Even on the A train, it was a shocking sight.
This morning, Christmas Eve commuters mingled with last-minute shoppers and parents with scrubbed young children, dressed to the nines to visit the Midtown razzle-dazzle. Twin four-year-old girls with bows on their shoes giggled as their mother alternated kissing their noses.
And standing next to them, on a bright little screen not much bigger than a playing card, a man was watching graphic pornography on his smartphone.
I don’t know why there is such a fuss over this fake South African sign language interpreter at the Nelson Mandela memorial.
New Yorkers use made up sign language every day.
Gently rubbing one’s own cheek while making eye contact with a concerned expression, for example, would silently tell a colleague that they have “schmutz” on their face. This is best used with a professional rival in an important meeting when there’s nothing actually there.
Here are some other examples that might be useful.
As a non-driver spending the week in San Francisco, I am loving UberX.
That’s the ride-sharing service from Uber, the newly ubiquitous limousine-taxi company.
Along with Lyft and Sidecar, it is one of three venture-backed, ride-sharing start-ups created in this city. They’re each pretty great.
But for New Yorkers used to hailing a yellow cab, every time you step into a crowdsourced car is a fresh challenge in etiquette.
For starters, where do you sit?
If you flew commercially this Thanksgiving, you probably weren’t expecting an especially comfortable experience. And I bet you didn’t have one.
Amid such lowered expectations, it is interesting to see airlines changing how they communicate with customers.
The mainstream passenger experience is now about opting-out of services to preserve value. Airlines have adapted their messaging to manage these consumer decisions.
Their new pitch is: if you had a lousy flight, the problem is you.
The Empire Mistake Building. The Statue of Lunacy. Crimes Square.
Now that Time Warner Cable has renamed NY1 after its own appalling self, what other New York landmarks could we rebrand and ruin?
TWC confirmed yesterday that from December 16, its beloved local news station would be known as “Time Warner Cable News NY1.”
In recognition of the outcry this plan provoked when it was first announced, the “NY1” name was tacked back onto the end of this ungainly portmanteau.
TWC seems to think this will help. But it just demonstrates the cable, internet and phone provider fails to grasp how toxic its own name has become.
Lou Reed, gatekeeper
Perhaps it’s coincidence that New York magazine chose Veterans Day to publish its controversial story on the late war reporter, Michael Hastings.
The posthumous profile has been criticized for its attention to the failings of the young journalist, who died in a mysterious car crash this June, at the age of 33. Many believe he was murdered by powerful interests, either as revenge for stories already written or to protect themselves from his ongoing investigations.
A hero-turned-martyr to the WikiLeaks set, Hastings could also be reckless, with a history of mental health problems and uneven sobriety. And there were those who questioned his methodology as a journalist.
The story reminded me of my own experience with criticism of his work, in a story I researched but never published.
News of Lou Reed’s death arrived on the Bowery via push notification.
Just before 3pm Sunday at DBGB, the trendy Daniel Boulud brasserie winkingly named for the departed CBGB club, smartphones blinked awake across the dining room, and there it was. Breaking news from the New York Times app.
Minutes later, the restaurant played “Perfect Day” on its sound system. My friends and I finished lunch and walked one block up to the old CBGB storefront to see how the East Village would react to the moment.
“Betrayal” is actually a pretty good description of what the Broadway experience can feel like these days.
Sitting in the $92 cheap seats on the first night of previews for director Mike Nichols’ play felt like being a gargoyle, crouching in the rafters of some medieval banquet hall.
Maybe having your legs pinioned so that you can rest your chin on your knees is the perfect contemplative pose in which to receive a Harold Pinter play. But up in the back, at least, the audience was there to see Daniel Craig.
In the basement boiler room of the celebrity-industrial complex, burned by its machinery but still pulling the levers, is a man named Rob Shuter.
A former top publicist, with a glittering roster of clients that included Jennifer Lopez, Diddy, Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys and more, Mr. Shuter was fired from Dan Klores Communications (DKC) in 2007 after a string of missteps involving Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. Not all of them were his fault, but it didn’t matter. The writing was on the wall, as blogs and newspapers had already begun to depict him as a tabloid villain—the archetypal lying publicist, whose infamy overshadowed his clients.
It was publicly messy, but Mr. Shuter landed on his feet. Following a stint at OK magazine, he launched the Naughty But Nice column for AOL/Huffington Post (now published on his own website). And now he is reinventing himself once again, taking his online gossip personality to the TV screen.
The morning that Aol CEO Tim Armstrong announced the $315 million acquisition of the Huffington Post, he stood beside a beaming Arianna Huffington in the company’s Broadway headquarters.
Watching from the back of the room, I remember Huffington proudly declaring that her sister, Agapi Stassinopoulos, whom she had brought with her, still used an Aol e-mail address.
The couple hundred assembled Aol workers, already disoriented by the surprise merger, greeted this with a tentative cheer that seemed to trail off into a question mark. Even employees found it hard to reconcile the company’s ambitions as a world-beating tech giant with the unfashionable reality of having Aol e-mail.
As a lifelong Hotmail user, smirking at the hipster apocalypse that was yesterday’s Gmail outage, I beg to differ.