NYU Local http://nyulocal.com The Blog of New York University Wed, 26 Nov 2014 20:30:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Gridiron G-Chat — Week Thirteen: Thanksgiving, Leftovers, And Turkey Puns http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/26/gridiron-g-chat-week-thirteen-thanksgiving-leftovers-turkey-puns/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/26/gridiron-g-chat-week-thirteen-thanksgiving-leftovers-turkey-puns/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 20:30:53 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126830 Once upon a time (ok, two years ago), NYU Brocal had this lovely little series called Gridiron G-chat. The concept was simple: every week, two bros would gather around the warmth of their laptops and chat about that weekend’s games. With Jeremy and Eric doing real, adult things now, Joe Kozlowski and Paul Sondhi will... Read More

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Football Thanksgiving

Once upon a time (ok, two years ago), NYU Brocal had this lovely little series called Gridiron G-chat. The concept was simple: every week, two bros would gather around the warmth of their laptops and chat about that weekend’s games. With Jeremy and Eric doing real, adult things now, Joe Kozlowski and Paul Sondhi will be guiding you through the world of #sports.

Joe Kozlowski: Week 13. Theoretically unlucky. But there’s also Thanksgiving, the football-iest day of the football year.

Paul Sondhi: Ah, Thanksgiving. Lions and Cowboys and turkey. Never gets old.

JK: Except when a certain writer is out of the country! (This is our first international/intercontinental gridiron g-chat!)

PS: I have to miss the Eagles crush the Cowboys in Dallas! The woes of Indian wifi and not being able to stream games.

JK: But putting all that aside, we know it’s just about break, so we won’t keep dragging this out. Time to talk turkey (zing).

Bears at Lions

JK: This game is throwing it back to every year before the past few when the Lions inevitably disappoint us.

PS: But the Bears are ridiculously up and down this year, and Detroit is two games ahead of them in the division. Dare I say, the Lions win this game?

JK: In the spirit of holiday generosity, sure.

Eagles at Cowboys

JK: Cowboys did not look good at the Meadowlands. The Eagles looked good wherever they played against the Titans. Their kicker had 20 fantasy points. All systems appear to be good for take off.

PS: Cue my pessimistic side. We saw Aaron Rodgers crush the Eagles just a few weeks ago, and there don’t seem to be many more doubts in Tony Romo. Throw in the Cowboys beating expectations all year, and I’m struggling to pick Philly in this one.

JK: When Paul cannot pick the Eagles, that’s saying something folks.

Seahawks at 49ers

JK: I can’t get a handle on either of these teams. They should just acknowledge a true Thanksgiving tradition and play a game of Madden to settle it. (Colin Kaepernick would definately be that guy who picks the best team in the game even though he hates them.)

PS: Both of these squads are probably closer to as good as we thought they were coming into the season than they are closer to how they performed at the start. I trust Seattle in this game, but actually think the 49ers will go deeper in the postseason.

Washington at Indianapolis

JK: I legitimately have no idea what Washington did last weekend other than lose; I assume they did not look good just because Robert Griffin is actually better at reminding us of our own fragile mortality than being a quarterback.

PS: His is a sad story. This should be a matchup of two of the best young quarterbacks, picked consecutively at the top of the draft a few years ago. Instead, Andrew Luck is a Top 5 QB and RGIII is…not.

Titans at Texans

JK: The fact that the Texans don’t include ‘Ice’ JJ Watt in every goal line package boggles the mind.

PS: Gotta keep that element of surprise. I hope this team gets good soon, otherwise Watt will start to fade from the narrative, a la Jared Allen.

JK: Briefly a Chief, too. Good times and an even better sack celebration.

Browns at Bills

JK: While I was proven right last weekend for drafting Josh Gordon and keeping him on my bench all season, I can’t feel that confident about the Browns given their quarterback play. I don’t think that’s ever been said before . (Taking Buffalo).

PS: Johnny Football is right around the corner in Cleveland. If Brian Hoyer has a bad a game here, it’ll be Manziel’s time. I’m rooting for and picking the Bills.

Chargers at Ravens

JK: I’m not really sure who is on San Diego’s roster besides Philip Rivers and the corpse of Antonio Gates that is being moved ala Weekend at Bernie’s. And I know three players on the Ravens, so they get the slight edge.

PS: Both teams are slightly better than average, which should make for a boring game. For the sake of being that guy, I’ll pick the Chargers.

Giants at Jaguars

JK: Some guy on the Giants caught a ball or something like that, not really sure what happened.

PS: The Jaguars suck. Moving on.

Bengals at Buccaneers

JK: I don’t want to talk about this game, so how about leftover Thanksgiving food? Best and worst option to eat a few days later?

PS: Best: Pie. Worst: Stuffing. Go.

JK: I’m always a fan of leftover dessert serving as future breakfasts. Worst: the green beans or other vegetable that you can’t eat cold, but can’t warm up without it being limp and soggy.

Raiders at Rams

JK: Legally obliged to pick the Raiders to make up for last week and restore balance to the universe.

PS: You have a heart of gold, my friend. St. Louis takes this one easily.

Saints at Steelers

JK: I know the Steelers have been kind of a mess ever since that two week stretch, but I can’t pick the Saints on the road in a cold Northern place, especially this season.

PS: Two proud franchises having subpar seasons. I agree with your logic here; Steelers win this one at home.

Panthers at Vikings

JK: Somehow the Vikings weren’t that bad against the Packers. They’ve got cool helmets. Go them.

PS: They carry themselves proudly. The Panthers, on the other hand? Sheer and utter disappointment.

Cardinals at Falcons

JK: I feel like I say this everytime the Cardinals or Falcons play, but I know the Falcons aren’t good and the Cardinals are supposed to be good even though I feel like they’re kind of overrated. Arizona here.

PS: The Cards definitely bounce back after losing to Seattle last week. You know what they say: you can’t lose to two bird-nicknamed teams consecutively.

Patriots at Packers

JK: Now this is a game of American leather egg ball. I feel like this will come down to the defense that gets the big stop at the big time, which leans me towards Green Bay. But this could go either way and everything inside me says don’t not pick Tom Brady.

PS: In my eyes, the most likely Super Bowl matchup come February. I seriously don’t know who to pick. The cold weather factor means nothing, and I don’t think homefield is a huge advantage against the Patriots. I want to pick the Packers, but I’ll go with New England.

Broncos at Chiefs

JK: After my Greek tragedy-style humbling last week, can’t be too confident about the Chiefs. But they played Denver close in Mile High, so maybe. But I’m not saying anything this week to anger the football gods.

PS: Admirable dodging, Joe. Denver needs to play consistently great football here on out to hopefully grab the conference from the Pats. They won’t slip up against KC.

Dolphins at Jets

JK: The Jets should start praying for a blizzard right now.

PS: You won’t catch me picking the Jets to win a game anytime soon.

JK: After weeks of speaking of it, NO MORE BYE WEEK! Yay 16 games!

PS: Does this mean better or worse games from now until the end of the season? Or more of both?!

JK: MORE EVERYTHING! It’s the American way. Happy Thanksgiving y’all.

