NYU Local http://nyulocal.com The Blog of New York University Sun, 26 Apr 2015 21:23:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.3 Why The 2031 Plan Is Untenable http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/24/why-the-2031-plan-is-untenable/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/24/why-the-2031-plan-is-untenable/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 19:33:15 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131509 nyu-new-york-university-campus-expansion-2031-planWhile NYU administration continues to try and will the 2031 plan into action, the final say on the plan’s legality will be coming soon when the New York State Court of Appeals hears the case on its legality this June.Despite claims by President Sexton and 2031 supporters, indications from the finances of the plan point to significantly increased burdens on student and faculty if the plan is carried out. NYU already has ...

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nyu-new-york-university-campus-expansion-2031-planWhile NYU administration continues to try and will the 2031 plan into action, the final say on the plan’s legality will be coming soon when the New York State Court of Appeals hears the case on its legality this June.

Despite claims by President Sexton and 2031 supporters, indications from the finances of the plan point to significantly increased burdens on student and faculty if the plan is carried out. NYU already has one of the highest tuition rates in the country during a time in which the nation’s collective student debt is over $1 trillion, and unfortunately, 2031 will likely just exacerbate the problem.

The Corporate University

Universities in the United States are becoming more and more corporate, with the global network university leading the pack. As the cost of attendance for college has skyrocketed, precarious practices pursued by these increasingly business-minded schools include the exploitation of adjunct faculty, ballooning of administrative spending, and the focusing of university funds towards marketing and recruitment. As if they were acting like multinational corporations, universities like Georgetown, Cornell, Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins and a slew of others (list from 2008) have established their outposts abroad just like NYU has in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. Why? Former Brown University President Ruth Simmons candidly told Brown Alumni Magazine: “Our competitors are internationalizing at a much faster rate than we are. As a consequence, they are making themselves more attractive on the global stage.” I’m glad that is what’s most important to her.

Thus, in light of what’s been happening to American universities, it’s not unexpected for NYU to pursue a plan that is, in essence, a real estate deal designed to attract applicants and increase prestige while secondarily meeting the needs of students right now. (The phrase “real estate deal” comes directly from a member of the Board of Trustees. According to Professor Mark Crispin Miller, Trustee Leonard Wilf said explicitly in a conversation with him and Professor Bo Riccobono that 2031 “is not an academic plan. It’s a real estate deal.”)

The Need for Space

The university claims that there is a dire need for academic space, which may very well be true right this moment. Some have called for more classes on Friday to alleviate the space problem, but the University Space Priorities Working Group Final Report argues: “Increasing utilization of Friday—and especially Friday afternoons and evenings—would not address the current deficit of classroom space, alone or in combination with other strategies.” In fact, we have little way of knowing whether this claim is true, because NYU has failed to release a comprehensive list of alternatives spaces, which includes owned buildings (with the amount of academic space in them) and other properties for sale. For example, the report neglects the former Rubin Hall cafeteria (just now being refitted for classrooms), and the properties at 404 Lafayette and 708 Broadway that were purchased last fall, even though the report stated only two other buildings were available for purchase. This prompts the question: have we really taken an adequate enough look at the alternatives?

The 2031 plan originally even proposed the building of a hotel. What does that say about their priorities?

Where Will the Money Come From?

What about how they’re going to finance the plan? Where is this money going to come from? University spokesperson Beckman has claimed 2031 is “well within the University’s financial means,” but many are skeptical. Page 43 of the Working Group Final Report shows that the committee projected a $2.195 billion to $3.13 billion increase in outstanding long term debt from 2012 to 2017. A 2031 financial presentation shows that NYU’s debt service (the yearly cost of paying for the debt) will increase from $114 million to $235 million in that same time span. That’s higher than the Trustees’ self-imposed debt service limit of 7 percent of annual operating expenses (which is $195 million in 2015).

For his part, Beckman reminded NYU Local that the Working Group concluded that the 10 year plan for the Coles site could be accomplished within NYU’s capital budget framework and was similar in magnitude to the last 10 year plan ($3.01 billion versus $2.95 billion). But remember that this is just half of 2031. Not included are plans expected after 2022 on the north superblock.

The administration should know, since they frequently remind us how small NYU’s endowment is, that this debt will be a signficant burden on the school. This year, Standard and Poor’s found some concerns about the university’s debt financing in an “AA-” rating.

“The rating reflects low financial resources and a high debt level for the rating category, mitigated by the university’s comprehensive nature and global presence,” the report stated. “We believe that significant additional debt beyond the current plan without commensurate growth in financial resources could pressure the rating.”

Now, this “AA-” rating reflects according to S&P a “very strong capacity to meet financial commitments,” but the key caveat is the maintenance of “commensurate growth.” Where exactly will this come from? (Keep in mind S&P hasn’t quite given out accurate evaluations in the past. They were one of the “Big Three” rating agencies that partly drove the country into the 2008 recession because of their misleading “AAA” grades.)

The Students

 

The only logical way for NYU, which relies on tuition for approximately 57 percent of its annual revenue, to have the “commensurate growth” to finance 2031 is either to significantly expand the student body or hike the tuition. (Northwestern University by comparison relies on tuition and fees for 27.7% of its revenue.)

 

According to the Working Group Report undergraduate tuition will not increase “as sharply as in recent years.” “Average debt upon graduation at NYU has been decreasing for several years,” Beckman has also said, writing that it is has gone down more than $10,000 in the last five years. In addition, he has pointed out that the average NYU student debt is lower than the national average for private, 4 year colleges ($30,688 versus $32, 600 for 2012-2013).

 

Presumably, this is evidence to assure people that 2031 will not adversely impact the cost of attendance, but this is a straw man. While decreasing the student debt is laudable, this kind of talk is somewhat distracting because it doesn’t address the source of the problem: tuition (which has caused the cost of attendance to climb over $70,000 for some students). Whatever the average student debt is, rising tuition will increasingly make NYU unaffordable for middle class families who aren’t eligible for aid and forced to pay in full. Furthermore, government assistance to cover those who are eligible will just be placing more burdens on the taxpayer.

 

Sexton pledged in his last town hall that there were no plans to “grow the size of the New York student body by any dramatic amount,” although I’m sure our definitions of “dramatic” are different. While the Working Group states the university will significantly slow down the rate of growth relative to the late ’90s and early ’00s, it will still increase at a predicted rate of 0.27 percent for undergraduates and 0.21 percent for graduate students (about 1,000 kids each year).

 

By the working group’s own admission: “If undergraduate enrollments (including NYUAD and NYUSH) do not increase after 2013 (through 2022), budgeted operating surpluses will decline, with the shortfalls growing larger over time; operating surpluses would become negative for the years 2017-2020.” Thus, if student population growth is low, then tuition is bound to significantly rise, and if not, we continue our expansion into an already NYU-dominated Village and risk running into another shortage of space scenario.

 

NYU claims that it’s saving money by building on property that it already owns, but the school could save the most money by abandoning the project all together. Whatever good the plan can bring (like an upgraded dog run, and much needed gym and performing arts spaces) is heavily outweighed by the potential harm not only for those at the university, but our neighbors as well. The university has grown enough. If something has to change, we should be trying to reduce the size of the school, reduce the burden on the students, and reduce NYU’s footprint on the Village. Not the other way around.

[Image via]

 

 

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Atelier Is The Secret Boutique They Don’t Want You To Know About http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/24/atelier-is-the-secret-boutique-they-dont-want-you-to-know-about/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/24/atelier-is-the-secret-boutique-they-dont-want-you-to-know-about/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 19:30:41 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131513 DSC_0036Atelier is not the easiest boutique to find, and that’s just the way they like it. Tucked on Hudson Street in Chelsea, one might think they have the wrong address walking into the eleventh avenue art studio where the boutique resides. As the name Atelier (meaning an artists workshop) might suggest this boutique focuses on garments with a craftsman’s attention to detail.Take the elevator to the tenth floor and stark white concrete ...

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DSC_0036Atelier is not the easiest boutique to find, and that’s just the way they like it. Tucked on Hudson Street in Chelsea, one might think they have the wrong address walking into the eleventh avenue art studio where the boutique resides. As the name Atelier (meaning an artists workshop) might suggest this boutique focuses on garments with a craftsman’s attention to detail.

Take the elevator to the tenth floor and stark white concrete walks stare back at visitors. Still, you might be thinking you made the wrong turn, but small black font that reads “Atelier” directs curious fashion enthusiast forward in the unadorned studio building. At the end of the hall Atelier waits with a storefront that looks less like the entrance to a boutique and more like the private quarters of a brooding Manhattan artist.

By this point the uninitiated have surely turned around; you’ll sure say “this cant be the right place” several times. But don’t quit yet. Only open the unassuming door and you will be greeted to a room of dark couture fashion. Labels like Maison Margiela, Julius, Y-3 and Rick Owens decorate the small room. While the fashion might be intimidating, Danny and Hazel greet visitors by the door and are happy to help with any questions.

When asked about the curious location for the boutique, Danny and Hazel smile. “This is only a temporary location,” Danny says. Atelier intends to move their boutique to a ground floor space eventually, but they chose Chelsea in order to keep the vision of the boutique clear: a venue to showcase artisan clothing.

“We wanted to keep the space away from Soho and those other commercial places,” Danny explains. “It allows the store to hold onto its feel of exclusivity.”

Exclusive is one of the many qualities that define Atelier. Looking at Ateliers site, only a brief abstract of white font with hours of operation and location are visible. There is something undoubtedly seductive about the stores mystic. A type of deliberate elusiveness that parallels the designs they carry like Yamamoto and Owens or the obscurity of Margiela.

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Open for three years, Atelier has recently changed owners, and after a one year hiatus they have reopened and carry both men’s and woman’s clothing. “Our typical client is anyone who’s interested in particularly crafted fashion, and who can afford the high prices,” Hazel explains. When deciding what labels to carry, Hazel explains that the boutique aims for avant garde and exceptionally constructed garments “but we carry commercial brands like APC too.”

For many, discovering this boutique of the shadows might start in one of the murky corners of the Internet. Forums like StyleZeitgeist celebrate the very same aesthetic; dark experimental fashion. Hazel laughs “yes, people who go on StyleZeitgeist are defiantly the type of people who come in here.”

For those brave enough, Atelier is a fascinating venture in the world of couture fashion. Be warned, Atelier’s exclusivity is no joke; tremendous prices make this boutique only for those truly dedicated to fashion, and those who don’t need to worry about price tags.

Walk west from the L on eighth, all the way to Eleventh. Walk into the inconspicuous art studio, don’t turn back now. Atelier does a good job of containing itself in the world of the fashion underground; a hidden gem only for those bold enough to find it.

[Photos via Michael Lanza]

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The UK General Election Cometh http://nyulocal.com/national/2015/04/24/the-uk-general-election-cometh/ http://nyulocal.com/national/2015/04/24/the-uk-general-election-cometh/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:52:42 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131477 office-location-UKl.ashxIt’s election month in the UK. Yes, it’s only a month long.Yes, it saves a LOT of money.This election will be the first since the Fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011, which means (if somehow you didn’t already know) that for the first time ever there is a fixed date, the 7th of May, for the UK general election. Previously, the Prime Minister had the power to dissolve parliament and thus call for a ...

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It’s election month in the UK. Yes, it’s only a month long.

Yes, it saves a LOT of money.

This election will be the first since the Fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011, which means (if somehow you didn’t already know) that for the first time ever there is a fixed date, the 7th of May, for the UK general election. Previously, the Prime Minister had the power to dissolve parliament and thus call for a general election whenever he wanted (within 5 years). The Prime Minister would generally do this when it was politically advantageous to do so and the act was put in effect to counteract this unfairness.

Anyway, who’s going to be the next Prime Minister?

Will it be this guy?

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David Cameron of the Conservative Party, the current Prime Minister and our dear reptilian overlord.

Or will it be this one?

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Ed Miliband of the Labour Party, the nerd who would be king. Sidenote: apparently he has a growing teenage fandom now. The Milifandom.

In the UK, here’s how elections always go: either Labour or Conservative win or neither win and the one with the most seats forms a coalition government with the third biggest party, the Liberal Democrats.

However, the times, they are a-changing. This year, because of how thoroughly terrible either party has been at sustaining support, many third-party candidates have been gaining considerable steam, and are stealing voters, much needed for a majority, from the big two.

It used to be that British politics was just boring, however, this time it’s more like Wacky Races. But still pretty boring. Let’s take a look at all the different parties (with American analogies):

Conservatives- Republicans

Labour- Democrats

Liberal Democrats- small Democrats who no one likes anymore

UK Independence Party (UKIP)- Tea Party if it only cared about hating immigrants and Europe

Scottish National Party (SNP)- If Texas had a party and its entire platform was seceding from the US (but also was super left-wing)

Green Party- Green Party

All the predictions indicate that there is most likely to be a hung parliament, which is not as sexy as it sounds. A hung parliament is when no single party commands a majority of the seats in parliament. The current government stays in power while all the parties negotiate with each other to potentially form a coalition government, and usually the party with the largest number of seats takes first stab at forming a stable government with others.

In the event the Conservatives gain the most seats, the BNP and the Conservative party, despite their right-wing allegiance, would never join up. Simply put, they hate each other. The Lib Dems are unlikely to pull in enough seats (the British public hates them these days) to give the biggest party a majority, so they’re out. The SNP ruled out creating a coalition with the Conservatives which seems obvious, since their political allegiances are totally opposite.

On the other hand, if the Labour Party gains the most seats, they’re not going to join up with the BNP because, duh. The SNP didn’t rule out forming a coalition with Labour, however, Miliband did come out himself to rule out the idea of forming a coalition with the SNP.

Basically, there does not appear to be a clear coalition partnership regardless of who achieves the most seats.

The third option is the party with the most seats can form a minority government, which would result in, not a formal “coalition” government, but a less formal “confidence and supply” arrangement with a lot of smaller parties. These smaller parties would give support for the largest party over the budget and in the event of a vote of no confidence, every government policy would be assessed to check for agreement from these smaller parties. What used to happen was a party would take a minority government, then build up good will with the public before calling a snap election to try and acheive a majority government. But that new act stops that kind of fun.

In summation, due to a mixture of having a fixed election date, powerful third-parties draining support from their base voters, justifiable public apathy, and their general inability to convince the country that they can actually run one, both the big two parties can’t get the support they need to form a majority government.

The squiggly line of public opinion currently gives the Conservative party a tiny lead over Labour, but it’s changing all the time. This is the closest leadup to an election in a long time. And yet, the real question remains: how can something that is supposed to be about this many parties be so completely yawnful?

[Image 1 Via]

[Images 2 & 3 Via]

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Manifest Tragedy: The Art Of Overlooked American History http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/04/24/manifest-tragedy-the-art-of-overlooked-american-history/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/04/24/manifest-tragedy-the-art-of-overlooked-american-history/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:31:02 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131464 D10 Mans Shirt The Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently displaying a rare show of Native American Plain Indian’s art and artifacts, organized chronologically as it traces the art of a culture that once had prosperity, then suffered unimaginable loss, and finally endured. The rich amalgam of more than 130 different artifacts have returned home to the Americas from 58 international collections. The comprehensive exhibition stuns as much as it evokes heart-ache for ...

