Posts tagged “New York City”

Out and About: Tamara in NYC

Last week Julie and I got to take a bite outta the Big Apple and take in the sights, sounds and sensations of the city streets. Here are a few highlights and memorable moments from the adventure…

Fired folks aren’t the only ones profiting from their appearance on The Celebrity Apprentice. I am not convinced that a restaurant appearing on this show implies endorsement of a quality culinary experience and while the stock photo certainly has the flavor of Reality TV, it doesn’t say “appetizing” to me.

These guys were camped out in front of a Foot Locker store in anticipation of the arrival of the new Nike Foamposite Galaxy a week later. I imagine this is very common, but I honestly can’t think of anything in life that would compel me to camp on a city street for one week.

I initially appreciated the tenor of this little letter to Residents until I got to the end. From, Porter. felt so impersonal! Unless of course, that is his name…

Poetry in motion! Thumbs up to the NYC Department of Transportation for adding a little beauty to the urban landscape.

Garbage and Municipal Branding

The Fashion Center garbage bags, Fashion District, New York City, 2004

Stadhuis garbage bags, Leuven, Belgium, 2009

While there is likely a practical driver to these branded garbage bags (controlling the distribution of the special bags ensures that only authorized parties can make use of garbage pickup services), it’s surprising to see them labeled with symbols of pride. Sure, every surface is a branding opportunity and every communication is a change to stay on message, but is this a good thing or a bad thing here? And does it differ between residents and visitors?

Does calling it a report card make it not a survey?

Transit Chief Plans to Ask Riders to Grade Subway and Bus Lines

Riders on each line will be asked to grade different aspects of service, including the cleanliness of cars and stations, safety and the responsiveness of employees.

He said he would also ask riders to list the three things that they thought most need to be improved.

“I want to know what passengers want,” Mr. Roberts said yesterday during a wide-ranging interview that touched on topics as diverse as dirty subway cars and his affinity for the poetry of Robert Frost.

“I think too often people sit around in offices like this and say, ‘O.K., I know better than the customer what it is they want and so this is what we’re going to do.’ I want the customer to drive the priorities.”

…He envisions cards that would be handed out to riders as they exit stations, and which they could fill out and mail in at no cost.

The impulse is good, but broken. Roberts realizes that the truth about riders/customers is not in his office but is “out there.” In the subway. With the riders. The real people.

So what does he do? He sits in his office and creates a piece of paper that will be given to those riders. The paper will be sent back into the office where people in the office will look at the paper and make decisions about what to do.

Why not go out of the office and talk to the riders while they are riding? Take that impulse, Roberts, and follow it to the next level!

Snowfall stops – Central Park

I was in New York earlier this week. On Friday morning I looked out the window and saw this
I am pretty sure it’s been several years since I had seen snow. After a while it stopped. There was quite an interesting view looking north at Central Park.
It worked out fine for me; despite some anxiety about just doing basic stuff like getting around when weather was happening, it stopped for good once I left the hotel, and turned into a sunny day. Some annoyance with slush, but it worked out. I was amused at myself having grown up with this stuff but being so completely unsure (or to some extent, unprepared) in dealing with it.

user centered design – sort of – in NYC subways

full story

Mr. Malave was one of dozens of curious riders who attended an ‘open house’ sponsored yesterday afternoon by New York City Transit to show off and receive feedback on a five-car test train, a prototype of the R160, the newest generation of subway cars.

Riders yesterday, told to focus on the FIND panel, were asked questions like, ‘Do you feel reassured that the train is going to your station?’ and ‘How easy or hard is it to read the words and letters on the sign?’

But riders seemed to be paying less attention to the sign than the rest of the car. Some of them said they did not regularly take the Nos. 2, 4, 5 and 6 lines (which use R142 cars, similar in design to the R143) or the L line and so were not familiar with the latest design.

