Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

Vilage of Light – A Burning Man Winter Celebration in the City

December 15th, 2010 by Ichi Vazquez

What do you do when some of your best memories take place in the middle of the desert with your closest friends, as exotic DJ beats blast all around you while you examine some of the most beautiful art pieces you’ve ever seen?

You decompress from that experience by bringing it back to life right at home, of course.

This is what the Burning Man community here in New York City did on Friday for Gratitude:Village of Light, an event that celebrated the community of like-minded artists, performers, visionaries, and kindred spirits who practice the 10 Burning Man principles year-round, and invite other to do just the same.

Burning Man is a music and arts festival that began in San Francisco around 1987. Today, the event takes place in Black Rock City, Nevada and boasts an attendance of over 50,000 participants every year, inviting people around the country and the world to take part in an experimental city that is commonly described as an expressive Utopia with extremely harsh desert conditions. In this city, currency and commercialism is non-existent (in other words, not allowed!), and another form of exchange takes its place instead: gifting.

Many major cities, including New York City no less, have a prominent community of Burning Man attendees that have over time transformed the semi-underground annual event into a full on cultural and artistic movement. Friday’s Village of Light event served as a celebration of an embraced 11th Principle, Gratitude, that was first revealed at Figment, a summer music and arts festival on Governor’s Island organized by the same community of artists. Proceeds will go towards Figment as well as the Black Rock Arts Foundation in order to support participatory culture, community and interactive art.

Here is a list of featured highlights from the event:

– A fashion show by designer Wheylan at midnight
– Dozens of 2D, 3D, and Video Art installations
– A Burlesque/Cabaret Revue

DJ Line Up
– An-Ten-Nae (Acid Crunk/SF)
– Arrow Chrome (Disorient/NYC)
– Friar Tuck (Disorient/NYC)
– Karim So (Luvstep/LA)
– The Bass (Disorient/NYC)
– Bit-Tuner (Trepok Rec./Switzerland)
– Blanco (BOOM Trike/NYC)
– D_Juice (House of Yes/NYC)
– Jon Margulies (Hobotech/NYC)
– Joro-Boro (Etno-Teck/NYC)
– Mike Vinyl (injectionmusic/Austria)
– Miss Sabado (Disorient/NYC/LA)
– Morphous w/ ShiZaru (Tsunami Bass Experience/NYC)
– The Munch Machine (
– Orion Keyser (Disorient/NYC)
– Reda Briki (Disorient/NYC)
– Space Invader (MK2/NYC/SF)
– Tektite (Vitamin B/NYC)
– DJ Tinseltown (Flux Factory/NYC)

Live Bands
– Raquy and the Cavemen (NYC)
– Comandante Zero (NYC)
– Neon Dynamite (NYC)
– Lenkadu (Boston)
– Gina Ferrera (Philly)
– Siren (NYC)
– Joshua Tennent & Acoustic Noise Complaint (NYC)
– JustinJustin TOCA & Ale’ Ale’ Drummers (NYC)

For those of you who have never attended Burning Man before, Judd Weiss wrote a highly amusing and slightly explicit description of his experiences there in his blog. Since it was his first year, it’s a great read from a very personal point-of-view. But the truth is, everyone has a whole range of experiences out there, and it can be as crazy or as zen as you like it to be.

For further information, here are some links to New York City Burning Man theme camps and artistic groups. And although it is not updated often, you can also scout out information about the Burning Man in New York City website.


Kostume Kult

Image Node


House of Yes

Soundslides music credits: “Love & Happiness” (Yemaya y Ochun) [Michel Cleis ‘Floreo’ Remix]

The Pest in the Mirror

October 4th, 2010 by Stuart White

New York City is plagued by a litany of pests. Many have become cultural touchstones, common enemies whose persistence and prevalence have made them just as much a part of the Big Apple as the people who walk its streets. However, one New York pest stands head and shoulders above the rest, literally. I’m referring, of course, to New Yorkers themselves.

While many of New Yorkers’ foibles have been explained away by making an excuse of their always-on-the-move lifestyle and the attendant stresses of living in the city that never sleeps, let’s face it: sometimes New Yorkers can be downright intolerable.

