Monday, January 31, 2011

Google turns the Subway into a lullaby

Check this out

"Alexander Chen used HTML5 and Massimo Vignelli's famous subway map to turn NYC's mass transit system into a playable musical instrument.
Manhattan denizens sometimes describe the sounds of the subway as the city's incidental music. Now programmer/designer Alexander Chen has created a more soothing version with, an interactive NYC subway map-turned-musical-instrument that uses transit lines as its strings."

(There's more, so check it out)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Brooklyn - On the streets of Dumbo

A friend snapped this picture yesterday and shared it with me - she lives in Brooklyn...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Strangers of New York

Hi Guys,

This is a friend of mine and fellow planners blog on nyc - all photos....she's kind of a creepy people watcher who takes pictures of people on her phone when they aren't looking...


"Don't stand so close to me"

New York Tourist day

Every year some of my friends who live in the city have a "New York tourist Day" - they've been doing it for three years.

First, the break up into teams -  it's a game.  You start out at a bar at 10am- everyone drinks cosmos and appletini's - anything you'd see on Sex and the City. Then you're let loose on the city, you're awarded points based on the pictures you take documenting the shenanigans of the day.

Bonus points for: Statue of Liberty visit, Top of the Rock, Confusing the Empire state and Chrysler buildings, Time Square, Brookyln Bridge, pictures with the stereotypical street performers, going to a cheesy NY gift shop and going to Starbucks.

You must dress like a tourist: shorts, tennis shoes, goofy hat, fanny packs, "I heart NY" tees (We buy them at a discount as a group the day before), cameras. You have to walk slow, get "lost" and ask for help, and take obnoxious pictures with the subway poles. You also have to take a double decker tour bus ride.

The more outrageous team wins dinner when everyone meets up at the end of the day - at Olive Garden.

Some New York-isms

You can never hail a cab on Friday afternoons - between 4 and 8 it's useless to try (only tourists try) Thankfully the subway doesn't close.

Avoiding Time Square in an unspoken rule.

You only go near Penn to leave town.

If you don't know where the 33rd street Path station is you'll never find it alone at night - it's in a little park of sorts, no huge signs or subway markings - yet it's always packed at night.

Open the fridge/freezer of a NYer - they have a bottle of water and a bag of edemame - but they have beer and wine.

At least 2 of everything - baseball, football, basketball - a region of choices.

Referring to neighborhoods like they're cities of their own "Yea we are heading to the Village then might get up to Hell's kitchen later" or "I'm in the Lower east right now, but I can meet up in SoHo?"

Living "in the 80's" etc. is a location not a time. Tons of young people in the UES (upper east side).

Lots of abbreviating like you would in texts or how people identify a city with an area code in the south or west coast - Upper east side becomes UES, Lower LES, Jersey City is JC, Long Island is the LI

Smells: you jump from the sewer, to the smell of a nuts for nuts cart, the awful fish smell in the bottom of China town, to the smell of pretzels to the smell of the subway versus the path train.

Summer: Turns NY on broil - fire drills in July in the heat, laying out wherever there is grass, pretending that your rooftop is the beach

You know you're a New Yorker when...