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D10 Mans Shirt The Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently displaying a rare show of Native American Plain Indian’s art and artifacts, organized chronologically as it traces the art of a culture that once had prosperity, then suffered unimaginable loss, and finally endured. The rich amalgam of more than 130 different artifacts have returned home to the Americas from 58 international collections. The comprehensive exhibition stuns as much as it evokes heart-ache for a nearly annihilated group of American people.

Curated by Gaylord Torrence, this exhibition originally displayed at the Musee du Quai in Paris, then the art came home for a brief show in Kansas City and is now on display at the Met.

The exhibition is quite large, filling four or five rooms, and is organized chronologically with the oldest piece being a pipe that dates back to the First Century B.C. The organization gives the beautiful works of art a place in a the heartbreaking history of Native American prosperity, loss, and ultimately perseverance. It is a history that Americans of Western descent of do not like to acknowledge as part of their country’s history.G03_t0081ab_2_large

Yet people have always appreciated the beauty of Native American culture as they have appropriated it, often inappropriately, into American culture. In 2012, Karlie Kloss (who will be at Gallatin next year!) walked down the runway of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show clad in a full Native American headdress and some fringed lingerie. Recently street style pictures of Coachella have shown how contemporary Americans still deeply appreciate the aesthetics of Native American art.

On display at Plains Indians: Artists of the Earth and Sky are beautifully ornamented clothes with colorful beadwork, feather headdresses that are nothing short of awe-inspiring, as well as ornately designed weaponry. The art and artefacts possess a high level of quality that evokes a sense of wonder about the artist who made them. Most of the art is from the 18th and 19th century, but there are some outliers.

F4 Feather Headdress

Towards the end of the exhibition are pieces by contemporary Native American artists, often depicting the troubles of their culture. One mixed medium mural by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, an American of Native American descent features miscellaneous appropriations of his culture that he stumbled upon in recent times: a Washington Redskins plaque, Cleveland Indians caps, a cheap and brightly colored costume of the sacred head pieces traditionally worn by chiefs. He paints a canoe on a collage of news-snippets featuring the tragedies of his people.

The exhibition shows the other side to American history that is often neglected by textbooks; the viewpoints of the Native American who faced East in a time of Manifest Destiny and massive westward expansion and settling. The art that the Plains Indians produced, however, borders on the sacred in the beauty and craftsmanship it still portrays of a peoples that were almost massacred out of their homes.

[Images via]

 

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“Unbranded: A Century of White Women” Strips Advertising Bare http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/04/24/unbranded-a-century-of-white-women-strips-advertising-bare/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/04/24/unbranded-a-century-of-white-women-strips-advertising-bare/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:41:44 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131475 08-art-ad-1966-1Trek past 10th Avenue on 20th street near the high line, pass a trendy coffee shop and something resembling a yoga snack bar and you’ll be at the Jack Shainman Gallery, where Hank Willis Thomas’s Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015 is on view.Thomas’s work takes images used in advertising each year and removes all of the text that makes it an ad, leaving the viewer with a blank photograph or ...

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08-art-ad-1966-1Trek past 10th Avenue on 20th street near the high line, pass a trendy coffee shop and something resembling a yoga snack bar and you’ll be at the Jack Shainman Gallery, where Hank Willis Thomas’s Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015 is on view.

Thomas’s work takes images used in advertising each year and removes all of the text that makes it an ad, leaving the viewer with a blank photograph or illustration. The result is a sometimes-odd, sometimes-humorous, sometimes-horrifying expose on just what visually is used to sell. He had done so once previously in Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America 1968-2008. This time, he takes on women.

The gallery is very large, and has both wide open spaces and a great volume of work—perhaps reflecting the sheer volume of women in ads. They’re everywhere.

There are the obviously predictable recurring themes: women being flanked by men, being sexualized, being domestic, and so on. But sometimes there are surprises: sometimes they’re sweaty and muscular bodybuilders, have shaved heads and scars, are dressed like high-class decorated men, or even have replaced one of the Mount Rushmore heads. It’s an interesting variety platter, leaving you wondering what the ad said beforehand. Was it as subversive or empowering as the image?

This show is not just about women, but white women specifically. This is important, because it unapologetically acknowledges that the default image of woman is not only attractive and thin, but also white. There are scant examples of women of color—1974 shows a female face duplicated many times showing a spectrum of skin tones from light to dark, and 2010 shows a stylish rich older lady giving a present to a black female tennis player—and perhaps their oh-so slight inclusion is representative of just how dominating whiteness in mass media is.

Some are standard photos that make it clear what they would be advertising even without the text but some are more absurd, such as a blonde woman with voluminous hair smiling on top of a bare mattress floating in the galaxy. Casual.

The images of the 1960s are especially odd. A sampling includes green women lighting a cannon at another woman, a headless woman staring longingly at the legs of a man holding a shovel, smiling close up of a woman with a cigarette and a black eye. These women, despite their absurd or dangerous situations, remain set in their roles. Nothing is explained, but would it be if the text was still there?

1965-67 is an insidious progression. 1965’s image shows a hookah-smoking vaguely exotic-looking man (but let’s be real, probably a white one) staring gladly up at a set of 5 women’s legs in stockings, all chained together by gold shackles. Next is a male jungle explorer sitting next to a buxom blonde woman in leopard print pursing her lips teasingly—she’s also in a cage. 1

967 is even more questionable: a group of clothed white men circling and grabbing a woman in her underwear who truly does not look happy. I have no idea what this could even be advertising. In a thankful contrast, 1968 shows two powerful-looking women in suits staring menacingly forward with large guns. This is an example of how Thomas has truly placed his artistic eye into the curation of these ads, purposefully choosing a specific image from each year out of the myriad of advertisements churned out each year, so that viewing them in order can create a compelling and surprising narrative.

Though Thomas’s images are presented and labeled in chronological order, they can also be viewed in any way. Oftentimes they blended together, revealing how technologies and trends have changed over time but the core of what we use to sell things and our ideals when it comes to the feminine often remain the same.

The 2000s show a sign of possible progress—the new millenium. And things are indeed more subversive: one image displays a pregnant man and his wife standing by his side, stylish but free. Beside it is a photograph of a woman in bed with someone of ambiguous gender. However, any sign of progress in Thomas’s exhibit does not last for long, as we’re brought back into reality. There is also a cartoonish woman with seven wedding rings on and a photo of pair of hands firmly cupping the buns of two hamburgers next to each other, not a woman per se but so indicative of breasts and objectification that its inclusion sadly makes sense.

2014’s image seems the most hopeful yet: a photograph of a pair of women dressed logically for the weather taking a romantic selfie in the rain in a metropolitan area. Sweet. Simple. Queer, but not sexualized or made strange.

However 2015 takes us straight back to the past, but with all the airbrushed excess of the present. “Crossing the Delaware: Circa 2015″ is a long, shiny photograph showing a myriad of busty, tan, and thin women in bikinis, colonial hats and Davy Crockett fur adorning a shiny red truck, bearing guns and stilettos. It’s revolting and magnificent all at once. Maybe we haven’t made much progress after all.

Though this edition of Thomas’s Unbranded does do a lot of important things and offers an engaging, stimulating and sometimes shocking experience for the viewer, it’s important to note that when it’s all said and done that Thomas is a man. Does it take a man to point out what’s being done to women in advertising? When 70% of gallery artists in New York and LA are male, perhaps the answer is unfortunately yes.

Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015 is on view at the Jack Shainman Gallery until May 23. 513 West 20th Street, Tues-Sat, 10am-6pm.

[Image via]

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The Mets’ Fight To Take Back New York http://nyulocal.com/national/2015/04/24/the-mets-fight-to-takebacknewyork/ http://nyulocal.com/national/2015/04/24/the-mets-fight-to-takebacknewyork/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:01:15 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131435 braves_mets_baseball-e1429758750892Jeurys Familia after finishing off the Braves Wednesday Night.The Mets are the best team in baseball.A likely response from a fan to whom this was news would be something like the sound of an old, decrepit body falling off of its wooden rocker, hitting the ground, followed by an immediate, gastric “What the fuck?”Just 16 games in, the Mets are shaping into a club that demands attention: strength at the plate, a shut-down rotation, and a contagious presence of youth ...

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Jeurys Familia after finishing off the Braves Wednesday Night.

The Mets are the best team in baseball.

A likely response from a fan to whom this was news would be something like the sound of an old, decrepit body falling off of its wooden rocker, hitting the ground, followed by an immediate, gastric “What the fuck?”

Just 16 games in, the Mets are shaping into a club that demands attention: strength at the plate, a shut-down rotation, and a contagious presence of youth that is spreading fervor throughout the entire camp.

They’re exciting to watch, too — Juan Lagares’ gold glove in center is just one example, his Willie Mays over-the-shoulder grab two nights ago exemplifying his aptitude for making highlight-worthy plays.

It’s capstone, a young bombastic closer, Jeurys Familia, may be the most note-worthy piece of it all. In light of New York’s recent void of historically great closers, a young, lights-out talent on the mound in the 9th — in Flushing, nonetheless — is very compelling.

While the optimism is entirely unfamiliar and the attention slightly uncomfortable, confusion seems to be the predominant sentiment in the Mets camp. Some fans are meandering New York City entirely unaware that their team’s renaissance is before them, while others who are fully conscious of the Mets’ revival are laying flat on the sidewalk, now themselves unconscious from holding their breath for the past week, while the club’s win streak was extended from seven to eleven straight wins.

The Mets aren’t unfamiliar to hot starts. It seems like every other year they flukily win five or six straight, only to tank once the broad strokes of chilly, early spring luck pass. But, to win 11 straight is no joke, just as it’s becoming abundantly clear that this year’s team is no joke, either.

The 11 game win streak ties the franchise record — one that has been set three times before. It isn’t a coincidence that two of the three Mets squads that went on an 11-0 run were the franchise’s only two World Champions.

Certainly, the baseball season is arduously and yes, at times, painfully long; long enough for the tanking Mets of old to show themselves once this newer, shinier coat wears away (or finds the longterm DL). But, the team has shown resilience and modest depth.

Despite losing two key starters early, David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud, the Mets have demonstrated a more-than-adequate ability to bounce back with young position players off the bench, some of which have skillfully aided in the continuance of the 11 game streak, such as Eric Campbell at 3rd and Kevin Plawecki behind the plate.

Yes, it’s early, and while there’s plenty of buzz and excitement, it’s all very timid and anxious, like the comportment of a freshman’s first movie date: it isn’t too handsy for fear of striking out. The Mets aren’t yet at first base, but the promise of hitting a home run is as sexy as ever.

On Baseball and New York City

What does such a hot start from the historically laughable Mets do to the landscape of New York City baseball? This is precisely what tonight’s first installment of the Subway Series is all about: laying claim to New York.

Mets fans around the city are calling it the reclamation of New York — spurred by street teams and tinged by social media prongs and the hashtag #TakeBackNewYork.

It’s a valiant conception, no doubt, and nonetheless, one that can be envisioned with the amount of juvenescent talent in Queens: a new era in which the blue and orange are referred to as the kings of New York, hanging fresh millennial banners to appease their newfound masses.

Some fans are calling it, or rather calling the year 2015, “1 A.D.,” or 1 year after Derek Jeter and the period of imperial, monetary dominance over Major League Baseball that came with his glittered career.

Syntactically, however, the language couldn’t be more wrong. There will be no ‘taking back’ New York. It never belonged to the Mets in the first place, and hardly did they ever have the right to claim greatness over the Yankees, their lowly two championships dwarfed by the Bombers’ 27 banners. And secondly, while Jeter is gone, countless millions of dollars in talent remain.

Still, the failing language of it all isn’t stopping any foolhardy fans from laying on the metaphoric rhetoric.

The 7 Line, a brand of Mets memorabilia created by upstart fans, has organized an “invasion” of the South Bronx, curating 1300 diehard Mets fans to arrive, squat, and rally together at tonight’s game. They call themselves The 7 Line Army and their battle for New York starts tonight.

Don’t worry though, I’ve already checked: it’s okay to bring your green hat.

[Image Via]

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Be On The Look Out For This Violet-Filled Film http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/24/be-on-the-look-out-for-this-violet-filled-film/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/24/be-on-the-look-out-for-this-violet-filled-film/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:31:01 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131423 addell-diariesDear NYU, we have a new Violet-filled film to be on the look out for. Based on Stephen Elliot’s famous memoir of the same name, “The Adderall Diaries” is directed by NYU alum Pamela Romanowsky and will star the one and only James Franco (also, Romanowsky’s former classmate) as a drug-addicted writer as he deals with the return of his supposedly dead father. With the emotional turmoil in his life escalating, Franco’s character finds ...

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Dear NYU, we have a new Violet-filled film to be on the look out for. Based on Stephen Elliot’s famous memoir of the same name, “The Adderall Diaries” is directed by NYU alum Pamela Romanowsky and will star the one and only James Franco (also, Romanowsky’s former classmate) as a drug-addicted writer as he deals with the return of his supposedly dead father. With the emotional turmoil in his life escalating, Franco’s character finds an escape through writing his new novel about an elite and high profile murder case.

Romanowsky will be screening ‘The Adderall Diaries” at the Tribeca Film Festival this year.

“It all feels a little surreal. To hear people laugh at the right spot, I thought, ‘Okay, there are other people in the room watching my movie too and reacting to it,” Romanowsky told New York Daily News reporter Ethan Sacks.

Franco, who met Romanowsky during their overlapped time at Tisch, credited his experience to NYU for their achievements today. “Even though this is a much bigger scale than what we were doing at NYU — we had all these great actors — there’s still a spirit of ‘here we are,’ NYU students just hustling, making this film together,” he said.

Romanowsky, originally from the Midwest, shared a bit of her journey while experiencing a pleasant cultural transformation by coming to New York. “You watch movies and TV series about New York, where it feels like the Island of the Misfit Toys and where all the other arty, misfit weirdos are going to be,” she said. “Then you get here and it actually turns out to be true and you meet your family of arty weirdos.”

Sounds like a classic NYU experience if there ever was one.

[Image via]

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NYU School Of Medicine Faculty Fight Changes To Tenure http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/23/nyu-school-of-medicine-faculty-fight-changes-to-tenure/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/23/nyu-school-of-medicine-faculty-fight-changes-to-tenure/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:47:33 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131411 NYU_Medical_Center_March_2014This article was co-written by Ryan McNamara and Ilana Engelberg.On Monday, April 13, oral arguments were heard in a case of two NYU School of Medicine faculty fighting against changes in the tenure system.Marie Monaco’s and Herbert Samuels’s salaries were reduced after teaching at the School of Medicine for 35 and 45 years respectively. Monaco has been tenured for 28 years, Samuels for 38 years.The School of Medicine has long considered changes ...

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This article was co-written by Ryan McNamara and Ilana Engelberg.

On Monday, April 13, oral arguments were heard in a case of two NYU School of Medicine faculty fighting against changes in the tenure system.

Marie Monaco’s and Herbert Samuels’s salaries were reduced after teaching at the School of Medicine for 35 and 45 years respectively. Monaco has been tenured for 28 years, Samuels for 38 years.

The School of Medicine has long considered changes to its tenure policy, and has recently established requirements that professors should secure 60 percent of their salaries through outside grants. This policy incentivizes faculty to more actively pursue research topics that attract funding, as those who do not secure funding will have their pay lowered. University spokesperson Lisa Greiner said that this policy brings the School of Medicine’s “job performance requirements in line with other nationally recognized academic medical centers.”

The professors say that this issue is about much more than just salary. Tenure guarantees faculty the right to engage in whichever type of research and teaching interests them, the professors’ lawyer, Beth Margolis stated, but this guarantee “cannot be realized unless [faculty] cannot be punished…for engaging in the research that maybe is less remunerative than other research.”

The changes in tenure were applied retroactively, making this case particularly controversial. Faculty like Monaco and Samuels, who have been tenured for decades, suddenly had the terms of their employment altered.

Differences in understanding the role of the NYU faculty handbook are central to the suit. The professors cite the handbook as protecting their economic security. NYU’s lawyer, David Marshall, points to a line in the foreword that leave room for modification: “Clearly, NYU could not have regarded that the handbook is a contract if it states right in the foreword that it can change it in any time it wants in any manner it wants.”

Margolis replied, saying that the handbook’s policies were adopted bilaterally, and as such, they must be changed bilaterally.

NYU alleges that the salary cuts were necessary to increase the School of Medicine’s ranking on U.S. News and World, which is in part tied to funding and grants. Mr. Marshall cited a rise in ranking from number 34 in 2013 to number 14 in 2015.

Margolis responded to these claims: “They are taking $17,00 from these two faculty salaries this year. There is no way that that amount of money has any noticeable impact on their budget.”

This change in conditions of employment has come at a time when the nature of tenure at the School of Medicine has been shifting radically. In the 2005-06 school year, 892 faculty were tenured or on tenure track, and 400 were on non-tenure track. By 2014-15, those have numbers almost switched. 470 faculty members are tenured or on tenure track, and 972 are non-tenure eligible.

The outcome of this case could have an important impact on the future of tenure at other NYU schools. Tenure has been the subject of much revision in recent decades. Across most schools on campus, tenure-track positions have been on a steady decline.

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NYU’s Own Lauv Hits Big With First Single, “The Other” http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/04/23/nyus-own-lauv-hits-big-with-first-single-the-other/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/04/23/nyus-own-lauv-hits-big-with-first-single-the-other/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:22:08 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131427 1908299_1444851499141015_1362119814643723177_nIt’s one of life’s quintessential questions: how does one deal with a break up?Crying? Drinking? Writing bad poetry? Thankfully, NYU junior Ari Leff chose none of the aforementioned options.Instead, after a rough break up last summer, Leff spent his time writing songs, eventually creating a new musical project called Lauv. Leff’s first creation as Lauv was “The Other,” a slickly-produced, emotional track which he co-wrote with songwriter/musician Michael Matosic. Since its release the ...

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It’s one of life’s quintessential questions: how does one deal with a break up?

Crying? Drinking? Writing bad poetry? Thankfully, NYU junior Ari Leff chose none of the aforementioned options.

Instead, after a rough break up last summer, Leff spent his time writing songs, eventually creating a new musical project called Lauv. Leff’s first creation as Lauv was “The Other,” a slickly-produced, emotional track which he co-wrote with songwriter/musician Michael Matosic. Since its release the track has created impressive internet buzz, hitting over 350,000 plays on both SoundCloud and YouTube to date

Originally premiered on music blog Oblivious Pop on March 12, “The Other” spread rapidly through the pop blog scene, eventually peaking at number three on MP3 blog aggregator Hype Machine. After getting a shout out on Twitter from actress Chloë Grace Moretz and earning a spot on YouTube star Jenna Marbles’ Sirius XM Radio 1 Show, Local decided to see what all of the hype surrounding this Lauv guy was about.

We sat down to chat with Leff, a music tech major in Steinhardt, in Prague, where he is currently studying abroad. Leff already seems to look the part of a budding star, with a gaggle of Swedish tourists approaching us at one point during our chat asking if he was someone famous. Slightly sick but fighting through it with a cup of tea, Leff and Local talked about love, Latvia, Bobst and his upcoming EP.

Local: Where does the name Lauv come from?

Lauv: For me, this project is about me finding my singular musical, creative identity, so tried to find a name that fit that. My name, Ari, means “lion” in a few different languages. My mom’s side of the family is Latvian, and the word “lauve” means lion in Latvian. Plus I’m born in August, so I’m a Leo. I just decided to get rid of the “e” in lauve and then there it was.

Local: When did you start making music?

Lauv: I started out in the pretty classic way. My parents made me take piano, then I stopped and started taking viola lessons, and then I picked up the guitar when I was about eleven or twelve. That’s when I really started to love music. I had a couple bands throughout middle school and high school. At first I was just playing guitar, but at some point I started picking up producing music and I just totally ran with it.

Local: Tell me about the process of making “The Other.”

Lauv: It was around June of last year when I wrote it. I had at first been more concerned with writing songs to pitch to other artists, but I was getting kind of frustrated. I was working with Michael [Matosic], and there was one night when I was feeling emotional about my break up. Most of the lyrics just fell out for that. I wrote it on the acoustic guitar originally, back before I even had thought of the idea of Lauv. It was actually originally going to be a song I was just going to pitch to someone, but then I was singing it, and it felt great. It was really working with my voice, and Michael really pushed me to turn the song into more of an artist thing.

Over the summer I used to pull a lot of all-nighters in Bobst to work on music, because I felt like I couldn’t work on music in my room without pissing off my roommates. One night I was in Bobst, pretty far into the night, and I stumbled on the piano, sort of a haunting, weirdly processed piano. Then I got the drums for the chorus down, and then the bell, and then the production really came into its own.

Local: So is it fair to say that Bobst vibes created your sound?

Lauv: I don’t know! That’s hard to say. I’ve definitely gotten into producing music when a lot of people are around. During the school year when my fraternity brothers would be doing homework, I’d be next to them making beats. One night my roommate and I even brought his entire speaker system to Bobst in a duffel bag, got it in and did an all-nighter in one of the private rooms. The Bobst sessions were definitely fun.

Local: With other ongoing musical projects like Epique (an identity Leff used to release pop remixes, among other things), is Lauv just another project?

Lauv: Honestly I don’t know. I think I’ll just have to see how it grows. I can see it being my long term artist name. Epique wasn’t really an artistic identity, it was more of a situation where I was producer and I didn’t want to just use my name. At first I was going by my name Ari Leff, but then I was getting into singing as well as producing, so I didn’t want [both of those] to be under the same name, so I went with Epique. I’m a little all over the place, but that’s how I’ve always been

Local: What can we expect next from you?

Lauv: Right now I have 10 or 11 songs that I have to sort through to see what will make it on the EP, which will be about 5 or 6 songs. We’re hoping to have that out sometime in mid-summer.

You can find Lauv on SoundCloud here and Facebook here.

Image courtesy Morgan Russell

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This Week In Movie Trailers http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/04/23/this-week-in-movie-trailers/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/04/23/this-week-in-movie-trailers/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:24:42 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131384 maxresdefaultIf you’ve been busy, or you’re too indie or upwardly-mobile to pay attention to mainstream popular culture, here’s an idiosyncratic recap of all of the trailers that came out in the last week and a half.Based solely on the trailers and surrounding buzz, the following films will be judged on a scale of Worth It to Wide Berth It:First up, The Biggies (Yes, all of my categories will be named after rappers, ...

