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Dreams Are Maps

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“The visions we offer our children shape the future. It matters what those visions are. Often they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Dreams are maps.”
— Carl Sagan

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reconbot
1 day ago
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New York City
digdoug
5 days ago
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Louisville, KY
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City to pull permits for Extell’s Upper West Side skyscraper

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Extell’s 50 West 66th Street, at right, will become the Upper West Side’s tallest building.

The DOB gave the developer 15 days to offer reasons why its permit should not be revoked

The city plans to pull building permits for the Upper West Side’s largest planned tower only three months after it shot down a challenge that, contrary to city code, the building featured large swaths of empty space between floors to beef up its height.

Opponents have argued that Extell’s 775-foot-tall tower at 50 West 66th Street uses the empty space to boost the building’s overall height in order to hike up the price for apartments on the higher floors. But in November, the city’s Department of Buildings rejected a zoning challenge filed by elected officials and neighborhood preservationist groups that the structural voids—floors for a building’s mechanical equipment—are excessive.

Now, in a surprise reversal, the DOB has ruled that the 160-foot mechanical spaces are not permissible.

“The proposed mechanical space on the 18th floor of the Proposed Building does not meet the definition of ‘accessory use’ of 12-10 of the New York City Zoning Resolution,” DOB Manhattan borough commissioner Martin Rebholz wrote in an “intention to revoke approval” letter this week to Extell. “Specifically, the mechanical space with a floor-to-floor height of approximately 160 feet is not customarily found in connection with residential uses.”

Buildings officials have given Extell 15 days from January 14 to respond to the notice with reasons why the permit should not be revoked; in the meantime the project’s building permit was rescinded, according to Rebholz’s letter. The Department of Buildings did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

City Council member Helen Rosenthal, who has been a vocal opponent against Extell’s project, praised the city’s action.

“The Department of Buildings’ notice of intent to revoke the permits for 50 W. 66th Street is a critical first step in the process to overhaul the City’s approach to mechanical voids and ‘super-talls,’” Rosenthal told Curbed. “We are very pleased that the administration is taking this issue so seriously in terms of W. 66th Street, and we await a final decision.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale brewer called the decision a “victory not only for the Upper West Side, but for communities all over the city.”

“From the beginning, I have opposed the developer’s decision to use a monstrous 160-foot void to boost the number of condos with views—and boost sale prices—while robbing the community of sunlight and air,” Brewer said in a statement. “By ruling that a mechanical space with a floor-to-floor height of 160 feet is not an ‘accessory use’ allowed under zoning, DOB correctly interpreted both the letter and the intent of the City’s zoning code.”

The de Blasio administration announced last summer that it plans to regulate structural voids, as the practice is regularly abused by luxury housing developers to add height to a project without actually adding additional square footage. Officials have not yet announce reforms to curb the practice.

Extell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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reconbot
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We are now closer to the Y2038 bug than the Y2K bug

jwz
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We crossed the boundary 42 minutes ago. Sorry I'm late.

perl -e 'use Date::Parse; print localtime((0x80000000 + str2time("1 jan 2000 0:00 GMT")) / 2) . "\n";'
Wed Jan 9 17:37:04 2019

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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reconbot
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skorgu
7 days ago
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The famous tea water pumps of 1700s New York

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New York’s love of tea began in the 17th century, when the Dutch imported it to the colony.

By the time the British took over, tea-drinking had become an ingrained social custom, especially for ladies, according to New York City: A Food Biography.

There was one problem though: finding fresh, clean water for brewing the tea.

In the 18th century, residents got their drinking water from “wooden pumps set commonly at street corners, at intervals of about four blocks,” wrote Charles Haswell in his 1896 book, Reminiscences of an Octogenarian of the City of New York.

The pumps drew water from underground springs, but what came out tended to be distasteful and brackish. (It’s part of the reason people in the colonial city also developed a taste for beer, Madeira wine, and spirits.)

Luckily for the ten thousand or so city residents at the time, a couple of the street corner pumps actually produced high-quality, refreshing water.

These special pumps became known as “tea water pumps” because the water that came out of them made high-quality tea.

Perhaps the most famous tea water pump was at Chatham and Roosevelt Streets.

Here “stood the celebrated Tea Water Pump, of which it was alleged by the housekeepers who drew from it, that it made better tea than any other water; it was supplied by a spring from the hill of sand leading up to the juncture of Harmon Street (East Broadway) and the Bowery,” wrote Haswell.

Another legendary tea water pump was in today’s Nolita/Chinatown area, according to one tea website.