[Image via]

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Actually, Taylor Swift As Joni Mitchell Might Have Made Sense http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/26/actually-taylor-swift-joni-mitchell-might-made-sense/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/26/actually-taylor-swift-joni-mitchell-might-made-sense/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:45:10 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126858 As a rabid Joni Mitchell fan, my gut reaction to the news that Taylor Swift might be playing my idol in an upcoming biopic was disgust. “But she can’t play Joni!” I (and everyone else) protested. “She sings about cheerleaders and high school boys!” Musically, they aren’t exactly equals, at least in terms of genre... Read More

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taylor-

As a rabid Joni Mitchell fan, my gut reaction to the news that Taylor Swift might be playing my idol in an upcoming biopic was disgust. “But she can’t play Joni!” I (and everyone else) protested. “She sings about cheerleaders and high school boys!” Musically, they aren’t exactly equals, at least in terms of genre and performance. Taylor Swift is (or was until recently) a country singer… and it’s Joni Mitchell. But when we step back and think about the way the media treats women who have been with multiple high profile partners (be they Harry Styles or Leonard Cohen), it becomes harder to dismiss the fact that Swift and Mitchell have had to put up with a lot of the same sexist shit. Here’s why the casting choice might have worked.

In late April 2012, there was talk of a film adaptation of Sheila Weller’s Girls Like Us, a biography about Carole King, Carly Simon, and Joni Mitchell. Katie Jacobs, executive producer of “House,” was set to direct the film, and John Sayles wrote the script. The controversy came when Taylor Swift announced she was “in talks” to play the coveted role.

The project was basically doomed from the start. In addition to the hotly debated casting choices (albeit ones not set in stone), Mitchell had previously taken issue with the film’s source material. As a result, the film wasn’t green lit—Mitchell wanted no part of Weller’s biography, and dismissed the whole thing as “assumptions, assumptions, assumptions,” later noting, “there is a lot of nonsense about me in books.”

In the casting director’s defense, there are some blatant similarities between both women. They are tall, thin, blonde, beautiful, and have incredible bangs and cheekbones. Mitchell uses this as a dismissal of the casting choice, saying she told the producer, “All you’ve got is a girl with high cheekbones.”

The fact that Swift was chosen seemingly only on the basis of her physical appearance paired with the differences between her music and Mitchell’s, gives credibility to the naysayers. But we seem to be forgetting what the public talks about when it talks about Swift. It’s not her music. Not at all. It’s her boyfriends. And once upon a time, was true for Joni Mitchell, too.

Pitchfork recalls the horrible treatment Mitchell received from none other than Rolling Stone Magazine after the release of her groundbreaking second album Blue in 1971. The magazine dubbed her “Old Lady of the Year,” (“Girlfriend of the Year,” to translate) and “Queen of El Lay.” Rolling Stone also published “a diagram of her supposed affairs and conquests” in accompaniment. As Hopper so eloquently puts it, “She’d made the best album of her career and in exchange she got slut-shamed in the biggest music magazine in America.”

Sound familiar? Say what you will about Swift’s music, but she did just release the highest selling album of the year—and that still won’t stop us from wondering who she might be dating next, if she’s dating anyone already, or why she isn’t dating anyone at all. (That is, when we’re not wondering what happened to her bellybutton.)

Let’s just try and look at this from both sides now: on one hand, if Joni Mitchell doesn’t want “Girls Like Us” adapted for the silver screen, I really can’t object. It’s her life, her story, and her word that should be final. But if we can use this less as fodder to make fun of Taylor Swift, and more as a way to open up a discussion about the way female musicians are exploited and pitted against each other in a male dominated industry, I’m all for it. We’ll let Joni Mitchell close this one herself, while she (and Swift) is out somewhere being free.

[image via]

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Internet Fixes Sexist Barbie Book, Creates Feminist Hacker Barbie http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/26/internet-fixes-sexist-barbie-book/ http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/26/internet-fixes-sexist-barbie-book/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:00:49 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126827 While for several decades Mattel has been criticized for the promotion of an unrealistic body image, racial and other stereotypes perpetuated by it’s very own Barbie, the company has been slowly but surely taking steps in the right direction by improving the doll and creating a whole range of professions for it. However, this time... Read More

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Barbie

While for several decades Mattel has been criticized for the promotion of an unrealistic body image, racial and other stereotypes perpetuated by it’s very own Barbie, the company has been slowly but surely taking steps in the right direction by improving the doll and creating a whole range of professions for it. However, this time they got it very very wrong, and hell hath no fury like the internet scorned. Recently, the book “Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer” made headlines for it’s sexist content.

Barely six lines into the book, we find:

“I’m only creating the design ideas”, Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!”.

Further in the book, Barbie infects her sister Skipper’s laptop with a virus and then Skipper loses all her work. They then have a pillow fight. Obviously.

Pamela Ribon, who first wrote about the book on discovering it at her friend’s house, does an amazing job of dissecting the book for all the hidden unfortunate tidbits. Not only is this book inaccurate and derogatory for real women in the STEM fields, it is propagating the same negative stereotypes that these women are fighting to get rid of. Among other awful implications, Barbie is portrayed as incapable of writing any real code, helpless without the boys and only capable of doing design mockups, helplessly running to them and then taking credit for doing all the work.

While on the one hand Mattel is attempting to do some potentially commendable work by taking an iconic product like Barbie and giving her aspirational ambitions like Computer Engineering, a wrong portrayal of this is as bad, if not worse, than neglecting the profession completely. Let’s hope that Mattel learns their lesson and emerges wiser, more thoughtful and at the very least uses their sense of judgement to hire a consultant who, you know, has actually coded a line in her life.

Meanwhile, hackers and STEMinists across the internet took it upon themselves to fix the book. In a delightful manifestation of people using their frustration to improve the book, a programmer named Kathleen Tuite created ‘Feminist Hacker Barbie’, a website where you can rewrite the pages of the book to make the representation more friendly, accurate and good natured. “Help Barbie be the competent, independent, bad-ass engineer that she wants to be.”, the site says.

Everyone’s favorite feminist security expert, Infosec Taylor Swift tweeted this gem:

Several other prominent women in the tech world rewrote the book so that Barbie really can be a Computer Engineer. 

Mattel issued an apology earlier this week that stated:

The Barbie I Can Be A Computer Engineer book was published in 2010. Since that time we have reworked our Barbie books. The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story doesn’t reflect the Brand’s vision for what Barbie stands for. We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits. We apologize that this book didn’t reflect that belief. All Barbie titles moving forward will be written to inspire girl’s imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character.

Mattel also pulled the book off of Amazon.

[image 1 via]

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We Need To Talk About Turkey Pardonings (Because They’re Funny As Hell) http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/26/need-talk-turkey-pardonings-theyre-funny-hell/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/26/need-talk-turkey-pardonings-theyre-funny-hell/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:55:42 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126839 Being a non-American, I have the privilege of slowly and hilariously figuring out what the hell is up with Thanksgiving. Every year I find out more I didn’t previously know, and it’s been a wild ride so far. Nothing has quite compared, however, to hearing about the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation and its incredibly weird... Read More

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Landscap

Being a non-American, I have the privilege of slowly and hilariously figuring out what the hell is up with Thanksgiving. Every year I find out more I didn’t previously know, and it’s been a wild ride so far. Nothing has quite compared, however, to hearing about the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation and its incredibly weird and ridiculous history.

