Reason #2,331 why Red Sox fans drive me up a f*cking wall: a mere New York license plate is enough for them to attack you with baseball bats and “accuse” you of being a Yankees fan.

The Red Sox are the only team I’ve ever found whose fans are defined more by their hatred of a team than their love of one.

Update: it appears that the guy who wielded the baseball bat, Robert Correia, will remain in jail for at least the next 90 days awaiting his trial; the judge deemed that he’s too dangerous to release into the community. I’m sure that’ll do nothing to incense his fellow New York Yankees haters Red Sox fans…

This might be my favorite news article correction ever, from my old school paper, the Columbia Spectator:

CORRECTION: This submission misstates that one Dalai Lama admitted to having sex with hundreds of men and women while knowing that he had AIDS. Additionally, the submission misstates that many monks participated in the dismemberment of female bodies. In fact, there is no factual evidence to substantiate either of these claims. Spectator regrets the error.

I mean, that’s just awesome. Nice work there, editors…

This is really, really cool: an animated NYC subway map, with the lines and stations appearing in the order in which they were built. It’s amazing to me that the West Side IRT — what are now known as the 1/2/3 lines — were built way before lines in lower Manhattan, at a time when lower Manhattan probably had a crushingly greater need for a subway line; it wasn’t until later that the IRT was extended down into the lower reaches of the island. (It’s also cool that two lines in Brooklyn started it all.)

Ugh — a man who appears to have leapt to his death from a 15th-story New York City apartment yesterday impaled himself on a parking sign pole, and the pole had to be cut down and removed with the body. I’d say that this’ll inspire a Law & Order episode if I wasn’t reasonably sure it’s happened on the show before…

There’s no denying that I have a pretty generous place in my heart for New York City, but one specific thing I love about spending the weekend in the City is how I always get a heads-up on new fashion trends. For example, after seeing four people in the past 36 hours wearing Vans, I’m pretty sure that the slip-on sneakers have woken up from the cryogenic coma they were put into in the 1980s; I’m equally sure that if it weren’t 30 degrees out, I’d be seeing a lot of Ocean Pacific surf shirts and Jams. What’s old is new again…

Wow — Peter Luger now accepts debit cards. Any day now, I’m expecting the planet to stop rotating, frogs to fall out of the sky, the Cubs to win the World Series…

Seen in NYC this past weekend:

Don't worry about that illegal parking, Mr. Police Officer...

Don’t worry about that whole no-parking-at-fire-hydrants thing, there, Mr. Police Officer…

The New York Times now has part two of its series online on the miscarriage of New York State town and village justice. It’s as frightening as the first.

Tomorrow’s New York Times has a fascinating — and fascinatingly frightening — look at the abhorrent state of New York State’s town and village courts. 75% of the nearly 2,000 judges don’t have any formal legal training, and the state practices little to no oversight into how they run their “courtrooms” (a word deserving of the quotations, given some of the descriptions in the article). Misogyny, racism, and petty grievances take precedence over justice in a few of the towns the Times profiled, and disciplinary action is scarce to nonexistent. Let the article serve as a warning: never run afoul of the law in upstate New York.

Now seems as good a time as any to dump a few links here that have accumulated in tabs in my browser over yesterday and today:

  • Michael Bronner has a fantastic article over at Vanity Fair’s website that uses the recordings of NORAD’s efforts the morning of 9/11 to paint the picture of just how unprepared our country was to deal with the attacks, and how chaotic the information flow was as it reached from the trenches up to those invested in protecting the airspace of the East coast. I guess it doesn’t surprise me how difficult it was for the commander of the Northeast Air Defense Sector to get reliable information that morning, but it’s astounding nonetheless, and in all honesty it serves as a potent argument for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and the establishment of clear and decisive plans for dealing with crises on the scale of 9/11.
  • Pamela Colloff has an equally fantastic article in the latest Texas Monthly about Charles Whitman’s massacre from the top of the University of Texas Tower 40 years ago yesterday, an article that’s almost entirely told through the first-person words of people who were in the thick of it. It’s a very moving piece, and gives a voice to how shocking the event was at the time, and how different the immediate police response was in 1966 than it’d be in 2006. (via MetaFilter, which has a bunch more links to related info)
  • Dahlia Lithwick took a look this past weekend at privacy rights in the age of weblogs, using the affair between Robert Steinbuch and Jessica Cutler (the skanky ex-Capitol Hill assistant who was once better-known as Washingtonienne) as her focal point. I’m not sure if this is the first time, but I found myself disagreeing with Lithwick’s final point, that Cutler’s exposition of the affair on her weblog might have violated Steinbuch’s privacy. It seems to me that a person has every right (absent a specific contract to the contrary) to talk about that which is going on in his or her own life; it’s not like Cutler was passing on a rumor of someone else’s affair, she was talking about her own sexcapades.
  • In August of 1958, young and new-to-the-business photographer Art Kane was tasked by Esquire Magazine with taking a photo to illustrate an article about jazz. He wasn’t entirely sure how best to approach the assignment, so he started out by doing something I’m sure he felt would be a failure: he contacted as many major New York City jazz musicians as he could, and asked if they would meet on 126th Street at 10 o’clock in the morning. Much to his surprise, 57 of them showed up, leading to one of the most amazing photos I’ve ever seen. My favorite bit of the photo is the lower right corner, in which Dizzy Gillespie’s goofing off caused Roy Eldridge to turn around just as the image was captured. (via kottke)

