New York Loves You

I had the chance, possibly for the first time ever, to sit on a corner in downtown New York (specifically Whitehall St and Pearl St), eat my lunch, and just do some people watching. It didn’t take too long for me to realize how much public behavior — even in a stereotypically surly city — is governed by simple respect for our fellow people.

There’s the guy in the over-crowded and entirely enclosed news stand who can hardly get his arms out the little peephole to take your money, but is apparently unafraid of anyone stealing his wares. And the couple selling produce next to him even walked away for several minutes and no one touched a thing. Everyone seemed to know exactly where the polite little line at the hotdog vendor was supposed to be. (And as an aside, why is it always right next to the server, not across from him?) And there was a startling lack of honking car horns.

I was somewhat taken aback. I wonder how much of it has to do with downtown-Manhattanite post-9/11 bonding, and how much of it was always there.

Flickring the news

I don’t get the newspaper, and I don’t watch TV news programs; instead, I get almost all of my news via the Internet and NPR. The problem with this is that I don’t often get a chance to see what places or people in the news look like.

For me, Flickr is a great way to follow current news events visually. Today, I’m keeping an eye on photos tagged with strike and the NYC group pool.

Halo Hero Zyos

The day before New Years, I went to MoMA in New York with the inlaws. We had reservations for dinner, but we were a little bit early and were sick of walking, so we stopped at a random (extremely nice, mid-high-range) restaurant and sat down in their quiet bar for a pre-dinner drink. We were chatting casually, and Mrs. D asked me “what are the big games now?” I told her that this was a huge season for sequels: Half-Life 2, GTA: San Andreas, and Halo 2, in particular. The very curteous bartender, a man with a thick french accent, stopped what he was doing, bent over towards us, and asked “Excuse me, but did you say you play Halo? I love that game.”

I’ve never played the game, but it obviously has had a huge impact on people who otherwise might not consider themselves gamers. I cant figure out how to segue from that story to a link about an international Halo superstar, but let’s pretend I did it smoothly.

The Gates in the park

Christo’s newest “masterpiece” has started being assembled in Central Park. (The first photo in that article strikes me as Goldsworthy-esque, yet artificial.) Chris, we’re depending on you to get us some better photos.

Update 1-5: Oh, I get it. The first picture isn't the artwork, it's just piles of metal platforms the over-the-top arches are going to be resting on top of, so that it doesn't damage the ground.

Walking Manhattan

Walking every block of Manhattan. Somehow, I’m always captivated by obsessive projects like this. Check out his web page, too.

Jeff's Marathon Photos

The New York marathon did a fantastic job with the photos. You can search by runner name or bib number. For example, here are the photos for Jeff, including several of him crossing the finish line.

They clearly had some sort of automated system set up, likely connected to the wireless dongle that the runners had to wear on their shoes. The only way this could be improved, IMHO, is if the individual pages for the photos indicated the time the photo was taken, the distance the person had run, and maybe even a GPS location.

The photo prices, however, are ridiculous. The best value might be the $90 photo CD, but only if you were hypothetically very happy about the photos taken of you.

Marathon photos

Flickr is fun, and the tag system is perfectly done. For example, check out the photos tagged with marathon.

Some other good photos at

New NYC street lights

New York City has chosen new street lights. I like them.

Should NYC Secede?

“If New York were its own country, its army, the New York City Police Department, would be the twentieth-best-funded army in the world, just behind Greece and just ahead of North Korea. Its GDP, $413.9 billion, would be the seventeenth largest, just behind the Russian Federation and just ahead of Switzerland. With more than 8 million residents, it would be more populous than Ireland, Switzerland, or New Zealand; roughly half the countries in the Middle East (including Israel); most of the former republics of the Soviet Union; and all the Scandinavian countries besides Sweden.” Should New York City Secede?