Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #67: Changes to The State of The City, Valentine's Day In The Big Apple, Concerts + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 12, 2014 05:04pm | Post a Comment


Under a big banner emblazoned "One New York Rising Together" new New York City mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to provide New York City residents with a "fair shot at a better life" in his first "State of the City" address earlier this week, and by so doing offering hope to a good percentage of the population of this expensive city to live in. In Monday's 43 minute speech he spoke of “a budgetary challenge that is unprecedented” and called for expanding “living wage” laws - proposing that New York City set its own (higher than average) minimum wage.

De Blasio's distinctly progressive liberal leaning speech, which further separated him politically from his two mayoral predecessors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg and placed him more in line with the vision of the late NYC Mayor Fiorella La Guardia (Mayor of NYC for three terms from 1934 to 1945 - pictured right), also pushed his policies of raising taxes for the city's rich to pay for universal prekindergarten, amping up job training programs for the unskilled, and providing ID cards to those New Yorkers that are in the USA illegally. What actually unfolds and the impact of these radical changes proposed by this new mayor will have remains to be seen, but is sure to cause much local and national debate in the interim.

Ariel View Of NYC (2014)

The above video, which was uploaded to YouTube over the weekend, is a pretty impressive (albeit likely controversial) aerial view from high above the Big Apple with some unusual views looking straight down to the streets far below. Made by a camera attached to a drone that was, according to the YouTube account belonging to the camera gear company DSLR Pros, the "video was given to us from an anonymous source."  The description goes on to read that,  "As beautiful as it is we do not recommend flying in locations like NYC" and since it was posted on Saturday has disabled comments from being made which is what prompted me to imply it is likely controversial since the gut reaction from most, I imagine, would be memories of 9/11 and anything remotely related (regardless of how beautiful the footage above may be) is bound to trigger such mental connections - even 13 years later.

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #64: The Photo Issue

Posted by Billyjam, January 22, 2014 10:44am | Post a Comment


Above is a recent shot (one of many) that I shot of lower Manhattan from Jersey City. It is just one of a series of photos included in this week's New York State of Mind Amoeblog - call it the "photo issue" with one video. That music video, scroll down to very end to see/hear, is a brand new New York City hip-hop video for the artist Lucky Tatt’s song “Celebrate.” I include it because it is good and that it  that brings back some of that old school NYC flavor hip-hop and even features two NYC hip-hop legends: M.O.P. and DJ Premier appear in track produced by Fizzy Womack. On the topic of hip-hop in NYC two popular rap artists are in town this week: Nipsy Hustle plays the Highline Ballroom on Jan 24 (Friday), and Waka Flocka Flame plays BB King's on 42nd Street on Monday Jan 27th.

The photos below are a hodge podge of pics I snapped over past month or two downtown and uptown Manhattan, and some over in Queens - some during the snow (which is hitting NYC hard this week) and some before the snow arrived in this crazy weather we are experiencing across the US - that includes drought in California. For more details on the actual photos and their respective locations just scroll the mouse icon over them and some text will pop up.

Continue reading...

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #63: Beaux Arts, Subway Scratching, Slick Rick The Ruler, Homeboy Sandman, Paul Mooney + more

Posted by Billyjam, January 15, 2014 07:27am | Post a Comment

Above is what was once the beautiful piece of New York City architecture that was Pennsylvania Station (circa 1918) that was considered a masterpiece of the Beaux-Arts style. However this stunning building - once one of Manhattan's architectural along with Grand Central Terminal - was tragically demolished in the 1960s to make way for Madison Square Garden's current structure (the actual railway station is still underground). Tragic as this shortsighted move was, the silver lining to this dark cloud was that the absolutely ridiculous decision to destroy this magnificent building led to the landmarking and protecting of other buildings in New York City so that they would not suffer the same fate. Jackie Kennedy Onassis - a longtime advocate for historic preservation of buildings including a part of the White House - was among those outraged by such demolitions and she was instrumental, some years later, in making sure that the same fate did not happen to Grand Central Terminal - also a Beaux-Arts building - which could have been razed too in the 70's had she and others not stepped in to fight for its preservation.

