through the front door. If you're a black student, you'll probably come in through the back." --FD
If I were into writing trend pieces, I'd be whipping up something about the migration that's about to happen from west coast bloggers to NYC: Scott Beale, Andy Baio, and Dave Winer should all be in duh big city this summer. What's interesting about this group is that they were all seminal Web 1.0 people who are even more relevant today.
If perhaps you thought for a second that Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" wasn't absolutely everywhere, then you didn't see the Sex and the City 2 trailer yet. Sorry, everyone's ruining it for you. (See also, vaguely related, an LES lament: Together for Years, but I Just Don't Know You Anymore. [via])
If you're in NYC this weekend, you may want to know about Sasha Grey and others reading from Neuromancer at the New Museum. (In other incongruent news, did anyone see the strange thing on the newsstand this month? There's a Roger Ebert essay in Playboy about Kubrick's Lolita with pictures of Sasha.)
Daily Beast interviews the Hipster Grifter. I'm still convinced she will become a Gawker Media employee the minute she gets released.
This NYC-sponsored looks like a good idea in principle, but the paltry rewards don't seem like enough incentive to start something: NYC Big Apps.
Nice: new Eater redesign. Also, Curbed bought Down By The Hipster. Update: Despite NYT's story, we already knew about the Curbed/VVM ad sales deal, but Fred Wilson put his usual twist on it by pointing out that local media's hidden asset may be its sales force.
One of the first products from FourSquare's API: Social Great. It's pretty simple -- it shows the locations that are hot in nyc by hour, day, week, and all time -- but it's easy to imagine the potential.
NYCers, your new favorite iPhone app: New York Nearest Subway Augmented Reality App. Watch the video. It looks sorta meh at first, but then it goes crazy awesome augmented about 25 seconds in. It's not out yet, but here's more info.
NYC puked all over itself this week over this question: Should you write for free? (My answer, which is meaningless without a wordy explanation, but nonetheless: No, except for limited circumstances.) For anyone who cares, I'll fulfill my duty as link rounder upper: Simon Dumeno in Ad Age probably got the ball rolling, but Foster Kamer at Gawker picked it up and pissed off everyone, most of all Rachelle Hruska (whose Guest of a Guest had a Styles profile last weekend) who gave the best smack-down you've seen in a while, even though Maura Johnston dissented/quibbled, but meanwhile Emily Gould was forcefully explaining why she writes for free, and by that time everyone with a Tumblr had something to say about everything from The Awl to HuffPo. The end.
Every NYT Styles story should be like this one: Bartender, Make It a Stiletto. There's really some guy out there who gets his jollies by lying down on bar floors wrapped in a blanket and asking people to step on him? Has anyone ever encountered this dude?
Yesterday I randomly wondered: who are cab drivers talking to all day long on their phones? A few people responded that they are actually all talking to each other. They reported that there are party lines where groups of cab drivers all chat together. If this is true, it sounds amazing! How many people are in these "rooms" at once? What is the nature of the conversations? How long has this been going on? Do the cabbies know each other in real life, or is it completely virtual? I'm unable to find any reference to this online, but Talkee.com seems like one such resource. If anyone knows more, please leave a comment.
Didn't see this one coming: You've Got (Hate) Mail. Keith Gessen and Emily Gould get the long Vanity Fair dual profile (online only). This graph will determine whether you like this story or not:
At this stage in its evolution, the Web is like an endless novel populated with characters who reveal way too much about themselves, sometimes purposely, sometimes half-knowingly, sometimes unwittingly. It's a junk shop of human emotion and behavior, a forum for advanced people-watching. Day after day as the Gessen-Gould affair unfolded, I turned on my computer and went a-Googling for the latest development. Like any good reality show, it made me sick sometimes, and I tried to tear myself away from it, only to find myself helpless against its crack-like power.See also: !!!
This is going to be fun... On Monday night at Santos Party House in Chinatown, my team (Peter Rojas, Gavin Purcell, Kelly Reeves, Nate Westheimer) is going head-to-head against Michelle DeForest's team (Bre Pettis, Caroline McCarthy, Irene Polnyi, Tim Shey) in a little something called Know Your Meme: The Game Show! Pwn, Win, or Fail! Hosted by the Rocketboom kids, it's a live game show that should be stellar fun. Our team name is the Chocolate Boxxy Babies -- come on out and WATCH US CRUSH DEFOREST!
