04/16/08 12:00am
04/16/2008 12:00 AM |

1. Kyp Malone: TV on the Radio
Ubiquitous hipster icon and all-around nice guy Malone (he of the full beard and Afro) once steamed milk for soy lattes at Bedford Avenue coffee mainstay the Verb. He also worked across the street at (now-defunct) legendary bookstore Clovis Press (along with bandmate Tunde Adebimpe and Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws).
2. Galen Polivka: The Hold Steady
The unassuming bassist for “America’s best bar band” used to work at, yep, a bar, specifically Hi-Fi off Tompkins Square, noted for its vast jukebox. Watching a lot of drunken hipsters from the other side of a barrier while listening to lots of punk, indie and classic rock seems pretty much the ideal preparation for being in the Hold Steady.

3. Madonna Louise Ciccone
The Material Girl didn’t always speak with that fancy English accent: Moving to New York in 1978 to make it big, she soon found herself pouring coffee for pervs in Times Square as a Dunkin’ Donuts server. Soon after, she was accepted as a dancer in the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe — and that was about as highbrow as it ever got for Madonna.

4. John Flansburgh: They Might Be Giants

One half of perpetually awesome Williamsburg-based patron saints of nerd rock, Flansburgh’s quirky, art-school pop-rock wasn’t always a license to print money. No, no it wasn’t. In order to pay rent and buy fezzes, Flansburgh took a job counting commuters at Grand Central Station, which somehow makes perfect sense to us.

04/16/08 12:00am

1. Smith and Mills, 71 N. Moore St.
Ok, we admit this gorgeous little cocktail paradise situated in a former carriage house will probably be irritatingly full of industry types (you know, grown men in sports coats wearing baseball caps), but if you can manage to grab a spot, just let yourself sink into one of their classic cocktails and all your troubles will disappear (except for the guys in sports coats and baseball caps).

2. Square Diner
, 33 Leonard St.
While those of Weinsteinian mien will be arguing over elbowroom at Nobu, why not just grab a paper and settle into this classic diner? The staff is friendly and absolutely unpretentious, and the huge portions of food would probably outlast the entire Sunday Times.

3. Nancy Whiskey Pub
, 1 Lispenard St.
The classic bar with half a floor! The lopsided indoor shuffleboard is one of many significant draws at this Tribeca institution. Others include a friendly, generous bunch of bartenders (unless you’re a dick), cheap and plentiful beer, and… well, what else do you really need?

4. apexart, 291 Church St.
Moving images are cool, but sometimes your eyes need a few moments to focus on something that’s fixed and still. Art! Apex’s current exhibition is a fun collection put together by original funster Dave Eggers! Fun! Featuring work by greats like Basquiat, R. Crumb, Henry Darger, David Shrigley, Ralph Steadman and Kurt Vonnegut.

03/26/08 12:00am
03/26/2008 12:00 AM |

In the future, thousands of cable channels will stream directly into your brain’s visual processing center via a chip implanted in the base of your neck. But until then, cable packages for the out-of-town games you grew up on when they were intown are hella expensive

03/19/08 12:00am
03/19/2008 12:00 AM |


Hooray for radical West Coast hippie-liberal tree-fondlers! It’s now mandatory in San Fran for municipal construction projects over 5,000 square feet to meet LEED Silver Standards. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a national green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is also one of our favorite acronyms.

We’ve always thought Chicago kind of smelled, but at least now there’s a damn good reason for it: a full-scale composting program that turns grass clippings, leaves, sod and yard trimmings from landscaping companies, horse manure from the Chicago Mounted Police stables, and food from grocery stores and University of Chicago cafeterias into rich, wonderful soil. Keep on stinking, Chi-Town!


The Windy City’s Golden Fuel Systems is one of the country’s foremost grease car converters, turning standard diesel engines into recycled restaurant fryer-oil guzzlers. With all the fast food this country consumes, grease-based infrastructure makes a crazy amount of sense — but then we’d probably have to invade and occupy food courts all across Canada.

