Greetings from New York City where right now am in the Chelsea District on 25th Street down the block from where the production crew trucks from Law & Order are setting up for a shoot that will run through tonight. As I walked by the shoot, I half-expected to hear that L&O signature doom doom sound effect emit from the set. According to one tech guy I talked to briefly, the television show's film crew are "hoping it won't rain again." That's a valid concern since, over the past week here in NYC, we've been enduring a series of thunderstorms (plus humidity). In fact, the heavy rainstorms over the Memorial Day weekend disrupted a lot of planned outdoor events, which was a bummer for New Yorkers and visitors, including the 1500 sailors in town for Fleet Week. But weather forecasters predict good weather to arrive with June, just round the corner.
Otherwise, things are pretty good in NYC: a recently released report says that NYPD's stop and frisk incidents under the new mayor are down a whopping 89%. This is good, but from what I've seen round town, random stops of cyclists seems to be on the increase. Alex Baldwin's recent national news-grabbing arrest for riding his bike the wrong way on a one-way street was just one of many citations and arrests made by busy NYPD on cyclists in the past month. Meanwhile CitiBike - the Manhattan bicyle sharing program that boasts 6,000 blue bikes at 330 docking stations from 59th Street all the way downtown - just celebrated its one year anniversary yesterday and, despite a few problems that are all being worked on including budgetary ones and keeping up with demand, is doing real well.
I just renewed my annual membership, which at only a $100 for 12 months usage is a real steal. I am one of 104,000 annual members of the popular program that is most suited to a city like New York where there are few hills and few people own cars. As in San Francisco, where a similar bike share program went into effect over the past year, the NYC CitiBike share program is available for tourists and casual riders to rent for a 24 hour period or a one-week period. More info on CitiBike here.
Among the events in the Big Apple this week is the WFMU Record Fair at a new time and new location. Traditionally the famed vinyl diggers gathering took place at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea around Halloween time, but this year it's happening this weekend (May 30th - June 1st) across town on the East Side at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Ave at 25th and 26th Streets, which is a huge, one square-block castle-like historic building. At the always excellent fair there are hundreds of dealers selling records, CDs, DVDs, posters, etc. plus live performances (most of which will be broadcast live on WFMU) including Dan Melchior, The Flatmates, and Laura Cantrell. For exact details on times and events see flyer above and.or visit the WFMU website.
Also this week is the five-day World Science Festival that kicks off today and will include as among its speakers physicist Brian Greene, Alan Alda, and Joyce Carol Oates. Events include today's all-day (until 5pm) free event at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1: A Comet Lands In Brooklyn where the public is invited to view a dynamic installation of a scale replica of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko - the comet that the spacecraft Rosetta will rendezvous with this summer, having traveled 3.7 billion miles after being launched ten years ago. The spacecraft will attempt a first-ever landing on the comet in November of this year. The festival runs through Sunday June 1. Some events are already sold out. For tickets and full schedule get more info here.
Film fans should rejoice for the choice of festivals happening this week in New York City. Today is the midway point in the three-day short film celebration The New York International Short Film Festival, which is screening a total of 63 short films at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema through tomorrow night (May 29th). Landmark is located at 143 East Houston Street. More info here. Beginning tomorrow and running through June 5th will be the New York City International Film Festival at various different screening spaces over the coming week. The theme will be international indie underground films from 27 different countries. Tix and more info.
Beginning on Sunday is the week-long Brazilian Film Festival of NY which will take place at the TriBeCa cinema at 54 Varick Street through June 7th. More info.
And finally, this week the month-long 31 Days of Non-Stop Hip-Hop Queens Library celebration comes to an end on Saturday May 31st at 2pm with a presentation by “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels entitled A Visual History of Hip Hop at Langston Hughes Branch of the Queens Public Library at 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. For more insights on Ralph McDaniels and his legacy (bringing rap videos on the regular to New Yorkers before anyone else), check out the video interview below c/o the UK's HipHopChronicle from a few years ago. More event info.