December 2008 Archives

Google Earth Breathes Life Into (Some Of) Manhattan

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gwb_google_earth.jpgSelecting the "3D Buildings" layer in Google Earth while exploring Manhattan will now activate a 3D representation of thousands of city buildings. Previously only buildings south of 59th street were accounted for, and even then they were just grey polygon representations of their real life counterparts.

Now almost the entire island is recreated in the free application from Google.

Continuing the long standing tradition of leaving out northern Manhattan in 3D representations of the island (usually found in video games), no Washington Heights or Inwood buildings are included in the update. But the George Washington Bridge is included, as well as various sections of Harlem. One can only assume that in time all of Washington Heights and Inwood will eventually be accounted for by Google Earth. Until then venture downward, you'll surely get a taste of what's to come.

The Season Of Taking?

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Washington Heights churchgoers were victim to a textbook ponzi scheme this year, as revealed this week by federal prosecutors. Bryant Rodriguez allegedly robbed members of the El Camino Church out of roughly $500,000. More from NY1:

"In The Heights" To Be Honored By New York City Council

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In The Heights is going to be honored by City Council....

The New York City Council will honor the 2008 Tony Award-winning Best Musical In the Heights with a special Proclamation in City Hall chambers on Dec. 18.

Speaker Christine Quinn and City Councilmember Miguel Martinez and Councilmember Robert Jackson will present the Proclamation to In the Heights' producer Jill Furman and composer-leading actor Lin-Manuel Miranda "for the show's success in introducing millions of people to the vibrant neighborhood and its residents situated at the top of the island of Manhattan," the producers said.

Via Playbill

"Harlem To Go" Delivers (Uptown)

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Live in Washington Heights or Inwood but want to order delivery from a restaurant in Harlem? Usually this is impossible because restaurants in Harlem won't deliver this far uptown. Harlem To Go changes this. With a growing list of establishments, including Dinosaur BBQ, the site allows you to customize your order online for delivery (you can still pay in cash) and have it sent uptown for an addition $4.00 or so.

As recently as last week it would have been impossible to order from Dinosaur for Washington Heights and Inwood residents without placing an order over $100, something that always bugged me. Now the minimum is just $10. Smoke that, Dallas!

Make sure to call if you have any trouble with the site, the operators are very friendly and helpful. The site is and their phone number is (212) 281-8646.

Alianza Dominicana's New Building

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Via New York 1.

Lin-Manuel Miranda On Washington Heights & NYC

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Thanks to Perry for sending this in.

Also here’s Miranda & the cast of “In The Heights” at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

GWB Renovation: Retail Roundup

broadwaygwb_01.jpg7/2/11 UPDATE: The Manhattan Times is reporting that construction on the station is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. Additionally there will be 120,000 square feet of retail space, with "national retailers" signed on already. However the paper was not provided with the names of the stores.

Original Article:

There's been a lot of chatter over the past several weeks about the planned renovation of The George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal. I decided I'd organize some of what's been said into one post. It seems there is a lot of concern over the use of the retail space.

  • In October The New York Times wrote about the planned renovation. This excerpt talks a bit about how the retail space may transform.
The station now has about a dozen tenants, Mr. Francois said, including an Off-Track Betting parlor, a credit union and newsstands. Those tenants will have to move out to make way for the renovation. "We're looking to transform that into more of a Class A retail space, with national anchor tenants that can better serve the needs of the community," he said.

Does Blockbuster count as a "Class A national anchor tenant"? Ahem. Hopefully the stores being brought in reflect the community's needs so they can stay in business, unlike Blockbuster which closed this year.

More after the jump....

Backwater: Surge Implemented In Greening Of New York City

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Mayor Bloomberg's plans to make New York City greener by increasing the number of trees in the city will have a surge implemented this month. The mayor's office has indicated that many thousands of trees are being added to the city's current population, promptly raising awareness about the environment and an increase in good will to all men.

The trees used for the surge are all evergreens averaging between four and seven feet in height, with a few exceptions like one observed in Rockefeller Center. The evergreens have been arriving by the truck load, and set up on sidewalks throughout the city as mini-forests.

Some environmentalists have raised concerns about conduct of the surge. Inwood resident and veteran park ranger, Stan Grinch, explained his opposition to the execution of the surge. "It isn't going to work, it's a publicity stunt taking attention away from the growing crisis with the environment." said Mr. Grinch.

