Does the very geography of Manhattan make it more inviting to immigrants and other newcomers? 

The idea came up during a long walk I took down Broadway with Becky Cooper, the author of “Mapping Manhattan,” and Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker, who wrote the introduction. 

"Mapping Manhattan" is a crowdsourcing project that uncovers the intense emotional associations New Yorkers have with the island. Becky wandered about the city, handing out blank maps to people on the street and asking them to scrawl away. She also roped in celebrity contributors, like Yoko Ono and Australian supermodel Nicole Trunfio.

Love came up, as did sex, hate, prostitution, death, and Patricia Marx’s lost gloves. 

But on our walk, we kept returning to geography, and the street grid that defines Manhattan.

"The grid plan that makes New York so distinct is one that in a certain sense cancels personality," said Gopnik. "Whereas Paris and London are both, in a certain sense, organic cities, they’ve grown up over a long period of time. The irrationality of their structure is a reflection of that long history, that’s why you need to take 2 years to learn how to become a taxi driver in London. New York has a super impersonal plan. But it takes on a private impress. That corner on the absolutely rectilinear grid, of 23rd and Broadway, becomes your corner.”

"I feel like the grid pattern actually invites personality," said Cooper, "because of how non-specific it is. Because the second you come here you feel you own a part of it. There isn’t this barrier to entry, there isn’t this exclusivity of the person who’s grown up here.”

Listen to our full Micropolis conversation here.

And check out Becky Cooper’s “Mapping Manhattan” Tumblr.

How fun is this: In the middle of their workday, office employees in Midtown Manhattan have started trekking to lunch-hour dance parties held at nightclubs. 
These include Laurie Batista, 31, an executive assistant at an advertising agency…

… she was wearing purple lensless Wayfarer-style glasses, waving a footlong foam glow stick and mouthing the words to Warren G’s “Regulate.”
Around her, hundreds of other revelers did similar things: a guy in Chuck Taylors moonwalked across the dance floor, a man in a hoodie threw up his hands to form the “W” that stands for the rap group Wu-Tang Clan. Strobe lights bounced off a giant disco ball. Sweat glistened on foreheads. “Gin and Juice” thumped. Cheers erupted. It was midday, but inside Marquee, it could have been 2 a.m. [NYT]

Sounds far less pathetic than eating over my keyboard. 
The DJ’s at these affairs include Questlove of The Roots, and aside from the all the twenty- and thirty-something attendees are some retirees.

“I just happened to be walking by and a young lady gave me a flier and I said, ‘O.K., I have nothing else to do for lunch,’ ” said Dorothy Vazquez, a 68-year-old resident of Brownsville, Brooklyn, who happened on the latest Lunch Beat. Ms. Vazquez said she normally dances at her local seniors center. She smiled, surveying the people filing into the club. “I’m looking forward to boogieing,” she said.

Photo by Benjamin Norman for the New York Times

How fun is this: In the middle of their workday, office employees in Midtown Manhattan have started trekking to lunch-hour dance parties held at nightclubs. 

These include Laurie Batista, 31, an executive assistant at an advertising agency…

… she was wearing purple lensless Wayfarer-style glasses, waving a footlong foam glow stick and mouthing the words to Warren G’s “Regulate.”

Around her, hundreds of other revelers did similar things: a guy in Chuck Taylors moonwalked across the dance floor, a man in a hoodie threw up his hands to form the “W” that stands for the rap group Wu-Tang Clan. Strobe lights bounced off a giant disco ball. Sweat glistened on foreheads. “Gin and Juice” thumped. Cheers erupted. It was midday, but inside Marquee, it could have been 2 a.m. [NYT]

Sounds far less pathetic than eating over my keyboard.

The DJ’s at these affairs include Questlove of The Roots, and aside from the all the twenty- and thirty-something attendees are some retirees.

“I just happened to be walking by and a young lady gave me a flier and I said, ‘O.K., I have nothing else to do for lunch,’ ” said Dorothy Vazquez, a 68-year-old resident of Brownsville, Brooklyn, who happened on the latest Lunch Beat. Ms. Vazquez said she normally dances at her local seniors center. She smiled, surveying the people filing into the club. “I’m looking forward to boogieing,” she said.

Photo by Benjamin Norman for the New York Times

theawl

theawl:

thecorcorangroup10amspecial:

March 29, 2013 – Magnificent Free-Standing Mansion

351 Riverside Drive
Upper West Side, Manhattan
$13,500,000 | 12 Bedrooms | 11 Bathrooms | Approx. 12,000 sq. ft.

This magnificent mansion, built in 1909 by William Tuthill, the architect who designed Carnegie Hall, is currently the only free-standing single-family mansion in Manhattan. Commissioned by Morris Schinasi, a Turkish tobacco baron, the Schinasi Mansion is an exquisite French Renaissance jewel box executed in pristine white marble, boasting deep green roof tiles and bronze grills on the balconies and at the main entrance. The building is 41’ wide and 73’ deep, surrounded by private grounds, and located on a corner lot overlooking the Hudson River.

For more information about today’s 10am Special, please visit corcoran.com.

lol but come on how would you ever find your cats.

Sure, $13.5 million SOUNDS like a lot, but considering the asking price was $31 million in 2006, it’s a pretty damn good deal. If you’re in the position to put 20 percent down, your monthly payments would work out to just around $51,305. Please tell your friends!

Filling up water bottles at Confucius Plaza, in Chinatown.
One of the most inspiring things I encountered in the wake of Hurricane Sandy were the hordes of teenagers in Chinatown who operated bucket brigades to the top of high-rises. They’d fill up empty buckets, or milk cartons, or juice bottles with water from a hose outside, then haul them up 10, 20, even 40 flights of stairs, into the homes of men and women too old to get around without a working elevator: people who needed water just to flush their toilet.
Some of these kids made as many as 10 trips up and down those stairwells, and seemed completely unfazed by the whole thing. In fact, they were waiting for the National Guard to arrive with meals for the residents, so they could deliver those upstairs too.
It made me wonder, what sort of conditions are required to produce communities like this? Or even kids like this? Do ethnicity and class factor heavily into the equation, or is this something that can be replicated across the country?

Filling up water bottles at Confucius Plaza, in Chinatown.

One of the most inspiring things I encountered in the wake of Hurricane Sandy were the hordes of teenagers in Chinatown who operated bucket brigades to the top of high-rises. They’d fill up empty buckets, or milk cartons, or juice bottles with water from a hose outside, then haul them up 10, 20, even 40 flights of stairs, into the homes of men and women too old to get around without a working elevator: people who needed water just to flush their toilet.

Some of these kids made as many as 10 trips up and down those stairwells, and seemed completely unfazed by the whole thing. In fact, they were waiting for the National Guard to arrive with meals for the residents, so they could deliver those upstairs too.

It made me wonder, what sort of conditions are required to produce communities like this? Or even kids like this? Do ethnicity and class factor heavily into the equation, or is this something that can be replicated across the country?

Phone charging station in Chinatown.
Given how incredibly vibrant Manhattan Chinatown normally is, it was jarring to find every single business closed. Of the hundreds that I walked past, maybe one or two were functioning at all, including one place that specialized in bean curd dishes.
"Why aren’t any of the pharmacies re-opening?" a resident asked me. "There are a lot of old people who live here, and they need their medicines."
By 6 pm, the streets were empty, and kind of eerie.

Phone charging station in Chinatown.

Given how incredibly vibrant Manhattan Chinatown normally is, it was jarring to find every single business closed. Of the hundreds that I walked past, maybe one or two were functioning at all, including one place that specialized in bean curd dishes.

"Why aren’t any of the pharmacies re-opening?" a resident asked me. "There are a lot of old people who live here, and they need their medicines."

By 6 pm, the streets were empty, and kind of eerie.

Manhattan-ite and devout Mormon Lisa Higbee’s ode to the Republican candidate:

Mister Romney! Mister Romney!
You can help your country with your brave and generous ways.
Mister Romney!
Leader of the Free World will brighten all of our days.

Lisa lives in Inwood and works as a speech pathologist. Her love for Mitt goes back to his days helming the 2002 Winter Olympics — she actually gets a little swoony recalling the moment she met him in Salt Lake City. When I dropped by her place, there were two other guys there — both missionaries — but neither of them were in a position to talk about politics.

I’ve also been interviewing pro-Obama Mormons and ambivalent Mormons — radio story in the works.