Apparently tired of having parts from their bikes stolen all the time in New York City, Casey and Van Neistat set out to document how easy it is to actually steal a bike in the Big Apple. The result is a five-minute video during which Van steals a bike four different times, in front of dozens to hundreds of people (and even a NYPD van!), and isn’t told to stop once. (He is approached one time, but I don’t want to spoil what happens.) One time, he elects to use a hacksaw which takes eight minutes to cut through the chain — and the whole time, people walk right by without a care in the world. It’s worth a watch, especially if you’re a New Yorker who values your bike. (via Gothamist)

This is pretty brilliant: a list of restaurants in New York City, grouped by subway stop. I can’t tell you how useful this would have been to me when I lived there! Now, is there a similar site out there for stops on the DC Metro?

In what can only be described as an only-in-New-York-City case, a state appellate court ruled yesterday that the co-op board at 941 Park Avenue erred when it gave the owner of one of the apartments the right to take over the elevator vestibule which they shared with another co-op, including painting the other owners’ front door, and preventing the other owners from being able to receive their mail or guests at their door. My favorite excerpt from the opinion (all emphasis added by me):

To the extent the Moores are concerned about the security or privacy implications of someone unknown to them wandering into their apartment, they have recourse to the self-help remedy of locking their door. As to the nuisance the Moores might suffer from another resident’s guests ringing or knocking on their door, there is a panoply of reasonable options that would not impair the market value of the Moores’ apartment or otherwise tarnish its luxury status. For example, a tasteful marker could be affixed to, or next to, the doors indicating the apartment numbers or the residents’ names. In the alternative, the Moores’ door might be painted one color, the Brauns’ another, and the service and elevator doors a third. Barring the existence of three respectable colors in the paint spectrum or a fashionable marker design, the Brauns and the Moores might wait in their respective entranceways for their guests during the interim between the doorman’s calling up and the elevator door’s opening. Insofar as the Moores might find it “embarrassing and disturbing” to open “the door to retrieve mail and hav[e] a stranger staring at them,” as they remonstrated to the Board in one letter, even the one-man building escort they advocate would not shield their vision from other people in the hallway.

It’s the kind of case you have to read the opinion to believe; it’s also the kind of case people should have to understand before diving into the New York co-op real estate market. As a good friend of mine (and lawyer-in-training) wrote to me when I forwarded him the link to the opinion: so long as there are petty, pissed-off, rich people in this world, there will never be a shortage of work for lawyers willing to serve them.

Tomorrow is the annual Blessing of the Bikes, held for the eighth time at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine. (As you’d expect, there’s a neat picture or two of the event from last year!) It makes me miss my old neighborhood in New York City…

Congrats to Columbia University, the ol’ triple-alma-mater, for the receipt of a $200 million gift to create a center devoted to the study of the brain. It’s the largest private gift ever for the creation of a single institution, and will be headed by the esteemed threesome of Richard Axel (Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2004), Eric Kandel (Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2000), and Thomas Jessell. I had the fortune of being taught, at various stages of my education and training, by all three men; it’s entirely unsurprising to me that they’d be the ones tapped at leading the effort to better understand the way we think and behave. (And the picture of Eric Kandel that graces his Nobel bio is the perfect representation of him — a happy, old-world guy with a passion for his work!)

Seriously, why is it taking the Yankees (and Major League Baseball) so long to release official Johnny Damon Yankees T-shirts? Being marooned here in the land of the BoSox (and thus having had to tolerate the puppy dog love of the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer displayed by nearly every Boston woman for the past two years), I really can’t wait to wear a Damon Yankees shirt into the hospital. Alas, the official MLB merchandising juggernaut hasn’t gotten around to making anything but the official (and $190) jersey for the Yankee’s newest outfielder, and while I’m sure that there are plenty of knockoffs along Canal Street in Manhattan, there’s nothing here in Boston but “Johnny Judas” shirts. It’s getting bad enough that I’m considering getting a “Welcome to New York, Johnny” shirt being sold online by Modell’s…