You Know you're a New Yorker when....
1. You order your Chinese food through bullet-proof glass. 2. When you get angry at people for not walking fast enough. 3. When you understand this: "Jeet yet?" "No, jew?" 4. You reach middle age never having owned an automobile. 5. How many people outside of the 'City' know what a 'Regular' coffee is? 6. Every other phone book looks like a magazine. 7. When your greatest wish is to have an apartment with its own washer and dryer. And when you finally get that apartment, the washer and dryer are the first thing you show to everybody that comes over to visit. 8. You’re a Hindu and start talking Yiddish: “Why that son of a Nafkeh! That no-good chamoole's tokhes! May he receive hot borsht cristiyahs and live on pishechtz and dreck! Kuck im on!” 9. When you walk past the Black Rock on 6th and wonder how long it's been since Moondog left the scene. 10. When you stand 2 lanes into traffic waiting to cross the street. 11. You can not only take a catnap on the subway while sitting, but can manage to fit one in and stay standing while hanging onto the bar. 12. When you walk into a crack-house and it reminds you of your first NY apartment building. 13. You know you're a New Yorker when the "shortest time span known to man" is the time between the light turns green and the guy behind you honks his horn. 14. When watching “Deliverance” reminds you of that time you went to New Jersey. 15. You're sure that the kids on the subway selling $1.00 M&M's for their "basketball team" are totally scamming you, but you think that paying $225,000 for a 400-sq.-ft. studio is a good deal. 16. You consider taking a cab because you don't want to lose your parking spot. 17. You discover that NYC sells over 3,500 telescopes a year. Of course, we haven't seen a star in the sky since the blackout of 1977 but that doesn't matter since the telescopes never point higher than the top window of the building across the street from their owners. By the way, Winona Ryder never closes her blinds. (just kidding) 18. You Know You're a New Yorker When... you're standing nose-to-nose with someone on the subway & yet you're not looking at each other. 19. ...when the most important utensil in your kitchen is the phone
 ------- You know your a new yorker when.... 1. You say the "city" when you mean Manhattan and expect everyone to know what it means. 2. Hookers and the homeless are invisible. 3. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you muliligual. 4.You think $7.00 to cross a bridge is a fair price to be charged without a gun held to your head. 5. You've considered stabbing someone just for saying "The Big Apple." 6. Your door has more than three locks. 7. Your favorite movie has DeNiro and Pacino in it. 8. The most frequently used part of your car is the horn. 9. You consider eye contact an act of overt aggression. 10. You call an 8' x 10' plot of patchy grass a yard. 11. You complain about having to mow it. 12. You consider Westchester "Upstate". 13. You think Central Park is "nature." 14. You're paying $1100 a month for a studio the size of a walk-in closet and you think it's a "steal." 15. You've been to New Jersey twice and got hopelessly lost both times. 16. You pay more each month to park your car than most people in the U.S. pay in rent. 17. You haven't seen more than twelve stars in the night sky since you went away to camp as a kid. 18. You go to dinner at 9 and head out to the clubs when most Americans are heading to bed. 19. Your closet is filled with black clothes. 20. You pay $5 without blinking for a beer that cost the bar 28 cents. 21. You actually take fashion seriously. 22. Being truly alone makes you nervous. 23. You have 27 different menus next to your telephone. 24. Going to Long Island is considered a "road trip." 25. You've gotten jaywalking down to an art form. 26. You're suspicious of strangers who are actually nice to you. 27. You haven't cooked a meal since helping mom last Thanksgiving with the turkey. 28. You take a taxi to get to your health club to exercise. 29. Fifty dollars worth of groceries fit in one paper bag. 30. You have a minimum of five "worst cab ride ever" stories. 31. You don't hear sirens anymore. 32. You've mentally blocked out all thoughts of the city's air quality and what it's doing to your lungs. 33. You live in a building with a larger population than most American towns. 34. Your doorman is Russian, your grocer is Korean, your deli man is Israeli, your building super is Italian, your laundry guy is Chinese, your favorite bartender is Irish, your favorite diner owner is Greek, the watch seller on your corner is Senegalese, your last cabbie was Pakistani, your newsstand guy is Indian and your favorite falafel guy is Egyptian. 21. Traffic regulations are mere suggestions 22. You know you're a New Yorker when you…understand that there are as many New Yorks as there are New Yorkers 23. You tip the super $10 to hang a picture on the wall because you don't own your own hammer.

Another Life in NY

Check this blog out, all about life in NY:

To New Yorkers...The Subway

To America / to New Yorkers

Convenience store, 7-11 / Bodega, Deli

Front porches are a hangout / Rooftops and Stoops are hangouts

Time Square is New York / Time Square is avoided and touristy

Even the way people interact with something as common as the subway is different. NYers hate when someone walks up or down the stairs of the subway station slowly - Move out of their way. People also have the ability to wake up at their stop - even though there usually is no announcement or it's an indecipherable dialect of New York-lish. Somewhere like Boston's T you would never see the things that you would see on the subway of New York - things like Mariachi Bands playing through the cars near Time Square, street preformers flipping down the train between Penn, and the ineveitable opening and closing of the car backdoors to someone with a sad story that beings "Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention. I wasn't always this way...." asking for your donations and kindness.

