There used to be a popular website called Stuff Overheard in New York (that, surprisingly, is still up) that highlighted all the odd things locals and visitors stumble across while moseying around the city. Considering there are 8 million people living here from all cultures, economic backgrounds, and walks of life, it’s no surprise that things gets a little weird from time to time.
Illustrator Andrea Tsurumi, who we wrote about last year for her hilarious mini comic about an ass-kicking Andrew Jackson, has a new ongoing series called Eavesdropper, which is a lot like the illustrated version of Stuff Overheard in New York. Presented like a visual diary, Tsurumi describes her city encounters day-by-day, observing the surprising politeness of “Don’t sit there!” or “Watch your bag!” and highlighting how entertaining one 5-minute transfer at the train station can be. If you liked this, Tsurumi also has another ongoing comic about books called Library Book.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Wednesday, April 6th, 2016||No Comments »|
As a New Yorker, I’m obsessed with photos/videos of “old, gritty” NYC of the ’70s and ’80s. The past stands in stark comparison to the current pristine present of trust fund kids, new money, and 7-Elevens (shudder). But there’s a right way and a wrong way to glorify the past. After all, what we find beautiful today was considered a nuisance at the time, and in the ’70s, nothing was as polarizing as graffiti.
In 1970s New York, graffiti blanketed the city. It covered subway cars, ran along the sides of every building, and smothered bridges and overpasses. Residents at the time saw the graffiti as a public nuisance that was ruining the beauty of the city, but others saw it as something more, namely as art.
Watching My Name Go By is a short BBC documentary that was one of the first to ask the question, “Can graffiti be art?” It was a radical concept for its time, and the documentary does a great job at injecting points of views from all sides of the debate. However, my favorite thing about the video are the clips of old school NYC, especially those battered subway cars! Sometimes you have to learn about the past to truly appreciate the present, and this documentary does that and more.
There’s also a book out with the same name if you want to learn more about the artists featured in the documentary.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, August 25th, 2015||No Comments »|
People have a tendency to either love or hate New York City… narrow that group of people down to writers and the emotions behind those opinions expand in tenfold. Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York is a collection of short stories that focus on exactly what the book’s title implies, while Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakeable Love for New York curates just the opposite types of stories. Sari Botton, who edits both books, collects a wide range of vignettes and does well in pairing them together. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you turn the page and realize you have so much more to hear.
Whether you’re a writer, a New Yorker, or someone looking for a good collection of short stories, these two books are worth the read—and with contributors like Emma Straub, Ann Hood, Whoopi Goldberg, and Amy Sohn, you’re bound to find a story or two that sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Thursday, May 14th, 2015||No Comments »|
No one has a coffee culture quite like New York’s. From the street vendors peddling $1 cups of cheap coffee to the cafes full of sophisticated youngsters sipping Colombian pour-overs, the city is the place to be for caffeine addicts. In “Coffee: Six Degrees of Caffeination,” directed by Swallow Magazine‘s James Casey, New York coffee culture is explored to its fullest. The video features interviews with noted New Yorkers like New York Times coffee writer Oliver Strand and LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang who both discuss their love affair with coffee and why it has an odd social allure. Spliced between these interviews are shots of six different types of coffee (hence the title): drip, instant, moka pot, pour over, French Press, and Aeropress. Though if we had to pick a preferred coffee method, it would definitely be instant (kidding!).
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Wednesday, February 25th, 2015||No Comments »|
Acclaimed mobile photographer Sion Fullana has made a living capturing the unique side of New York City. However, he also captures the mundane not-so unique moments, like people walking to work, enjoying a cup of tea, or sleeping on the subway. There’s something about witnessing a quiet subway car full of sleeping commuters dozing off that’s weirdly beautiful to us. And judging by how many photos he has of sleeping subway riders in his portfolio, we’re guessing he thinks the same. While most of his work is about capturing that busy, bustling part of the city, we love it when he takes the time to show the little moments we often ignore–the ones we don’t see because we’re too busy listening to our iPods or, uh, sleeping. If you like this, remember to check out all of Fullana’s work here or on Flickr.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Thursday, February 12th, 2015||No Comments »|
This past year has seen a significant amount of attention paid toward unlawful police behavior, whether it’s gunning down unarmed black men or rough handling peaceful protesters. However, these brutish police tactics are nothing new, and for most naive law abiding citizens it might come as a shock how indoctrinated the NYPD’s practices are. In this short video taken a year ago during an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City, filmmaker Paul Sullivan carefully shows how police intentionally target specific looking people when trying to disperse peaceful protests. The video shows how officers arrest people if they fit a particular profile (usually a protester who’s wearing dark clothing or has a beard) and construct a narrative that conflicts with what actually happened. The video ends with arrest #10 being the filmmaker himself who gets roughed up by a cop who threatens to break his jaw. A pretty fitting conclusion if you ask me.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, January 28th, 2015||No Comments »|
In Cheri Revai’s short but sweet non-fiction work Haunted New York: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Big Apple, she takes readers on a ghoulish tour through all of the supernaturally-charged attractions that are dotted all over the five boroughs. The book is an easy read and it’s written in a fun, breezy manner, but don’t be fooled–it’s also chock-full of fascinating and often macabre historical tidbits that will delight any native New Yorker…or burgeoning transplant.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, October 13th, 2014||No Comments »|