Monday, December 16, 2013

Books for a New York City-State of Mind

My Christmas Wish List

Dear Santa,

I'm in a New York City-state of mind this Christmas. Please send any of the following books about the who, what, when, where and why of our great metropolis. I envision myself this winter sitting in the glow of the HDTV fireplace, surrounded by these titles with Mabel at my side, poring over facts and figures and photos of my favorite place in the world.

And if you can swing it, Santa, please dispatch your elves to the local indie bookshops around town to pick these up. I know how you like to check off lists, so I’ve posted a list of lists of bookstores to get y'all started.

Safe travels, Santa! I've been as good as I could be. --MsManhattan

Humans of New York
By Brandon Stanton (St. Martin’s Press, Oct. 15)
Why: I’m a human of New York. Now that a book is out there, I have to track how I measure up to these singled-out, picture-worthy, All-New York humans. And I love the author/photographer's earnestness: Shortly after arriving here circa 2010, he was inspired to create a visual census of the city. That could be marketing, but just because it's marketing doesn't necessarily mean it's not true.
More: NYT Review | Author’s Site

The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City
By William B. Helmreich (Princeton University Press, Sept. 30)
Why: The title challenges me to say, “I do!” I want to know what he knows that I don’t know… I can walk 6,000 miles!
More: The Guardian Review | Untapped Cities Review | Publisher’s Site

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Local Bookshops for Santa's Elves

A List of Lists: Guides to NYC's Resurgent Indie Bookstores

You're a New Yorker; you need gifts for at least a few bibliophiles. Go offline and explore the city's reviving indie bookstore scene. Just bookmark these guides on your mobile phone, and off you go! (Like Santa at Macy’s, I’m sending you down the street for merchandise I don’t carry at this time...)

Top 10: The Gothamist’s recently published take on the best of the boroughs (25 November 2013)

15 Indie Bookstores: From Racked, a wide-ranging, city-wide listing (21 February 2013)

Spring 2013’s Top New Indies: Time Out NY’s selection of the best newly opened stores of Q1 (16 April 2013)

Indies in Manhattan That Are Not the Strand: Nation Books editor Daniel Lopreto’s favorites (12 July 2012)

Best Specialty Bookstores: Subject-specific shops for the sagacious, from Time Out NY (date N/A)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Grand Central Holiday Fair 2013: A One-Hour Guide

For Grand Central’s 100th anniversary year, the producers of the Centennial
Holiday Fair have curated a mix of booths with a consistent (if not exclusive) focus on handcrafted items created and sold by North American artisans, offering an intimate shopping alternative to the cacophony of door-buster deals in the weeks ahead.

While no big departure from the usual assortment of holiday fair merchandise — ceramics, housewares, art and photography, kids’ gifts, pets’ gifts, things that smell good, leather goods, jewelry, clothes, hats and scarves — the vendor selection as a whole reflects the best thing about the myriad fairs around town this time of year: the chance to uncover and support craftsmen, artists, designers, entrepreneurs and small businesses that are creating quality, often handmade, goods — and, in turn, jobs — in their home communities.

A number of the vendors here are literally local New York companies, and others come from up and down the East Coast and Canada. A lovely thought for this time of year, in this era of Big Retail ridiculousness: Think regional, buy local.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Too Darn Hot!

Submitted to kick off your 90-degree Friday evening: With the loveliest long, sturdy legs, and brown eyes both beguiling and inviting, Ann Miller heats up a swank Manhattan apartment in Kiss Me Kate.

Because it is, indeed, too darn hot to think of doing anything more tonight than logging on to Netflix. If you are blessed with AC, which thankfully, I am -- purchased during a July 4th weekend heat wave in 1999.

Prior to that, I'd go to the Olympia Theater on Broadway at 107th Street on nights like this, content to watch even the worst movie (Young Einstein, anyone?) in exchange for two blissful hours of AC.

The Olympia, established in 1914, was shuttered in December 2002 and demolished the following year to make room for a $56 million condo development. Where the theater was once flanked by a pet store to the north and an Italian restaurant and the most wonderful Italian sandwich shop to the south are now a Bank of America, a LensCrafters and a GameStop.

But it is much too hot to go much further with that narrative because it just gets me all agitated. Locals share the love for that old theater, which had seen better days long before its closure, at the CinemaTreasures website.

If you're headed to your local theater as we close in on what's expected to be the last night of this heat wave, check out Gawker's commentary on this week's new films and ask yourself, Is the cost of admission worth two hours of AC?

Me, I'm staying in. Netflix doesn't have Kiss Me Kate available for streaming, but recommends Kiss Me, about amorous stepsisters, or Kiss Them for Me, with Cary Grant and Jayne Mansfield, or Katy Perry: Part of Me or El Beso Que Me Diste (The Kiss You Gave Me).

But if my 14-year-old AC should go out, it will be The Kiss of Death.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Upper West Side Art Car & Driver

UWS Photographer’s Art Car on View at City College Biennial Reception 

Take a trip uptown around dusk on Monday, May 13, and join the opening reception for the City College 2013 Alumni and Student Biennial Exhibition. Hosted by the college's alumni association, the show features works by 18 students and alumni going back to the class of 1949 (Len Speier).

The exhibit has already begun and runs through June 30, but you can meet the artists at Monday’s event. Among the highlights: Upper West Side photographer and multimedia artist Kelly Irwin (class of 2000) will be on hand with her art car, an ongoing collaboration with artist Linus Coraggio.