Are you still unconvinced? Taken aback? Angrier than a Mets fan in October? If so, you’re a New Yorker, so take a moment to learn some of the reasons the rest of the world makes fun of you behind your back.

  • Enough about your pizza already.  Sure, New York is a great city for pizza, but let’s face it: for every stand-out pizza joint there are 10 dingy shanties selling rubbery slices that taste more than a little like cardboard.  And as for the New York vs. Chicago thing? Get over it.
  • Can someone do something about all these hipsters? I know, I know, New York didn’t invent the hipster, but ever since the days of Andy Warhol, it has acted as the de facto fatherland of legions of equally insufferable pseudo-intellectuals, all of whom seem to belong to terrible bands.
  • Something about New York breeds the worst kind of elitists. Yes, New York has great restaurants, enviable museums, and more nightlife than you can shake a glow-stick at. It also has about 8 million snobs who won’t shut up about it.
  • Speaking of New York elitism, being from New York doesn’t mean you can automatically do something better than the people who did it first. Leave bourbon to the pros, you yankee pests.

Please Don’t Be That Guy

October 4th, 2010 by Paul DeBenedetto

On Sunday, I spent my time at a local bar as the New York Jets handily beat the Buffalo Bills, 38-14. While I sipped my drink uninterestedly (I’m a Giants fan) and my friend Geoff fumed at the inept Buffalo offense (he’s a Bills fan) I took a look around the bar.

What did I see? The proverbial “that guy.” You’ve seen “that guy.” He’s the guy you see at the concert wearing the headlining band’s t-shirt, or the guy who says “I like all kinds of music except country,” or the guy who says “I’m a Libertarian.”

In the opinionated melting pot atmosphere of New York City, being “that guy” at a sports bar can be even more risky. So how can you avoid being “that guy” at the sports bar? Below the cut: five sports bar stereotypes to avoid.

Do you want to have a drink or a conversation?

October 4th, 2010 by Edouard de Mareschal

Friday night, the weekend is finally here, you are planning to have a good time with your friends. You meet somewhere in the town, open the door of a bar or a restaurant… And a noisy sound of music and crowd assails your ears. At this point, the only solutions to communicate with your friends are either to shout at their face, to make silly signs to mime what you cannot say, or to laugh loudly, pretending that you understood what was just said. The night is going to be long…

Here are three reasons why music should definitely not be loud in bars and restaurants of New York:

1-    Bars and restaurants are made to drink and speak (sometimes loudly, depending on the degree of alcoholization of the group), not to have to endure the same annoyances than during the week. According to the New York City Environmental Protection, “Noise complaints continue to be the number one quality of life issue for New York City residents”. To report any kind of noise annoyance in your neighborhood, the 311 can be useful, even for barking dogs.

2-    Sometime, music they play is really bad. Two minutes of Lady Gaga can turn out in torture if we HAVE to listen to it. Really.

3-    Asking the waiters to order become very challenging.

4-    Loud music cut conversation. After 30 minutes of communication attempts, people get fed up with speaking for them selves. So they shut up. And everybody look into their glass of bear, pretending to enjoy the music.

Raccoons? Bed Bugs? They’re Nothing Compared to These Pests

October 4th, 2010 by Jonathan Vit

The media is having a love affair with pests. In recent weeks, sightings of opossums, raccoons and stink bugs have all been big news as local media outlets scramble to turn over every rock imaginable in their quest for the next pest. With a new king crowned every week, it’s only a matter of time before the city’s lovable black squirrel becomes public enemy number one.

But in the end, New Yorkers have it easy. Raccoons in your garbage? Roaches in the kitchen? Opossums in your parks? All mere nuisances. People elsewhere live with pests so terrible that you’ll think twice before complaining about some razor-toothed tree rat hanging around Coney Island. Think bed bugs are the worst thing since Moses introduced the locust to Egypt? Just take a look at these appalling annoyances.

  1. Scorpions. Residents in Phoenix, Ariz. have to coexist with what might be the most terrifying insect to call the United States home, the scorpion. Arizona is home to between 40 and 60 species of scorpions, including the Arizona bark scorpion, the only species living in the U.S. with venom that’s dangerous to humans. Its sting is powerful enough to nearly kill a child and Arizona bark scorpions are so abundant they might as well be on the state flag. Experts say the area’s home foreclosures are to blame for an explosion in the urban scorpion population. As if the recession didn’t already hurt bad enough…
  2. Bot flies. Native to the equatorial regions of the Americas, the human bot fly reproduces in the worst possible way. A female bot fly grabs hold of flying mosquitoes and lays her eggs on the insect’s belly. When the mosquito lands on a human to feed, the larvae burrow into the skin. That’s right, this maggot actually lives in people. The maggot then feeds off the host for a period of eight weeks, causing the host to develop an open, boil-like sore. And if the thought of a maggot living under your skin wasn’t disgusting enough, this video of a bot fly larvae extraction will earn this pest a permanent spot in your nightmares.
  3. Japanese giant hornet. Found in the mountainous regions of Japan, the Japanese giant hornet is no laughing matter. At two inches long, the hornet as big as a humming bird and it packs a sting powerful enough to kill a human being if left untreated. These hornets feed on smaller bees and can decimate an entire hive in a few hours. Their sting has been described as a “red-hot spike piercing the flesh.” The venom can dissolve human flesh and is responsible for an average 40 deaths a year, making the Japanese giant hornet more deadly than many, more venomous, snakes.
  4. Candiru. A pencil-thin parasitic fish common to the waters of the Amazon River, the candiru lodges itself in the gills of larger fish, using spikes to stay in place, and feeds off the host’s blood. That doesn’t seem so bad, right? Well, the river can be a little murky at times, and sometimes the tiny fish mistakes a man’s urethra for the gills of a fish. It’s a story that’s so unbelievable that it’s easy to dismiss candiru attacks as the stuff of urban legends, but recent investigations have proven the myth true. As if we needed another reason to stay out of the water…

Airport Anxiety: One Nuisance, Six Solutions

October 4th, 2010 by Kahliah Laney

Crying kids, lost luggage, delayed departures and cumbersome crowds. Even when things go according to plan, navigating New York airports can try even the tempers of seasoned sojourners. Throw in airport improvements and inclement weather and a jovial weekend jaunt can quickly turn into destination disaster.

But traveler tantrums are an international occurrence. In 2008, a woman flying from Hong Kong to San Francisco threw a fit – and herself apparently – at security when she wasn’t allowed to board her flight because she was late. Canadian politician Helena Guergis flipped out on flight attendants in 2010 when she showed up only 15 minutes before her scheduled departure. But passengers aren’t the only ones who experience travel trauma; some staff are saying “shove it” to unruly riders.

Just this year JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater became a runway renegade after letting a passenger have it and then having off with company bought beer through an emergency exit.

So what should one do to stay sane in harrowing airport situations? Consider one of these six solutions.

1. Have a Cosmo, Not a Cow

Some airports have no last call even though getting on the plane isn’t always a party.

But round-the-clock bars boost city budgets as well as the morale of weary road warriors. The city of Chicago recently approved a plan to serve alcohol at their airport 24 hours a day to help make up for a $655 million city budget deficit.

2. Don’t Yell, Do Yoga

Why is doing a downward-facing dog at an airport concourse any more strange than doing an extended triangle in Times Square? Hey, downward-facing dog could keep a passenger from having a downward-spiraling airport experience.

3. Get Your Shoes Shined

Getting your shoes shined is a way to kill time in airports that many – especially women – don’t consider. Try it. Getting your battered boots buffed may be so pleasant that you end staring at your reflection in your shoes, too preoccupied to complain about getting bumped from your flight. But beware, the thrifty indulgence can apparently become addicting and create more airport anxiety than it relieves.

4. Go to the Spa

There are few situations a good message can’t mitigate. Can’t afford an airport masseuse – try a massage chair. The massage chair may not be the stuff of five star hotels but it sure beats sitting in cramped seats near your gate, scowling at the useless flight staff.