In recent years, the Turkey Presentation has been more known for the pardoning, which is when the President lets the world know this particular turkey in front of him won’t be slaughtered in the name of Thanksgiving. This is only recent history, though, since the first President to do that officially was George Bush Sr. in 1989. It’s a pretty odd practice to begin with, but there’s so much more to it than meets the eye. In order to truly appreciate the fascinating history behind it, we need to go back to the roots and inception of this particular American tradition.

The very first Turkey Presentation happened in 1947, and it didn’t involve a pardoning at all. President Harry Truman was just shown with a live turkey, probably took some sweet pics, and everyone moved on with their lives. Truman and Eisenhower actually ate the very birds presented to them for dinner, which makes the tradition seem almost cruel. I know most of us have eaten lobsters and the like, but at least we didn’t pose with them.

JFK is said to have “spontaneously” spared a turkey, although notably “the act was done out of discomfort toward its size, not out of empathy.” The bird was a 55-pounder who was wearing a sign that said Good Eatin’ Mr. President. Mr. President allegedly let the turkey out to a farm, saying “we’ll just let this one grow.”

If that wasn’t bizarre enough, in 1987, Reagan used the non-official practice to deflect on political scandal matters. When questioned whether or not he would pardon Oliver North, involved in the Iran-contra affair, the President joked about the pardoning of a turkey named Charlie, who was sent to a petting zoo after being spared.

Turkeys pardoned between 2005 and 2009 took part in Disney’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (either in California or Florida) where they served as “honorary grand marshals” in what one could honestly classify a freakshow. Imagine these poor turkeys having to cope with their brothers’ and sisters’ mass genocide while standing beside Tinkerbell.

You may say, “hey, at least they get to live on a huge farm where they can roam freely for the rest of their days.” But it’s worth noting that the pardoned turkeys are still raised just like their slaughter-fated friends and family, being fed obscene amount of fortified corn and grain so that they’ll grow nice and morbidly obese.

It’s no wonder they typically die within a year or so of being spared. (There’s irony in there, somewhere.)

Last year’s turkey, a 38-pounder named Popcorn, tragically perished in a heat stroke this summer. It seems like even when dying from natural causes, turkeys just can’t catch a break. Maybe we can honor their short lives by being able to laugh at the strangeness surrounding the entire tradition. We probably will anyway.

[image via]

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With Snap-Cash, Snapchat Enters The Worlds Of Personal Finance And “Sex Tech” http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/26/snap-cash-pulls-snapchat-world-personal-finance-sextech/ http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/26/snap-cash-pulls-snapchat-world-personal-finance-sextech/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:28:27 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126866 If you could charge your friends for receiving your wonderful, one-of-a-kind Snapchats, what would your price tag be? Figure it out fast, because this exchange is now possible with the introduction of Snap Cash. Snapchat has newly partnered up with Square to allow Snapchat users in the US above the age of 18 to enter their debit card information... Read More

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SnapChat_SnapCash-YellingMule

If you could charge your friends for receiving your wonderful, one-of-a-kind Snapchats, what would your price tag be?

Figure it out fast, because this exchange is now possible with the introduction of Snap Cash. Snapchat has newly partnered up with Square to allow Snapchat users in the US above the age of 18 to enter their debit card information and send cash directly to friends’ bank accounts. “Just swipe into chat, type the dollar sign, an amount (e.g. $11.25) and hit the green button,” Snapchat instructs on their blog. The exchange happens as fast as sending a photo or video through the app, and it’s intended to be equally fun.

The media predicts high levels of success for Snapchat’s bold new feature. Peer-to-peer payment apps such as Venmo are already blowing up amongst the target demographic devoted to Snapchat: teens and college kids. The CEO of Square recently stated that the app has processed over one billion payments to date. Snapchat’s doing pretty well on its own, too; sharing of ‘Snapchat Stories’ increased 100% in the past 2 months, and overall usage of Snapchat is up 56% this year. This makes Snapchat the fastest growing mobile app currently on the market.

This partnership ushers Snapchat into the competitive peer-to-peer payments sphere while making the app all the more versatile. Snapchat is no longer just a portal through which to send dumb selfies and hilarious videos of your dogs to your contacts. From now on, Snapchat also falls under managing personal finance. This move to integrate social media with e-payments echoes that of Twitter, which recently debuted a Pay-By-Tweet functionality in France in conjunction with a large national bank.

Snapchat assures users that SnapCash is wholly managed by professionals at Square who have experience in this field, thus this feature is just as secure as other trusted peer-to-peer payment apps. Of course, user privacy is still under threat, given last year’s massive Snapchat hack where a third party service stole and published over 4.6 million SnapChatters’ usernames and phone numbers, plus this past October’s “Snappening” involving the leak of 98,000 privately Snapchatted photos and videos.

The Millennials, whose eager adoption of SnapCash the media so enthusiastically predicts, seem to have mixed responses to the new feature, as evidenced by the Tumblr notes on Snapchat’s announcement:

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 9.08.31 AM

And…scene. Bloggers have raised two rather serious problems to SnapCash’s impending great success.

First, the why. Users of Snapchat seem so far unconvinced by the SnapCash pitch. CAS Economics senior Chris E. tells Local, “Snapchat is about doing something stupid that you want to send a photo of, but not having it tangibly linked back to you. Why would you want to send payments through a system that is built upon deleting your traces? It feels like all of these mainstream apps have run out of ideas and are just milking each other…making their apps essentially copies of one another.”

Indeed, Chris’ thoughts echo those of many Snap Cash skeptics while also touching on the second, more egregious issue. Venmo is popular for two reasons: it makes splitting the check a hundred times easier, and it allows users to share their wittily-worded transactions with one individual, their whole social network, or the entirety of Venmo if they so desire. But the emphasis here is on a social experience with a large audience.

Snapchat, on the other hand, builds on exclusivity, on erasing our traces and gracing only a chosen few with our most incriminating moments. With this existing emphasis on “covering traces” in mind, as an insightful blogger comments above in unison with several tech experts, SnapCash maybe just turned Snapchat into the Venmo of instant amateur pornography.

A hub open to literally millions of young people, anyone looking to make a quick buck could send a nude photo, get paid on the spot, and do it all over again.

An NSFW Reddit thread posted two days ago by a user who claims to be an 18-year-old woman already is advertising her services to the entire internet at a price. According to the woman, she is “willing to do anything and I mean anything for SnapCash.”

With the advent of Snap Cash, such “Dirty Snapchatters” may now seamlessly profit off of one another. The ramifications here are massive, aside from the potential for more nude photo leaks and privacy breaches. Users under 18 may easily lie about their age or use older friends’ debit cards to produce child pornography. It doesn’t help that 50% of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13 and 17. The pressure for heightened security measures and Snapchat privacy would only increase the risks of such activities going unnoticed and unchecked.

Professional porn stars have hopped on board with Snap Cash already. Porn star Brea Winter told sex-tech magazine BaDoink, “I use Snapchat on a daily basis to keep in touch with clients and entertain them throughout the day. I haven’t used it yet to meet new clients but I think the new Snapcash feature may make that possible. I’m hoping it will make accepting tips very easy and help me expand my clientele.”

As advertised, Snap Cash-ing is “fast, fun, and incredibly simple.” But Snapchat and Square have yet to elaborate on what they think about their partnership’s entry in the Sex Tech industry.

Either way, it’s a whole new world with Snap Cash.