Slick Rick, whose 1988 album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick was recently reissued on vinyl and is available at each Amoeba store, will be headlining at the Brooklyn Bowl on Friday, January 17th. The album whose fans include Nas (he called it the record, that featured tracks such as “'Children's Story," his favorite album of all time) is a true timeless hip-hop classic that, like Nas' Illmatic, earned the elusive five mics score from The Source magazine upon its release. What looked, at the time, like a very bright future for the artist turned out to be anything but.

Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage Talks Hype, EPs and 2014

Posted by Billy Gil, December 19, 2013 11:33am | Post a Comment

parquet courts amoebaParquet Courts had a very good 2013. Their debut album, Light Up Gold, was re-released on What’s Your Rupture? to rapturous acclaim, and their live shows have become somewhat legendary. Live and on record, the band flaunts a defiantly youthful energy that resuscitates classic indie rock tropes and perfectly captured mid-20s bohemia. Late in the year, they released the great Tally All the Things That You Broke EP (which I called one of the best EPs of 2013), finding the band honing its sound and growing wilder, even funkier as Andrew Savage’s vocals are more confident and strident, sing-talking and even sort of rapping, while the band tosses out knotty, catchy riffs with apparent ease. “The more you use it, the more it works!” Savage cries on one of Tally’s songs, as if echoing his own band’s tour-and-release-heavy year, which has clearly paid off.

The subject matter of the band’s songs is another matter. On its most famous song, Light Up Gold’s “Stoned and Starving,” the title says it all as Savage details a muchies-fueled trip through Ridgewood, Queens. But don’t call Parquet Courts “stoner rock” or “slacker rock” to Savage’s face.

Continue reading...

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #55: Next NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, NYC Supreme Court Building

Posted by Billyjam, November 6, 2013 09:17am | Post a Comment

New York County Supreme Court building at 60 Centre Street, Downtown Manhattan


The talk in New York City today is all about the result of yesterday's mayoral election in which, for the first time in 20 years, there will be a Democrat in the mayor's office with the landslide victory of Bill de Blasio. With the odds stacked in his favor (68% to 23%) de Blasio squarely beat Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota - making him the first Democrat mayor in the Big Apple following a combined five consecutive terms for Republicans (three for Michael Bloomberg and two for Rudy Guiliani) . Surrounded by his family and supporters at a victory party in Park Slope, Brooklyn last night de Blasio said "Make no mistake: The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together.” 

De Blasio's win is seen as a clear cry for change from the citizens of a city that are tired and frustrated with such things as the ever growing division between the rich and the poor of New York, the NYPD's over the top aggressive policing tactics (namely the controversial, racial profiling "Stop and Frisk" policy), and the increasingly large lack of affordable housing for most working New Yorkers. In short de Blasio firmly positioned himself as the mayor who would make a clean break from the Bloomberg/Giuliani years in which the city was seen as cozying up with big business at the expense of the little guy/the average New Yorker and his election win is a loud rejection to the tough, business-minded style that ruled City Hall since 1990. During that time NYC was seen as becoming "Disneyfied" or "the Mall of America" or a playground for the 1%. De Blasio, who famously as a young liberal supported the Sandinistas and more recently (albeit during the mayoral campaign) supported the staff and patients at the Long Island College Hospital that faced closure and, during that July protest, got arrested along with other protesters. This and his outspoken disapproval of the NYPD's frisking policies struck a nerve with New Yorkers who overwhelmingly voted him into office. Once he takes office he promises to effect a sweeping liberal agenda that will include among other big changes a substantial tax increase on top earners to pay for universal pre-kindergarten and improved police-community relations. Essentially de Blasio and his administration will try and turn back the clock on NYC and undo much of what the previous two mayors did. Can he do this without sacrificing too many positives remains to be to seen. And what happens over the next four years in New York City will be interesting to witness unfold. Stay tuned.

BACK  <<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  >>  NEXT