NY subways are like no place else. But Wether it's the commute home or the commute out, the ride to Coney Island or to Queens (when you passed out at 5 am after a long night out only to wake up 10 stops past your stop) - the subway has a lot of stories.

Here's another cool NY Blog:

The NY Mentality

       "People who move to NYC and really want to succeed are willing to wait tables or fold T-shirts in a GAP or do whatever it takes to be self-sufficient at first.” - Sarah, 27 Manhattan

“I don't consider myself a New Yorker yet - I just moved here a few months ago. To me a New Yorker is someone who can say they made it here…I’m still working on that." Macey, 25 Manhattan

“     "The city is full of life, fun, exciting, dirty, and young.” - Laura, 23 East Village Manhattan
“The thing about NY is that you can really be whoever you want to be here, no one cares one way or another what you’re wearing, who you’re walking with. It’s great." – Liz, 24 UES Manhattan
“The New York attitude is thinking quick on your feet. Quicker then anywhere else. You make the same decisions everybody else makes only the make them twenty times more a day and do them five times quicker.” – Josh, 29 Brooklyn

“I      "I have the NY mentality, I walk faster than others, I drive faster than others, I talk loud as if I don’t care what others think of me. I’m from New Yawk and if you don’t like it, get out of the way." - Sarah, 27 Long Island

“There’s nowhere else like NY. As much as you may hate taxes, tourists, and traffic on the LIE, BQE, or basically everywhere that you drive, it’s still great. Its just a distinct attitude we have that makes us stronger/tougher.”Darian, 32 NY

“U     "As New Yorkers, we have a boss mentality ‘no one is above me’...born and raised here, Wash Heightz all day baby! NY is not only Times square and Wall’s much more then you can even imagine…”- Yami, 26 Washington Heights 


Pulled from a blog: Definition of a NYer,781

Re: Definition of a New Yorker
Posted by: Jason (
Date: June 06, 2008 12:08PM

No other city has this paradoxical 'state of mind' identity greater than New York City. It manages to transcend its sense of place, in the conventional sense of the word. Paris is the only other city that seems to come close to this universal sense of place. It is a 'street theater' quality, which has everything to do with its 'aspirational' and 'poetic' sense of itself. Anyone who strongly identifies with those qualities is, innately speaking, a New Yorker. it is also that sense of longing for something beyond ourselves, which identifies a true New Yorker. But more than anyting else, the film and television industry perpetrates this 'other sense of self' as a universal and transcendent identity which is the unique New York experience. And to be a part of this experience is to be a part of the American dream, with its keen sense of justice, liberty and eternal progression in all things both temporal and spiritual.

Re: Definition ?
Posted by: leelee (
Date: September 04, 2009 12:00AM

the definition of a true new yorker is someone that lives breaths eats acts talks walks with their head held high and you want it to be higher than anyone elses you strive for attention you want your voice to be heard. if your a true new yorker you could write a book on your life and feel it could be one of the best books ever written. a true new yorker dosent care about what anybody says your yourself you come before anybody else. a true new yorker has become numb to pain because they learn that it never goes away it only gets harder and you gotto know how to deal with it .a true new yorker says fuck you to anybody who stands in their way of want they want . a true new yorker would flip out to someone who says fuck you to you . a true new yorker always gets that uneasy feeling when they hear sirens plus we know the diff between a ambulence siren a fire truck siren and a cop siren lol. a true new yorker knows that feeling that you get when your not in new york that uncomfortable feeling kinda like a lost feeling but a dont worry ill be back home soon kinda feeling. every true new yorker owns a pair of jordans or air forces. every true new yorker always gotto look good and fresh cuz people aint gotto know what we have and dont have just know we are hustlas. every true new yorker hates goin to the city cuz theres just to many tourists and if you do go u usually take a train or ferry or bus. BUT a true new yorkerr knows what its like to look at that skyline and think to themself wow i could never get sick of that view im so blessed to be born and raised here not alot of people get to and expirience this, my reality is someones dream. im a true new yorker born and raised its 3 in the morning and what do i hear cars racing music bumpin, the sirens ah man i love it bk aand staten all dai .

Thursday, January 27, 2011

From my friend Erin - why I love NY

why I love you nyc

by Erin on Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 11:19am
Nicole Brooker asked me: "could you give me specific examples of things that you see about NY that others couldn't?"

I'm having a hard time with this one... what do I see when I look around NYC?

I see passion and drive and millions of people who are intent on manifesting their own destinies - no matter how big their dreams - working tirelessly to build the foundations of their own success;

I see people who are more open minded, more accepting, more aware than most, yet are busy busy busy, so may come off as detached and self absorbed;

I see amazing style that constantly inspires me and pushes me to reinvent myself as often as I my eyes peek open in the morning;

I see humanity at its best: helping to shovel sidewalks and push cars out of the snow, carrying an old lady's suitcase up the stairs, giving their time to those less fortunate than themselves - and at its worst: closing their eyes to the pregnant woman who needs a seat or barely giving a sympathetic glance to the man bundled up in dirty rags in the corner;

I see more creativity and inspiration than I could ever imagine there possibly being in the world - artists who transcend the status quo - musicians and photographers and artists and performers and dancers that make my heart swell and ache with admiration and longing;

I see anything and everything you could possibly imagine wanting - no more than an arms length away - ripe for the taking, ripe for the abusing, ripe for the savoring;

I see the crème de la crème, the folks who can make it anywhere, yet choose to make this big, beautiful, wonderful city their home, their sanctuary, their playground, their wasteland;

I see the first and only place in the world where I've ever felt accepted, ever felt at home;

I see the youth seeping in, adding their fire and their brilliance, their curiosity and their passionate insistence - building the new skyline of New York with electric dreams and steely determination;

I see the place that I am beginning to whisper goodbye to - taking it in my arms, wrapping myself in its embrace and feeling the soft crush of passion and remorse;

Brooker: I hope that helps.

I <3 New York.

Erin has lived in NY forever - she's 30 and currently lives in Crown heights - she's super in tune with culture and is truly happening.

10 steps to becoming a NYer

This list is on becoming a new yorker (10 things u have to go thru before u are “official”) - a friend sent me this list when I first moved here:
#10 - get a 917 area code
# 9 - learn to hate time square
#8 - visit all landmarks and declare "they're okay" when asked about them
#7 - tell people you go to new jersey ONLY for ikea
#6 - find YOUR number one new york pizza spot and say IT IS THE #1 NY pizza spot
#5 - hook up with as many foreigners as you can
#4 - after partying hard fall asleep drunk in a subway car and wake up in queens
#3 - have several encounters with CRAZY people and have trouble picking the worst one
#2 - have everything delivered
#1 - slip and fall on your ass, hurt, suck it up, stand-up and keep going NO BLUSHING

You know you're from long Island (Suffolk County) when...

Hey Guys - this is something a fellow planner from LI got passed to him on FB....all about LI...enjoy!

You know you’re from Suffolk County (LI) When...
1. You ask yourself why you talk different from every other state.
2. You know someone or you have adopted a pet from North Shore Animal League.
3. More white people talk ghetto then black.
4. You curse. A lot.
5. You put a “er” at the end of an “a” word or the opposite. ex: Soder
6. You are afraid to step in the ocean water because you can’t see past 1cm.
7. There is damn geese everywhere!
8. You know of only one mall, Smith Haven.
9. You have been to the Amityville house at least once.
10. Wonder why only our beaches are contaminated.
11. You feel like you have contracted Tuberculosis from lake Ronkonkoma.
12. You go to Island 16 all the time, Because obviously it’s the coolest place.
13. You think we have the poorest schools, when really we have the richest.
14. You wish that the only roller rink in Bayshore wasn’t demolished.
15. You go to the Rinx on Friday nights.
16. You know the construction on the roads is pointless because they are always worse then before.
17. You wonder why we never get snow, It snows 3ft, then never again until the next winter.
18. You ask yourself “Why does everyone move to Florida?!”
19. You don’t know why schools spend all the money on sports when only a selection play.
20. You wonder why only we have to take a regents exam.
21. Hate the schools heath code.
22. Most girls dress like sluts, but you have gotten to the point where you don’t realize because you’re so used to it.
23. You wonder WTF is with the Uggs?
24. The Commack movie theatre scares you.
25. You go to the mall more to hang out then to shop.
26. You had no idea how rich we were until you went out east.
27. You have been to Atlantis Marine World at least once.
28. You know the security guards anywhere(mall, school, ect.) don’t care what you do.
29. You wish Global warming would stop because our beaches are disappearing. O.o
30. You can’t wait until summer, so that you can do nothing but stay inside on the computer.
31. you've waited on the line at taco bell at 2am cause you got a craving and its four town away.
32. You thought you were bad ass when you were 10 and your mom let you ride your bike to your friends house
33. When people from upstate/out of state ask were you live you have to describe your towns location by distance from N...YC in minutes. [we dont use miles :P]
34. you've spent your weekends durring the summer taking ferries to FI
35. There's no DQ yet we're tortured with commercials
36. When you know exactly how it feels to wake up in the morning feeling like p diddy