[image via]

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Celebs Fight Back Against NYU’s Expansion Plan http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/26/2031/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/26/2031/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:44:00 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126853 Back in October, City Council gave NYU the green light to proceed with its NYU 2031 expansion plan after deeming that NYU is justified in taking over the disputed sites (Mercer Playground, LaGuardia Park, and LaGuardia Corner Gardens). This reversed the previous Supreme Court decision in January which halted the expansion project after it ruled that the sites were “implied park... Read More

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Back in October, City Council gave NYU the green light to proceed with its NYU 2031 expansion plan after deeming that NYU is justified in taking over the disputed sites (Mercer Playground, LaGuardia Park, and LaGuardia Corner Gardens). This reversed the previous Supreme Court decision in January which halted the expansion project after it ruled that the sites were “implied park land,” and that NYU needed special permission from the state to build on them.

However, the battle between NYU and opponents of NYU 2031 is still on. Opponents of the $6 billion megaproject filed a lawsuit appealing the Supreme Court decision to allow NYU to build on the parks. And now, celebrities like Mark Ruffalo have joined the battle in support of the latest appeal to limit NYU’s efforts in going ahead with the project.

According to New York Post, the Hollywood actor and West Village resident is “seething” over NYU’s plan. In a press release, he is quoted as saying that he is a “longtime advocate of green spaces.”

“I find it alarming that these public parks, which Villagers have been enjoying for decades, can just be handed over to a private corporation for its own financial gain,” Ruffalo said. “That decision must be overturned, not just because of its effect on that one neighborhood, but because of its disastrous implications for our precious commons all throughout the state.”

Other notable Village residents, including Susan Sarandon, Matthew Broderick, Fran Lebowitz, Matthew Modine, and Padma Lakshmi have spoken out against the expansion plan. “NYU pretty much owns the entire neighborhood,” Lebowitz said. “I personally don’t feel universities add to the life of the city. Places where universities add to life had no life to begin with, seriously!”

Village celebrities even set up a silent auction last year to raise money for the legal battle with over 140 items, including a $2,500 two-hour acting lesson with the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Proponents of NYU 2031 argue that Greenwich Village’s small business community is dependent on NYU and that the school provides “the economic lifeblood for our neighborhood.” It is estimated that NYU’s Washington Square campus accounts for more than $2.25 billion in economy activity every year and nearly 25,000 jobs, said President of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber Tony Juliano in a statement. He said that the plan would “help the businesses in Greenwich Village and the surrounding area thrive in the coming years.”

The plaintiffs who filed an appeal with the State Court of Appeals include: NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, East Village Community Coalition, the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, and NoHo Neighborhood Association.

Because the disputed green spaces have been used as de facto parks as a result of the thwarted plan for the Lower Manhattan Expressway in 1956, it is argued that the city has the right to hand over the parks.

The State Court of Appeals has been urged to rush their decision for the case by June 2015 as NYU has recently announced that it is planning to begin construction on the disputed areas this summer.

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The Displaced Thanksgiving Survival Guide http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/26/displaced-thanksgiving-survival-guide/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/26/displaced-thanksgiving-survival-guide/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:58:57 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126864 It has been three years since I’ve been home for Thanksgiving. Which, more importantly, means it has been three years since I’ve sat next to my sister on our lumpy green couch, cheeks reddening and giggles bursting with each sip of our red wine. It has been three years since I’ve watched my mom wrestling... Read More

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shutterstock_167966522It has been three years since I’ve been home for Thanksgiving. Which, more importantly, means it has been three years since I’ve sat next to my sister on our lumpy green couch, cheeks reddening and giggles bursting with each sip of our red wine. It has been three years since I’ve watched my mom wrestling with a turkey in her red chili pepper apron or admired my dad’s attempts to master the fine art of gravy-making. (This year they are throwing in the Turkey-towel and making paella, but that’s another story).

The decision to stay on the east coast for this holiday was my own. The flight from New York to San Francisco is tiring and taxing (monetarily as well as physically — Virgin Airlines does not accommodate well for gangly 20-year-olds) and by the time I would have acclimated to the drastic change of pace and time, I would be hopping back on a plane, away from the last lazy remnants of Northern Californian indian summer and back to the sleety sidewalks of New York City.

For all those who share my displaced T-Giving fate, you know that the customs and habits that you and your family and friends have established for this day (and its food-coma aftermath) can be hard to shake. Nonetheless, breaking from tradition, even if just for these four years of academic removal, are a chance to do something weird, something a-traditional, something fun. And so, I offer my own short list of alternative Thanksgiving festivities as a suggestion and a guide for all those who find themselves far away from home this Thursday:

1. Who needs stuffing when you can have shrimp lo-mein?

….a line of query which I was determined to follow in my freshman year. With the help of a fellow NorCal refugee, A-Wah Restaurant, and excessive late-night dorm-room dancing, I did just that. As it turns out, no one needs stuffing when you can have shrimp lo-mein, but only when paired with best friends, $4 pre-made pumpkin pies, and $2 bottles of (slightly sour) wine.

Denouncement of the typical fare is the perfect coping mechanism for your first estranged Thanksgiving. It won’t have you weeping over chunky mashed potatoes (“but Aunt Robin always makes them so smooth!”) or pulling hair after your umpteenth attempt at microwaving Trader Joe’s pre-mades. For all those who are feeling too vulnerable to face Turkey Day in all its fowl-y, calorific glory, grab a friend, hop on Yelp, and find yourself a plate of kick-ass green curry or Michelin-worthy tikki masala to fight off the holiday blues and the city’s first snow.

2. Never fear the turkey butt!

And yet, the aromatic Siren call of glazed brussel sprouts and canned cranberry sauce eventually wears down even the most steadfast Thanksgiving rebel.

When you find yourself Pinteresting sauteed green beans and pumpkin corn bread, the time has come to attempt the impossible: cooking. Sure, you may be the designated potato peeler or honored hors d’oeuvres arranger at home, but you’ve never stared down a ten pound, bloodied bird at 8am on a Thursday. As of last year, I have.

On a Wednesday night in my sophomore fall, I found myself feverishly hunting for condensed milk and pre-spiced pureed pumpkin as though my life depended upon it. Finally, with needed supplies in tow, I hopped on the train and headed out to my friend’s four story walk-up in BedStuy. During the next twelve hours, I cut my finger on a kid-friendly can opener, stuck my stuffing-filled hand up a turkey’s backside, and ate ¾ of a home-made, slightly undercooked pumpkin pie. And I have the instagrams to prove it.

3. Outsource

There is a lot to be said for fending for yourself during the holidays and learning to find your home in places as unexpected as the backroom of a tiny Cantonese restaurant on Catherine Street or the frozen stoop of a brownstone in Brooklyn. There is a part of Thanksgiving, however, that I have yet to be able to replace through means of my own and so, I am outsourcing.

This year I am returning to traditional festivities, but in the home of another. In a few hours time, I will be surrounded by family members again (albeit, not my own) and plied with wine and conversation. This will undoubtedly make me miss my old Thanksgivings and my own family more than I have for a few years. Nonetheless, I think I am finally ready and willing to face that, with the help, of course, of fantastic food and frequent familial Facetimes.