Can an entire city become a great green sponge? Philadelphia’s Office of Watersheds is trying to find out by adapting city parks, roadways, school sites, lawns and yards to absorb and naturally filter rainfall, storm- and waste-water, creating an urban ecosystem that will assure clean and reliable water for fishing, swimming and drinking.

People just keep dying, and it ain’t no good for the environment. There’s not enough room in cemeteries, and cremation is energy intensive (and burned fillings release mercury) — what to do? Well, eggheads in Sweden have begun freezing the dead in liquid nitrogen and then shaking the remains until they disintegrate into powder. It’s called “promession” and though it seems a little morbid, c’mon, we’re talking about dead people here — they’re not going to know.

03/19/08 12:00am

1680 to 1880
Notorious pirate Captain Kidd hangs out on Jean Mesurolle’s farm between South 6th and North 1st Streets, doing whatever it is pirates do when relaxing. By the mid-19th century, the area becomes a fashionable suburb for well-off industrialists of German, Austrian and Irish descent. Light industry grows.

1900 to 1940
The Williamsburg Bridge is built in 1903 and thousands of working-class Jewish and Italian immigrants settle the area, making it one of the densest neighborhoods in the city. The Depression leads to bankruptcies for local businesses and older, affluent residents leave. Persecution in Europe sees thousands of Jews, mainly Chasidic, begin to settle the area.

1950 to 1980
Waterfront industry attracts thousands of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans looking for work; in 1957, the BQE shreds through the neighborhood, bringing projects along with it. The 1970s see more businesses leave; poverty and blight spread. Williamsburg, especially between Grand and the park, becomes crime-ridden and very dangerous (packs-of-wild-dogs dangerous).

1985 to the Present

In the mid 80s, artists looking for cheap rent and more space begin to colonize an otherwise blasted heath of urban decay. The late 90s see hipsterized gentrification move ahead full spreed in the artists’ footsteps. The inevitable condo colonies follow. Packs of wild i-bankers roam the streets.

03/12/08 12:00am
03/12/2008 12:00 AM |

Gowanus Yacht Club
Motto: One Man’s Bathroomless Curbside Swill Pen Is Another Man’s Roofless Beer Palace
Typical Member: A pretty chill, baseball-capped 24-year-old who moved here from Massachusetts four months ago and is starting to really feel like he’s totally starting to get Brooklyn because it’s really pretty chill.

East Village Yacht Club
Motto: Veni, Veedy — Lance, How Do You Spell Veechy?
Typical Member:
A handsome part-time i-banker/full-time friend whose buddy Dave was like, “Dude they have a siiick grilled beet tart, you’re gonna flip your shit.”

Brooklyn Social Club
Cocktails and Low Lighting Help Us Forget We’ve Begun to Age Poorly
Typical Member: A softening woman in her early 30s, three drinks away from either not needing an Ambien later or from sleeping with Doug, who she saw talking to Akilesh in the back; hopes/fears she’s pregnant.

Bushwick Country Club
Motto: It’s Better on Astroturf
Typical Member: Anyone who’s come to the conclusion that their 11th birthday party miniature golf tournament would have been even more fun with $5 White Russians in the mix. Which it clearly would have been.

02/27/08 12:00am
02/27/2008 12:00 AM |

1. Annie Sprinkle: Public Cervix Announcement
Before she was one of the first stars on the Adult Star Path of Fame (in North Jersey, natch), the sex-positivist went on tour and invited audience members to take a long, close look up into her ladypart. It’s educational! And transgressive!

2. Karen Finley: Return of Chocolate-Smeared Woman
In 1990, then-Senator Jesse Helms  (R-The Confederacy) had the National Endowment for the Arts veto Finley’s grant on grounds of “decency,” though the consensus among Washington insiders is that Helms was just cranky because he found the sight of the naked, brown- goo-coated Finley so arousing as to overtax his vampire heart.