The Society for a Deciduous Future supports the surge because of its clear timeline and negative life cycle for the evergreens involved. Group president Holly Matthews explains: "When we heard about Bloomberg's plan to implement a surge of evergreens in the city we decided to back it 100% after we realized the trees are all dead on arrival." The Society for a Deciduous Future hopes to see surges like this one in the future. "It'd be great if the city could turn this into an annual event."

The surge is expected to wrap up by late December, and the evergreens will be completely expired in time for an early January withdrawal.

A Look Back At The Old Armory

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The New York Times has a great article that looks back at some of the history of the Armory Track and Field Center on 168th street and Fort Washington Avenue.

"Besides the splinters, I had floor burn," Sander recalled Thursday at the gussied-up armory in Washington Heights. "I was as red as a beet. My skin looked like it had gone through a meat grinder."

This was the occupational hazard of the old rutted wooden track, now mercifully replaced by a smooth artificial surface. The old fortress at West 168th Street and Fort Washington Avenue has become the Armory Track and Field Center, home to runners from the inner city, suburbs, far-off blue states and red states, and even contingents of track-mad French athletes who make a pilgrimage every year.

The armory, now beginning the 100th year since the laying of its cornerstone in December 1909, is a wonderful place, filled almost every day from November through March, with hundreds of runners, bustling with the hopefulness and energy of youth.

Read the full article here.


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Northern Manhattan congressman Charles Rangel is currently being investigated by a House ethics committee for accepting donations from a company receiving tax breaks, which he had facilitated, for a center at City College that will carry Rangel's name. Last week The New York Times reported on Rangel's shifting positions regarding the taxation of companies that left the United States in 2002, in the wake of 9/11, to avoid tax increases then being proposed by congress. At the center of the controversy is a company, Nabors Industries, whose chief executive donated large amounts of money to CCNY (The City College of New York) for a graduate school being planned that will carry Rangel's name.

Eugene Isenberg, chief executive of Nabors Industries, donated $100,000 to CCNY for a planned graduate program titled "The Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service." $1 million in donations were promised by Isenberg in 2006, this donation following that promise. As this was happening Rangel's policy shifted, with him now against retroactive tax increases for companies like Nabors which ignored congress and conducted business outside of the country.

At The Coliseum: "Role Models"

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Much of the cast from David Wain's first film Wet Hot American Summer reunites for his Apatow-esque third feature Role Models. But the magic and originality of Wain's directorial debut are nowhere to be found in this formulaic and overly raunchy buddy comedy.

Within the first five minutes, it becomes abundantly clear that Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Seann William Scott) are closer to teenagers trapped in grownups' bodies than actual role models, but this doesn't prevent the film from driving that point home, one lewd joke at a time, for the next hour and a half. 

During an introduction in which the duo is seen promoting their company's energy drink "Minotaur" and telling a group of high schoolers to "stay off drugs," Danny refers to the product in private as "nuclear horse piss" while Wheeler smokes a joint. These moments foreshadow the fact that that pretty soon, something's gotta give.

Mastering The Heights

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Last week there was an article in The New York Times that caught my eye. Hugo Martinez, of The Martinez Gallery, has organized a museum/gallery called "Mastering The Heights." The gallery is actually an apartment in a building on Wadsworth Avenue that has been transformed by a dutch design group, Kaptein Roodnat, and filled with artwork by street artists.

The gallery "bring[s] street art indoors, while showcasing affordable art in the context of affordable housing" according to the press release.

The gallery is located at 362 Wadsworth Avenue (191st street) in apartment 44. You can visit it on Fridays and Saturdays from 12-6pm through January 31st.

Park Activities This Week

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A couple notes about some park events this week.

  • This Friday, December 5th, there will be an "Owl Prowl" in Inwood Hill Park. Mike Feller is conducting the evening tour. The group will meet at 5:30pm at the flag pole located on Seaman Avenue & Isham Street. Note that despite the date for the event being listed as December 10th the walk is indeed this Friday, December 5th. UPDATE: The listing now reflects the correct date.
  • The Fort Tryon Park Dog Owners Group is having a gathering Sunday morning (December 7th) to hang out and conduct some maintenance on Sir William's Dog Run. Coffee and doughnuts are provided (for you, not your dog.) This event is held the first Sunday of each month. The run is directly east of Margaret Corbin Drive and Linden Terrace near the gazebo and "The Radiator" sculpture.