Friday, July 25, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

The New World Order has been dying to erase Astor Place from the map for some time now. This winter, cloaked in "good for the hood" exhortations and watercolor paintings of vegetation-lush pedestrian malls, it begins. For the record, crossing Astor Place is a piece of cake--there's very little traffic--if you know how. [Curbed]

Yes, Gothamist, I have indeed noticed that taxi TVs are NOT turning off. In two rides, I discovered the same awful trend. The first screen has a red OFF button. If you touch anywhere else on the screen, except for that OFF button, you get immediately sent to a deeper, inescapable level of Hell, in which there is no OFF button. And from there, you're screwed. The damn thing plays and plays and plays...and what does it play? Condo ads:

David Kamp, originator of Vongerichtified, tells a fascinatingly twisted tale of urban Googling, accordion-playing aunties from Queens, iPod silhouette models, scruffy hipsters, and the cherry-poppin' Fay Leshner Memorial "Sex Bench" in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. [DKamp]

Speaking of sex benches, check out this deal: IKEA BOOBSHELF for sale in the East Village. At 52" wide, 79" high, and 17" deep, that's a shelf that can support one big boob:

Is the Cup and Saucer as doomed as it looks? Urbanite is worried and so am I. [Urbanite]

Alex in NYC tells Starbucks, "Seeya, wouldn't wanna be ya," and wonders why all the sobbing? [FP]

The 6 and 12 Cafe (at 6th and 12th) is closed. I've had a feeling about this place for a while now. Always loved these signs. I snapped this pic and a week later, it was gone. Not my fault, I swear. They "closed for retirement":


Anonymous said...

I need a new boobshelf. Did the sign mention what kind of support it had? And what are the measurements?

Anonymous said...

I experienced this taxi TV vortex of hell first hand last weekend. The TV was at an insanely loud pitch. I clicked the onscreen off button. It turned back on seconds later, screaming. I repeated the action. Repeat cycle. I started pressing other areas of the screen, desperate to turn it off. Off button disappeared. Condo ads ensued. I started pressing all over it - with my bare foot (hey, you never know). No help.

I felt insanely sick and kept a plastic bag on hand as the TV continued to yell at me. These cab drivers are saints to have to deal with this crap.

What happened to conversation with you and the cabbie where you learned something about someone else's life? Or the first kiss (or more) as the cab races through central park? Or simply roaring down the avenue zipping by memories of things past, as the cool spring air pours in?

Must this all be killed by the onslaught of the inanity and fear mongering of the evening news?

- BN

Anonymous said...

I can't afford to take taxis in the city anymore. even when going to the hospital, I took the train.
it's just too expensive. so, I've never seen these tv panels.

Anonymous said...

What's with these pedestrian malls (and pedestrian is the right word in every sense)? Has there been a pressing demand for them? Were there hearings,or has Mayor Richie Rich done it all by fiat?

Anonymous said...

I guess you'll be playing with yourself this weekend?

Nick said...

I'm usually in agreement with you, Jeremiah, but don't you think that we should try to minimize the impact of what was one of the biggest agents of destruction of New York's classic urbanity? Certainly the pedestrian malls going up now need some fine tuning (and there's no reason to completely banish cars from the streets) but the more the streets belong to the people, the better.

(Although my serious beef with the pedestrian malls that's definitely more up your alley is the fact that they're all going up in places that are yunnie-fied. It would be so cool to see a 21st Century urban bazaar created on, say, 74th Street in Jackson Heights.)

Jeremiah Moss said...

nick, i hear you about getting rid of cars. when they close orchard to traffic and it's just the peddlers, it's great. but you're right, there's a class issue here.

what bugs me about this plan is that it looks like the old "demapping of astor place" plan that cooper union has been pushing for years, against neighborhood opposition, but now it's in a new package.

i remember giuliani years ago talking about turning cooper square into a pedestrian mall lined with shops. it would begin with tearing down kate millet's place. that's now the avalon. so he got his wish. and i see this mall as another step along the way to making the area, well, a mall. and it won't have orchard-style peddlers selling brassieres and hosiery.

or maybe i'm just being paranoid. that's also a possibility.

Anonymous said...

Paranoia is the correct response when powerful people are openly working against your interests. Besides, we've all seen enough to know how these "improvements" are intended.

Anonymous said...

I too have missed this--can't afford cabs--take buses, trains or walk--

Jill said...

I would love to have a conversation with a taxi driver, but I think the tv's are meant to distract the riders from realizing that all the taxi drivers are talking to each other on the phone, so even without the tv there is no such thing as a conversation without feeling like you are interrupting his dinner plans.

Anonymous said...

last "conversation" I had with a taxi driver was to advise him i wasn't a tourist and to stop taking me for a ride. he said some words, i said some words, he says "your mother" so I threw a crumpled up mass of dollars at him and advised him to step out of the car so I could give him an etiquette lesson as my mother is deceased. once i stepped out of the taxi he sped off. and he was an american guy.

i no longer take taxis unless absolutely necessary. they're overpriced and the drivers (generally) are looking to rob you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeremiah,

for your consideration:

p.s. - I haven't had any problems with the off-button in those taxis, but if I ever do, I break out in song.

L'Emmerdeur said...

Pedestrian mall, blah. Half the stores in Manhattan will be closing up in the next 12-24 months.

Get ready.