[Image via]

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Why You Need To Watch “The Ricky Gervais Show” http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/26/watching-ricky-gervais-show/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/26/watching-ricky-gervais-show/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:19:46 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126824 Although “The Ricky Gervais Show” has long been off the air, the genius behind Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington’s weekly conversations need to heard by everyone. It is exactly the pointlessness of their conversations that make them so timeless and so very necessary for us all to enjoy. Now that we all have... Read More

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Although “The Ricky Gervais Show” has long been off the air, the genius behind Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington’s weekly conversations need to heard by everyone. It is exactly the pointlessness of their conversations that make them so timeless and so very necessary for us all to enjoy. Now that we all have HBO Go—thanks, NYU!—the podcast-turned-animated series, originally on HBO, is conspicuously missing. Fear not as the entirety of “The Ricky Gervais Show” is on YouTube, and unlike NYUs HBO Go resident-only policy, remains faithfully available to all.

Although the show is titled after Ricky Gervais, his longtime colleague and friend Karl Pilkington is the show’s centerpiece. With segments such as “Monkey News” and “Karl’s Diary,” it’s hard to resist getting a rare glimpse into the mind of Karl Pilkington. We’ve compiled just enough of Pilkington quotes to get you hooked that range from the insightfully intellectual to the verifiably ridiculous. To be perfectly honest, the distinction between absurdity and rationalism is constantly blurred in the most wonderful way imaginable.

On food and why Karl won’t eat octopus: “My rule is that I only eat stuff that looks nice when it’s alive.” 

On sex: “Something to do, innit?” 

On camels: “I would just say why would you request the hump of it, ’cause that’s just going to get in the way.”

On words: “There are too many words.”

On the Big Bang: “I thought about the Big Bang and wondered if it was really a Big Bang, or did it just sound louder as there was no other noise to drown it out” 

Pilkington is unafraid of the questions no one else would dare to ask, the kinds of questions that cause serious contemplation on the human condition such as, “Do people only whistle when they’re happy?” and, “How long is a duck’s memory?” While Gervais and Merchant’s fictional counterparts are the awkward heroes of their own shows (“Derek” and “Hello Ladies” respectively), here, they antithetically appear as the suave charismatic conversationalists we all long to be when set in contrast to Pilkington. And anyway, hey, it’s free online. What do you have to lose?

 [image via]

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Local Stops: Pokemon, Barbie, And Twenty Year Old Tofurkey http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/25/local-stops-pokemon-barbie-twenty-year-old-tofurkey/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/25/local-stops-pokemon-barbie-twenty-year-old-tofurkey/#respond Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:15:37 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126817   Pokemon-Mulan parody. Oh, my childhood. Barbie is no longer the most popular doll in America. The times, they are a-changin’. Tofurkey appeared on store shelves 20 years ago. And it’s still there. Seriously. Good news NYU London – Thanksgiving is catching on in England! Photo of the day by Rishi Bandpadhay.

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11-25-2014 - Watson

 

Pokemon-Mulan parody. Oh, my childhood.

Barbie is no longer the most popular doll in America. The times, they are a-changin’.

Tofurkey appeared on store shelves 20 years ago. And it’s still there. Seriously.

Good news NYU London – Thanksgiving is catching on in England!

Photo of the day by Rishi Bandpadhay.

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Paris Syndrome Is Real http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/25/paris-syndrome/ http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/25/paris-syndrome/#respond Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:53:27 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126754 PARIS–Paris Syndrome: a real condition identified by Japanese psychiatrist Hiroaki Oti. Japanese tourists, common in Paris, fall victim to the syndrome most often. The somewhat abrasive reality of the city contrasts greatly with the lifestyle in Japan that seldom includes raised voices. Paris is made out to be a perfect place, a utopia of gorgeous... Read More

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PARIS–Paris Syndrome: a real condition identified by Japanese psychiatrist Hiroaki Oti. Japanese tourists, common in Paris, fall victim to the syndrome most often. The somewhat abrasive reality of the city contrasts greatly with the lifestyle in Japan that seldom includes raised voices.

Paris is made out to be a perfect place, a utopia of gorgeous architecture and even more beautiful people. The illusion is shattered as soon as the tourists land in Paris, and sometimes even panic ensues. The Japanese Embassy runs a 24-hour telephone hotline to help stricken tourists.

Depicted romantically in movies like Midnight in Paris, Amelie, and An American in Paris, the city seems to be all twinkling lights and baguettes and black Chanel dresses. In reality, the stench of cigarette smoke is more noticeable than the perfume. Women are heckled constantly and being groped on the metro is the norm. There are homeless and there are shop owners who are rude to anyone who does not speak French.

The official Paris Syndrome diagnosis refers to Japanese tourists. But what about American students, who come from the largest city in the country, New York? You’ve already experienced the drudge of city living back home. You will find that the metro system is more reliable and faster than the MTA, and that people are not rude if you at least try to speak French. You are used to homeless people and know how to walk in a city at night. The grit of Paris is, in short, old hat.

But Americans are also weaned on the legend of Parisian Perfection. Not all is myth. In person, it seems obvious that Paris is one of, if not the, most beautiful city in the world. But it is just that: a city. Sometimes it smells like urine and other times people are rude. Wallets get stolen, and not only from tourists. When standing in the Luxembourg Gardens, it is difficult to reconcile the statues and trees with the people who bombard you and try to sell you alcohol.

Living in Paris certainly de-mystifies the myth. It’s been three months and you don’t buy a croissant every day. You miss the coffee back home. You stop finding the French rudeness culturally interesting and instead ponder on their xenophobia.

Paris is no longer a perfect place; it has been lived in. It becomes home. Instead of heart palpitations in front of the Eiffel Tower, you get flutters when you pass a bridge where you kissed someone for the first time. Rather than pushing past tour groups in the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, you spend an afternoon at a smaller gallery that your professor recommended. You no longer want to sample every café because you have a favorite one where they make their cappuccino the way you like best.

Sometimes the demystification is disappointing. You may never have been intimidated by the city, but it can be depressing when you realize you’ve memorized your walk to school and no longer around look you. After all, you have a limited time in Paris, and you want the enchantment to last through all of it. If Paris, France, can become drab, then perhaps nothing is immune.

Paris in itself is both less than it is promised to be, and more. It is less because it is you can live in it and it becomes real. It is more because of these same reasons. Paris becomes your Paris, but in the process you lose the vision of perfection. This loss is far more heartbreaking than any of the individual flaws.

Finding a home in a new place is a slow but deep reward. Starting a new life takes time and first the pain of the loss of illusion must be felt. Once you’ve healed, you’ll find you’ve carved a life for yourself in a new city and the lack of magic stops mattering. While the streets of Paris may not be everything they are in Amelie, a long walk through them will not disappoint.

 

[image 1 via, all other photos by the author.]

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The Scars Of Colonialism Bleed In Ayah Akhtar’s ‘Disgraced’ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/25/scars-colonialism-bleed-ayah-akhtars-disgraced/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/25/scars-colonialism-bleed-ayah-akhtars-disgraced/#respond Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:15:25 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126376     Can American liberals heal the scars left over from Middle East colonialism? In playwright Ayad Akhtar’s mind, the answer is probably not. Since Akhtar’s steamroller of a drama, Disgraced, opened at the Lyceum Theater in late September, the U.S. and its allies have only entangled themselves deeper in the Middle East—sending drone strikes... Read More

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Can American liberals heal the scars left over from Middle East colonialism? In playwright Ayad Akhtar’s mind, the answer is probably not.

