Friday, May 25, 2018

Harvey Weinstein Does the Perp Walk

So it finally happened: Harvey Weinstein was arrested. 

What's outrageous is that it took so long, that he was allowed to "surrender" to police instead of the cops breaking down his door, tackling him to the ground, slapping him with cuffs, and throwing him in a police car. If he'd been, oh, you know, black, poor, or a regular person, that's what would've happened. Show's how power and money still rule even when in disgrace -- and jail.

That said, seeing Weinstein in cuffs certainly is something that many people never imagined would happen. Let's hope that his victims, and all victims of sexual abuse, feel a little bit more peace today.

 What's ironic is that, at the same time Weinstein is facing justice, one of Mia Farrow's children, Moses, is coming forward to strongly dispute the charges against Woody Allen. 

Moses writes a long, thorough explanation of how the crime Woody is accused of couldn't have happened, how he and his siblings were abused by Mia, and how he feels that Woody is being unfairly lumped in with obvious monsters like Weinstein. It's a powerful piece -- and, strangely, it's led to Moses getting attacked in just the same manner that many people who speak up about sexual abuse are attacked. Moses is stating that he and his siblings were abused -- and he's being told that he's a liar, that it didn't happen, etc. 

This is sad.

ALL abuse claims must be taken seriously and investigated (like Woody was, and he was cleared), and the truth must come out and be accepted. To call anyone a liar is wrong -- until we know the truth.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fleet Week in NYC

The Subway Story

When you look at a map of the NYC subway, that goulash of color lines, there's always a little voice in the back of your head asking, "How the hell did the subways wind up like this?"

In short: business.

Before the MTA took complete control, the subways were a collection of different private companies that ran service through different parts of the city. You might recognize some of the names: the IRT, BMT, BRT, IND, etc. The subway lines evolved, not in an organic, planned, logical manner, but in ways the padded the bottom lines for these companies. There was competition and collusion, big plans for various subways lines that includes stories of false starts, incomplete construction, and outright abandonment.

And, of course, there was the Great Depression.

Most of the subway was built in the early 20th century but, when the Depression hit, the money for new construction dried up. Then, of course, there was the Second World War, halting further construction. And, of course, there was Robert Moses, the powerful city planner who believed that highways and cars were the future of NYC, not more subway lines.

It's a wild story of money, politics, egos, and historical events -- and millions of New Yorkers grapple with the legacy of that every day in their commutes. 

Tish James for AG

Public Advocate Tish James is running for New York State Attorney General this year and appears to be the prohibitive favorite. She's a racked up endorsements and support, and appears to be, at the moment, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. 

Tish is a successful lawyer, city councilwoman, and now Public Advocate. I saw her at a forum several years ago and her fierce intelligence blazed through. Tish is a smart, driven woman, and the state'll be lucky to have her as AG.

But not only will she have to win the election but, as a black woman running for high office, she'll have to put up with tons of ... crap. 

Like this article from Politico: supposedly a comprehensive look at her career, it's in fact a hatchet job, a snarky and mean-spirited attack on her qualifications and motives. It accuses her accomplishing nothing (while, bizarrely at the same time, acknowledges that several bills she's sponsored), of lying, of being a cypher.

It's an absolutely vicious, hateful smear-job, and I can't imagine a white male politician (and certainly not a Republican) ever having to deal with something like this. Certainly the press hasn't been this tough on Trump or Cuomo as they are on Tish James. 

If you ever wonder if black people, and women, and black women in particular, have it tougher trying to climb the "greasy pole" of power, this article should leave you with no doubts.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Interview Magazine, RIP

Andy Warhol was the first true multi-media artist: he painted pictures, made movies, produced bands, staged events -- and even started a magazine.

Called Interview, it debuted in 1969, and did for celebrity culture what its contemporary Rolling Stone did for rock'n'roll  -- namely, enshrine it with journalistic, literary respectability.

