Category Archives: Erin

Bloomberg Wins Third Term


Sixth Ave and Washington Place. The mayoral race was unexpectedly close, with Bloomberg winning by five percentage points, according to the New York Times.


Brooklyn Vegan

For the record, I think someone should definitely give a ‘tour’ of Brownstoner, a blog that reads Brooklyn’s pulse through real estate. But since I can’t claim to be a regular Brownstoner reader, and because this one is more in my realm of expertise, I’d like to give props to BrooklynVegan, the go-to blog for New York-centric music news. Rock out!

Stuyvesant Town, Brick By Brick

On October 11  Jean-Marc Sovak, in conjunction with Art in Odd Places and Open House New York, led a walking tour of Stuyvesant Town, giving a detailed history of its bricks. So here it is, everything you never knew you needed to know about bricks:

Everybody Needs a Little TLC

commissioner!So you want to be a taxi driver in New York City. You’re over 19 years old, you’ve gotten your chauffer’s license from the DMV, and you didn’t receive more than seven points on your driver’s license in the past year and a half. Great, now you just have to go through Commisioner Matthew W. Daus and the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC). TLC, founded in 1971, is responsible for the licensing and regulation of medallion (yellow) cabs, for-hire vehicles (car services), commuter vans, ambulettes, and certain luxury limos.

Would you like to join the ranks of the 46,409 TLC-licensed yellow cab drivers in New York City, or the 52,096 for-hire vehicle drivers? Well, what’s the difference, anyway? The most notable distinction is that yellow cabs can pick people up off the street, whereas car services must be called in advance. That’s right, that livery driver in the black Crown Vic slowing down to see if you need a ride is breaking the law. (In fact, yellow cab drivers are only legally allowed to solicit passengers from the driver’s seat and only with the words “taxi,” “cab” or “taxi cab.”) The medallions (basically just a sticker) are highly limited (13,237 to date) and sold to cabs by the city.

TLC Statistics on For-Hire Vehicles in New York City

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Al Vann

DeCrescenzo for NYDailyNews

DeCrescenzo for NYDailyNews

Though City Councilman Al Vann of the 36th District (Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights), has been accused of being an ineffective and absentee council member by both constituents and the press, he wasn’t always seen as such. Before his 34 year-career in the State Assembly and City Council, Vann was a leader of the African-American Teachers Association, which “got into heated, sometimes physical battles with members of the powerful and largely Jewish United Federation of Teachers, led by Albert Shanker.” ( In 1968, he fought for the ability of the community to remove white teachers from the schools, contending that minority children needed more black role models. (NYSun)

His outspoken racial politics continue to create a stir in Bed-Stuy – Vann was a major proponent of the 2007 renaming of a section of Gates Avenue as Sonny Carson Avenue, a controversial Brooklyn activist.

According to journalist Ron Howell’s blog, Vann’s office then published a list of street names in Bed-Stuy, along with a brief bio of the historical figure they were named for – it turns out that many were named after slave-holders. Vann then sent a list of black heroes who would make good replacements in a newsletter to constituents.

(Bed-Stuy residents, you can look here to see if your street was named after a slave-holder.)
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Charlie Todd: Fun For Fun’s Sake

Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere, has been bringing “scenes of joy and chaos in public spaces” to New York City since 2001.  In other words, he organizes groups of people to stage mass public pranks.

Last night Todd spoke at Bowery Electric for Lucid NYC,  an events organization that throws “enlightened” parties, which include both performances and presentations. Following two slightly less party-friendly programs, Todd took the stage to shed light on the history on Improv Everywhere’s missions, including the No Pants! Subway Rides and the High Five Escalator.

“My favorite thing,” Todd explained as he screened the above video, “was watching people’s faces as they made the decision of whether or not they were going to stick their hand up. New Yorkers are kind of cynical and they might not want to do something dumb like that, but it was fun to see them look in his eyes and be like, ‘Alright, what the fuck. I’ll give a high five, why not?'”

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South Bronx, Graffiti In The Hub

For More About The Hub….

Forgotten NY

NY Times (1987)

The South Bronx, And Proudly So (NYT)