Since Akhtar’s steamroller of a drama, Disgraced, opened at the Lyceum Theater in late September, the U.S. and its allies have only entangled themselves deeper in the Middle East—sending drone strikes to Pakistan and Yemen, deploying ‘military advisors’ to Iraq, delivering weapons and aid to Syria. Recently, news broke that tactical SAS teams (the UK equivalent of Navy SEALS) have killed hundreds of ISIL fighters over the last few months.

Through Disgraced, Akhtar highlights the shame of the colonized—an uneasy mediation between East and West, modern and pre-modern, between art and brutality. These may be false dichotomies to some, but as the beleaguered protagonist might note: you can’t choose your blood ties.

At the outset of the play, we’re introduced to an Upper East Side power couple, Amir (a toned and brooding Hari Dhillon) and Emily (a chirpy Gretchen Mol). Amir is an American-born Pakistani (or Indian—the borders were hazy in 1947, remember?), an impatient, assimilated Manhattan litigator. His wife Emily is a beautiful artist, whose cheer and intelligence hides a cutthroat drive.

When we first meet him, Amir is dressed in a lawyer’s finest—his Charvet shirt, he later mentions, costs $600—as Emily paints his portrait in the style of Velazquez’s Juan de Pareja, a Moorish slave who assisted the Spanish court painter. Amir’s cousin Abe (Danny Ashok) bursts in. He’s another assimilated Muslim whose birth name is really Hussein. For the last few weeks, Abe has pleaded with Amir to represent an imam, a man who’s been accused of funneling money to Hamas. Amir doesn’t want to touch the case, for fear of endangering his career.

But, Emily wonders, does Amir have animosity towards the imam? Or perhaps, towards Islam as a whole? Of course he does. He’s fed up with the racism and barbarism of its teachings. He’s turned his back on faith long ago.

Amir’s internal jihad appears during a friendly dinner party, where Emily invites Jewish art dealer Isaac (Josh Radnor from “How I Met Your Mother”) and his black wife, Jory (Karen Pittman). As the booze flows more freely, age-old hostilities are brought to the fore. Akhtar’s dialogue masterfully switches from playground diplomacy to full-blown aggression, as the dinner talk transforms the swanky abode into something of a war zone.

Radnor plays Isaac with a smarmy elitism that doesn’t quite gel with Dhillon’s blunt delivery and detachment. These two men—dramatic forces, in their own right—bring out tribal instincts in one another. The theater gasped when Amir admitted his immediate reaction following the 9/11 attacks. To be honest, there was a lot of gasping that night. Disgraced may hit on some controversial topics, but who knew Americans were so touchy?

As the play climaxes with surprising violence, Amir’s crises are laid out for both he and the audience to see. Amir laments that Muslims are too willing to submit to authority, and don’t engage with texts like Maimonides, the Jewish medieval scholar, did.

Maybe this is how Akhtar envisions himself—as a divining, objective force that parses out ancient controversies in a very public way. Then it’s perhaps appropriate that Akhtar’s new play is entitled The Invisible Hand, premiering at the New York Theater Workshop later this year.

In any case, Disgraced is a roiling work, at turns cerebral and vicious. Though the dialogue can taste a bit academic, Kimberly Senior’s direction hones in on Amir’s caustic fight as he huffs around the marbled living room.

When the play premiered at Lincoln Center in 2012—it went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama—The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi starred as Amir.  There was brilliance in that casting choice. For all of Hari Dhillon’s preening condescension, there’s a self-deprecating humor in Amir that only a comedian can bring. Dhillon succeeds in capturing Amir’s restlessness and agility—it reminded me of Bill Pullman’s jittery turn in David Rabe’s Sticks and Bones—but Dhillon’s brusqueness prematurely exposes Amir’s fragile marriage, and made his own transformation seem somewhat less enigmatic.

Despite the show’s talky format, its most illustrative moment came at the play’s end, with Amir silently staring at his own portrait. There’s a gaze shared between the two that touches sacredness, as Amir’s complex reflection glares back at him above the fireplace. Amir is taken by his image, in which identity and ideology are forever tangled, just as in the Middle East itself.

[Image via]

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The Great Second Avenue Pierogi Showdown http://nyulocal.com/city/2014/11/25/historical-eastern-european-diners-east-village/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2014/11/25/historical-eastern-european-diners-east-village/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:30:02 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126751 A couple of weeks back I wrote an article on why the proliferation of brunch in the East Village doesn’t mean that it’s been transformed into a homogeneous, predictable Disneyland for yuppies. But I soon realized that continual reinvention isn’t the only reason why the Village manages to make itself relevant. In contrast, dining establishments... Read More

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IMG_3983A couple of weeks back I wrote an article on why the proliferation of brunch in the East Village doesn’t mean that it’s been transformed into a homogeneous, predictable Disneyland for yuppies. But I soon realized that continual reinvention isn’t the only reason why the Village manages to make itself relevant. In contrast, dining establishments with great historical clout continue to thrive in the heart of the Village, contributing as much to its tumultous past as to its current popularity. Within a narrow triangle, three such establishments hum with quiet energy, serving up generous portions of Eastern European food in casual, unassuming settings. Stage, Veselka and B&H Dairy might each have existed for more than half a century, but the food they’re serving up today is every bit as relevant as anything coming out of half a dozen brunch spots. And it probably tastes better than recycled sausage links wrapped in bacon.

On first glance, the similarities are stark. To have at least three Eastern European diners within a two-street radius is more than mere happenstance. In another city, this might point at Mafia racketeering. In New York, it’s just a matter of history – a time close to the start of the 20th century, when the East Village and the Lower East Side used to be an Eastern European enclave. Today, set against a colorful culinary backdrop of smoking paraphernalia and bahn mi, it’s easy to talk about these three diners in the same breath. But enthusiasts of pierogies, latkes and borscht swear that enduring differences exist between them.

Veselka’s probably the most famous of the three, prominently displaying its 60-year history on the corner of E 9th Street and Second Avenue. It’s open 24/7, which mean that the doughy, filling pierogies are the perfect foil for one too many drinks. Indeed, the dumplings stuffed with meat, cheese, or cabbage, are popular with visitors to the city, even if it seems like plenty to fork out for rustic country food.  But if you’re here for just the pierogies and nothing else, you might be missing out.

“Once you get past the over-expensive hype of the pierogies at Veselka, they have many authentic Ukrainian dishes that I’ve never seen served at any Ukrainian restaurant, such as the dessert Kutya,”said National Editor Maryna Prykhodko. What’s kutya? According to Wikipedia, it’s a sweet grain pudding made of wheatberries, poppy seeds, honey, various nuts and sometimes raisins. Never noticed it on the menu? Neither have I. Seems like we all gotta get past this pierogi obsession.

If, however, you insist on continuing the hunt for the tastiest pierogi, you might be directed to Stage a couple of streets down. It couldn’t be more different from Veselka here – in the claustrophobic alley of a diner, a bartop dominates below a series of handwritten menus scrawled hastily on cardboard that was never intended for that purpose.  You might perch yourself on a barstool, overwhelmed by the menu that never seems to end, and ask the guy behind the counter for a recommendation. Or you could just stick with the Eastern European classics. “The fried onions that come with the pierogies are the best,” said City Editor Joe Kozlowski, “and their potato pancakes are the crispiest.” Prykhodko agrees. “Stage is probably your best bet for the most authentic and fairly priced…pierogies.” I also agree, although Veselka’s obviously the better option for big groups. Or for 2am in the morning.