Hope this helps..I’ll think of some more tomorrow!

Don't forget the region...

New York is more than the city - the city is more than Manhattan. The constant coming and going of people who work in the 5 boroughs aka the city (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island) or vice versus.

The New Jersey Path trains easily connect Newark, Jersey City and Hoboken to Manhattan. The Lincoln tunnel sees people driving into the city. Penn Station welcomes the people from Connecticut and Upstate on the commuter rails and the Long Island railroad, ferries bring people where they need to go.

Point is, New York is the mecca  - the origin of trends and ideas - but it is influenced by the surrounding areas. It's a ripple effect - NYC influences out and then catches the waves that come back in.

NYC is a place but it's also an attitude and a mentality - like our beverages have attitude and something extra.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Street graffiti versus street art

The idea that New Yorkers, just like our Beverages, have a little something extra going on also implies that they see things differently than people in other parts of the country. To someone who isn't from NY this would just be "dirty", "graffiti", even make them feel like the street they are on is "unsafe" or "scary". But to NYers, this is street art.

James De la Vega is an underground street artist in NY - his work is all about becoming your dream - he's happening.

People wear their opinions

New Yorkers always put their stamp on things that belong to them - there is always something more that an outsider might not figure out. There is always a little something extra.

Example: Mermaid Day
Every big city has parades. Everyone everywhere has seen the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade on TV. But some things that happen in NY aren't so suitable for TV but are still very much NY. Take "Mermaid Day" for example. Every June Coney Island has a huge parade that "celebrates the sand, the sea, the salt air and the beginning of summer, as well as the history and mythology of Coney Island, Coney Island pride, and artistic self-expression." 

The Parade is characterized by participants dressed in hand-made costumes as Mermaids, Neptunes, various sea creatures, the occasional wandering lighthouse, Coney Island post card or amusement ride, as well as antique cars, marching bands, drill teams, and the odd yacht pulled on flatbed.This past year people used the parade as protest of BP's efforts with the oil spill (oil leak in this parade) as well as using metro cards to make art and costumes. 

Poor tourists on the subways - I was there, absolutely hilarious. NYers were the only ones in on the secret. 


Just stumbled across this site on Brooklynisms, kind of older but still some cool stuff to think about how NYers use their language.

I lived in Brooklyn - I can totally agree with "Boss" and "dollars to doughnuts" and "shit wich you"...Keep in mind a younger crowd when looking at these though - but it's very born and raised in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NY is so noisy...Noisy because it's happening, everyone wants their voice heard

The noise in NYC is part of the atmosphere. A quiet NY doesn't exist. Not everyone gets that though, check out this Parisian as she describes her first impressions of the city:  

“This city is nothing if it's not noisy.  It's noisy in the morning, noisy during the day, and even noisy at night (and overnight), thanks to  variety of activities such as the DJ who was spinning Euro beats in the courtyard behind my apartment yesterday evening. The soundtrack for this city is a never-ending stream of honking horns, roaring traffic, and an assortment of everyday sounds created by people living their lives. You could argue that New York is loud because it's a big city, but Paris is a big city as well, and I would never describe it as "loud."  When it comes to decibels, New York is on a whole different level.” –Tanya, 29

Thriving on Randomness

I like to say that in NYC "nothing is shocking, but everything is interesting." In a given week you can see anything from naked bicyclists to hand-stands in the subway. The best part: Most New Yorkers won't look twice, they appreciate the self expression for what it is. This is New York. To an outsider these people are crazy, to New Yorkers it's just New York - get used to it.

