Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #46: Second Avenue Subway, Louis Armstrong House Museum, New York Public Library + more

Posted by Billyjam, August 28, 2013 04:55pm | Post a Comment


Above is a recent photo of the ongoing, long-term construction of the Second Avenue Subway (SAS) - the subway line that has been on-and-off again over several decades due to lack of funds. As of last year, SAS was back in construction mode with Phase I (consisting of two miles of tunnel and three stations) work underway, all underneath Second Avenue on Manhattan's East Side. According to the MTA, two contracts have been finished with two more to be completed  by the end of the year. More will follow over the next few years with a projected completion date of 2016. Fans of abandoned subway stations and never-completed ones should check out this map on the subject care of WNYC.

As the summer's official end quickly approaches, the deluge of free park concerts and other outdoor events begins to slow down with Labor Day weekend being the last run of most (but not all) park events. The two-decade strong tradition of Bryant Park Monday night movies summer series wound up its run on Monday of last week with (despite some light rainfall) a packed lawn of moviegoers assembled on the midtown public space to view ET.  Some other series are finishing this week including at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy where they exercise true democracy this week.  The Park Conservancy, along with their co-sponsors Syfyinvited the public to vote on the last film of the summer, which will screen tomorrow (August 29th) in the Brooklyn park.

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #45: Afropunk Fest 2013, Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, VNova, MTV VMA's, Ken Fury + more

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2013 06:06am | Post a Comment

This weekend the two-day Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn promises to be not just the best line-up in the ten year history of the annual festival born out of the documentary of the same name that showcases the best of African American made music on the punk/alternative music side of things - but also one of the best events in NYC in the week ahead. And the festival that as well as music features films and food is totally free! It is also one of the most diverse lineups with more hip-hop related acts than in previous years.

This year's scheduled acts include Chuck D and DJ Lord, The Coup, Living Colour, Death, Saul Williams (right), The White Mandingos, Mykki Blanco, Jean Grae, Danny Brown, CX Kidtronik, Big Freedia, and many more as seen in posters above seen on the streets of Lower Manhattan earlier this week.  Afro Punk Fest 2013 happens in the Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn's Fort Greene (between Nassau St. and Park Ave., and Navy Street and N. Elliot Place) from noon to 9pm on both Saturday and Sunday - August 24th and 25th. No cover. All ages. More info.

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Brooklyn Rapper Neno Best's Transparent Lyrics Lead To New York City's Largest Illegal Gun Bust

Posted by Billyjam, August 20, 2013 09:30am | Post a Comment

            
New York CitySome may say that kudos are in order for New York rapper Neno Best (above) for "keeping it real"  but it was the Brooklyn hip-hop artist's lyrical honesty and transparency that led to his arrest and the downfall of the interstate gun smuggling operation he was involved in - that was announced here yesterday by the NYPD. His lyrics, as heard by investigators in a YouTube clip, came under close scrutiny as part of their year long investigation into an illegal interstate gun trafficking ring. Those lyrics, which included the braggadocios line ‘packing more guns than the Air Force,’ are what led to his arrest and that of another 18 suspects plus the downfall of their south-to-north illegal gun trafficking operation. The cops seized over two hundred and fifty firearms that had been bought in North and South Carolina and other states with looser gun regulations that were then shipped  north to New York City which has some of the strictest laws in the country and hence can make a hefty profit on the street.

NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, an advocate of strict no-gun laws and stop-and-frisk practices to stamp out illegal guns, was quite happy with yesterday's big bust calling the booty of 254 firearms "a lot of firepower” as he surveyed what was the largest gun seizure in New York City history. Much of the undercover year long investigation by NYPD took place at the 26 year old Neno Best's (born Matthew Best) rap/hip-hop music studio in Ocean Hill, Brooklyn where allegedly many of the illicit deals, which included large-caliber pistols and military-grade weapons that were sold for an average price of $750, took place. According to police the lyrics of Neno Best, who was charged with conspiracy, were what helped fuel their investigation - the ones where he rapped about ‘packing more guns than the Air Force.' Note that this Amoeblogger did a lengthy search of YouTube involving the artist could not locate said video that, am assuming, must have been taken down. What I did find were a deluge of disparaging YouTube comments, posted since news of the bust emerged, on the relatively unknown rapper's skills (or lack thereof) and unsavory speculation as to what lies ahead for him in prison life. 

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #44: The 40th Summer of Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, August 14, 2013 02:05pm | Post a Comment

New York City is the home, the birthplace of hip-hop and this past Sunday was the actual 40th birthday of this unstoppable global music and culture that was unceremoniously born at the Rec Room (a simple recreation room of an apartment building) at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx (aka the Boogie Down Bronx) back on August 11th, 1973 when Kingston, Jamaica born DJ Kool Herc (born Clive Campbell) had a party to celebrate his sister's (Cindy Campbell) birthday. The cost to get in was just 25cents (ladies) or 50cents (fellas) to help offset the basic costs. Fast forward 40 years to this past weekend and both Kool Herc and his sister Cindy celebrated this landmark with two big concert/parties in NYC at Summerstage in Central Park, Manhattan and at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens on Saturday and Sunday respectively. I already reviewed for the Amoeblog the Central Park 40th anniversary birthday concert party that included such legends as Coke La Rock, Soulsonic Force, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Red Alert, Roxanne Shante, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Marley Marl. In this latest/44th New York State of Mind Amoeblog I will review Sunday's party at the graffiti mecca of 5Pointz as well as preview some of the many other big hip-hop concerts / events in NYC that are all part of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the music and culture (DJing, MCing, B-boying, and graffiti) that ironically was once considered by so many as merely a passing fad. 
 

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #43: Summer Streets, Sand Castle Contest, Bike Share Update, Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Posted by Billyjam, August 7, 2013 03:45pm | Post a Comment

Welcome to the latest installment in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog from the Big Apple where - following some unbearably hot and humid weather just a few weeks ago - temperatures have been most pleasant for this past week. In fact a few nights ago, when temps dropped to the (gasp) 50's, many New Yorkers were complaining that it was "too cold" (a rarity in the summertime here). But while temps may have dropped, according to a new NYU report released this week, New York City rents have been steadily climbing with the current median rent / percentage share of monthly income going just to rent clocking in at 32.5% with the current rent in New York City averaging at a little over $3,000 a month. But despite these statistics about the high cost of rent and the reputation that NYC holds as being a most expensive place to live or spend time in, it should be stressed that New York City can also simultaneously be one of the cheapest / most affordable places to be (especially in the summer) with oodles of bargains, and free stuff, and good deals to chose from. Case in point is the CitiBike program that was reviewed here in this column a month ago by guest Amoeblogger Jason Snyder not long after the program had gotten underway. Since then the affordable ($100 a year for unlimited usage) bike share program has grown in popularity and, despite the wave of protests and negative response it endured before it even started, has proven the naysayers wrong and shown itself to be a most successful project.

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