3. William Pope.L: Great White Way

Between 2002 and 2007, Pope.L crawled (in sections) the entire length of Broadway, reframing America’s most famous street as the locus of racially problematic aspiration and struggle.

4. Spencer Tunick
Spencer Tunick travels the globe, wrangling hundreds or even thousands of naked people into interestingly composed configurations in culturally resonant spaces, then takes pictures of said naked people. Sort of like that scene at the end of Perfume, but without the messiah bit.

01/30/08 12:00am
01/30/2008 12:00 AM |

1. Subway Entrance
“So it turns out I’m not going to be able to meet you after work. Ever again. Hurry now, or you’ll miss your train!”

2. Central Park
Growing up in the suburbs, handing your mom tissue after tissue while she watched Love Story, you always thought Central Park was the most romantic place in the world. Well, what’s more romantic than a tearful conversation amid a backdrop of foliage, and a long, solitary walk home through the most Edenic place in the city? Need a tissue?

3. Veselka
You never know when the spirit’s going to strike you. Say it’s 3am — “Hey, let’s go get cups of coffee and borscht, I want to talk.” And by talk, of course, you mean break their heart. And the light’s just bright enough that you won’t change your mind.

4. iChat
Oh, c’mon gram(p)s, get with the times! It’s 2008, and everyone knows all those old rules about etiquette are out the window. Just log on and have the talk. You’ll probably be more honest without having to look at your dumpee’s sad, pathetic face, anyway.

01/16/08 12:00am
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01/16/2008 12:00 AM |

1. William “Boss” Tweed
It’s unclear what sum greedy public works commissioner Boss Tweed (1823-78) embezzled from the city (estimates run from $20 to $300 million), but we know that he weighed a tell-tale 300 pounds. After deft reporters uncovered this greedy eater/greedy embezzler connection, Tweed was convicted, but escaped to Cuba and then to Spain, where he was apprehended.

2. James “Jimmy” Walker a.k.a. Beau James

Tabloid-devouring New Yorkers were sweet on adulterous mayor Jimmy Walker (1926-32) through several affairs with speakeasy chorus girls. But when personal immorality carried over into politics things went sour, as Walker tried to blackmail and exploit mainly working-class women though the Magistrate’s court. Exposed, Walker fled to Europe and married his mistress.

3. Donald R. Manes
Floored by ever-increasing parking fees? Could be the remnants of a system of bribes and kickbacks set up by Douglas R. Manes (Queens borough president 1971-86). Young and popular, Manes gave business buddies strategic city jobs and created a phony company to slyly divert funds from the Parking Violations Bureau. As the law’s hammer came down, Manes committed suicide.

4. Fernando Wood

Think Giuliani was bad? Mid-19th century mayor Fernando Wood did worse with his Municipal Police. The force was so corrupt that the state created a replacement police agency. A long summer of police brawls and unchecked gang violence ensued, with a final battle outside City Hall. Out on bail, Wood remained in office until his Confederate allegiances really started to piss folks off.

01/16/08 12:00am
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Jim Belushi
The hard-partying Albanian funny man was one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live and took his ingestion of contraband as seriously as he did his comedy. On a side note, he totally didn’t have a little brother who went on to a career of thoroughly mediocre television sitcoms.Oh, wait. Shit.

James Iha

World-famous Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha once contacted a friend of ours on Friendster and asked her to go to brunch. She accepted, obviously, because who wouldn’t? But still… totally weird on his part, right?

Diamond Jim Brady

Legend has it infamous party boy and 19th-century businessman Diamond Jim once ate three whole ducks and eight lobsters for dinner, prompting the restaurant’s owner to call him the “best 25 customers I ever had.”

Jim Leyritz

Once remembered for his 15th inning, game-winning home run in Game 2 of the 1995 ALDS, former Yankee catcher Jim Leyritz is, sadly, now best known for his legal exploits. In December of 2007, he was arrested for drunk driving and charged with vehicular homicide. How he must wish he’d merely been called out on steroid use.