May 28, 2008

Every city in the world has a special thing about it. New Yorkers are lucky, since we have plenty of those things here (you know, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center view, Coney Island side show, Cyclone, Yankees, etc. – a full list would take way too long), but there’s one thing that makes Manhattan super special, and it’s called Manhattanhenge. Yes, it’s kind of like Stonehenge in England during summer solstice, when the sun aligns with stone structures, shedding a magical light on the whole site. Only it happens all around the city, twice a year, and tomorrow is the first of those evenings.

This is a special photo opportunity, with parts of Manhattan’s canyons getting illumination they normally don’t get.

On Thursday, May 29th, the Sun will set in exact alignment with the Manhattan grid, fully illuminating every single cross-street for the last fifteen minutes of daylight. The other day is Saturday, July 12th. These two days give us a magical view with half the Sun above and half the Sun below the horizon – on the grid.

Now, a few very important tips from Neil de Grasse Tyson, director of Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History:

“For best effect, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible. But ensure that when you look west across the avenues you can still see New Jersey. Clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th. 42nd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them. The Empire State building and the Chrysler building render 34th street and 42nd streets especially striking vistas. Arrive a half-hour earlier than the times given below. Thursday, May 29 – 8:17 p.m. Saturday, July 12 — 8:25 p.m.


Beach Season

May 26, 2008

Finally. We have good weather. It was absolutely beautiful today in the city. Just in time for beach season, marked by today’s Memorial Day.

Ahhh, those long days, full of sun, sunscreen, sea salt, margaritas… Apparently, we are not the only ones dreaming about it. But while we daydream, the real hardcore kind had already kicked off the season, with a big bang at that. Metro reports that beachgoers at Jones Beach have set a Memorial Day weekend attendance record! 506,000 people visited the beach between Saturday and Monday, said a State Parks Department spokesman. The previous record, 498,000 people, was set in 2006. And that’s only because in 2007, the weather kept many people inside.

Happy 125th Birthday

May 26, 2008

Over the weekend, Brooklyn Bridge was celebrating its 125th anniversary. it was a great party, full of light, fireworks and music, and it lasted 4 days! Not bad for an old man, huh


May 20, 2008

Photo: Cary Conover

Last night, “Passing Strange”, “Yellow Face”, “Adding Machine”, and many more theater productions, actors and directors, were honored with the highest Off-Broadway prize – OBIE Award. Among those awarded by the Village Voice this year is also one of Poland’s best new-generation directors, Krzysztof Warlikowski, for his version of “Krum” at BAM. Here’s what Tom Sellar (The Voice’s theater critic) wrote about staging of the play in BAM last year:

“If Chekhov was alive and living in Poland, he might have created this version of Krum, Hanoch Levin’s 1975 play about a man who returns home from abroad. In the hands of director Krzysztof Warlikowski and his superb ensemble from TR Warszawa, Levin’s drama of Israeli families and friends surrendering to time becomes a metaphysical meditation on the impossibility of fulfillment and the onset of death. Though set in Tel Aviv, Warlikowski’s production rotates brutal, comical, and beautiful scenes with a fluidity only found in Polish theater.”


Scarlett In Stereo

May 19, 2008

“Anywhere I lay my head”, Scarlett Johansson’s debut album is out tomorrow. Critics are divided, as they usually are (The Rolling Stone only gave it two and a half star) but we like it. Scarlett’s vocals remind us of Elizabeth Fraser or Nico, and the music sounds like it could have been recorded by 4AD. In other words: we like it. To be fair, we appreciate it more for its stylish, hypnotic and thick atmosphere than for Scarlett’s vocals (you can’t blame us, the recordings barely reveal her voice, and it sounds just like another instrument, which is not necessarily a bad thing) but we will definitely buy it.

Here’s a sample – the official video to a single promoting the album, “Falling Down”:

Or, you can just go on Scarlett’s website, preview all of the songs first, and then buy the album (or not).


May 19, 2008

There are only two days left for thousands of Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen from U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard to dock their ships on the Hudson for Fleet Week New York. Wednesday marks the annual (since 1984), celebration of the sea services. So don’t be surprised if you see white-clad men and women walking around in groups or solo, drinking in your local pub or looking at your favorite painting at the Met. They will be here for a week, starting Wednesday the 21st of May. Fleet Week also includes dozens of military demonstrations and displays throughout the week, as well as public visitation of many of the participating ships, if that’s your thing.

Check here for detailed schedule of events.

Are We Rude or Honest?

May 15, 2008

Yesterday’s Gothamist rose an interesting question: are New Yorkers rude?

April’s Smithsonian Magazine has Joan Acocella’s (New Yorker’s dance critic) article in it, where she writes that we are just misunderstood by the rest of the nation. Hence our bad reputation. The city – she writes – is so small, that everyone is in everybody else’s business all the time. You sit at your tiny home, divided from your neighbors by a paper-thin walls, and then you walk out of the house, where there’s so many people around you, you can’t help being annoyed by them. Not to mention cars honking all around us 24/7, cabbies dropping the F-bomb left and right (did you read about a cab driver by the familiar-sounding name Sobczak, that was fined for cussing?) and Jersey tourists throwing their trash on our stoop.

Can you really blame us for having low tolerance towards other annoyances? Gotta problem with that?

But in all seriousness – are we rude, or just honest and ready to give just about anybody a piece of our minds?