This Protective Mother Of Web Apps Makes Sure You Get Home Safe

Though New York City is much safer than it was 30 years ago, I think we’d all be lying to ourselves if we thought we said we’ve never once felt unsafe. There are all sorts of crazy people out there, and no way to know who’s who sometimes. Also giving our parents and friends a piece of mind when we’re out late or maybe a little bit lost would probably give everyone a piece of mind. Enter Kitestring, the web app that checks in on you, whether it is during a first-time date, or a late night at the office.

Here’s how it works: you sign up for free online, enter your emergency contacts to your account, and then let them know when you’ll be embarking on your potentially unsafe walk home, and what time you expect to get there or wherever you’re headed. Once you reach that location, Kitestring sends you an SMS message to check in with you. f you don’t respond, it alerts your emergency contacts for you. You can always extend your time by texting the service. And of course, you can always customize your message to emergency contacts.

The concept came to creator Stephan Boyer this January when his girlfriend called asking him to check in on her later to make sure she’d gotten home alright. He launched Kitestring on February 2, building it in just four days. Read more…

Get Lost: Greenpoint

We get it. You relate to “Girls.” You want to be the voice of a generation. So, naturally, you set your eyes to Hannah Horvath’s stomping grounds to get your journey underway: Greenpoint, Brooklyn. But as you step off the G train and out into Little Poland, you quickly realize that there’s more to Greenpoint than what you’ve seen on TV—or on your laptop using your friend’s cousin’s roommate’s HBO Go account. You’re not in Manhattan anymore, and you’re feeling a tad overwhelmed. You’ll first curse the G train, because it’s the G train. Next, you’ll aim a couple of snarky tweets at Lena Dunham for drawing you away from your 32-hour “Game of Thrones” binge and out into the real world. Then, you’ll finally open up Google Maps.

Now before you go any further, pause. Look up from your iPhone for a second, and take it all in. The sights. The sounds. The smells. Do you feel that? It’s time for an adventure.

You’ve accompanied us to Battery Park City, to Brooklyn Bridge Park, to Coney Island, and to Staten Island. You know the rules. Put that thing back where it came from. Grab a bottle of water and a disposable camera. Tighten up your shoe laces, because today, NYU Local gets lost in Greenpoint.
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Landlord Bans Owner From Making Lulu’s A Gay Bar

John McGillion, the owner of Lulu’s, wants to make a few changes to his business. The gay and lesbian population in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where Lulu’s is located, has been growing steadily for years. Lulu’s has been losing money, and McGillion claims that he is currently “barely scraping by on the proceeds of the bar.” So, he thought, why not turn Lulu’s into a gay bar?

McGillion estimates that he could bring in “40 to 50 percent” more money if he makes the change. “I believe that I will be able to make a considerable profit,” McGillion told The New York Post. However, one major obstacle stands in McGillions way: his lease states, in no uncertain terms, that he may not operate a gay bar on the premises. Read more…

New York City’s Current Art Scene Leaves Richard Serra Unimpressed

Sorry, Jay-Z and Marina Abramovic, but Richard Serra probably isn’t a fan of last summer’s performance of “Picasso Baby” at Pace Gallery.

Last night at a signing hosted by the Strand for his newly released monograph Early Work, Serra, one of the most well-known sculptors in the world, expressed a tinge of disappointment towards the creativity of today’s art world. He particularly emphasized his apprehension about fostering an inspired and innovative artistic community in the city.

The statements by the 74-year-old artist—known for his site-specific and minimalist sculptures, drawings, and prints—came in response to a question posed by an audience member, who wondered “if it is possible to find a group where you can grow and find your own voice.” Read more…

These Women Started A Burger Stand In Shanghai, What Did You Do On Your Semester Abroad?

Entrepreneurial inspirational can come from the unlikeliest of places. For Phoebe Tran, sophomore studying Media Production and Food Studies in Gallatin and Renel Sun, a junior concentrating in Food Design and Entrepreneurship in Gallatin (both of whom are finishing up a semester in Shanghai), inspiration came from a sketchy street food burger stand outside of a club. When a friend jokingly asked them why they didn’t open their own burger stand, they said “fuck it, let’s try it.”

Two stoves, two skillets, one tall metal fold-up stand and a piece of wood from the back of a bicycle later, the Burger Babes (their self-appointed title) were nearly in business. They chose to sell burgers because “burgers are the quintessential American food that everyone misses, and you can typically only find them at upscale American restaurants that charge you $15 for a burger,” said Tran. Once they got their ingredients – hamburger buns from a bakery by their apartment, meat from a butcher shop that imports ground beef from Australia, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese from the wet market (a Chinese farmers market), homemade sichuan pickles, thousand island dressing and caramelized onions – all they needed was a place to sell and people to feed.

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Can You Survive College Without Using Facebook?

What’s the longest you’ve gone without Facebook? A few hours? A few days? A few weeks? Shockingly, I talked to two NYU students who have gone without Facebook profiles for over a year.

To be honest, I wasn’t even sure it was possible to survive without a Facebook. How would I know when I friends’ birthdays are? How would I get invited to parties? How would I keep in touch with friends from high school or abroad? How would I know which of my kindergarten classmates now have two or more children?

I wasn’t even sure where to start. How do you contact someone without a Facebook? For my first interview, I trekked through the deep, dark, digital forests of Twitter to find John Dewar, NYU senior. He insisted that I refer to him by his Twitter handle, @JohnnyDewDew, for the entire article (I won’t). I initially contacted John by sending him a “direct message” on Twitter. It’s a lot like a Facebook message, but they limit you to 140 characters per message. Wacky! I asked John if he thought he was missing out on anything because he didn’t have a Facebook. “Do I feel like I’m missing out on social events planned solely on Facebook? Yes, I suppose,” he told me. “But then again, I’m not on Facebook to see the obnoxious status updates and photo albums containing 400+ terribly lit candids and selfies.”

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Six NYU Students In Support Of Occupy Wall Street Activist Cecily McMillan

Two years after a young woman was allegedly sexually assaulted in a Manhattan park and later accused of assault herself, a group of NYU students have come to her defense.

Amidst the Occupy Wall Street craze in March of 2012 was St. Patrick’s Day. Cecily McMillan, now 25 and a prominent Occupy activist at the time, was taking the day off to celebrate the holiday in Zuccotti Park when a figure allegedly grabbed her breasts from behind, causing her to elbow him in self-defense. The man turned out to be a cop. Now, McMillan is in court facing a seven-year imprisonment charge for Felony Assault of a police officer.

While the case, which is currently being fought in court and has appeared in large-scale national publications, undoubtedly brings about issues such as gender, race (the officer in question is black), police brutality, and law enforcement effectiveness to the table, the team of individuals supporting McMillan’s plight, including some NYU students, have also received their fair share of attention. Read more…

Pakistani Journalists Protest Decades Of Violence Against National Media

Although Pakistan is a democratic state, the plight of the nation’s trampled journalists and press evokes the term “militocracy.”

Following an alarming trend of increasing violence against national media, prominent Pakistani journalist, security analyst and political talk show host Hamid Mir was shot three times on Saturday by unknown gunmen by an airport in Karachi. After being treated in a hospital, Mir’s condition has since stabilized. His family suspects that the shooters were members of Pakistan’s central intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), who are said to have attacked him for criticizing the institution and aimed to scare him into silence.

Mir is best known for interviewing Osama bin Laden after 9/11 and for covering the Israel-Lebanon conflict. His work also earned him Pakistan’s highest civilian award. Despite his journalistic achievements, Mir has evoked the ire of the nation’s powerful military for his attempts to expose human rights and security violations in the country. Specifically, one of his colleagues reported, the ISI apparently has been targeting Mir ever since he covered missing persons in the Balochistan province, many of whom had allegedly been killed and kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence agencies. The Taliban has also targeted Mir for some time, having attempted to assassinate him in 2012 by tying a pound of explosives to his car which failed to detonate. Read more…

Orphan Black Will Stimulate Your Brain And Confuse You Sexually

Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it.

After the Justin Bieber debacle of recent years, we were a bit wary of pop culture coming out of Canada – even the teen drama mainstay Degrassi has slacked off of late. I mean sure, we have Drake, but he’s old news; we needed a new Canadian phenomenon to cross the border and enlighten us à la Rachel McAdams in The Notebook. Luckily for us, a shining light of television greatness has descended upon America from our Northern neighbors: Orphan Black.

Orphan Black is coined as a sci-fi thriller, but when actually watching the show it transcends this label. Is it science fiction? Yes. Is it thrilling? Of course. But it’s so much more than that. Orphan Black dives into religion, morality and personhood to depths no other show is currently attempting. The plot is based around Sarah Manning, a con artist from England, who discovers she’s a clone after witnessing one of her doubles commit suicide via train. She does the obvious thing: she steals her clone’s identity in a scheme to make some money and reunite with her daughter. This leads her to the discovery that there aren’t just two clones of her: she meets science nerd Cosima and soccer mom Alison, and by the beginning of the second season eleven Alison clones have been revealed to the viewers.

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Finish Off That NYC Checklist For Cheap

As the semester winds down, graduating seniors and visiting students across campus are racing to finish off their NYC bucket lists — along with their classes. The city is famous for its skyscrapers, its opera, and its orchestras, but above all, for its cost. But at NYU Local, we try to avoid paying full price when we get cultured. Here’s our advice on how to check off those grand New York experiences on the cheap.

1. Get Broadway without the steep prices or the hassle.
Tix4Students has cheaper rates than Ticket Central and avoids the chaos of rushing at box offices or discount booths like tkts by letting you order online in advance. Hit up shows like MotownJersey Boys, and All The Way for twenty-five bucks tops, and live to tweet the tale.

2. If you’re going to hit a New York film festival, make the Tribeca one.
Local’s already got you covered on the festival’s highlights, but for now let’s focus on what’s free: this Saturday, hit the street fair, the free screenings on Chambers Street, and then check out streamed selections from the festival online before they run out. Get social and screen one in your dorm lounge — you’ll likely find nearby Laf dwellers in a festive mood. Read more…