5. Play the Slots

This is a nice option for people traveling out of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. Depending on how your weekend in Sin City went though, you may not want to take the additional gamble. But, apparently the odds of winning big on the slots at McCarran might be better than the odds of finding love there.

6. Don’t Shout About It, Shop About It

Sure, you’ve already spent a ton on your ticket but spending your energy on a situation you can’t change is just as wasteful. If you must wait, you may as well look fabulous doing it. But of course if you go shopping and the crew then loses the new purchases, an assault of Naomi Campbell proportions may be justifiable.

Rain Rain Go Away…

October 4th, 2010 by Ichi Vazquez

We’ve all been there before. You’re standing on the corner of a busy avenue, drenched from head to toe in that luke-warm, New York City rain, desperately waiving your hand around as though you were an eager student who knew the answer to the question a teacher asked. Except that you’re just trying to hail a cab instead. And while there are numerous, potential saviors – various highlight yellow cabs spread out all over the street, not a single ‘available’ light sign is on. All the cabs are full. And there you are, wondering if you will ever get home within the next half an hour, as you slowly catch a cold.

There are many things that are downright pesky on a rainy day in New York City. And while every New Yorker has been inevitably affected by the occasional downpour of rain, there are ways to avoid having bad rainy days, and start enjoying them instead. Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Issue: You are walking to work during a torrential downpour, trying to keep your things dry under your tiny, $5 umbrella, when a careless New Yorker walks passed you with an umbrella five times their size, hitting everything and everyone in its path.

Solution: Save yourself from any more pokes in the eye, and hit up a store nearby where you can get dry and entertain yourself for a little while, until the rain lets up.

2. Issue: You wore inappropriate shoes that day, thinking that the weather would continue to be dry and sunny. Instead, your feet are so soaked from the rain you make tiny squeaky noises every time you take a step, and you can’t really feel your toes anymore!

Solution: Take your shoes off and run through the streets barefoot. Or hit up a discount shoe store to invest in some warm, comfortable rain boots. That way, you can do some serious puddle sloshing for fun.

3. Issue: You are stuck at home with nothing to do, and you wish you were able to get out of the house and get active.

Solution: Then do just that, and hit up a few bookstores or museums to pass the time. Nothing makes a rainy go by faster than curling up with a book.

4. Issue: You have somehow ended up in Park Slope, and you are caught in a sudden, relentless storm.

Solution: Stop by Tarzian Hardware store and other merchants in the area to pick up a free umbrella, part of a community program for the neighborhood. You can stay dry throughout the day, and when you’re done, just return it from where you picked it up!

5. Issue: It’s been raining for days, and you are stuck in a rut, or perhaps the lack of sunshine has triggered a small case of seasonal affective disorder.

Solution: Realize that the variance in weather is just a natural part of life, and there is always a lighter way of looking at things that at first seem so dreary.

Rainy Day Fun

October 3rd, 2010 by An Phung

Just when New Yorkers were getting use to a summer accompanied by record-breaking high temperatures, steamy subway platforms and clear sunny skies, autumn arrives and it’s time to adjust to a whole new season again. It’s been an unusually warm and rainy fall season, leaving New Yorkers with no choice but to brave the moisture a little earlier than usual. They say you can’t predict the weather, but there are ways to ensure that you don’t let this pesky, volatile climate ruin your good time in New York City.

1. A Rainy Day Wardrobe – Some rain boots,  an umbrella and a raincoat are imperative in a city where walking is the main mode of transportation. The last thing you want are soggy pant hems when you get to the office. If you end up collecting a bevy of $5 street vendor umbrellas by the end of the rainy season, there is an eco-friendly way to dispose of the excess.

2. A Day At The Museum – Museums are kid-friendly and date-friendly places to spend a rainy day. No matter which exhibit in the fall line-up you visit, there will be an array of colors, sculptures and historical lessons to fill up time for restless kids and awkward first dates.

3. Roast Your Chestnuts –  As the outdoor bar season comes to an end, check out the list of indoor bars with fireplaces that will keep New Yorkers dry and warm. These watering holes will come in handy as the fall season turns into the blistering cold winter season.

