3 Heartwarming Stories You’ll Want To Share

February 28, 2014

Due to the nature of the news cycle, the world’s darkness will almost always seem to eclipse its light. Good deeds, happiness and progress don’t make for catchy headlines, and yet it doesn’t mean that none of them exist. Here are three recent, heartwarming stories that will help you remember that life has just as much capacity to be good as it does bad.

Bettina Banayan’s Cake-Sharing Antics

We all know that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. But as New York performance artist Bettina Banayan recently demonstrated, you can eat free cake from a subway stranger.

As you can see in the video (below), Banayan began her friendly performance by frosting a cake in the middle of the subway, amidst a sea of unsure observers. Once Banayan finished frosting the cake, she began cutting and serving slices to other hungry passengers. Skip to 6:50 to see what happens when she starts handing out cake!

Banayan says, “New Yorkers aren’t very personable with each other and we’re constantly in people’s private space, especially on the subway. I think it’s important to have some kind of community.” While artistic ambitions may very well have underpinned her frosted benevolence, Banayan’s baked goods are a small way of making the world a better—and tastier—place to live.

Happy Birthday Colin!

One mom’s wish for her son to have a great 11th birthday has turned into one of the top heartwarming stories of the month. In early February, Jennifer’s son Colin, who has Asperger’s syndrome, told her that there was no point in having a birthday party because he had no friends. Due to his condition, Colin often has a difficult time in social settings, and is frequently excluded or made fun of at school.

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Justin Blinder’s Gentrification GIFs Showcase A NYC In Flux

February 25, 2014
Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Source: Justin Blinder

Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Source: Justin Blinder

Most people look to Google Maps to help navigate the present. For Brooklyn-based programmer and designer Justin Blinder, though, Google Maps is an apt device for understanding the past — and potentially the future. Utilizing Maps to showcase the facelift that New York City has received under the Bloomberg administration, Blinder sheds light on gentrification, urban planning, and their implications for some of New York’s oldest neighborhoods.

Gentrification GIFs Bowery

91-93 Bowery Street, New York, NY. Source: Justin Blinder

Blinder made great use of NYC Department of City Planning’s PLUTO dataset to create his Vacated photo project. With that digital storehouse at his fingertips, Blinder successfully scoured for buildings constructed within the past four years and then used Google Street View’s cache to distill years of structural revamping into a single frame.

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Brandon Stanton’s “Humans Of New York” Series

February 10, 2014

Cramming over 8.3 million people into its modest 468 square mile city limits, it’s easy for New York City residents and visitors alike to feel lost in the fold. One such case could have been Brandon Stanton, an amateur photographer who set off to the Big Apple in 2010 with little more than a suitcase and an idea.

What began as a photographical census project quickly became much more intimate, as Stanton couldn’t help but provide conversation snippets or notes on the subjects captured with each photo he shared. Stanton’s lack of professional photography background lends itself to the production of honest, no-holds-barred portraits that resist pretension so readily found in similar works. In doing so, Stanton gives a human–and often vulnerable–face to Manhattan’s monolithic ambiance:

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Humans Of New York Pink Hair

"I perform in angle grinder shows."
"What are those?"
"I put on a metal outfit, then I grind the metal off it so that sparks shoot everywhere. Most of the time there are naked chicks involved."

Humans Of New York Microfashion

Humans Of New York Wheelchair

"What happened?"
"It has to do with alcohol. I haven't really told the story to anyone."

Humans Of New York Lounge

"When you yell at someone, who hears it more: you or them? You're only hurting yourself by getting angry. I want to live to be 100. I haven't raised my voice in 40 years."

Humans Of New York High School

Humans Of New York Documentary

"I'm about to start work on a film."
"What's it about?"
"I can't say. It's an investigative documentary co-produced by The New York Times and PBS Frontline."

Humans Of New York Bellhop

"One time I was in Saks Fifth Avenue, and I got in an elevator. There was a woman already in there. She had selected the seventh floor, but when I got in with her, she changed it to the second floor."
"How'd that make you feel?"
"Like I didn't belong."

Humans Of New York Roya

Her name was Roya.
"It means Sweet Dreamer Fantasy," she said.

Humans Of New York Hand Holding

"What's the best day you've ever spent together?"
"Probably that day on the Ponts des Arts."
"What'd you do?"
"Just held hands."

Humans Of New York Rent

"The rent keeps going up, and things keep getting tighter."

Humans Of New York Crates

"They normally throw these crates away at work, but I wanted to do shit with it!"

Humans Of New York Anniversary Yellow

"What's the most romantic thing he's ever done?"
"Oh God, he's hopeless. During our first year of marriage, he celebrated our anniversary every single month."

Humans Of New York Pose

He twice declined to pose, but when he finally agreed, he really went to town.

Humans Of New York Contemplating

"Just sittin' here contemplatin' how I'm gonna get home."

Humans Of New York Rainbow Girl

"My parents want me to be a doctor. Not sure I'm feeling that."