The 1992 Toyota Corolla, painted in a graffiti-esque style and covered in toys and random objects, is Irwin’s primary means of transportation, so it won’t be a regular part of the exhibit. She has two other pieces in the show that, along with a framed photo of the car, form a “Modes of Transportation Through Life” triad.

It’s worth experiencing the car in person. In the meantime, watch this interview with Irwin and Coraggio, produced by Natasha Verma for the Northhattan website. (A higher-res version of the video is also available on Vimeo.)

The reception is at Aaron Davis Hall, West 135th St. and Convent Ave., on the City College campus, 6:15-8:15 p.m. Regular gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring-Cleaning NYC: SAFE Disposal Event

You know all those old cans of paint thinner; ancient cell phones, laptops and
desktops; broken smoke detectors; and sundry other would-be trash you know you’re not supposed to throw away? You can finally get rid of it all, responsibly, this Sunday (April 28) in Morningside Heights.

Bring your stuff to the Spring 2013 NYC SAFE Disposal Event at Columbia University/Teachers College on West 120th St. (between Broadway & Amsterdam). From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Department of Sanitation will accept a wide range of items that are potentially harmful to households and to the environment. SAFE is an acronym for Solvents, Automotive, Flammable, Electronics — categories that encompass everything from antifreeze to mothballs. You can also take personal care items like syringes, medications and mercury thermometers, as well as selected housewares.

Before you go: Check the event website for details on what’s accepted and how to package it for drop-off. You must bring proof you are a New York City resident.

Monday, April 22, 2013

More Truth in Recycling NYC: Can You Handle It?

For Earth Day, I decided to further my quest for truth in recycling, this time taking a cold, hard look at my own numbers: How do I measure up when it comes to my own recycling habits?  (See "Truth in Recycling NYC" for the stats on how well we’re recycling citywide).

I continue to learn I’m not nearly as green as I think I am.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Truth in Recycling NYC

My offline spring cleaning led me on a search for truth in recycling. What happens if you recycle something you shouldn't? You might be surprised.

Asking a New Yorker “Do you recycle” is about as antiquated these days as requesting a seat in the non-smoking area of a restaurant. It’s the law, of course, and the NYC Department of Sanitation makes it fairly easy, providing curbside recycling collection to 3 million households.

In fact, we put out between 366,000 and 423,000 tons of mixed-paper recyclables and between 250,000 and 331,000 tons of bottle-and-can recyclables each year. But are you recycling correctly? And what if you're not? Can you do more harm than good if you recycle something you shouldn’t?

NYC Recycling, Part 1: Separating and Sorting Household Recyclables

The first of a three-part series spotlighting resources available at WasteLe$$, a comprehensive guide to recycling in the city, created by the DSNY Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling. The following links guide you to the online facts on household recyclables, including how to separate and sort them for effective curbside recycling.

Update (posted 9 May 2013)

Original Listing (to be updated soon with new regulations)

What goes into mixed-paper recycling, and how to deal with it; plus, what doesn’t go — like milk cartons and hardcover books. It goes in the green bins.

How to recycle beverage cartons, glass bottles and jars, and various metals and foil. They all go together in the blue bins. Including milk cartons!

Did you know you can recycle that old metal file cabinet in your home office? That old metal Ikea kitchen cart? Get the low-down here.

More information and tips on household recycling, including building-wide recycling requirements and how to report violations.

Everything you need to know to ensure you never recycle plastics incorrectly again. Find out why New York only recycles certain plastics and how to accurately identify those that are recyclable here.

That depends on where you are. Find out why it’s so confusing.

An interactive game to test (and reinforce!) how well you know how to separate and sort your recyclables. Play online or download the app to your Android or iOS device.

Follow the Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling on Twitter (@NYCrecycles)!

This series will continue with Part 2, information on the city’s other recycling options and safe disposal events for hazardous household trash. Part 3 will cover city-sponsored reuse programs.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Yankees Honor Boston

It was a great moment last night when the Yankees honored the people of Boston by playing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" after the third inning, the Fenway Park tradition of its erstwhile rivals the BoSox.

The Bombers weren't the only team to do so -- has videos of seven other teams similarly showing their support -- but the historic antagonism between the two East Coast clubs put a different spin on the fans' reactions in the Bronx -- as amused by the irony as warm-heartedly empathetic to Bostonians.

In a more solemn acknowledgement of the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday (April 15), the stadium observed a moment of silence prior to the first inning. And a banner featuring the two teams' logos and the message "United We Stand" hung over the stadium throughout the game. 

The Yanks beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The new and improved

MsManhattan has been spring cleaning, online and off.

As part of my digital housekeeping, I've refreshed the site with a whole new look-and-feel, improved navigation and fresh digests of all the posted articles. With new, categorized pages, it’s easier to find the resources and information you want by topic. Just use the tabs across the top of each page.

Take a look around, then Tweet me @MsManhattan to let me know what you
think. And keep an eye out for new articles throughout the week. Up first: My offline spring cleaning led me on a search for truth in recycling. What happens if you recycle something you shouldn't? You might be surprised.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring Cleaning

MsManhattan is sprucing up, so you may find the content and navigation in transition... In other words, The place is a mess. Thanks for stopping by, but would you come back next week?

Look for the refreshed, rejuvenated MsManhattan on Monday, April 15.