4. Apply Your Apps – There are plenty of free weather apps for Blackberrys, Android phones and iPhones available to help New Yorkers stay one step ahead of the storm. Gizmodo has rated the best weather apps for your smartphones. Checking the weather before leaving home, work or school will ensure that you’re properly dressed and heading somewhere warm and dry.

5. Stay Home – A stormy season as dangerous and inconvenient as this one means that it might be safer to stay home and avoid the subways and falling trees all together. Dodging lethal tree branches is not a fun or safe addition to your daily commute.

Hope absence from first international summit on bedbug

October 3rd, 2010 by Tuan Thanh Nguyen

By Tuan Nguyen

The first ever international bedbug summit was organized last week in Chicago, Il. Organizers called it a success – it was sold out five weeks in advance with the attendance of hundreds of bug experts, exterminators and scientists – but all bug connoisseurs were puzzled over how to deal with the pest.

Some findings from the summit didn’t sound like good news at all:

  • Bedbugs are not only associated with squalor. Recent infestations were found in upscale hotels and resorts. Bedbugs spreading, in fact, have been assisted by air travel.
  • Bedbugs are not picky about the blood they swig and they can suck three times their size.
  • Starving isn’t a good tactic. Bedbug can endure long periods in cramped environments without eating or even moving. Yale scientist Joshua Benoit has a live bedbug he has fed once in the past two years and eight month.
  • It’s not cheap to call in professional to deal with bedbug. Home inspection can easily hit $1,000 and there is no guarantee that the insect won’t return.

This is not a good news for New York City, where bedbug complaints have risen 20 times over the last five years.

$27 million reasons to be annoyed

October 3rd, 2010 by Chase Lindsay Rosen

It’s become apparent that New York City is a pro at spending taxpayer’s money relentlessly.

Will changing CENTRAL PARK WEST to Central Park West really reduce car accident death statistics? The Federal Highway Administration thinks so.

The discussion of changing all of Manhattan’s 250,900 street signs has caused [to some, it has added] animosity between Manhattanites and government organizations. This project will cost $27.6 million and projected to be completed by 2018. The new signs ring in at about $110 a pop and will be designed to be easier to read, making roads safer, according to NYC Department of Transportation.

New Yorkers are speaking out. There are plenty of other things this city could do with $27 million.

New signs

An example of what the new signs will look like.

  1. Finish 2nd avenue subway line: This project has been going on for years already. Deadlines have been pushed back, and costs have heightened. Businesses and residents in the area have been extremely disrupted and will continue to be until the line is finished… which is not suspected to be until 2020.
  2. Finish Ground Zero Memoriam: The Freedom Tower will not be finished until 17 years after the 9/11 attacks. Construction has been lagging due to transportation of goods. With a $3 billion budget, you’d think that commemorating the lives of those lost would be amongst the city’s top priorities… clearly they are in no rush.
  3. Keep MTA costs stabilized: Manhattanites are angered at the MTA’s propositions to increase the cost of public transportation while simultaneously cutting service. Since when is paying more for less fair?
  4. Cease police officer layoffs: NYC is in a budget crisis and the NYPD is being forced to lay off officers. Cutting the NYPD budget is certainly not going to help reduce the rising NYC crime rate.
  5. Better the NYC public school system: Over the past year, the NYC public school system has seen serious drops in average grades. ‘A’ status city issued report cards fell from 85% to 25%. The Department of Education has neglected to make any changes just yet due to the heighten costs associating with bettering schools.
  6. Keep Alex Rodriguez a Yankee: His $27 million salary is equal to the cost of changing all NYC street signs. Considered one of the best athletes of our time, NYC could spend this money on keeping him around for another year.

Should changing the signs be a top priority? In a recent poll from New York Magazine, 90% of people feel city officials should not change street signs. “We are faced with more important issues that need to be addressed and taken care of before changing the street sign aesthetics,” said Manhattan resident Brooke Rosenberg.

Street sign replacement has already started in the Bronx. Only time [or the need for cuts in other budgets to finish this project] will only tell the effectiveness of the new street signs.