Famous for its of portrait-like covers of celebrities, Interview gave a high-end gloss to pop culture news. If you wanted to know what was going on in pop culture, who and what was "in" or "out" Interview told you.

Warhol died in 1987 but Interview continued -- until today. After months and months of turmoil -- lawsuits, harassment allegations,  bankruptcy -- it closed. Yet another part of old NYC gone away.

It's sad because, if the reports are to be believed, this didn't have to happen. It sounds like bad business decisions and a toxic culture led to the magazine's demise. There's nothing sadder than people charged with maintaining a legacy messing it up.

I'm sure Andy is weeping in heaven.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Interview: Elizabeth Albin, NYC Photographer

Every year millions of people visit NYC and, doubtless, many of them take pictures to record their memories of the trip.

But what if you live here? Does the impetus to take pictures of the city still exist? 

For many New Yorkers, the answer is a resounding "Yes!". I know lots of them who are amateur photographers and the city is their favorite subject. Yet when they take pictures, they capture it differently. They’re not necessarily looking at the big sights or the skyline – instead, they’re observing the everyday life, the interesting streets and areas that surround them on a daily basis. 

Elizabeth Albin is one such New Yorker. She loves taking pictures of the city, particularly of the nature within and around the asphalt. Here she tells us about her favorite ways to go about photographing her city – and how the impetus to keep doing it is endless. 

How long have you been photographing NYC and what inspired you to do it? 

I've been taking pictures since I got my IPhone 5. I'd be out with my dog, or I would run and look around and decide that thing right there was worth a picture. 

Has this been a lifelong hobby or something you’ve started doing recently? 

It's relatively recent (since 2013 or so). 

Do you like shooting city-scapes at random or are you intentionally looking to capture something when you take a picture? 

Sometimes I'll walk out the door thinking about a theme. I won't always stick with that though. Even when I have a unifying thought (buildings with odd windows on Stanton Street, or Purple Flowers, for example), the day may dictate something else. I end up taking a lot of pictures of bridges and flowers.

What are some of your favorite pictures?

I took some shots of tulips recently that I really liked. Also, whenever I see tree roots conquering the sidewalk. Sometimes I'll see a weed sticking out of an unlikely crack or pier. I love that. Other pictures I like are the sort of beaches at Stuyvesant Cove, and below the Brooklyn Bridge. Excellent sea gulls in both places. 

Is there anything in the city you have shot yet that you’d like to? 

I'd like to take pictures on Randall's Island and Governor's Island. I'll have to get myself up there.

Is there anything else about your pictures of the city that you’d like us to know?

I don't take many pictures of people. Much of the time I want to capture the solitude I enjoy. 

Finally, what do you love about NYC and has taking pictures of it made you learn more about it?

I love that New York has so much wild life. I don't capture even half of what I've seen. That's intentional. Given the choice of experience and image, I'll take experience. Even so, most days I practically trip over something new. 

Thanks! And here are some of her amazing NYC pictures. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Royal Wedding in NYC

The Royal Wedding will not, obviously, be in NYC tomorrow -- we cast off the yoke of monarchical imperium nigh two-hundred two-score and two years ago.

But if you want to watch the first American -- and the first bi-racial American at that -- marry into the House of Windsor tomorrow in NYC, there're many places around town where you can do so. 

There are bars, restaurants, lounges, hotels, and all sorts of places hosting viewing parties. Celebrate as a fellow Yank joins monarchy! 

Most of the festivities kick off at 6 AM on Saturday (because, you know, time zones, etc.) so go to bed early tonight, set your alarm, drink lots of coffee -- or TEA! -- and watch history with your fellow citizens of the city where some of the decisive battles of the American Revolution were fought and where the first American president was inaugurated. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ask a Native New Yorker

I.e. ask the editor of Gothamist (or listen to him on WNYC).

Or, of course, just ask Mr NYC!

Aaron Schlossberg = Trump Super Tool

In dis-honor of this f-idiot, we present the following report of this now infamous incident in Spanish: