Monday, January 24, 2011

When the Lights Go Down in the City

A late summer night in Times Square (Sept. 2010).

As the sun sinks over the Hudson River, New York City doesn’t power down. Lights flicker on and soon the famous skyline is lit in a blaze that defies the natural clock. But few stop to consider where and how that electricity comes from and what it means when it isn’t there. That is such a frightening consideration that we prefer to pretend it isn’t a possibility.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do Men and Women Read Emotions Differently?

Appropriate social and emotional responses are often culturally driven, and produced to various degrees dependent on personality. Regardless of cultural association, some people, both male and female, seem more emotionally expressive and perceptive when compared to others—is there a biological explanation for this?

Possibly. But not in the way you would think.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Content We'll Pay For

At a time when content providers and users are weighing the advantages and challenges of paid online subscriptions, the Pew Internet and American Life Project has released data suggesting that users are willing to pay for online services and products classified as "intangible"—such as software, articles, and music.

Monday, January 10, 2011

In Search of Penn Station

Penn Station, 1920. Credit: LOC

Penn Station is my portal into and out of New York City. I've estimated that I spend at least 250 hours a year there. Most days, I pass through like other travelers intent on reaching a destination but it's hard for me to completely ignore the history behind the basement cavern that occupies this space. Once a beautiful Beaux-Arts building, it was torn down when Pennsylvania Railroad went bust to make room for Madison Square Garden. But traces of the old Penn Station remain—if you know where to look.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Smells From the Past: The Fulton Fish Market

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.orgIt's been a very hot summer here in New York City. And the city smells. It's more than the smell of baking asphalt, exhaust fumes, and lack of deodorant—these smells are around all year. The heat has awakened older smells.

Around midday, if you happen to stroll down by the South Street Seaport you can pick up on the smell of fish in the air. If you can manage to follow your nose—which really isn't all that hard to do—it will lead you right to the old site of the Fulton Fish Market. It has been closed since 2005, but if you close your eyes while you stand outside the gates of the old market building you can smell the day's catch and just hear the bustle of fishmongers at their trade.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Eating for Memory

When my parents moved to Florida five years ago, they took many of my food traditions with them. I never really learned how to make many of our cultural foods. As a teenager I suppose I had presumed they would always be close enough for me to request breakfast staples and special occasion dishes as needed or desired. Fortunately, S and I live within driving distance of a thriving West Indian community, so when I start to long for a taste of "home," I can find something close enough to the flavors from my childhood to satisfy. It's not quite the same, but it is enough.