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Uke-Hut-Ukelele-Queens-Astoria-Untapped Cities-Nasha Virata

Uke Hut is one of the latest additions to the ever-growing roster of New York specialty stores that sell just one type of item. Billed as the “first ukulele store in New York,” Uke Hut is also the only ukulele specialty store in the city. Located on a nondescript block of Astoria, the tiki lamp and the musicians frequently seen performing at the entrance make it hard to miss.

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The show Mozart in the Jungle, a commissioned series by Amazon for Prime Instant Video will return for a second season this fall starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Lola Kirke and Jason Schwarzman. Based in New York City and inspired by the book Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, a memoir by oboe player Blair Tindall, the show is set in New York City and follows the trials and tribulations of Hailey, an oboe player and her encounters with Rodrigo, the international superstar who is the new music director and conductor of the troubled (and fictional) New York Symphony.

Beyond an entertaining, binge-worthy first season, Mozart in the Jungle features some wonderful film locations, which urban explorers will recognize. It’s clear the film scouts on this show knows their stuff about New York City and its alternative side. Here are some highlights of New York City film locations from the first season:

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The lights are on #mysilenttny

A photo posted by Senén Llanos (@senen) on

As New Yorkers return to the city after Labor Day, it may be hard to choose from all the great events launching in the city. Here are some highlights and bonuses for this week.

Monday, September 7th

It’s Labor Day, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do. Head over to Plaza33, the new pedestrian plaza at Penn Station on 33rd Street to take in  the first day of live broadcasting of the US Open from 10am to 10pm. The broadcast will continue every day this week until the end of the tournament.

Tuesday, September 8th

At the Museum of the City of New York, author and model Beverly Johnson and Andre Leon Talley will talk about face, race, and power in New York’s fashion industry.

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As a person grows older, certain things about their appearance become more prominent. For some, it’s centered around clothing. The fedoras and high-waisted trousers that were once the sartorial status quo are eye-catching relics of a bygone era when worn in 2015. For others, it’s etched in the body, like an interesting pattern of deep wrinkles or an impressive nose that has only grown in size and character with age. For this gentleman I saw reading the newspaper, it is his eyebrows. They grew like luxurious caterpillars out of his forehead, gently waving in the breeze as he frowned at the latest reports of economic disaster.

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The 2010s have been the era of the teenage urban explorer, all motivated by many different reasons. Some for sheer brashness, some for Instagram fame, some for architectural preservationist reasons. It is also a response, we believe, to the shrinking numbers of places in New York City to explore without rules and regulations. With social media, we have seen more entrants into the urban explorer community, the expected clash between old school and new school, and a faster rise in awareness for the savviest of urban explorers.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is photographer Dave Frieder, also known as “The Bridge Man.” Over the last 22 years, he has been patiently documenting New York City’s bridges using film, predominantly from foot tingling perspectives up top. In 2013, we accompanied him to his favorite bridge, the George Washington Bridge, where he recounted the long quest to get his work known.

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NASA Graphics Standard Manual-Kickstarter-Hamish Smyth-Jesse Reed-Pentagram-NYC

From Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, the same duo from design firm Pentagram that reissued the 1970 NYC Subway Graphics Standard Manual and the poster of all 468 subway stations in New York City, now comes a new Kickstarter campaign to reissue the 1975 NASA Graphics Standard Manual. This controversial manual, by Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn of the New York firm Danne & Blackburn, was approved in 1974 to much fanfare, but as Reed and Smyth write, “over the next 18 years, some people at NASA will attempt to revoke their work. And they will succeed in 1992.” The team aims to highlight this moment in design history–one of the excellent examples of Modernist graphic design during a forward-thinking era.

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