Asked to compare the new car with the F train that she normally rides, Mar?a Romero, 72, a retired nurse’s aide from Gravesend, Brooklyn, said, ‘This is three times more advanced!’ Jared M. Skolnick, 34, an Internet marketer from the Upper West Side, said he admired the bright fluorescent lights, since he often took photographs in the subway.

James V. Sears, the agency’s senior director of marketing research, said the results of the surveys – along with comments from focus groups convened in 2003 – could be incorporated into the final design of the FIND panel.

Right. Because in order to understand the reassurance of a design feature, you simply ask people if they find a certain feature to be reassuring? Sigh!


I’m here in the Millenium Hilton directly across from the World Trade Center site. I went out about 9:30 pm and there were more than 50 police cars parked alongside the road. Some had flashers on. Police were walking around and standing around. I walked through the area to see what was up; eventually it seemed that they were staging for something else. After about 30 minutes they peeled off in heats of 5 to 20, every few minutes, with lights flashing, and sires whooping. They went in the same direction, but then turned off different side streets.

Why? What was this about? There was one TV crew there; I’ll see if anything is on the news about this.

Update: the waiter in the restaurant says that the police do this every morning, staging before their morning assignments. Maybe this was the evening version? Seems awfully dramatic.

f00d pr0n

We had a really nice lunch at a fancy-type of Italian restaurant in Midtown yesterday. I just spent 3 minutes on Google maps to see if I could find the name if I knew where it was, but really, it’s too much of a chore and if anyone really cares, they can write me and we’ll figure it out. At any rate, here are the appetizers and the freebie dessert plate. Looked and tasted great! No entrees because maybe we were too hungry when they came?

Food Rescue Me

Here’s what I’ve seen outside an Au Bon Pain store in Manhattan on two separate nights – a huge amount of food being discarded. Easily noticeable is dozens of bagels; no doubt other stuff as well.

Does Manhattan no longer have a hunger or homeless problem? Where is the food rescue organizations to pick this up and deliver it to someone who can use it? I’m not picking on Au Bon Pain specifically, it’s just what I’ve seen casually walking about. No doubt the problem/opportunity is more widespread than simply one store that I observed personally.

I ate dinner in Chinatown last night (despite picking a Chowhound etc. fave, I wasn’t that impressed, I’ve had better in SF and environs easily), and had quite a bit left over. I took it to go, even though being in a hotel there was no way to eat it. But the homeless dude I saw on the way in had packed up, and I couldn’t find anyone in Midtown either. But there are these buildings with atrium (atria? I dunno – they each only have one) that are designated public space (is this a tax thing or what?) and open til 10pm. I walked by one and there were many people playing chess. It wasn’t clear to me if these people had homes or money or were just chess enthusiasts, or if it was a mixture. I saw a lot of backpacks that seemed fairly full. I walked in nonchalantly past the security guard, and just left my food on an empty table. It’ll probably get thrown out, but if those people are in need, maybe someone will take it.

And just for some extra context – I don’t give money to people on the street. Ever. I rarely look or acknowledge, etc. I’m not boasting about what I did yesterday, or defending what I do normally, it’s just who I am and how I’ve chosen for now to handle these things.

What does motivate me more than any sense of “charity” or “giving” as an abhorrence of waste. My leftovers and the Au Bon Pain bounty are waste that could be leveraged. That appeals to something in me. One thing I’ve done is start a local freecycle group that allows people to exchange unwanted goods instead of tossing ’em out.

subway advertising


If they spend all this money to advertise a show and then a disaster happens and the show isn’t going to go on, wouldn’t they ante up with the budget to remove those ads? It’s almost a month old, which is bad, and of course the show never premiered. It just seems sloppy and embarrassing. Won’t the MTA take them down themselves?

Back to the Apple

Looks like I’ll be back in NYC later this week. My second trip in 2 (or 3?) weeks – sometimes it’s years between opportunities to visit New York, now my cup runneth over. I’m pretty excited!


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