If you haven't heard yet, ROFLcon is coming to NYC. Events (parties, panels, rowdiness) will be at Santos Party House on January 24. Various people doing stuff are Phillip Torrone of MAKE, Moot of 4chan, Jamie Wilkinson of Know Your Meme, Christian Lander of Stuff White People Like, Jason Bitner of Found, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Sarah Austin of Pop17, and this chump.
[This post is for four people.] For most of the winter and spring, when people asked me why I moved to NYC, my sarcastic answer was "To fix it." This was clearly a coping strategy since NYC was obviously breaking me into itsy-bitsy pieces. So I changed the goal to "I came to fix NYC, but I'd be happy just fixing Krucoff." New York, I'm now ready for the rest of you.
Spencer & Heidi are opening a bar in Manhattan. It will be in Murray Hill and named The Hill. These people are geniuses. It's billed as an "upscale sports lounge," which looks like an exercise in stringing together the three least appealing words to describe my ideal bar. However, I will certainly be the first customer.
Trailer to New York I Love You. Directors include Scarlett Johnansson and Natalie Portman. Cast includes Robin Wright Penn, Isabelle Adjani, Kevin Bacon, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, Hayden Christiansen, and Ethan Hawke. From Moe's take-down: "New Yorkers are conned -- by their permalancer gigs and their sperm donors and their pretentious/prodigious collections of books written by misanthropic pervs and the commodity fetishism (not to mention the materialism!) and the constant distraction of mere survival when you have so many parties to attend and an overabundance of self-esteem -- into thinking that they are actually 'independent,' and that the last thing they want to be is 'codependent' when interdependence is the operating principle of human civilization."
Michael Musto's latest blind-item: Which famous blogger was pitched an item by a New York daily paper's writer and responded: "How about if the [New York daily paper] does a feature on me?"? Maura's response: all of them.
Dammit. It looks like the Montauk Monster actually was a viral marketing hoax. I will never believe anything ever again (until next time). Update: Spinterheads. This movie is going to suck more than Snakes on a Plane.
A Guide to NYC's Celebrity-Owned Bars and Restaurants. Tim Robbins owns the Back Room? Huh. Update: some of it is bunk.
I confess: this whole Montauk Monster story, which has now creeped its way onto national television, has me riveted, mostly because we are nearby most of the summer. My guess? It's a raccoon. But! I think there's a small possibility that it is a viral marketing campaign, but not the one originally proposed. I don't think anyone has mentioned this theory, but it might be related to the X-Files movie release. I have some anecdotal evidence: Nearly a decade ago, I was the editor of the conspiracy and paranormal magazine FATE (strange but true!), where I once interviewed X-Files creator Chris Carter about his upcoming FOX show Harsh Realm (don't worry, no one else remembers it either). During the interview, I asked him about The Montauk Project, which was a favorite yarn among conspiracy nuts. I remember very clearly talking for 10 minutes about the nuances of the conspiracy -- a favorite of mine at the time. Although animal experimentation wasn't necessarily part of the lore, contact with extraterrestrials definitely was. So the Montauk Monster? It's clearly a fucking martian. I WANT TO BELIEVE.
Let's call it a modernization, but updated with more frustration than melancholy, to Joan Didion's 1967 essay about leaving NYC, "Goodbye To All That," which had been playing on repeat next to my bed, but 40 years later is revealed to have a better b-side: "Au Revoir, New York 'Literary' Scene!"
One of my favorite events in Seattle was Ignite Seattle where people gave presentations of 20 slides in 15 second intervals [previously: Pecha Kucha]. The quality was good, and it looks like the event's maiden voyage to NYC might have some moments too, including Joel Johnson on indie games and Charles Forman on, um, "How to date celebrichauns with founder fetish." (If you know Charles, you know the celebrichaun in question.)
Oh no, Flash Mobs are back (Grand Central Terminal, June 30 -- though this much information pretty much defies it being an actual Flash Mob).
Added to the list of things I will now pay close attention to but will ultimately lead to a boring sort of ennui, depression, malaise, and dismay, ultimately only recoverable with intoxicants, detoxicants, narcissism, tawdriness, and self-mockery/self-aggrandizement: CityFile.com. (OMG, I'M JUST KIDDING ABOUT THE FIRST STUFF. But the site just launched today.)
I'm spending half my summer near Montauk, which is fighting an internal battle over whether it is authentically quaint or part of the gaudy Hamptons. NYT Styles picked up the theme in today's cover story: The Yachtini Lands in Montauk. (The people in that picture actually look refined compared to the party bus that LIRR was this weekend.)