A changing New York

Good article on how NY has changed over the years - Times Square used to be the red light district and Coney Island Boardwalk was better than the Vega Strip.  Despite changes, "New York will have a kind of individuality that isn't going to completely replicate anywhere else."

Monday, January 24, 2011

4th of July chat

Walking through the hundreds of people who were returning to the city from the Hudson river fireworks display, I had a NYC chat with two good friends who had moved up a year before me. As we stumbled through the sidewalks, bushes and strollers and struggled to hear one another over the 20 languages that were being chatted in around us, my friend Liz told me how she couldn't see herself living anywhere but NYC - at least for the next 5 years.

“The thing about NY is that you can really be whoever you want to be here, no one cares one way or another what you’re wearing, who you’re walking with. It’s great." – Liz, 24 UES Manhattan

Our friend Rach chimed in with this little gem:
       "Now that I’ve lived here for awhile, you couldn’t drag me back to Florida." -  Rach, 24 Manhattan
        Getting on the subway my friend Kels said "  “Don’t fall in love with New York too quickly -  she can turn on you if you’re not paying attention." 
          Couldn't have said it better myself.

NY as a measure of success

        Some advice from people who moved to NY to achieve their dreams. They have happening lives and each have their own distinct story to tell. Being a New Yorker is an earned title - you have to prove that you belong, you have to earn your stripes.

        "People who move to NYC and really want to succeed are willing to wait tables or fold T-shirts in a GAP or do whatever it takes to be self-sufficient at first.” - Sarah, 27 Manhattan

“I don't consider myself a New Yorker yet - I just moved here a few months ago. To me a New Yorker is someone who can say they made it here…I’m still working on that." Macey, 25 Manhattan

Implication:  In New York, you never really know who someone is. The girl handing you your McCafe cup could be a DJ at night and in school on the weekend. The guy next to you on the 6 train could be the next winner of Project Runway (true story - happened to my old roommate). Part of the beauty of NY is the fear and adrenaline you get from not knowing.

Their view is different...

"For me,  there are only two places, New York City and everywhere else." -  Katie, 26 Manhattan

Quotes from NYers

         “We were raised to appreciate the variety of cultures & heritages around us. I'm a New Yorker, and then I'm Jamaican.”  – Ashley, 22 Queens

          (that's Ashley, right in the middle with the black vest on)

Smoothie, not tea.

NY prides itself on having tough skin and the fact that the people here choose to live in the toughest/greatest/(insert better wording here) city in the world.

Here you aren't one thing - you're a blended and better version of many things....kind of a smoothie of sorts rather than just your plain everyday cup of tea.

Another excerpt from "Lies about NwhYC"

#10. New York is the city that never sleeps


I have often said that L.A. is the city that sleeps on the beach, and NYC never sleeps…I was wrong.People sleep here.

A lot….
Just mostly on the subway. The best part of this is that they somehow magically know when to wake up - there is no way they hear their stop (most of the time it’s impossible to understand the MTA driver dialect of I’ve-been-driving-this-train-for-8-hours-while-drinking-starbucks-and-reading-people-magazine groggy speech).

An excerpt from "Lies about NwhYC"

Lie #14. Cat-Calls are for Construction workers…


If ever you are not feeling your hottest or most confidence and need that little extra boost…walk down a street in NYC. Seriously, just put on a pair of sunglasses and walk with your head held up and pay attention to what’s going on around you.

Yesterday I was in a dress (not a short dress), my hair was wild and messy and I had been arguing with someone on the phone for an hour. I walked down the street and got two “You’re beautiful's" and 1 near collision (guy walking closer as he got near me, only to smile and veer off at the last second).

Best part: These guys are mostly normal. I have had this happen anywhere from the fire station to the front of our office. Suits to Sailors, and everything in between.

NYC is a confidence booster, so go out and smile at someone.

"Lies about NwhYC"

When I moved to Brooklyn from Florida last year I decided to keep a blog about my experiences. Short, snarky and full of nuances about NY. Stranger in a strange land kind of stuff - worth checking out - everything from beverages to trains sucking to people being ridiculous.

(this is really my picture, in the elevator at Clark Street Station in Brooklyn)

The Tourist Lane

Another Improv everywhere stunt (I highly encourage you to browse their missions on their site This happened last summer where they decided to create a "tourist" lane and a New Yorker lane on the sidewalk off Fifth Ave.

The best part: NYers were totally surprised and accepting, tourists just assumed it was a crazy NY law. NY is different, people acknowledge that fact so they don't even question something as strange as a tourist lane.

Implication: Do something disruptive that New Yorkers will appreciate. 

How to disrupt the undisruptable

Improv Everywhere is a group in NYC that makes it their mission to create scens of chaos and joy - to disrupt the everyday grind.  Here is a mission from last summer where several hundred agents spent a day at Coney Island / Brighton Beach wearing black tie attire. They covered a mile-long stretch of beach with a diverse group of people of all ages (from babies to sixty-somethings) laying out, playing games, and swimming in the ocean, all in formal wear. Agents were instructed to find cheap tuxedos and ball gowns at thrift stores for the occasion.

Isn't this awesome?

Empire State of Mind

A little over a year ago I was in the city for interviews and my friends, who graciously let me crash on their couch for a few days, decided to take me out to experience NY the way they do. At bar number 3 on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, I was in the process of ordering a beer when this song came on - I have never seen a bar anywhere get so into a song that wasn't their college fight song - this beat out all the Southern drunk girls I'd ever seen singing "Don't stop believing"... combined.

The entire bar just erupted in song, people were standing on the tables, hugging strangers, holding their beers up in the air - and it was only about 12:30.

This song captures the energy of the city - it's what NY is all about. Even if you can only really relate to the chorus, it still belongs to you if you're a NYer.

"Empire State Of Mind"
(feat. Alicia Keys)


[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
Yea I'm out that Brooklyn, now I'm down in TriBeCa
right next to Deniro, but I'll be hood forever
I'm the new Sinatra, and... since I made it here
I can make it anywhere, yea, they love me everywhere
I used to cop in Harlem, all of my Dominicano's
right there up on Broadway, pull me back to that McDonald's
Took it to my stashbox, 560 State St.
catch me in the kitchen like a Simmons with them Pastry's
Cruisin' down 8th St., off white Lexus
drivin' so slow, but BK is from Texas
Me, I'm out that Bed-Stuy, home of that boy Biggie
now I live on Billboard and I brought my boys with me
Say what's up to Ty-Ty, still sippin' mai tai's
sittin' courtside, Knicks & Nets give me high five
Nigga I be Spike'd out, I could trip a referee
Tell by my attitude that I'm most definitely from....

[Chorus: Alicia Keys]
New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York,
New York

[Verse 2: Jay-Z]
Catch me at the X with OG at a Yankee game
Shit, I made the Yankee hat more famous then a Yankee can
You should know I bleed blue, but I ain't a Crip though
but I got a gang of niggas walkin' with my clique though
Welcome to the melting pot, corners where we sellin' rock
Afrika Bambataa shit, home of the hip-hop
Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back
for foreigners it ain't for, they act like they forgot how to act
8 million stories, out there in it naked
City, it's a pity, half of y'all won't make it
Me, I got a plug, Special Ed "I Got It Made"
If Jeezy's payin' LeBron, I'm payin' Dwyane Wade
Three dice cee-lo, three Card Monty
Labor Day Parade, rest in peace Bob Marley
Statue of Liberty, long live the World Trade
Long live the King yo, I'm from the Empire State that's


[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Lights is blinding, girls need blinders
so they can step out of bounds quick, the sidelines is
lined with casualties, who sip to life casually
then gradually become worse, don't bite the apple eve
Caught up in the in-crowd, now you're in style
Anna Wintour gets cold, in Vogue with your skin out
City of sin, it's a pity on the wind
Good girls gone bad, the city's filled with them
Mami took a bus trip, now she got her bust out
Everybody ride her, just like a bus route
Hail Mary to the city, you're a virgin
And Jesus can't save you, life starts when the church end
Came here for school, graduated to the high life
Ball players, rap stars, addicted to the limelight
MDMA got you feelin' like a champion
The city never sleeps, better slip you an Ambien


[Bridge: Alicia Keys]
One hand in the air for the big city
Street lights, big dreams, all lookin' pretty
No place in the world that could compare
Put your lighters in the air
Everybody say "yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah"