Archive for May, 2009

The End of the Road

May 31st, 2009 by Jeff | 0

Sunset at the end of the road on Google Streetview.

The Aggressive Wedge

May 28th, 2009 by Jeff | 2 comments

We use to think the future was going to be a lot pointy-er than it actually turned out to be. Check out this ample collection of futuristic styles of cars from the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Car-Free Broadway

May 25th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

Yesterday a stretch of Broadway around Times Square between 42nd and 47th Streets and another near Herald Square between 33rd and 35th Streets was closed to automotive traffic and more than 3 acres of new open space was added to the heart of Manhattan. Officially, a $1.5 million pilot project that will be evaluated throughout 2009 for a final approval, the Green Light for Midtown project has turned Broadway into a pedestrian mall that will soon be dotted with cafe tables, slacking smokers, tourists with rollybags and Chinese delivery guys on bikes. While Mayor Bloomberg might get all the glory (or grief) for this and other bike- and pedestrian-friendly civic plans (180 miles of bike lanes have been added in New York since 2006), it turns out that the bold genius behind turning Broadway into the newest park in New York is Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s Transportation Commissioner since 2007. Oddly, closing Broadway, and removing its diagonal slice through the Manhattan grid, is going to have a beneficial effect on auto traffic through Midtown. With no more 3-way intersections at 34th and 42nd Streets, Midtown traffic models predict a 37% improvement in travel times for cars traveling north on 6th Ave. and a 17% improvement to travel times when traveling downtown on 7th Ave. New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff sized up the first day without cars down Broadway this way:

Walking down the cramped, narrow sidewalks, a visitor could never get a feel for the vastness of the place. Now, standing in the middle of Broadway, you have the sense of being in a big public room, the towering billboards and digital screens pressing in on all sides.

See photos of the day Broadway was given back to pedestrians.

Layoffs From a Shortage of Dutch Criminals

May 25th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

The Netherlands doesn’t have enough criminals. The Dutch justice ministry announced it will close eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in their prison system because of the declining crime rate in the country.

The Mannhatta Project

May 20th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

Spend some time exploring the amazing map of the Mannahatta Project. If you zoom in and click around, you can explore every damn block on the island of Manhattan and see what was there before 1609. After nearly ten years of research, landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson, working through the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo, has used old maps and modern spatial analysis techniques to map every hill, valley, stream, spring, beach, forest, cave, wetland, and pond that existed on the island of Mannahatta. It also lists all possible animals, humans, and plants that could have been in there– on every damn block! The project claims the GIS database for the project is the most complete description of a landscape ever attempted. This year marks the 400th anniversary of of Henry Hudson’s arrival in New York Bay and other coinciding history goodness includes the exhibit Mannahatta/Manhattan: A Natural History of New York City, at the Museum of the City of New York and the publication of Sanderson’s book, Mannahatta: Natural History of New York City.

Another Matt & Kim Video

May 14th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

Ron van der Ende

May 14th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

Dutch artist Ron van der Ende makes really amazing wood relief sculptures inspired by photographs and reproductions he finds. Read his blog here (if you read Dutch) or just want to look at the pictures. Read an interview with van der Ende.

Amy Casey

May 14th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

You might like Amy Casey’s paintings of houses and buildings intertwined with roads and stilts. See more of her work at the ZG Gallery, in Chicago.

What Makes Us Happy?

May 14th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

Nice article in The Atlantic by Joshua Wolf Shenk about a study– that has lasted for 72 years!– where researchers at Harvard followed 268 normal when I picked them men who entered college in the late 1930s (including JFK and former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee).

Arlie Bock had gone looking for binary conclusions—yeses and nos, dos and don’ts. But the enduring lessons would be paradoxical, not only on the substance of the men’s lives (the most inspiring triumphs were often studies in hardship) but also with respect to method: if it was to come to life, this cleaver-sharp science project would need the rounding influence of storytelling.

If that article’s too long for you (you low-attention-span youngster), watch Dr. George Vaillant, the director of this Harvard study on aging (and who has himself followed the subjects for 42 years), as he explains what makes people strive for fame and why dirty laundry symbolizes a perfect life.. I don’t know what the hell this old man is rambling about.

Wilco (the album)

May 14th, 2009 by Jeff | 1 comment

Listen to the entire Wilco (the album) before it comes out June 25th


May 11th, 2009 by Jeff | 0

You think your family’s awkward? It could be worse.