When the teenage version of me visited NYC, the destination was always the punk-infested East Village. I don't know if anyone has written about that moment at St. Marks Place, before hip-hop made it to MTV and grunge blew its head off, but it was a weird mix of stuff. Punk, at that moment in the form of hardcore, persisted as the prevailing aesthetic of the region, but it also seemed vaguely interested in the popular music of the time, which happened to be heavy metal and country music. It's a weird memory, but that strange influence created more hairsprayed manes and cowboy hats than you'd expect. It was punk, but it was punk trying to stay current -- somewhat humorously, or maybe ironically. And politically, punk seemed alive because it was a bit flexible, current, pragmatic. Now when I walk through St. Marks, I see something different. The punks who remain, in far smaller numbers, and now peeing on the Chipotle, all look like original '70s punks, with an aggressively retro aesthetic. Perhaps my philosophy of pastiche pragmatism would make no sense to these purists, but I can't help feeling that this reactionary anti-style is only style. Anyway, that's what I was thinking while reading this NY Mag story on the current punk scene at St. Marks.
Gawker: musings on what the iPhone's new GPS app will do to the social/dating scene. Over-sharing on a whole new level. Bonus: some good points about Dodgeball, which I never used until moving to NYC and now obsess over.
It's Internet Week in NYC. Which means posting here will probably be light, but jokes on Twitter will be flowing. (Seriously, "internet week." Hahahah, that's like its own punchline!)
Paul Graham discusses cities and ambition. The setup, that different cities send distinct messages, works as a decent framing device for discussing urbanism, but some of the messages are debatable. Berkeley ("You should live better") sounds right, as does Silicon Valley ("You should be more powerful"), but New York ("You should have more money") sounds off. I propose NYC's should be "You should have more influence," defined as a combination of power and connections. Interestingly, none of the messages sound particularly attractive, except perhaps Cambridge ("You should be smarter"), which I find sorta boring. Propose your own city messages in the comments...
After I lost my iPhone over the weekend, I twittered about how a cabbie returned it -- and how this will now become my "nice new yorkers" story. Then today this Nice New Yorkers story popped up, and everyone blogged it. I dunno.
Forget those single people maps, the real question is where do all the neurotics live? Exactly what you thought, but also a weird bulge in Ohio.
Uh-oh. This is gonna be big in NYC: SubwayCrush.com. Like a Missed Connections attached to train lines.
5 Reasons New York City Is The Neverland Of Dating. So there ya go.
Another day, another muxtape... today I give you my collection of NYC Songs. (Some of the choices are a little obvious, but whatevsky.)
Remember that Harvey Danger lip dub from the Vimeo / CollegeHumor gang? A year later, "the making of" is now out. The first time you saw the video, you probably also felt the pang of cool -- a jealousy of all those pretty young thangs bouncing and boozing at their successful dot-com. Maybe it's a recession, or maybe those particular hot cool kids have expired, but a year later don't you sorta want them all dead like the Cloverfield yups? [via]
Take your pick on post-ironic dubbing: Julia singing 4 Non Blondes on the mountainside or Gawker saying goodbye to their offices to Green Day.
Gaming The System, an essay that I recently wrote for Wired, initially began as a presentation that I gave a few places around the country. Tomorrow (Tuesday) night, I'm giving the truncated version in NYC at Hall & Partners in SoHo (72 Spring Street, 11th Floor) as part of Fresh Meet, an event that uses the short-form presentation style known as Pecha Kucha -- each presenter delivers 20 slides at 20-second interval. That's less than 7 minutes! It starts 7 p.m. -- you're invited!
Yes, debating the existence of god sounds as enticing as eating ramen while cramming for a Latin exam and arguing with your stupid dorm mate about abortion. But a couple nights ago, Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach drew a crowd to the 92nd St Y, as recounted by several other bloggers at Jewcy (including me -- finally, a sign from god that this Midwestern WASP had made it! Praise Jesus!). This clip has a few of the great lines from Hitchens, who pretty much destroyed the other dude. Thankfully, theatrical spectacle overpowered any possible chance for metaphysical deliberation.
San Francisco is just like Second Life. This is actually pretty true. Which makes me wonder what digital environments are like other cities. NYC is sorta LinkedIn meets Super Deluxe... or something like that. See also: Five Alternate Histories of New York.
Gothamist and Gawker covered it six months ago, but this week NYT laid out Virtual Lower East Side for the rest of the world in "I've Been in That Club, Just Not in Real Life". Since moving to NYC two months ago, I've had approximately 83 lunches and 1,729 drinks in the Lower East Side. I'm not sure why someone would want to virtualize it, but I don't understand most of what MTV does anymore. (Except The Hills, of course. That pshit's pure virtual genius.)