Above: Children turn a Lower East Side excavation site into a pool using water from a fire hydrant. 1936. Image via Bowery Boys
Last week, temperatures in New York City peaked in the mid 90s but with the humidity index, afternoon to early evening temperatures felt more like 105 to 113 degrees. The combined temperature and humidity index prompted an “excessive heat warning” for the city and sent most residents indoors to take refuge in air conditioned homes and workplaces. For those less fortunate, the city opened designated cooling centers. Under such dire conditions, it’s natural to wonder, what was summer like before the invention of air conditioning?
The New York City artist’s loft is arguably among the most romanticized and coveted living spaces in the world. It has been used as a backdrop for avant-garde films by Andy Warhol, the central scene of a musical (yes, we’re talking about Rent), and more recently, as the focus of several museum shows (for example, the Whitney’s 2013 exhibit, Rituals of Rented Island). When one thinks about a New York City artist’s loft, what likely comes to mind is an open, expansive, and unequivocally cool space—a space where anything is possible. While this may have been true at one point in the city’s history, in 2016, the artist’s loft is neither readily affordable nor easily attainable. This raises the obvious question: Why?
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Following the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and the 2015 ruling that upheld the decision, gay and lesbian couples across the United States have had a lot to celebrate. After years of struggle, gays and lesbians now have the right to marry and along with it, the right to claim benefits long extended to married heterosexual couples. However, as many LGBT activists have pointed out, on other fronts—including housing—the struggle for equal rights continues, even in a city as diverse as New York.
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Photograph of Roz Chast in her Studio, 2015, by Jeremy Clowe. Norman Rockwell Collections
In April, the Museum of the City of New York opened a new exhibit featuring the work of Roz Chast. While not every New Yorker may know Roz by name, most New Yorkers are familiar with her illustrations.
In 1978, just a year after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design, Roz dropped off her portfolio at The New Yorker. The magazine not only selected one of her drawings for publication but also told Roz to keep the work coming. Since then, she has published over 1,200 works in The New Yorker, including 18 covers. And perhaps more than any other contemporary illustrator, Chast—a born and raised New Yorker—has consistently managed to capture the humor, beauty and at times, the sheer difficulty of living in the city.
Ahead we catch up with Roz, who reflects on her New York upbringing, her love for interiors, and what makes NYC so different from other cities.
read our interview with roz chast here
New Yorkers may be surprised to learn that they do not live in the world’s loudest city. That dubious honor goes to Mumbai where noise levels have been known to reach close to 124dB. To put this figure into perspective, 124dB is somewhere between the sound levels typically reached by chain saws (120dB) and the take off of military jets (130dB). But this is not to suggest that New York City is easy on the ears. New York’s midtown traffic (75dB to 80dB), screeching subways (80dB to 100dB on average measured from an indoor platform) and jackhammers (110dB) all contribute to its status as one of the noisiest places on earth.
Ahead is a fun and fascinating timeline of New York City’s 100-plus-year war on noise, as well as some tips on how to find a quiet neighborhood if you want to emulate life in the ‘burbs without sacrificing the cool and convenience of the city.
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Photo by Mary Frost of the Brooklyn Eagle
It’s a longstanding New York City tradition—families relocating to live in a desirable school district or zone. Currently, all five of the city’s boroughs are divided into districts and zones and both come with their own currency. Districts, which usually cover large swaths of a borough, impact students’ middle school and in some cases, high school choices. Zones, by contrast, can run just a few blocks and are usually the sole criteria for assigning students to schools at the elementary level. Like many things in New York City, however, a block can make a world of difference.
more on School Zones and Districts here