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The Bum’s Rush

Written by Ashna Ali on . Posted in Posts

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when you could bum a cigarette on the street with nary a soul looking askance. In fact, it was such smoker camaraderie that kept us together—who could you count on in times of need if not your fellow yellow-fingered outcasts? These days, though, as prices skyrocket and [&hellip
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Cyber-Smoke: The Emergence of the E-Cigarette as an Alternative

Written by Ashna Ali on . Posted in Posts, Technology

This week's cover story addresses the skyrocketing price of cigarettes in New York and some of the ways people are coping. The hideous and disturbing anti-smoking commercials and billboards, together with the indoor smoking ban has sent smokers running for a variety of smoking alternatives, both to side-step legislation and make somewhat healthier choices.

Necessity, as the saying goes, is the mother of invention, and once again technology now offers options that were unthinkable as recently as a decade ago. Mechatronics, the combination of mechanical, electronic and software engineering has produced an advanced hybrid system: the electronic cigarette, aka the e-cig. An international subculture has emerged around e-cigs, though patents are still pending worldwide for the products, are produced and distributed primarily from China. Sidestepping cigarettes by pursuing international loopholes through the Internet, most e-cigs are bought online, breeding wealth of online forums where users compare products and share tips on cleaning, tricks and troubleshooting...

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Byronic Burlesque Comes to Brooklyn—The Madame’s Poetry Brothel

Written by Ashna Ali on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts

Some time ago, the New York Press received a small wooden box in the mail—a board game with a few poker chips in gold and silver, a pair of dice, small cards seemingly pulled at random out of a deck, some tarot cards, and a CD compilation of turn of the century boudoir music with "Play Me First!" written across the top. A handful of photographs showed a number of portraits painted in bright colors and thick strokes, young men and women painting, and a series of images of people in full burlesque, standing coquettishly in corners in front of heavy curtains and lace.

There was also a letter printed on shiny paper, made to look as if it were written by a feather in ink and burned at the edges. "Dearest," it began, "You have been too long out in the cold, have you not! Longed to be, beside the fire of Eros, of the act, or the thought of it, the one that brought you out of that pristine darkness, the heat that shaped you, that picked you from the pocket of nothingness and made you flesh."

What?

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What the ‘L’? Straphangers Vote 14th Street Local Best in Town

Written by Ashna Ali on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts




Subway riders don't need statistics to know that the transit system could use some help these days, but the situation started really looking grim when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Transit released a report in late July saying that the 4 train, which supposedly makes express stops between Woodlawn and Crown Heights, suffered the poorest on-time performance record of all the lines, and will only get worse.
 
Performance problems have been blamed on budget cuts for car maintenance, fueling more talk about increased fare and privatization to cover an apparent $900 million budget gap.   Other problems, like on-board fainting spells, seemingly arbitrary train traffic and those people who insist on sitting next to you when there really isn’t room, well, those were not included in the report.


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Magazines Have Their Own Recycling Conspiracy to Grapple With

Written by Ashna Ali on . Posted in Posts

Last week, we ran a cover story where we concocted conspiracies born from suspicions New Yorkers love to discuss that included curiosities and sometimes far-fetched theories about the workings of unseen underworlds that go unnoticed as we bustle to and fro on the city streets. We had some suspicions that our painstaking efforts to separate and recycle to reduce environmental damage were all in vain – "Recycling is expensive and we're in a recession, people! Thus, while some of the time your sutff really is regenerated into one of those coffee-cup sleeves make from 60% consumer recycled material, The Man likes to cut down on costs…"

As it turns out, "The Man" is not only cutting down on costs, but flat-out lying about it. The Magazine Publishers of America have created campaign with a "Please Recycle This Magazine" logo designed to be display prominently on magazines to encourage readers not to trash their subway reading material.

Portfolio's media blogger Jeff Bercovici however, believes that big publishing companies are telling us to do as they say and not as they do in a post about the campaign...

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The New Single Majority: ‘Single’ Doc Ponders Reasons Why You’re Not Hitched

Written by Ashna Ali on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts

America is bursting with singles, and an increasing number of people are meeting potential partners through sites like Match.com and eHarmony. Did we always think “The One” was out there? In the documentary Single (which recently screened July 22 at Anthology Film Archives), Richard Atkinson and Jane Scandurra interview a smattering of real-life singles, experts, comedians and singer/songwriters to shed some light on the increasing years Americans spend out of wedlock. To the sounds of folksy indie artists, men and women of all ages reveal what they think of single life in urban America.

The documentary uses a limited definition of singledom, zeroing in on the changing shape of marriage in particular as opposed to romantic relationships in general, but opens a universally compelling and pressing dialogue about how our relationships are changing. I spoke with Atkinson and Scandurra about their new film to figure out what they really think about single folk.

Why is the trend of increasing singledom in America so significant, and why should we pay attention to it now? 
Scandurra: There’s 100 million singles in the country right now, and that’s massive statistical jump. While we were in the midst of exploring the homeowner issue, the meter ticked over to the other side toward singles. Singles currently head the majority of households in the United States, and that’s never happened before...

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