Category Archives: New York

Bad City Planning is a BFD AKA Don’t Build A Mall There

Realistic look at city planning challenges

I know that we live in a nation in which taxes going to the unemployed and “death panels” are grave fears held large swaths of the population, but in reality regulation should have a place in the hearts of even the most fiscally conservative/greedy when to comes to city planning decisions. It doesn’t, of course, but, it ought to.

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Today in Old and Awesome: Longacre Square

“But I’ve never heard of Longacre Square!” you exclaim, “so how can it be awesome?” I myself had never heard of it until yesterday, when I was perusing my beloved Shorpy Historical Photo Archive (did you know you can subscribe for daily photo emails?? I totally did that and it’s SO exciting). As it turns out, Longacre Square was in fact a momentous little spot, as that’s what Times Square was called before the Times Tower opened for business in 1904.

So in today’s installment of Tania’s Nifty New York Photos (or, Tania Still Regrets Not Taking That History of NYC Elective in High School), I bring you Times Square before it was formally known as such. Photos and some exciting historical tidbits after the jump!

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R.I.P. Books. In Related News, R.I.P. Civilization.

I woke up to some unsettling news regarding the book population of New York City this morning.

Gone but not forgotten

At 2am est last night, while Occupy Wall Street was getting booted from Liberty Plaza/Zuccotti Park by the city, one of the first live reports I heard was that the NYPD had thrown away the entire contents of the 5,554 book library that was being maintained in the Occupy camp.  For some reason, though the entire event involved horrifying reports of one type or another, the idea of the city throwing away this many books really unnerved me.

When I was in college I had a semi-friend who, at the end of one semester, casually raised her intention of throwing away her school books for that term.   Continue reading

The Dapper Bandit Strikes Again!


I have had a minor obsession with hilarious bank robber nicknames ever since the Geriatric Bandit swept through Southern California a few years ago.  According to my extensive research, law enforcement agencies give nicknames  to serial bank robbers because then they get talked about and crime gets stopped.  I’m sure that says something about human nature and crime and comedy and…what?  No, it’s just funny.

Anyway, today’s local news in New York featured an update on another bank robber, a “Dapper Bandit.”  Apparently he dresses in nice suits and, I can only assume, must have the gentile robbing style befitting of such a character.

In honor of the Dapper Bandit, I feel compelled to pass something along:

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How FDR Would Have Gotten To My High School Prom

(c) Sam Horine/Gothamist

When I was younger, riding in an overcrowded subway car to school with 10 trillion others kids and navigating the treacherous terrain of distinguishing between “people to wave to,” “people to pretend not to know from math class,” and “people to aspire to waving to,” I regularly dreamt of having a private subway car.  In fact, I thought it would be nice if New York City could commission special cars for all full-time residents and allow us to decorate them ourselves.  My car would have looked like a miniature loft, with rustic wood floors and a nice graphic wool rug, a desk made of distressed wood, a very fluffy bed, and crown molding.  Just a nice, livable, inviting space that did not allow parents except under special circumstances and did NOT allow freshmen.

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Today in Urban Nostalgia: Coney Island

In the ongoing spirit of cultural nostalgia, I mentioned in a previous post that I have a not-so-small obsession with sifting through old photographs of New York City. I’ve decided it would be fun to spread the nerdlove by posting some finds on this blog every so often. I am going to assume our readers are also the sort of nerds who would get enjoyment from such things because after all, they are choosing to read this blog.

So, here beings a recurring series on nifty images of old New York. Who knows, maybe now and then I’ll throw in another city for good measure. Just to give credit where credit is due, a lot of these photos are likely to be sourced from the Shorpy Historical Photo Archive, which if you are not aware of you should be made aware of because it’s ahmaaaazing.

So behold, after the jump, turn-of-the-(20th) century Coney Island:

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The Fauxhemian Rhapsody

I recently had occasion to do some reading up on the life of novelist Carson McCullers, and I found what I read quite engrossing. She was a passionate, unconventional woman who, in spite of being plagued by a recurring illness that left her entire left side paralyzed by her early 30s, possessed an incredible drive to live and create. And here’s where it got really fun for me:

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