Where do the cryptic designs on manhole covers come from? What is the meaning of those spray-painted neon symbols in the street? With this field guide in your pocket, the answers are close at hand. Ingrid Burrington’s Networks of New York: An Internet Infrastructure Field Guide is sure to change the way you look at the concrete jungle. (And the internet.)
Someone had to do it, and the Wall Street Journal took on the challenge. Here is a (not so) Fun Map of bacteria found at New York City’s 466 open subway stations, using data collected by Weill Cornell Medical College. The project took 18 months and genetic material was collected from 15,152 different species. According to WSJ, “most of them [are] harmless or unidentified,” and almost half belonged to bacteria. Of that, 67 species were “associated with disease and infections.” Fortunately, a lot of species are good bacteria, keeping the city livable by eating up toxins and hazardous chemicals.
In New York City, where the income gap is still large and looming among neighborhoods across the five boroughs, experts are constantly refining how to discuss the issue. Coming from a completely different angle is Brain Foo, an artist we previously covered in his project Continuous City, who recently created a song on his site “Data-Driven DJ” that explores income inequality through music. At 4 minutes and 45 seconds, Brian’s music track takes something as simple as a ride on New York City’s 2 train line and recreates it into a sonically inventive experience for music listeners.
There’s a lot of buzz about the expanded 5 borough ferry service Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his State of the City address. Gothamist has a map of what that system would look like, which would connect Soundview in the Bronx to East 90th Street on Manhattan, Astoria to Roosevelt Island, Long Island City to Manhattan, South Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan and Staten Island, and a proposed route from Coney Island to Staten Island to Wall Street.
It can be easy to assume that the sole purpose for New York City subway cars is to transport passengers across the boroughs (yes, even Staten Island). However, the same subway cars that we associate with daily congestion and occasional delays have served a totally unexpected purpose: habitats for marine wildlife, as we showed previously in our Cities 101 column. Recently, Gizmodo published a spectacular set of photos depicting an onslaught of subway cars being discarded into the ocean. The photo series by Stephen Mallon, compiled over a three year period, will be on display at NYU’s Kimmel Galleries beginning February 6th.
If you’re curious what the New York City subway system looked like the 1980s, check out this video of Times Square-42nd Street in 1986. The rail and photography enthusiast runs a German website called Pacific Railroad and shot this footage during a trip through the United States and Canada. While living in Canada, he was inspired by the North American railways, he writes on the website.