... in new york

The original (fixie) hipster was a cop

31 Aug 2014 | 34 words | new york hipsters cycling

From the amazing collection of public domain images extracted from the scanned books of the Internet Archive:

Image from page 224 of “The Great north side, or, Borough of the Bronx, New York” (1897)

I could watch this for hours...

03 May 2011 | 51 words | new york public transport metro

via kevin who discovered this marvel of a .gif animation which reminds me of a similar one i once made for the wireless bijlmer project website in 2003 (now defunct but archived here, you need wait for a few seconds before the train appears in the top right corner):

neverending commute

Honest spicy food

24 Mar 2008 | 188 words | food china new york

Just back from a week in New York (taking benefit of the favorable dollar to euro exchange rate) which was amazing in a number of ways. One of the more interesting culinary discoveries was the Sichuan hot-pot. If you like honest spicy food than you should try one if you have the chance. It consists of a simmering metal pot of stock made from Sichuan Pepper (also known as ‘flower pepper’) that is placed at the center of the table. The broth is so spicy that the Chinese seem to refer to it as ‘Ma La‘ (‘numb and spicy’).

The hot-pot is used to cook vegetables, thinly sliced meats and seafood at the table (pretty much like fondue) which are then dipped in a dipping sauce (try the extra spicy dipping sauce for extra effect!) and eaten. Takes a while to get used to but then it is delicious!

Sichuan hot-pot @ Grand Sichuan

Apparently the best hot-pot in NYC is served at Grand Sichuan, a tiny little storefront restaurant on 125 Canal Street opposite of the Manhattan bridge on-ramp (at the intersection of Bowery and Canal street)…


18 Feb 2008 | 275 words | cycling imagination new york architecture

Geoff at BLDGBLOG has a post about elevators, which reminds me of the first and only time i have been inside the empire state building: in 2000 during metropoloco one of the checkpoints of during the main race was suite 6172 (or something like that) in the Empire State Building. Never having been in a building with more than 10 floors before i somehow assumed that this meant that the suit would be on the 6th floor (taking a clue from the leading 6 ignoring that the first two characters might indicate the floor number). In the end this meant that i lost a lot of time (most of it spend in elevators):

On an only vaguely related note, meanwhile, I’d be curious to see if you could invert the expected volumetric relationship between stationary floors and moving elevators in a high-rise.

In other words, if elevators usually take up, say, one-twentieth of a building’s internal space, could you flip that ratio and end up with just one stationary floor somewhere hanging out up there inside a labyrinth of elevators?

You have a job interview on that one, lone floor in a half an hour’s time but you can’t find the place. You’re moving from elevator to elevator, going down again and stopping, then stepping across into another lift that takes you up four floors higher than you’d expected to be before you’re going down again, confused. You hear other elevators when you’re not moving, and it’s impossible to locate yourself amidst that system of moving rooms. The only floors you ever exit onto are simply other elevators.

read the rest of his post here

The boom bikes of N.Y.C

30 Nov 2007 | 73 words | cycling popular culture new york urbanism music

The New York Times runs an article with fantastic photos about a bunch of teenagers in Queens that build ‘Bicycles That Carry Powerful Beats, and Even a Rider or Two. One of the is being quoted saying: “People say, it’s the next best thing to having a system in a car”. But it’s better because you don’t even have to roll down the windows. I could not agree more with that…

[via boingboing]

Flatten your world

16 Mar 2006 | 140 words | technology terrorism new york advertisement

Have been hanging out at the CeBIT IT trade show for the last 2 days and that is a pretty much brain wrecking experience. Among other things this means being exposed to a overkill of stupid advertising slogans. One that especially caught my attention was on a poster at the stall of WYSE computing (the self proclaimed leader in thin computing). Obviously inspired by thomas friedman the company seems to be on a mission to flatten the world. problem is that at least in my case that can evoke unintended connotations:

[photoshop is your best friend if you are off-line waiting for the tv-screen to be taken away so you can finally leave the booth and escape the your crazy neigbours]. And yes it looks like i have a 9/11 obsession lately. Further proof can be found here and here.

My new 9/11 lamp

19 Feb 2006 | 294 words | new york united states terrorism lamp berlin china

Bought a new lamp today after having spotted it yesterday night on the way back from the theatre. it is a cheap (ok, actually they charged me €20 for it, so it is not cheap) plastic lamp that emits a cold, ugly blue neon light and makes a cracking sound once in a while. tres plastic baroque! and while it was not really misplaced in the cheap late night grocery/liqour store window i got it from, i actually have no clue where to keep it in the apartment.

The lamp contains two rotating films inside its clear plastic encasing. the inner one depicts the pre 9/11 skyline of the southern tip of Manhattan, NYC complete with the statue of liberty and the twin towers. The faster moving outer film has images of hot-air balloons, sailboats, helicopters, para-gliders and a passenger jet on a transparent background. when lit, this creates the impression of the crafts on the outer film moving in front of the skyline in the back.

As the two films move with different speeds the relative position between the individual crafts and buildings changes all the time. every two minutes or so the lamp displays an eerie little re-enactment of 9/11 as the passenger jet seems to crash into the top section of the south tower of the world trade tower:

More pictures in this flickr set.

update: a Google search for the supplier reveals that it is produced by Zhejiang Ninghai Shengfa Electrical Appliance Co. Ltd. As they have the lamp listed in their new products section one can more or less assume that the lamp was designed post 9-11 and that the macabre connotation was somehow lost on its makers, who chose to market it by the name of ‘Seabed Lamp’

We live in public

10 Aug 2005 | 227 words | public domain internet messengers new york

It seems like i am surrounded by references to the public domain lately. sarai readers, conference topics, creative commons dedications and now there is even talk about renaming the public research programme of waag society (which i run) into ‘public domain’.

In the last two days i have however been reminded that this is nothing new. it appears that i have always been surrounded by people who care a lot about the public domain. My childhood/puberty (when is unsuccessfully trying to master the art of skateboarding) favorite video is powell peraltas 1988 classic skate movie ‘public domain‘. Skateboarding has always been about living in the physical public domain which nowadays even seems to includes fighting against technical protection measures.

After i stopped skateboarding i worked for almost ten years as a bike messenger. For bike messenger the urban public domain is where you spend a lot of your time (waiting for runs, socialising after work). I just came across this picture which i took while being in NYC for metropoloco in August 2000. I do not remember the name of the messenger, but this picture is one of my all time favorites as it really captures the spirit of being a bike messenger in making your living in the hostile environment of ever more privatizing cities. (the full text on the bandana reads ‘we live in public’)

meanwhile... is the personal weblog of Paul Keller. I am currently policy director at Open Future and President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain. This weblog is largely inactive but contains an archive of posts (mixing both work and personal) going back to 2005.

I also maintain a collection of cards from African mediums (which is the reason for the domain name), a collection of photos on flickr and a website collecting my professional writings and appearances.

Other things that i have made online: