Did I mention that we’re walking the streets of Manhattan in order to get to know the neighborhoods? I use this iOS app called Trails to track where we go and then trace it old skool style with a sharpie onto a tourist map.
The nice thing about Trails is that it automatically logs everywhere we go so I can just put the phone in my pocket and go about our day. The location tracking doesn’t take as much battery on my iPhone XR as I thought but I do bring along an extra charged up external battery to top things up just in case.
One app that I also recommend is Urban Archive. They have a database of all the old buildings in NYC and using it, you can quickly lookup the history of buildings you see while walking around.
Here’s the master map with all the traces of where we’ve been so far since arriving on September 25th. Lots to still see (we’ve only spent a short time in Brooklyn) but it’s been a blast.
If there are particular walks you recommend, please add links in the comments!
I can’t believe that New York City is my new home. We’re still nailing down details of a place to live (more on that later, don’t want to jinx it) staying in a furnished apartment in the meantime so it feels temporary.
But no. NYC is our home. Weird. I’m now one of youz guyz.
I’ve been trying to think of the best way to describe what living here is like, from a Californian point of view. Certainly people talk a lot more than back in Bay Area. Walking down the street is like an exercise in verbal river rafting. There’s no time to look down at your phone. Everyone has a quip or comment and you need to be fast with a witty reply to make a connection. Everyone is always, ON.
In this fast moving stream of conversations, whenever a group of New Yorkers gather for more than a few minutes, an instant community forms. This evening was a perfect example.
As you know, the pandemic limits the number of people that can be inside a shop at any one time. There is an amazing cheesemonger down the street, they’ve got cheeses from around the world and a chalkboard listing specials that they fly in each day for their customers. A sign out front that says no more than “two people or one group” at a time in the shop. Outside the store there are three people that don’t know each other, each waiting their turn to go in. As three individuals it’ll take more time to go in because that’s three separate groups.
A man is chatting with two women. Right as Izumi and I walk by I hear the man say,
Wanna be a group?
That phrase, right there, captured the perfect NY moment. A little eddy of inactivity shunted to the side of the overall flow of people walking by. Three people, milling around, waiting. There’s a problem. A restriction, a rule that is slowing their progress. A community forms – collective problem solving is put to work, they band together. Problem solved.
This is NYC. People of all types, strangers, reaching out to solve problems, together, with a laugh.
On a more serious note, we’re heading into what many are predicting will be a dark winter of the third wave. It’s going to be tough but that same resourcefulness from that vignette above gets force multiplied in times of crisis. The blackouts of 1977 and 2003, Hurricane Sandy, 9/11. New Yorkers rise to the occasion to meet the challenge, together.
NYC got walloped by the virus earlier in the year but they know what’s coming this time around and will face what’s coming with grit, camaraderie, and a sense of humor. I’m glad we got to experience the tail end of the Summer but am prepared for what’s coming.
HBO host John Oliver traveled to Danbury, Connecticut to celebrate the renaming of the town sewage plant to the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant. The ceremony marked the end of a months-long playful spat with the town. Oliver remarked on his show “at the end of this awful, awful year, what could be more important than evidence that, if we want to, we can come together, overcome our differences and sort our shit out.“
A troupe of yodelers who held two sing-along concerts in a small town in Switzerland have been fingered for a recent spike in Covid-19 infections. The performers were unmasked so as not to impede their yodeling as they played to an indoor audience.
Online conversations at a virtual paleontology conference ground to a halt when discussions became disjointed and hard to follow due to an overzealous profanity filter. Automatically censored words such as bone, stream, and beaver made chatting amongst the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology attendees a comical game of charades. The vendor of the platform (ironically named Convey Services) was not available to convey their comment.
Commuters in Brooklyn were put out when the Greenpoint public ferry stop was taken out of service because the Australian developers who owned the surrounding land and pier blocked access. The mayor called it a “quizzical situation.”
Yelp will start indicating if businesses have been accused of racist behavior. The Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert will link to a news article where consumers can learn more about the incident.
The venerable and respected New England Journal of Medicine broke with tradition and published a political editorial lambasting the current administration’s response to Covid-19. While they did not call out Trump & Pence by name, they basically called them a threat to the health and society of all Americans and encouraged their readers to vote them out of office.
Covid-19 has created a crisis throughout the world. This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.
The magnitude of this failure is astonishing.
After a couple of data points showing how poorly the US squandered its opportunity to respond and how corrosive the administration was to basic science they continue,
An outbreak that has disproportionately affected communities of color has exacerbated the tensions associated with inequality. Many of our children are missing school at critical times in their social and intellectual development. The hard work of health care professionals, who have put their lives on the line, has not been used wisely.
Then finally, the zinger.
Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences. Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But this election gives us the power to render judgment. Reasonable people will certainly disagree about the many political positions taken by candidates. But truth is neither liberal nor conservative. When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.
Three Metro-North employees have been suspended without pay when a makeshift “man cave” was discovered under track 114, deep within the bowels of Grand Central Station. The hideout was equipped with a futon, microwave, refrigerator, and flat screen TV. In a statement, the MTA Inspector General accused the three of chutzpah.
Back on earth, scientists have perfected an enzyme that can “eat” plastic six times faster than their previous concoction.
The New York Times got their hands on some coveted Trump tax documents and shared various business expenses. The Donald was not shy with his use of write-offs which included $70,000 for haircuts, $750,000 paid to his daughter for consulting services, and $2.2 million in property tax paid on his upstate New York mansion, all for business.
NASA will test a $23 million titanium space commode at the international space station. The updated design is smaller than the existing Russian toilets and better suited for women. The planned October 1st launch was scrubbed (sorry, dad joke) due to bad weather.
Former coal CEO Robert Murray, who fought federal regulations over regulations to cut the amount of coal dust in his mines, has filed an application for benefits from the U.S. Department of Labor for black lung benefits.