Across the street from Stage is its alter ego: B&H Dairy is the kosher, vegetarian version of the venerable Polish diner. (They serve fish here though.) Inside, I squeeze into one of the few tables – all the tables are meant for two, except a 4-seater at the back. The staff here’s friendlier than at the other two, although it might be because I dropped by during off-peak hours. The swarthy gentleman who took my order patiently explained to me what was in their blintzes and pierogies, and addressed my friend as senorita for the rest of the time we were there. And the food matches the cozy ambiance – warming borscht and cabbage soups served with home-made challah baked daily, along with hearty Polish-American fare like pierogies, along with the odd mac and cheese. I’d come here any day I wanted to feel loved, but Kozlowski disagrees. “I will only go to B&H for French toast and challah, egg and cheese sandwiches,” he said.

The Village losing its “character” to the faceless forces of capitalism and real estate prices – that’s a lamentation we hear so often. But places like Veselka, Stage and B&H Dairy remind us that history still manages to poke through the renovated townhouses, dive bars and thrift stores – if you know where to look.

Which team are you on? Veselka, Stage or B&H? Or do you have an alternative? We’d love to see your comments here!

Photo from the Kelly Weill Collection

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Why I’m Breaking Up With Uber http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/25/im-breaking-uber/ http://nyulocal.com/national/2014/11/25/im-breaking-uber/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:45:58 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126724 Dear Uber, In the beginning all was well. Your stellar service, your sexy black cars, your ice-creams and your kittens and your revolutionizing the taxi industry. You changed things for those of us without cars, those of us who wanted to travel in style, those of us who needed a late night ride, and for... Read More

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Dear Uber,

In the beginning all was well. Your stellar service, your sexy black cars, your ice-creams and your kittens and your revolutionizing the taxi industry. You changed things for those of us without cars, those of us who wanted to travel in style, those of us who needed a late night ride, and for the all too familiar NYC crisis of “I just can’t find a cab.”

I loved telling everyone about us, and introducing you to all of my friends. I instantly connected with people who already knew you, and I was even proud at calling myself a customer.

I’m not sure when things began to go wrong.

Maybe it was when a senior executive allegedly floated around the idea of spending a million dollars getting opposition researchers to “investigate journalists.” Maybe it was when your top official in New York was being investigated for violating a reporter’s privacy. Maybe it was your internal document that outlined your plan to hire a “director of research and rapid response” to “identify and weaponize the facts.”

Maybe it was earlier in the year, when you used Pride Week to launch UberWedding. “Whether you and your partner have considered tying the knot for years or are just feeling a spark of spontaneity — we’re here to help start you on your new adventure”, you said. Maybe it was the time your Lyon office launched the unbelievably sexist “Avions de Chasse” promotion. Maybe it was when your CEO, Travis Kalanick referred to the phenomenon of him getting laid due to his ultra hip CEO status, “Boober.” Maybe it was when BuzzFeed’s Johana Bhuiyan described how your NYC official was waiting for her at her drop off point. “There you are”, he said, “I was tracking you”.

Let’s not even get into all the things you did with Lyft. The calling and cancelling rides, your “brilliant scheme” of stealing their drivers, messing with their investment? I know you started off with lots of adrenaline, wanting to crush your competition and be the cut throat company with the most amazing schemes to get ahead, but there’s a line and you’ve crossed it, a hundred times over. If a Senator, the Chairman of the subcommittee of Privacy, Technology & Law, is sending you, a tech company in the valley, a lengthy letter demanding answers, you’re doing something wrong.

I would say more, Uber, but we shouldn’t air our dirty laundry in public.

I understand that this business is tough, and you have to make tough decisions. I understand that you said some things you didn’t mean. It’s a big bad world and you’re growing so fast that sometimes you think you need to make a compromise on ethics. But we just want different things from life.  Is this a game to you? Are you going for “any publicity is good publicity?” Are you just moving too fast for your own good? Can you just not keep track of your own?

Uber, it’s not me, it’s you. We just can’t go on like this. I’m breaking up with you.

And yes, if you must know, I will be switching to Lyft. I’m no New York Fashionista, but even I’ve come to believe that Pink is the new Black.

[image via]

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Move Over Festivus, Sandwich Night Is The Most Important Anti-Holiday Of The Year http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/25/move-festivus-sandwich-night-important-anti-holiday-year/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2014/11/25/move-festivus-sandwich-night-important-anti-holiday-year/#respond Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:00:13 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126712 We at NYU Local are pretty big fans of The Chris Gethard Show, “The Most Bizarre and Often Saddest Talk Show in New York City.” The public access talk show has been home to some of the strangest, most groundbreaking comedy in the city–including two crowdsourced character contests as well as, uh, this. Tomorrow night marks the... Read More

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We at NYU Local are pretty big fans of The Chris Gethard Show, “The Most Bizarre and Often Saddest Talk Show in New York City.” The public access talk show has been home to some of the strangest, most groundbreaking comedy in the city–including two crowdsourced character contests as well as, uh, this. Tomorrow night marks the anniversary of TCGS‘s own holiday: Sandwich Night.

According to director and NYU alum JD Amato, Sandwich Night started in 2011 for New Yorkers stuck in the city for Thanksgiving. To quote Amato, “We were going to cancel our TCGS last year until we realized a few of us were still going to be in NYC the night before Thanksgiving. We decided that instead of putting on a big crazy TCGS, we would just have a small intimate show and invite anyone left in New York to come celebrate Thanksgiving with us. But, here’s the twist (and you might already see it coming)—we thought it might be fun to have Thanksgiving dinner on the air. However, we didn’t have the time or money to organize a big complicated meal. Thus, in a stroke of genius, Shannon (actress Shannon O’Neill) suggested we do something simpler… she suggested we… just make sandwiches… so we agreed and decided to call the night SANDWICH NIGHT.”

During each Sandwich Nights, the TCGS crew and audience members come together to make a near-illegal amount of sandwiches in the Manhattan Neighborhood Network where they film the show. Since the initial Sandwich Night in 2011, the holiday has become one of the most popular aspects of the show, leading to successive Sandwich Nights in 2012 and 2013 as well as its own (NSFW) song. The holiday is so essential to TCGS that Gethard promised to hold the holiday every year, even if he stopped doing the show.

Thankfully, TCGS is still around and Sandwich Night is going strong. Gethard’s enthusiasm for the show, especially this year’s iteration: “Sandwich Night 4: Toast Protocol,” is near infectious as fans regularly chant “Sandwich Night” during tapings with little context. It’s universally beloved and for good reason – Thanksgiving kind of sucks.

For some, Thanksgiving is a great time to bond with family and enjoy a great meal. For others, it’s three hours of staring into the cranberry sauce to avoid hearing your uncle’s opinions on the Darren Wilson decision (thanks for the timing on that, Ferguson). And for non-Americans and those who can’t go back home for the holiday it’s a cold day where everyone’s friends are with their family and most stores and restaurants are closed. On the other hand, Sandwich Night is an antidote for a holiday that, to many, is one of the more toxic times of the year. Even if the next day is going to involve racist relatives, absent friends, or about a thousand tired explanations of why you’re a vegan, for one night you can just meet with a like-minded group of friends and enjoy that old universal constant: sandwiches.

