I spotted this “ad” for a “canine plastic surgeon” recently on the 1 train here in New York.
Despite the silliness of the concept, the ad is pretty convincing, since it’s done very much in the style of many local NYC subway ads. (Dermatologist Dr. Jonathan Zizmor‘s ads come to mind.)
However, a quick visit to PuppyLift.com, the (hilarious) URL mentioned, reveals that the “ad” is actually for Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show.”
This was the scene on the Columbia campus around mid-day yesterday:
Yes — it was sunny. And with temperatures in the 60s, it felt almost hot after the last several months of winter.
People were wearing shorts. And napping on lawns. And buying treats from a frozen yogurt truck.
Yes, springtime weather has arrived.
That is all.
I use two helpful iPhone apps to streamline my various journeys.
The first is called Embark.
Opening this free app reveals a touch-responsive map of the city’s subway system:
The stations are clickable. You simply 1) choose your starting point, then 2) choose your destination, as I’ve done in the screen shot above.
Then, when you click on the arrows at the top right of the screen, Embark will tell you which trains to take, when they’re arriving, and how long your journey will last:
When beginning, if you know which station is closest, you can simply click that stop.
Or, if you need guidance, you can click a button and Embark will use your device’s GPS functionality to find the nearest station. Then the app will direct you, step by step, to that stop.
The maps are all built into the app, so you can use it underground, where there’s no mobile service. (GPS functionatliy, however, only works above ground.)
The maps showing your routes are simple and clean:
One especially useful feature is that Embark will re-route you in the event of subway service interruptions.
So if, for example, a train stops running before you make your return trip, the app will automatically suggest an alternative route.
You can read more about Embark’s design and functionality here.
The second app I like is called Exit Strategy. It costs $3.99 and is available in iOS, Android, and Blackberry versions.
The app contains detailed street-level maps of the city. But I primarily use Exit Strategy for what may seem like a trivial task: figuring out which subway car to ride in so that I’m closest to the exit when I reach my final station.
Some of the city’s stations are quite expansive, and have multiple exits. Knowing how to beat the crowds out of the station can save substantial time.
(Indeed, from a design perspective, I find it fitting that the icon, above, features a stick figure in mid-run. This feels like an apt graphical representation of NYC transport from a commuter’s perspective.)
Exit Strategy’s station maps look like this:
And here’s what the street-level maps look like:
Readers who navigate NYC’s public transportation system: What are your favorite apps? Am I missing any gems?
(NYC subway image: Wikipedia.)
We have a definitive answer to the question I posed back in October: What’s with the New York City fire hydrant poles marked ‘Thailand’? Above is a photo I took back in the fall.
Michael De Stefano left a comment on the post Tuesday saying that:
Actually, it’s rather prosaic. By law, the Country of Origin must be on items purchased by the City of New York. In your travels, you’ll see manhole covers labeled “India”. The poles you’ve found are called ‘bollards’; they protect the hydrant from errant vehicles.
I followed up with Michael via email, and he explained that he knows about the issue because he’s a New York City civil servant who used to work in purchasing.
According to the law, the lowest bidder for producing such goods wins, Michael said. (The New York Times ran a memorable story in 2007 about manhole covers manufactured in India’s West Bengal state.)
So there you have it: Quite intuitively, the
poles bollards are labeled “Thailand” because that’s where they’re made.
I remember thinking, earlier, that this most obvious of explanations was possible. (For further reading, here’s more from the Thai government on the country’s steel industry as of 2007.)
On a side note: One of the great pleasures I get from maintaining this blog is receiving thoughtful feedback from folks who happen upon my posts.
Thanks, Michael. And thanks to those who commented on the original item, both here and on Twitter. (In fact, Bangkok-based @KristoferA even speculated, originally, that the bollards were manufactured in Thailand.)
A big snowstorm, Nemo*, is now making landfall in the Northeast.
I just Tweeted some NYC-specific Twitter accounts worth following, and thought I’d share them here as well:
— Newley Purnell (@newley) February 8, 2013
— Newley Purnell (@newley) February 8, 2013
*Storm nomenclature details are here.
I take that back.
Now it’s officially cold here in NYC.
I’m back in New York.
This is the weather I left behind in Thailand:
And this is the weather here in NYC:
But I shall survive. Bring on the spring semester!
That is all.
Updated Sat. at 7:45 p.m.
Here are some resources for following Hurricane Sandy as it approaches New York City.
(Additional locations will also be affected by the hurricane and the accompanying “Frankenstorm,” of course. But I’ll be focusing on the metropolitan area since I’m here in uptown NYC.)
The Times has an interactive map showing the storm’s potential path.
The Associated Press has also put together a good interactive map (featured at the top of this post).
Some local and federal government Web sites worth bookmarking:
The Weather Channel has suggestions for a disaster supply kit.
And WNYC.org has suggestions for an “urban survival kit.”
Some Twitter accounts and hashtags you might want to follow:
Note: I’ll be posting more developments as they arise.
In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter: @newley.
Update, October 22:
I’m embedded, at the end of this post, some responses I received on Twitter.
File under: Unsolved mysteries…
Here’s a photo I snapped recently of the top of a metal post built next to a fire hydrant here in New York City.
Yes, it says “SA Thailand 5.”
The post is one of several I’ve seen that are positioned as barriers to protect fire hydrants from cars, much like the two posts in this photo.
Why does this post say Thailand on it?
I’ve done some searching online, and can’t find any references to a company called “SA” (or with any name that would be abbreviated SA).
Could this simply be a straightforward — though somewhat odd — case of New York City officials purchasing less expensive goods from abroad rather than paying more for American-made items, as seemed to be the case with the NYC manhole covers from Kolkata?
Does anyone have any thoughts?
— GlobalMouthful (@GlobalMouthful) October 17, 2012
— ไตร กาญจนดุล (@tri26) October 17, 2012
@newley SA = steel alloy
— MulletFarm (@MulletFarm) October 17, 2012
— KristoferA (@KristoferA) October 17, 2012
I’ll keep you posted as I learn more…