My life would have been very different had I grown up closer to the Hayden Planetarium. I was obsessed with space and astronomy as a kid but only got to visit the Planetarium’s predecessor a handful of times growing up. Then and now, this is a magical place.
(Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History)
It’s been a few months since my last post, so I’ve got a small backlog to work through.
Despite being sick the entire time I was there, I had a great time. It’s a wonderful festival in a very friendly town.
When it comes to computing gear, I’ve been an Apple fan since college. I love my Macs, iPhone, and iPad and wouldn’t trade them for anything. They’re reliable, beautiful, work great, and hold their resale value very well.
But I admit that when it comes to price (as opposed to value), Apple has never been the cheapest option. That’s why growing up in a working-class family, I never owned an Apple computer. We just couldn’t afford them.
But we could afford (barely) a succession of Commodore 64s and, eventually, an Amiga — all of which I got great use out of. So while I may have grown up envying my friends’ Apple IIs and Macs, I didn’t miss out on the benefits of computing. Commodore truly made computers for the masses, which I’ll always be grateful for.
Given this, I was especially happy to see these old hallmarks of my computing youth during a recent visit to the Computer History Museum. I also liked that the Commodores sat on the top shelf of their affordable early microcomputers display. For those of us who loved computers but didn’t have much to spend on them, they truly were top shelf items.
(Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA)
I woke up today thinking about the passing of another year, the dreams we all have about our lives, and how we reconcile who we are with who we’d like to be.
The conclusion is always the same for me: happiness comes mostly from pursuing the dream, not necessarily achieving it. (Though achieving it every now and then is pretty nice too.)
And then I realized this is an idea I continually re-visit and re-discover, and not just on New Year’s Day. In fact, I made a short film about it six years ago. So much for progress…
In January 2008, my short film Beijing Haze premiered at Slamdance before going on to play at SXSW and a bunch of other festivals. But it’s never been available anywhere else.
Today seemed like a good time to change that. You can now watch it for free on my YouTube channel.
Of the shorts I’ve made, this is my favorite. I hope you enjoy it too.
Happy New Year everyone! Let’s all chase our dreams in 2014.
So this week I felt especially lucky to visit the building twice, getting to see both the space-age Bloomberg LP offices and Le Cirque Cafe. Unsurprisingly, the building is even nicer on the inside.
I get that this sign is aimed at the owners and not the dogs themselves, but still: why make the thing you’re trying to prohibit look so fun?
Even the dog who’s following the rules looks jealous-as-heck of the ones who aren’t.
Note: this happens in Taiwan, too.
(East 91 St, Manhattan)
I totally geeked out seeing their workstation of old drives for reading obsolete digital media like floppies (3.5/5.25/SD/HD/SS/DS), Zip disks, Jaz drives, and (soon) optical. I got nostalgic for the Commodore 64s and Amigas I owned during childhood. I also got a little sad thinking about all the data lost forever on the floppy disks I threw away.
I’m glad exhibits like XFR STN exist, because I don’t think there’s nearly enough awareness of the digital dark age we’re potentially living in. I made Digital Antiquities a few years back in an attempt to bring attention to this issue and I have a feeling I’ll revisit these ideas in future work. I hope this is a topic that becomes part of the cultural conversation in a bigger way, soon.
But my Bike Friday turned twenty this year (I bought it second-hand in 2005) and it may finally be showing its age. So I’ve been looking for an affordable way to let the Bike Friday transition into semi-retirement. The goal was to find a good-quality folding bike that could be my commuting and grocery-hauling workhorse, which would let me use the Friday as my stripped-down, go-fast recreational bike.
Introducing my new used 2012 Tern Link D8. I found this bike on Craigslist from a woman who was leaving New York. She’d purchased the bike last fall after Hurricane Sandy knocked out the subways downtown but stopped using it once the trains returned. The dust all over the bike seemed to back up her story, so I took the plunge. For $280 in cash, I got the Tern, a Kryptonite lock, and a Bern helmet.
The Tern is extremely sturdy and easily carried 25 pounds of Trader Joe’s groceries over bumpy Manhattan streets. I hope I get a good twenty years out of it. And another twenty from the Bike Friday now that it doesn’t have to carry produce anymore.
Visiting a friend’s house on the Upper West Side and seriously enjoying the view.
Rooftop water tanks have their own secret community high above it all.
A Brooklyn brownstone is still my NYC dream house, but I’m pretty sure a Manhattan penthouse like this would satisfy me as well.
I’m a regular user of the First Avenue bike lane in Manhattan and I love it. It’s by no means perfect — there’s still too much pedestrian dodging required in the East Village and Upper East Side — but it’s a huge step towards a safer and better use of that very wide avenue.
These days, my favorite stretch of the lane is the segment in front of the United Nations. The urban planner in me just loves how the bike lane merges beautifully with the vehicular lanes on the south end of the First Avenue tunnel, taking you comfortably past an area that used to be tricky for cycling. As an added bonus, there’s also now a Citi Bike station directly across the street from the Secretariat Building.
The only improvement I can think of would be giving one lane of the tunnel to bikes if cycle traffic one day warrants it. I’d love to see that in my lifetime.
The transformation of far west Chelsea is really breathtaking, especially since it’s nowhere near over. It’s part of a decades-long metamorphosis of the west side of Manhattan that stretches from the Village to the Upper West Side and which shows no sign of stopping.
I remember how these blocks on Tenth Avenue used to feel so desolate, forgotten, a little dangerous. It always seemed like this part of Manhattan was secret hiding in plain sight, not far from the busy corridors but never really seen.
Then over the course of twenty years came Chelsea Piers, Hudson River Park, clubs, galleries, Chelsea Market, the High Line, Google, IAC, and high-end residential.
And with Citi Bike stations all over the neighborhood, now even those long blocks from the subway on Eighth Avenue don’t seem so long anymore.
I haven’t circled Manhattan on my bike in several years, so I decided last-minute to try it again yesterday afternoon.
The good news: it’s easier than ever to do this route now, despite the few missing links. The path almost everywhere is in very good condition and you’ll have plenty of company except along the Harlem River parts.
The bad news: at one of the missing links uptown, I ran into a dead end (on the FDR!) which extended my ride. Those few extra minutes were enough to fully drain the GoPro’s batteries, so you won’t see my triumphant finish in this video.
But it’s all about the journey not the destination, right?