Humans Of New York Poet

"What's your greatest struggle right now?"
"Fear of my writing. Sharing my writing, in particular."
"Will you email me something you wrote tonight?"

Humans Of New York Big Deal

"I said you could take my picture. Now you're asking me questions and this is turning into a big deal."

Humans Of New York Man Window

"I cured myself of schizophrenia."
"How'd you do that?"
"I stopped listening to the voices."

Humans Of New York Single

"I never married."
"Why not?"
"Because you didn't come along until today."

Humans Of New York Problems

"What's your greatest struggle right now?"
"Building a fence in my back yard."
"Oh c'mon."
"I'm serious. I married my best friend, I live on the Atlantic Ocean, I've played music my entire life. But this fence is giving me trouble!"

Humans Of New York Rape

"My Foster Dad told me that if I didn't tell anyone, he wouldn't hurt my brother. But then he raped him."

Humans Of New York Railing

"What was your first impression of America?"
"I wondered why everyone was rushing."

Humans Of New York Cancer

"My mom, dad, and dad's new girlfriend all got cancer at the same time. Now they're all great friends."

Humans Of New York Bodies

"There are so many bodies that I want to paint."

Humans Of New York Pounce

"It's to remind me to be more aggressive."

Humans Of New York Hat

"Don't lie about something before you've given it a chance to become true."

Humans Of New York Journals

"I'm sketching out my next film."
"What's it about?"
"It's sort of a romantic Jurassic Park. Except the dinosaurs have jetpacks."

Humans Of New York Balloons

"We just got back from the prom."
"Did you have dates?"
"Um, yeah."

Humans Of New York Key West

"You look kinda like Ernest Hemingway."
"And we're both from Key West."
"You're from Key West?"
"Well, I used to smuggle coke out of there."

Humans Of New York Hollywood

Humans Of New York Twins

Humans Of New York Hand

Humans Of New York Spinning

Humans Of New York Abandonment

Humans Of New York Couple

Humans Of New York Nostril Hair

Humans Of New York Divorce

Humans Of New York Flowers

Humans Of New York Jewish Chihuahua

One of them pointed at a passing rollerblader and said: "Why don't you photograph him instead?"
Another one answered for me: "Because he's not a Hasid with a chihuahua."

Humans Of New York Park

"Do you remember the hardest you've ever laughed?"
"Yes, but it's stupid and simple."
"What was it?"
"My sisters and I were dancing around the living room in our socks, and I tried to do a kick, but ended up throwing my legs out from under me and landing on my butt."

Humans Of New York Wall

"You get one picture, then I'm going about my business."

Humans Of New York Stroller

I sat by that stroller and called out her name for three minutes: "Julia, Julia, Juuulllliiiiiiaa." But she wouldn't emerge. Finally this happened.

Humans Of New York Mailbox

"I worked hard, I was honest, I provided for my family, and I took care of my parents."

Humans Of New York Egypt

"Every country is good for different reasons. They are like different fruits. But Egypt is my favorite. Egypt is like a mango."

Humans Of New York Train Girl

There was a drunk man on the train that everyone was trying to ignore. She saw that he was holding an inhaler, and offered him her seat.

Humans Of New York Family

"Before it was all about us. Now it's all about him."

Humans Of New York Woman Boots

"What's the meanest thing anyone's ever said to you?"
"Die of AIDS, you cocksucker."

Humans Of New York Old Man

"I've never used a cellphone or computer."

Humans Of New York Anniversary

Humans Of New York Marriage

Humans Of New York Choices

Humans Of New York Brazil

Humans Of New York Snow

"I was engaged eight years ago, but my fiancee died in Iraq. After that, I promised myself that I'd never be that dependent on someone again. So after I met my husband, I fought marriage for the longest time. But we got married in September. And even though I was rebelling against it, and I always saw it as a meaningless formality, I've been surprised. There's a comfort in knowing that you're sworn to someone else."

Humans Of New York Parents

"I was afraid that I wouldn't have the tolerance to be a parent. But it's amazing how you find the energy."

Humans Of New York Russian Doctor

"Where are you from?"
"Russia. If you see a doctor smoking, he's from Russia."

Humans Of New York Skateboard

"I told her that if she wanted to start over, to meet where we first kissed. She was supposed to be here 15 minutes ago."

Humans Of New York Blonde Woman

"Facebook is telling me that everyone has a house, a kid, and a dog. So I'm just trying to calm the fuck down."

Humans Of New York Homeless

"My daughter lives in Pennsylvania. She's working at a nursing home and studying to be an accountant. She's my pride and joy."
"Does she know you're homeless?"
"No, she's got enough to worry about. I just tell her that I'm retired."

Humans Of New York Dope

"The Russians run an underground fighting league in Coney Island where they pay junkies to fight. I fought about fifty fights for them. They pay you $200 win or lose. They'd always make sure I was real doped up before the fight. I mean they weren't good people but it did make me feel kinda important to have all those gangsters cheering for me. And they'd always be really happy if I won, because that meant I'd made them money."