“Sandwich Night 4: Toast Protocol” will air on MNN or the TCGS livestream tomorrow night at 11PM. If you’re facing a dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner, a lonely holiday,or just want to revel in the glory of sandwiches then be sure to tune in, try to get into the very crowded festivities at the MNN studios, or hold your own Sandwich Night at home with whatever friends you could round up. Just remember the event is BYOB (Bring Your Own Bread).

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Why Kim Kardashian’s Adoption Attempt Was So Problematic: A History Of Celebrity Adoptions http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/25/shopping-kids-kim-kardashian/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2014/11/25/shopping-kids-kim-kardashian/#respond Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:15:54 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=126720 To the eternal joy of every tabloid ever, Kim Kardashian continues to provide the world with things to talk about. The same week she #broketheinternet with her nude Paper magazine cover, news surfaced about a young girl in Thailand who declined an offer to join the famous reality TV family. When Kardashian visited Thailand on an... Read More

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To the eternal joy of every tabloid ever, Kim Kardashian continues to provide the world with things to talk about. The same week she #broketheinternet with her nude Paper magazine cover, news surfaced about a young girl in Thailand who declined an offer to join the famous reality TV family. When Kardashian visited Thailand on an episode of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” she implied that the adoption did not go through because she decided it was too difficult to adopt from Thailand. In reality, Kim herself was declined—that’s right, the girl turned down Kardashian’s offer.

It may seem that Kardashian’s heart is in the right place, but there are a whole lot of very deep-set problems with her attempted adoption. Kardashian’s portrayal of the event focuses on some beautiful American entering a horrible third world country and saving the day by gracefully offering a home to some abandoned, destitute orphan. In reality, this was not the case. Firstly, Pink, the “orphan” in question, is not an orphan at all. Pink’s mother is still alive and visits Pink frequently. Secondly, the “ramshackle” environment from which Pink would have been spirited away from if Kardashian had her way is actually a foster group home with education, clean beds, healthy food and playtime with other children. Pink was placed in the home after her father left the family, which left a heavy economic strain on her mother.

“I literally cannot stop thinking about her,” Kardashian said after meeting Pink. “I told Kanye, I was, like, honestly, this girl is so sweet and so cute, like, I would honestly adopt her.” Out of context, and give or take a pronoun or two, she could have been talking about a new Birkin bag. That’s the problem with a lot of celebrity adoptions: often, it feels like celebrities are shopping for a brand new toy… a toy that brings you a lot of great PR and looks cute in photos, rather than a child that needs help, love, and care.

This whole “shopping for children” fad didn’t originate with Kardashian. In October 2006, Madonna herself was embroiled in some adoption controversy of her own. The story was the same. A successful, wealthy, American, long and far removed from any semblance of normalcy money-wise, entered an impoverished nation and was shocked by the tragedy of the children. Madonna was in Malawi as part of her participation in the Raising Malawi initiative (which involved partially funding an orphanage in the country and travelling to the country itself). She found a boy she later described on “Oprah” as being sickly, suffering from pneumonia after surviving malaria and tuberculosis. Madonna attempted to adopt the boy, named David, circumnavigating the clear Malawian law that states that one must reside in the country for at least one year before adopting. This disregard to a law that others have had to follow during thoughtful adoption proceedings gave the entire event a rather impulsive, upsetting sheen; it seemed that Madonna waltzed into a nation less economically developed than her own, discovered poverty and illness for the first time, and decided to make herself look better for it. The adoption was nonetheless finalized in May 2008, and as far as anyone’s knowledge goes, David appears to be happy under Madonna’s care.

Madonna clearly had good intentions, and surely the adopted child is enjoying the health and security and vast opportunities that come with being raised by someone with Madonna’s wealth. But there is something almost sinister about the publicity aspect of it all. Sure, adopting is a benevolent act, but why not adopt without all the media coverage? Why not adopt one of the many children here in America who need help? A domestic adoption would be easier, and both Kardashian and Madonna have the means to adopt more, but apparently their generosity stops after the first child.

One famous pair who didn’t stop after the first attempt is a pair who doesn’t seem to be in it for the publicity: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Jolie first adopted Maddox from Cambodia as a single parent in 2002 after spending time in Cambodia during the filming of Tomb Raider. Perhaps her bond with Maddox helped open her eyes to the benefits of adoption; she and Pitt later adopted Zahara from Ethiopia in 2006 and Pax from Vietnam in 2007, raising the three adopted children alongside their three biological children, Shiloh, Vivienne, and Knox. Certainly the Jolie-Pitt’s are glamorous and beloved by the tabloids, but the family’s continued efforts in charity and activism show that these adoptions were not one-off ego trips. Jolie has done extensive work with the UN and is now a Goodwill Ambassador. Pitt has been involved with several charities, helped co-found Not On Our Watch, and he and Jolie have even established their own Jolie-Pitt Foundation, with the goals of eradicating extreme poverty and protecting the environment. To be clear, no one needs a resume this extensive to adopt or to want to help. Madonna surely helped improve the life of her adopted son in many ways, and Kardashian’s desire to give a better life to Pink was by all appearances genuine. The difference is that there are celebrities who use their significant amount of power, wealth, and influence to do good for the sake of doing good, and then there are celebrities who like the idea of it once in a while and definitely like the publicity that comes along with it.

As for the celebrities who have gone about the whole adoption thing right, you probably wouldn’t be able to name them off the top of your head. That’s because they didn’t make it about publicity. Katherine Heigl and her husband adopted their daughter Naleigh from South Korea in 2009 and their daughter Adalaide from the US in 2012. Sharon Stone adopted her sons Roan, Quinn, and Laird. Diane Keaton adopted her daughter Dexter in 1996 and her son Duke in 2001. None of these were publicized or glamorized, possibly because none of them came along with the wealth American saviour storyline that Madonna and Kim got when they entered the countries they found so awful and destitute. Charlize Theron adopted son Jackson in March 2012, which was a move that made some headlines but was not exploited by Theron’s PR team. Sandra Bullock actually went through with her adoption proceedings in private, keeping the adoption of her African-American baby son Louis Bardo a secret from the press for three months during the publicity-fueled Oscar season. Of course, after Bullock’s divorce proceedings ended and she attained full custody of her adopted child, she graced the cover of People magazine with an article titled “Meet My Baby!” So, she got to get in on some publicity eventually.

So, yes, Kim’s heart was in the right place, but clearly only for a moment: after being denied an adoption, by all accounts, the Kardashians went on their merry way back to their $18,000-a-night resort and then later back to California, where she’s probably on the next publicity stunt. If Kim truly cared about the plight of Pink and other disadvantaged children in Thailand, she could always donate to the foster group home. The area that Pink’s foster group home was established in, Thailand’s Phang Nga province, is a region where more than 4,000 people died in the 2004 tsunami that wreaked havoc on the country. Surely there are more children, more families, more institutions mere steps from Pink’s foster group home that could use some Kardashian money. Why not send Pink’s mother some money, so that she can afford to have Pink live with her again? Why not send Pink money for university education later in life? Maybe if Kardashian can find a way to capitalize on it, she can find a way to help Pink at last.

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