“Sometime during the first half of the 1700s, a spring of fresh water between Baxter and Mulberry Streets began to attract popular attention,” states the site.

Yet another was found on the West Side, either at Bethune Street or 10th Avenue and 14th Street, depending on the source. This one was “owned by a Mr. Knapp, who distributed its products from carts at 2 cents a pail,” stated Haswell.

Selling the tea water from these choice street corner pumps by wagon via “tea water men” became big business, as seen in the above painting depicting an 18th century residential street.

“Tea water! Tea water! Come out and get your tea water!” was the cry heard on the street by the vendor, according to the 1935 guide All About Tea.

By 1774, an estimated 3,000 households bought their water this way, according to New York City: a Food Biography.

At the turn of the 19th century, though, even the tea water pump wells were becoming polluted, especially those closest to Collect Pond, now a stinking cesspool polluted by industry.

New York’s love of tea wasn’t going to taper off; tea gardens had even opened up with views of the Hudson for refined ladies and gentlemen. Clearly, a new source of reliably fresh water would be necessary.

These New-York Historical Society images dated 1898 show children posing by old wooden corner street pumps, at left on Trinity Place and on the right on Edgar Street.

[Top image: NYPL; second image: NYPL; third image: Metmuseum.org; fourth and fifth images: New-York Historical Society]



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reconbot
20 days ago
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N64 modder re-imagines classic Super Mario

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Classic games, computers and gaming consoles are a source of joy for those who came of age when the titles and hardware were cutting edge commodities. Few things can transport you back to your youth faster than playing with what made you happy back in the day. For some people, playing with the games of yore includes tinkering to make something new and wonderful.

From Kotaku:

Modder Kaze Emanuar has taken the 2D level design of that older game and crammed it into the engine of Super Mario 64. Judging from the video that announced the mod, this allows the player to do all the leaping, hopping, and air flipping that a modern Mario can do while still enjoying the “classic” feel of the levels.

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reconbot
22 days ago
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satadru
22 days ago
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New York, NY
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How New York did coffee in the 1950s and 1960s

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If you’re craving coffee in the contemporary city, you’ve got options: your local Starbucks, a mini-chain like Birch or Gregorys, even a corner no-frills bagel cart.

But in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s—before ordering coffee meant navigating a dizzying array of blends and milk options—New Yorkers sipped a simple cup of joe at one humble coffee house: Chock Full o’Nuts.

By the 1960s, about 30 Chock Full o’Nuts restaurants dotted the city. They were so ubiquitous, I wonder if any patrons questioned the name and what nuts had to do with it.

Turns out the chain actually began as a shelled nut shop in 1926.

That’s when a Russian immigrant named William Black opened his first nut store in Times Square, according to Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City.

By 1932, Black’s original store under a staircase at Broadway and 43rd Street expanded, and he eventually owned 18 nut shops.

But with the Depression still raging, Black “converted his nut shops into inexpensive cafes where a nickel would buy a cup of quality coffee and a ‘nutted cheese’ sandwich—cream cheese with chopped walnuts on lightly toasted whole wheat raisin bread,” states Savoring Gotham.

The famously delicious cream cheese sandwich would eventually be made with date bread, and the menu expanded to donuts, soup, and pie.

When Chock Full o’Nuts reigned as the number one coffee shop in New York City in 1955, the price of a cup came in at just 15 cents.

Customers appreciated the low price, no-tipping policy, and also the cleanliness. Employees prepared the food using tongs, not their hands.

By then, the chain had introduced their own brand of coffee in supermarkets. The catchy TV jingle about the “heavenly coffee” is forever burned into the brains of every native New Yorker born before 1980.

So what happened, and how did Chock Full o’Nuts fall?

After Black died in 1983, the company didn’t adapt to changing consumer tastes, according to a 1990 Washington Post article. In 1988, the 18 remaining Chock Full o’Nuts restaurants were sold to the management chain Riese Brothers.

The last Chock Full o’Nuts hung on in the 1990s at Madison Avenue and 41st Street. In 2010, the name was revived at a new coffee house on 23rd Street, but it closed two years later.

Chock Full o’Nuts ground coffee can still be purchased in stores, its yellow, green, and black coffee can marked by an image of the New York skyline—a reminder of the restaurant’s place in Gotham’s culinary history.

[Top photo: Chock Full o’Nuts website; second photo: MCNY, 1932, 35.165.49; third photo: Chock Full o’Nuts print by Ken Keeley; fourth photo: Chock Full O’Nuts on Cedar Street, New York Times; fifth photo: Chock Full o’Nuts on Canal Street, MCNY, 1980, 2013.3.2.864]



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reconbot
23 days ago
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