Humans Of New York Pipe

"What was the happiest moment of your life?"
"I don't know."
"What was the saddest moment of your life?"
"I don't know."
"What's your best quality?"
"I don't know."
"What's your worst quality?"

Harnessing social media’s viral potential, four years after an impromptu move to New York, Stanton has acquired a massive one-million “like” strong following as well as a best-selling book. Head over to Humans of New York to see the city in a new light.

Amazing Vintage Crime Scenes Of New York, Then And Now

November 8, 2013

Inarguably the center of American capitalism as we know it, it should come as no surprise that New York is constantly reinventing itself. What may have been the site of a brutal shoot-out a few years ago could be a quiet residential neighborhood today, and eventually the site of a slew of rowdy bars or cosmopolitan boutiques tomorrow. Given its amorphous nature and equally diverse history, photographer Marc A. Hermann decided to blend the past with the present in this fantastic photo series.

Says Hermann, “New York is constantly changing and transforming, and tragedies that affected individuals’ lives are forgotten. We may stand on what was once the site of a horrific murder and not even know it, simply because life goes on.” These vintage crime scenes are a reminder that history is indeed fluid, and what you might see as picturesque today may very well be endowed with an incredibly bloody history.

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Vintage Crime Scenes Balcony

Brooklyn, 1942: Edna Egbert resists police by climbing onto her ledge.

Vintage Crime Stairs

The Bronx, 1961: Josephine Dexidor holds her boyfriend's bleeding body. He had just been shot by Dexidor's incensed husband.

Prospect Park Death

Prospect Park, 1950: Cops arrive at the scene of Detective Michael Dwyer's suicide.

Crime At Luncheonette

Downtown Brooklyn, 1961: The aftermath of a massive gas explosion. Over two dozen were injured.

Gang Death Scene

Brooklyn, 1928:The scene of infamous gangster Frankie Yale's death. The crash didn't kill him; rather, it was the massive gunshot wounds he suffered while driving.

Vintage Crime Scenes Fire

Manhattan, 1958: Six were killed during a massive fire at Elkins Paper & Twine Co.

Vintage Crime Scenes Crash

Park Slope, 1960: A plane crash quickly ended this Brooklyn neighborhood's characteristic calm. United Airlines Flight 826 and Trans World Airlines Flight 266 saw their end in the Big Apple, resulting in the loss of over 130 lives.

Cops At Gang Residence

Brooklyn, 1957: The body splayed in the entry way is none other than that of a fallen gangster.

Vintage Crime Scenes Accident

Brooklyn, 1959: A mother mourns the loss of her three-year-old daughter after she was struck and killed by a passing car. The little girl was riding a tricycle.

Fire At Fish Market

The Bronx, 1961: The Fulton Fish Market, overcome with flames. The buildings still stand--and are occupied--to this very day.

Vintage Crime Scenes Photographer

Marc Hermann, the photographer of this series, with other New York-based photographers of yore.

New York’s Garment District In 1930

October 8, 2013

Garment District 1930 New York

New York’s status as the fashion capital of the world has surprising roots in slavery. Intent on maximizing slave productivity, plantation owners ordered clothes from the burgeoning Apple so that slaves wouldn’t “waste” their working hours by sewing clothes for themselves. A handful of decades later, the one square-mile fashion mecca was responsible for doling out ready-made soldiers’ uniforms and by extension the shift from making your own clothes to buying them. At the dawn of the 20th century, around 70% of the nation’s women wore clothes made in the Garment District, followed by around 40% of men. And thus, an empire was born.

The Beautiful Brooklyn Home Of Norman Mailer

October 5, 2013

Located above the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on Columbia Street, the home of renowned author and one-time New York mayoral candidate Norman Mailer is a fourth floor walk up in a 25-foot wide townhouse. Redesigned in the 1970′s with a focus on the nautical, the home has the look and feel of a ship, complete with a hammock, a trapeze swing dangling from the ceiling and a rope ladder.

Traversing the three-story home requires climbing ladders and narrow stairs while access to the writer’s office requires braving a narrow gangplank. With a terrace overlooking the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, Mailer’s home is privy to some of the best views in New York City, making the $2.5 million asking price almost reasonable:

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Norman Mailer's Brooklyn Home Floor

Norman Mailers Brooklyn House

Brooklyn Home Of Norman Mailer Photographs

Brooklyn Home Of Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer's Brooklyn Apartment

Brooklyn Heights Apartment Of Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer Brooklyn Townhouse

Norman Mailer Bedroom

Norman Mailer National Book Award

Along with the home, the Mailer family was including the original accoutrements in the sale, including 2 of Norman Mailer's National Book Awards.

Normal Mailer Brooklyn Home

Along with the home, the Mailer family was including the original accoutrements in the sale, including 2 of Norman Mailer's National Book Awards.

All images via this New York Times gallery and for more information on the home, see the complementing New York Times article.