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If you’ve been busy, or you’re too indie or upwardly-mobile to pay attention to mainstream popular culture, here’s an idiosyncratic recap of all of the trailers that came out in the last week and a half.

Based solely on the trailers and surrounding buzz, the following films will be judged on a scale of Worth It to Wide Berth It:

First up, The Biggies (Yes, all of my categories will be named after rappers, because I’m super cool that way):

Star Wars: Episode VII-The Force Awakens

I mean, Star Wars is Star Wars. Stormtrooper redesign is spiffy. Word is a lot of the main characters are female so it’s already beating the OrigTrig on progressiveness (Mon Mothma who?). Apparently, a lot of people cried at the end when Han-dy, blaster in hand, and Chewie Bubblegum (I’m so funny) show up. In fairness, it does tug on the nostalgia strings that I, as a nineties baby, didn’t think I had. Side note: Is Star Wars going to be the Star Wars of the new generation? Can’t millennials get their own pop culture? Anyway, yeah, this film. Everyone’s psyched.

Trailer MVP: BB-8.bb8

Aw, look at his widdle robot face.

Rating: Ratings are not applicable to Star Wars. You know you’re going to see it.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

It’s super dark. Both tonally and literally. You can’t really see much. Everyone’s very broody. I want to care but the trailer makes it so hard to. I really want Warner Bros to figure this superhero thing out (if only so I can see Khal Drogo as Aquaman) but just having a black screen for a long time doesn’t equal mysterious, it equals scared-to-show-you-what-we-have-ness. Eh, people will see it anyway.

Trailer MVP(s): Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck are sooo handsome when they’re serious.

Rating: Calling it now, it will be meh but profitable.

The Kanyes (top-tier blockbusters that can be really good but also have a high probability of being ropey, broken messes):

Jurassic World

For some reason, they’re still trying to make a dinosaur theme park for kids with real dinosaurs. ‘Cause, you know, fourth time’s the charm. This time, the twist is that they’ve genetically engineered one to make it even more dangerous. Sigh. I have only one question: where is Jeff Goldblum?

Best moment: Controlling velociraptors is about respect. Apparently.

Rating: I just don’t see how this could be good.

Tomorrowland

Laser guns, George Clooney, rocketships, Hugh Laurie, automatic-window-shutter-things, and a name that copies the coolest music festival ever. It looks so promising. Brad Bird (Director of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible -Ghost Protocol) is at the helm and he has a basically 100% success rate but it could be just a mess. They’re being very tight-lipped about details which could be a good or a bad sign. Props for the original concept though (yeah, I know it’s based on a Disney theme park ride, but come on).

Best moment: Like a kid in a retro-future toy shop, it’s so hard to choose, but George Clooney destroys android with wall-mounted lasers is up there.

Rating: Please be good, please be good.

Ant-man

The latest installment from Marvel of their characters you’ve never heard of headlining a superhero film. The trailer doesn’t inspire huge confidence. Edgar Wright (Director of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs the World) dropped out of being director and that’s a bad, bad sign, but I still want it to be good because, Paul Rudd. Fingers crossed, I guess.

Trailer MVP: Thomas the Tank Engine

Rating: Go see it if you like Paul Rudd and things that get bigger and smaller.

Fantastic Four

20th Century Fox is trying desperately hard to make people care about the superheroes it owns now that Marvel has shown them they can make a talking raccoon profitable. It’s looks kinda gritty, kinda fun. Like The Amazing Spiderman. But hopefully not like The Amazing Spiderman. All the leads seem like actors that will polarize the audience. Except for Michael B. Jordan–everybody likes Michael B. Jordan.

Best moment: Mr. Fantastic fist bump fail for the win.

Rating: Probably will be enjoyable but ignore-able. Watch it when it comes to Netflix.

Terminator: Genisys

Summation of trailer: explosion, explosion, mother of dragons, bus flip, “I’ll be back”. The Terminator franchise has no idea anymore. Convoluted time travel plot is convoluted.

Trailer MVP: Khaleesi

Rating: It needs to be so dumb to be good. Might pull it off actually.

The Run the Jewelses (the non-blockbusters you probably won’t fork out money to see in cinema but will be films you see stoned 3 years from now that will make your fucking day):

Dope

Heartwarming, coming-of-age, teen movie but twist, it stars black kids and not Michael Cera or Miles Teller–finally. These nerdy kids who just want to make punk music accidently get involved with a bag of drugs or something. Shenanigans ensue.

Best moment: “Because I’m 14% African. Ancestry.com.”

Rating: It looks Dope (couldn’t resist).

Ex Machina

The buzz around this film is very positive. Creepy tech genius brings young programmer to his secret lair to hang out with his fembot. What could go wrong?

Best moment: “Caleb, there is something I want to show you” says girlbot voiceover as screen shows her caressing her robot boobs.

Rating: Hopefully, it will make you reassess your conception of consciousness. If not, like I said, robot boobs.

The Gucci Manes (wildcards):

Youth/La Giovinezza

Old people, gorgeous cinematography, proven director. What do you get? La Giovinezza.

Best moment: Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel just straight perving on naked girl in pool.

Rating: La bellezza, la grande bellezza.

The Tale of Tales/ Il Racconto dei racconti

It seems I like Italian directors a lot. Just watch the trailer. I can’t explain the awesome in words.

Best moment: Salma Hayek eating a brain in an all white room.

Rating: This is fairy tales on acid (that’s a positive endorsement, if it wasn’t clear).

Alien Tampon

Okay, so this trailer didn’t come out recently but people need to know that this film exists. You’re welcome, NYU.

Best moment: All of the moments. The greatest art must viewed as a whole.

Rating: #godmode

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The Top 5 Games Of The 2015 NFL Schedule http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/04/23/the-top-5-games/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/04/23/the-top-5-games/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:45:23 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131404 tom-brady-hug-momOn Tuesday the NFL released its schedule for 2015, and it was a doozy. As is with every schedule release, a lot of people dove right in and started to identify which teams were going to have the most trouble with their respective schedules versus which teams have it easy. It’s always a crapshoot, though, because every season comes with plenty of surprises as well as ups and downs. Playing Team X ...

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tom-brady-hug-momOn Tuesday the NFL released its schedule for 2015, and it was a doozy. As is with every schedule release, a lot of people dove right in and started to identify which teams were going to have the most trouble with their respective schedules versus which teams have it easy. It’s always a crapshoot, though, because every season comes with plenty of surprises as well as ups and downs. Playing Team X early in the season might be great, but playing Team X again in Week 15 when it is rolling is not so great.

That’s why, here at NYU Local, we like to do things differently. Instead of going through which team has it rough and which doesn’t (eh, we might’ve done that in the past), we’re going to go through the entire schedule and tell you which five games you cannot miss. Here it is:

Week 2: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

In just the second week of the season, Roger Goodell has given us the very juicy rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game by pitting the Seahawks and the Packers. If you remember, Green Bay lost in stunning fashion to Seattle (which, of course, went on to lose in stunning fashion to the Patriots in the Super Bowl). Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers are two of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL; both have won a Super Bowl and both are feared for their accuracy and running abilities. This will be a fun one to watch, especially because it is at Lambeau Field this time instead of in Seattle.

Week 6: New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts

Hooray for championship game rematches! Except the last time these two teams met (this past AFC Championship Game, if you didn’t get the hint), it was as ugly as it could get as the Patriots blew Indy out 45-7. This was also the Deflategate game in case you have been living under a rock. These two teams have a storied history, and while this chapter has Andrew Luck at the Colts’ helm instead of Peyton Manning, it is nonetheless entertaining. Luck was a Top 5 quarterback last year, but this may very well be the year he becomes the flat-out best signal-caller in the NFL. In some sense, it is even a passing of the torch from Tom Brady.

Week 8: Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos

This is my stealth pick for the 2016 Super Bowl. I’ve talked about the Packers and how badly their last season ended; this will just give them a ton of drive heading into this next season. Denver, on the other hand, has a ton of drive for a different reason: this is probably Peyton Manning’s last season. With the window closing fast, Denver needs to capitalize on having Manning as its QB and win one before it is too late.

Week 9: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

DeMarco’s Return. Who knows what the Eagles will look like at this point in the season considering all the crazy things Chip Kelly has pulled (see: Tebow, Tim) in terms of transactions. All I know is DeMarco Murray will want to run buckwild all over the Cowboys’ defense in his return to AT&T Stadium. Jerry Jones did not want to pay him, so Murray skipped town and joined the archrival Eagles…he will be motivated heading into this one.

Week 12: New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning-Tom Brady will never get old. It doesn’t matter which teams are involved and where the game is held, everything stops when these two step on the same field. Considering the aforementioned possibility that this is Manning’s last season, shouldn’t we all tune in to this one?

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NYU Startup Etsy Raises $267 Million In IPO Proceeds http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/23/nyu-startup-etsy-raises-267-million-in-ipo-proceeds/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/23/nyu-startup-etsy-raises-267-million-in-ipo-proceeds/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:41:42 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131409 BN-HX569_0416et_J_20150416120556If there was ever a time that New York City tech had a promising future, it is now.In the last few years, NYC has seen some significant success stories, such as Tumblr selling for $1.1 billion to Yahoo in 2013. Etsy, everyone’s favorite marketplace for obscure trinkets and unique handmade paraphernalia, which was founded in Brooklyn ten years ago, priced it’s IPO this week at a valuation of $1.8 billion and saw ...

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If there was ever a time that New York City tech had a promising future, it is now.

In the last few years, NYC has seen some significant success stories, such as Tumblr selling for $1.1 billion to Yahoo in 2013. Etsy, everyone’s favorite marketplace for obscure trinkets and unique handmade paraphernalia, which was founded in Brooklyn ten years ago, priced it’s IPO this week at a valuation of $1.8 billion and saw shares almost double on the first day of trading on Nasdaq.

Etsy was co-founded by Robert Kalin, a Gallatin grad and woodworker, Chris Macguire, who left Gallatin and later Haim Schoppik, also a Gallatin student. Schoppik’s adviser was Stephen Duncombe, Gallatin Associate Professor.

The company started when Kalin created a wood-encased computer which he was unable to sell. The three cofounders worked with a few friends and spent a several-month marathon to launch what would eventually become Etsy.

Etsy makes money by charging sellers to use the platform. The company has been incurring net losses in the past few years, even though their revenue jumped by 56% in 2014, as per regulatory filings. The company plans to use proceeds from the IPO to increase its visibility.

NYU considers Etsy a huge success story for the entrepreneurship scene at NYU.  The Success Stories page feat. Etsy says “Etsy’s founders’ NYU experience was an important influence,” Schoppik says, “helping them understand the value and power of virtual community.” Today Etsy reportedly boasts seven million “member” users, dubbed “a fervent following” by Newsweek. “I had technical knowledge and skills. What I got at NYU was everything else you need in a startup: How are you going to manage community? Deal with irate customers? Forge the emotional connection you need?” says Schoppik.

The company began trading on the NASDAQ stock market as ‘ETSY’. The IPO is a huge move for the NYU and NYC tech communities, which for a long time have been acknowledged as ‘full of potential’ and ‘up and coming’, and are finally moving to establishing solid deals in terms of IPOs, acquisitions and tech giants.

NYU itself has been focusing more and more on harnessing its potential as an entrepreneurship environment by introducing pitch competitions, entrepreneurship challenges, and the Leslie eLab.

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‘Iowa’ at Playwrights Horizons Has More Than Just Wacky Words http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/22/iowa-at-playwrights-horizons-has-more-than-just-wacky-words/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/22/iowa-at-playwrights-horizons-has-more-than-just-wacky-words/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:27:08 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131339 iow_carousel-select1.png__960x480_q85_crop_upscaleWalking into the theatre for Jenny Schwartz and Todd Almond’s new musical play Iowa feels strange. The set, designed by Dane Laffrey, looks less like a set and more like a room in a well-lit large upper-class house that just happened to have a lot of seats set up in rows of vaguely stylish chairs. A string bass starts playing a charming melody, soon to be accompanied by a viola but the ...

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Walking into the theatre for Jenny Schwartz and Todd Almond’s new musical play Iowa feels strange. The set, designed by Dane Laffrey, looks less like a set and more like a room in a well-lit large upper-class house that just happened to have a lot of seats set up in rows of vaguely stylish chairs. A string bass starts playing a charming melody, soon to be accompanied by a viola but the audience does not take it as a sign of the show starting; they continue to chatter away. This made the theatre seem even more like just a room, only this time there was a party going on in that well-lit upper-class house but all the guests were seated. In rows. Normal, except not quite.

When looking at its basic plot, Iowa is rather simple. Becca’s mom meets a guy online, they get engaged, and she decides much to her daughter’s resistance to uproot the family to Iowa, where he lives. Then there’s a burqa, a singing pony, a chorus of multiracial Nancy Drews, herpes, sister wives, and talk of going to Mars. Normal, but not quite.

While Iowa is essentially linear it takes large pieces of time between plot points to spend time doing, well, a lot of things. Monologues, songs, shouting matches, breaks from reality, narrations of online tasks—all ways to see what’s going on inside the characters’ heads. Something that is constant, however, is Schwartz’s strange and speedy way with words. They are words typically only strange to us; a character could be jumping from phrase to unrelated phrase while a horse is running around unexplained, and the delivery of the lines would sound just like a person talking about the sandwich they ordered yesterday—a true testament to the director and vibrant cast’s understanding of the text. However, sometimes it tries to deal with too much; it’s almost difficult to even recall everything that was jam-packed into the play’s mere 95 minutes, and it sometimes deviates too strongly from the Becca-centric throughline that has been set up.

Between all this talk of words, let’s not forget that Iowa is also a musical. The music in Iowa isn’t as strange as the words. In fact, a lot of it, although usually very lovely, sounds fairly typical or familiar. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; sometimes the language of the play is so odd or breakneck or random that it’s hard to understand it all. Music can sometimes distract from content but here, the music often helps open up the text: familiar and even heart-stirring chord progressions help forge a path to the often less-familiar dialogue. After all, everyone loves music. A line that may have been mentally skipped over is heard in a new way when sung to Todd Almond’s lovely score.

There’s a lot of humor in this play. Some of it is standard, some of it is a result of being so bewildered at what is happening onstage there’s no choice but to laugh. What else can one do when a man who is a cross between Fabio and a horse sings and points his hooves to the audience? Humor is what sets the scene for Iowa, but it’s not the only thing happening. Absurdity and laughs eventually gives way to a very tender display of emotions, and we come to realize that yes, these characters live in a strange world that operates differently than what we know, but they still feel the same ways. Jill Shackner’s Becca is a wonderfully alive and complex fourteen-year-old girl, and Karyn Quackenbush as her mother is truly a caricature at first but does eventually bloom into a living breathing woman warranting emotional involvement, especially near the end. It’s a surprise joy to find yourself suddenly caring deeply about the characters you merely found silly in the beginning.