Ever since the New York Police Department announced the beginning of random baggage screening in the subway system, I’ve had a hard time putting my finger on exactly what rankles me so much about the idea. Having anonymously ridden the subways of NYC for twelve years, the whole invasion of privacy aspect definitely gets to me… but each time I think of that, I remember that I basically submit to the possibility of a cavity search every time I walk into an airport. There’s my gut telling me I’d be naive to think that the searches will actually be executed in a random way, but it’s hard for me to hold a suspicion against the entirety of New York’s finest. Then, there’s the fact that the police have acknowledged that they’ll arrest people in whose bags they find things illegal but entirely unrelated to terrorism (i.e., drugs); there’s no “but” to this one, since blind searches resulting in incriminating evidence would assuredly be illegal if it weren’t for the overwhelming fear of terrorism gripping America, a fear that’s been magnified in the weeks following the bombs in London.

Tonight, I think I figured out the specific concern I have: every rationale that’s been given for why the searches are necessary is a reason that would equally apply to a plan for random baggage screens anywhere in New York City — on the streets, in Central Park, anywhere at all. The threat of terrorism applies equally to the subway system as it does to the Great Lawn, Times Square, and the sidewalk in front of the Today Show studio, and if we accept the idea that vague threats of insane actions justify the intrusion into our possessions without any warrants or suspicions, then we also might have to accept that that intrusion might have to occur wherever we might find ourselves, be it on the Westside IRT or strolling around Bethesda Fountain. I’m fairly certain that, as a nation, we wouldn’t accept an intrusion into our privacy that broad and baseless — which makes me wonder whether we should accept one that might be narrower in its geographical focus, but equally broad in its application, and equally baseless.

Today’s much-linked news story about a guy who used Google Maps to beat a traffic ticket in Manhattan court is pretty interesting to me, but apparently not for the reason that it is to most people (that a guy was able to think quickly, whip out a laptop, and demonstrate the flaw in the ticket via an online map). To me, the whole story is interesting because there was a traffic cop who was willing to state, under oath of law, an outright lie (that West 110th Street in Manhattan is one-way), and likewise, there was a judge who seemed powerless to do anything but believe her lie until the quick-witted defendant proved her wrong using Google Maps. I mean, did nobody in that courtroom have even the slightest familiarity with Manhattan above 96th Street? It’s not like the double-sized width of 110th Street is somehow hidden, nor is it anything but obvious that there are cars driving in both directions on the street, separated by a yellow line. It boggles the mind.

upper west side building collapse

Holy shit: a two-story building collapsed this morning on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, between 99th and 100th on Broadway. Apparently, an infant (whose mother was walking by the building with her when it collapsed) is in critical condition at St. Luke’s Hospital, and four other people are known to be injured as well. The building was vacant and was slated for demolition to make way for two enormous apartment buildings; police and firemen are apparently still sifting through the rubble looking for other victims, and bus and subway service is pretty much screwed through the area. The image at the right comes from WNBC’s slideshow of images from their news helicopter and photographers, images which do a good job of showing the true extent of the collapse. Shannon just forwarded me this image from Yahoo’s AP photo feed, which also shows the debris pile strewn into Broadway.

I lived exactly 1/2 a block north of that building from 1995 through 2003, and walked by it a half-dozen times a day. When Shannon and I were on the Upper West Side about two months ago, I noticed that the Gristedes supermarket inside that building had closed, and that the building looked like it was in terrible shape… I guess we now know that it really was. My thoughts go out to my old neighborhood!

While the New Yorker in me is sad to hear that the Munson Diner is moving out of the Big Apple, the power-tools geek in me thinks that these pictures of the moving of the Diner are pretty damn cool.

For those of you who, like me, have been following the saga of the disabled Manhattan C train from afar: the train is now back up and running, less than 10 days after MTA officials estimated it would take five years to repair. Over the past week, New Yorkers have reportedly taken much glee in talking about the huge tasks of the city’s history that took less than five years to complete (the George Washington Bridge, four years; the Empire State Building, one year and 45 days; the entire IRT, which is the subway that went on to form the City Hall to Grand Central portion of the West Side’s red line, four years); it’s nice to see that the innate New York skepticism was proven to be correct.

Well, that certainly didn’t take long — the repairs to the damaged line of the New York City subway system will take six to nine months, not five years (as was originally projected by the agency that runs the trains). The people over at Gothamist think that it was all a bit of cover-your-ass, which makes sense seing as the system is running a deficit and was already looking to raise fares to cover expenses.

Holy shit — the C line of the New York subway system might be out of service for five years? (Newsday has coverage here, as well.) What an unbelievable nightmare for New Yorkers; what a similarly unbelievable vulnerability in the transit system.