Something significant about Iowa is the women. They’re everywhere. And they won’t stop talking. Schwartz’s play has a relatively small cast of 8 strong actors, and 7 of those performers are women, including youngster Kolette Tetlow. Many of these women embody vivacious characters typically only thought of in the abstract: the confused teenage daughter, her too-youthful mother, the wives of a polygamous man, the cheerleader, Nancy Drew. Not only is much of Iowa’s cast female, but many are women of color, something sadly not seen very commonly in American theatre.

Just how tangibly this play grants women of all walks of life a voice is shown in the magnificent Oratorio near the end once we finally arrive in the state of Iowa, sung by many sister wives. It’s a massive and layered piece of America-centric musical performance containing thought after thought, perspective after perspective, voice after voice, origin story after origin story. It is so overwhelming that it no longer even matters who is saying what, the important thing is that there are all these women onstage saying so much so honestly and beautifully and sometimes even confusingly, but we’ve come to expect a little confusion. A musical number containing such multitudes could grow tedious or rely on more shallow humor, but it is instead one of the most captivating and poignant parts of the entire show, despite featuring characters just introduced.

In conclusion, when describing this massive and lovely and strange work, it’s best to turn to the words of the old man walking out as I exited the theatre:

“That was the wackiest thing I’ve ever seen! There was nothing in life they didn’t touch!”

Iowa (stylized iOW@) runs until May 10 at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 416 West 42nd Street. It is written by Jenny Schwartz with music by Todd Almond, and directed by Ken Russ Schmoll. Student tickets are available.

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Political And Artistic Selfies On Display At NYU http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/22/political-and-artistic-selfies-on-display-at-nyu/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/04/22/political-and-artistic-selfies-on-display-at-nyu/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 18:43:16 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131317 24170_tsengkwongchi_newyorknewyork_1979This week, NYU’s own Grey Art Gallery opened one of its most exciting exhibitions of the year: Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera. The exhibition features more than 80 works from the late photographer’s lifetime and is the first major-museum retrospective for the artist. Tseng’s “East Meets West” series was his most famous and iconic photography project, and way ahead of its time in its appreciation of the ‘selfie.’ The series ...

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This week, NYU’s own Grey Art Gallery opened one of its most exciting exhibitions of the year: Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera. The exhibition features more than 80 works from the late photographer’s lifetime and is the first major-museum retrospective for the artist.

Tseng’s “East Meets West” series was his most famous and iconic photography project, and way ahead of its time in its appreciation of the ‘selfie.’ The series largely portrays the Chinese-Hong-Kong-Canadian-American artist’s search for identity when coping with his hyphenated background. Tseng photographs himself, mostly unsmiling and looking rather smug, at some of the most iconic tourist destinations around in the Western World.

His self portraits feature him with perfectly erect posture, clad in a suit traditionally associated with Mao Zedong and opaque sunglasses. He stands in this uniform in front of the Twin Towers, the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood Sign, Statue of Liberty and many other Western landmarks. There is a larger meaning and much artistic direction behind these selfies, however, as Tseng portrays himself as an outsider through his costume. The art director, Lynn Gumpert, of NYU’s Grey Gallery stated, “His self-portraits are prescient in anticipating today’s ‘selfie’ culture, and art history has finally caught up with him in recognizing his party persona as a sophisticated performance of identity,” in a press release.

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Indeed Tseng did develop quite the party-persona in his tragically shortened life. He died of AIDS-related complications before he turned forty but he lived his time on earth arguably to the fullest. He travelled the world and became an important character in New York City’s downtown art scene during the 1980’s. He was close friends with Keith Harring and his photographs of Haring’s art (art within art inceptions style!) also gained much prominence throughout his career.

The exhibit at the Grey Art Gallery features nine shots that Tseng took of Haring’s art as it was displayed in NYC subways. His arts often had political undertones-his family fled communist China for Hong Kong and eventually moved to Canada-but the his art still possessed a strong and unique aesthetic. The title of the exhibit, “Performing for the Camera” interestingly points our the ways in which Tseng doctored and put a lot of thought into his photographs before he took each self-portrait.

The exhibition is curated by the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia’s Amy Brandt and on view until mid-July. The gallery is located right off of Washington Square park and thus a very convenient and fascinating something-to-do between classes!

[Images via]

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West Village Candy Shop Is Sweet & Swedish http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/04/22/west-village-candy-shop-is-sweet-swedish/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/04/22/west-village-candy-shop-is-sweet-swedish/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:59:24 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131313  9540934219_30fd42d51d_cWeird food stores are nothing special in the city, unless of course, they are the first of their kind in the U.S. Sockerbit, a Scandinavian candy store on Christopher St., was indeed the first Scandinavian store devoted to candy to open its doors in our great country. Opened by power couple Florence Baras and Steffan Ernberg in 2011, the small yet prominent shop specializes in smågodis, or little candies.One might be able ...

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Weird food stores are nothing special in the city, unless of course, they are the first of their kind in the U.S. Sockerbit, a Scandinavian candy store on Christopher St., was indeed the first Scandinavian store devoted to candy to open its doors in our great country. Opened by power couple Florence Baras and Steffan Ernberg in 2011, the small yet prominent shop specializes in smågodis, or little candies.

One might be able to guess the Scandinavian origin of Sockerbit based off of more than just its name, and of course, the giant “Välkommen (welcome)” sign inside. Contrasting the whimsicality and bright colors of your quintessential DIY candy store, Sockerbit has a strangely pristine ambiance similar in a way to that of Ikea, suggesting that it targets an older crowd. The entire interior is a bright white, offset by the colors of the candy, foodstuffs and trinkets neatly lining the walls.

While some of the treats certainly resemble things available at CVS, they’re nowhere near as cheap at $12.99 per pound. This is because, in the words of the popular cliché, ‘it’s what’s on the inside that counts.’

“You know how sometimes your mouth hurts from eating too much candy, just from all of the intense flavor and chewiness,” said Aryana Washington, who has been working at Sockerbit since September. “Well, Swedish candy doesn’t have that. It’s lighter in a way. It’s made with real sugar instead of chemicals. “

In Swedish, Sockerbit appropriately translates to sugar piece and is also the name of the Swedish marshmallow type candy sold at the store. Of course, these are small and harder than American marshmallows, but become soft and fluffy in the mouth.

According to Washington, Sockerbit stocks a variety of over 300 different kinds of candy shipped from Sweden with around 140 being displayed at one time.

Eleanor Laeth and Hannah Lavender, two Swedes living in New York who decided to come check out the store, prefer the candy from home’s less processed taste and texture.

“All of coloring and flavoring is natural, so it tastes a little more natural,” Laeth said. “Swedish candy is saltier and more sour—not so sugary sweet and synthetic tasting.”

The smågodis on display include chocolate nuggets, gummy sheriff stars, caramel mushroom marshmallows, sour wrenches (surnyckle), and most famously their licorice, some of which is vegan. They even sugar free gummy like candies called Läkerol.

“It’s small candy that doesn’t come in bulk, and most of it doesn’t have peanuts,” Lavender said. “American use a lot of peanuts in their candy, and a lot of Swedish people are allergic to nuts for some reason.”

In addition to the candy, Sockerbit also has a couple of shelves devoted to traditional Swedish food and ingredients such as Swedish crisp bread, O’boy chocolate drink mix, various jams, and syrups. Trinket-wise, adorable stuffed animals from Denmark and melanin plates and cups are available as well.

“We do get your typical tourist crowd that any other place would get, but when Swedish people come in here, they get really excited,” said Washington. “These are the things they were raised with.”

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