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Our Town

Daily News Reporter Has No Trouble Getting Fake ID

How much? Ten dollars for the photo, $100 up front and another $50 upon delivery. How long? Ninety minutes.


Those are the broad strokes of New York Daily News City Hall reporter Corinne Lestch‘s recent visit to the thriving fake ID economy on Roosevelt Ave. in Queens. With one minor caveat:

I didn’t get a new high-tech driver’s license – those are much harder to reproduce — but the market for current licenses, which are still valid if they are issued before September 2013, is skyrocketing…

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Sotheby’s Set to Auction Bonus Norman Rockwell Cover

WillieGillisConvoyTomorrow starting at 10 a.m. ET, Sotheby’s New York will drop the gavel on an auction of “American Art.” A number of Norman Rockwell pieces will be offered for purchase including “Willie Gillis in Convoy.”

The illustration, which had been sitting in storage since 2001 after previously being displayed in the office of the principal at Gardner High School in Gardner, Massachusetts, is expected to fetch around $2 million. The school and city plan to use the raised funds to endow a non-profit foundation. From the notes for tomorrow’s Lot #53:

When “Willie Gillis in Convoy” was submitted for review, Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post editors praised it for the painterly qualities it displayed, but it ultimately never appeared on the cover of the publication. The work remained in Rockwell’s Arlington studio until 1951, when F. Earl Williams, the principal of Gardner High School, paid Rockwell a visit…

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NYC Starts Spreading the Top-Level Internet Domain News

Six years after Gale Brewer, currently Manhattan Borough president and then a City Council member, first put forward reignited the idea in 2008, the reality of .nyc domains is almost upon us. Per an announcement on the site, today – May 5 – is the first day local businesses and individuals can apply for a dot-NYC domain. When the URLs go live this fall, New York City will officially become the first U.S. city with its own top-level domain suffix.


From today’s announcement:

“New Yorkers are constantly innovating and putting this great city on the digital map,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The launch of the .nyc domain is one of the most anticipated arrivals for the city and the Internet at large. There is no shortage of New Yorkers ready to claim their exclusive .nyc identities online, and this is their chance to reserve their piece of this city’s valuable digital real estate.”

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Remembering When New York Counted on Horse-Drawn Fire Brigades

On most Fridays, New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick is concerned with the merits of Hollywood’s latest releases or the details of a festival like TCM’s annual big-screen tribute to the Golden Age.

Today however, he is reaching back much further, to some of the pre-World War II glimpses that make up British Pathé’s YouTube account. Here for example is a Pathe newsreel from 1936 highlighting some Manhattan footage shot in 1983:


The Kentucky Gal at the Center of NYC’s Horse-Drawn Carriage Debate

If you have not been closely following the debate about New York City’s iconic horse-drawn carriages, you might be surprised to learn about the lineage of Christina Hansen, a driver who has become a dynamic spokesperson for the “pro” side.

BlueStarEquicultureLogoDad Gary teaches sociology at the University of Kentucky and mom Elizabeth is chair of Eastern Kentucky University’s Department of Communications. The 33-year-old Hansen, back in her home state to attend mom’s induction into the the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, talked with Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen about how she detoured from graduate school and plans to follow in her parents’ teaching footsteps:

In 2009, Hansen helped a friend, fellow Philadelphia carriage driver Pam Rickenbach, start Blue Star Equiculture in Palmer, MA. The non-profit helps working horses in need of rescue and is a retirement home for Philadelphia and New York carriage horses.

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Daily News Heralds Tavern on the Green a ‘Tourist Trap No More’

Next to a therapist’s couch, where various mental problems gained during New York’s “winter from hell” can be broken down, the renovated Tavern on the Green could be right up there as a spring-summer comfort spot. At least if the advance reviews are to be believed.

KatySparksandTeamFollowing Tuesday’s friends, family and media preview, the NYDN duo of Michael Kaminer and Gersh Kuntzman are full of praise for an establishment that has wisely turned a culinary corner:

Chef Katy Sparks’ (pictured, front right) food is a far cry from the ersatz Italian dishes at the old Tavern, famously dubbed “Crap-hole on the Green” in one of the more polite Yelp posts before the restaurant closed.

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Sherry-Netherland Gives Mural Artist Joseph Aruta His Due

There’s a whole new reason to drop by the lobby of the Sherry-Netherland at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street. After decades of painted-over ignominy, a spectacular ceiling mural created by artist Joseph Aruta for the hotel’s opening in 1927 has been fully restored.


From a report in the Daily News by Beth Stebner:

Bill Mensching, the director of EverGreene Architectural Arts’ Mural Studio and project manager of the monumental task, says it’s a mystery when or why the artwork – featuring the seven Liberal Arts muses and modeled after a mural at the Vatican – was plastered over in the first place.

“No one remembered it was there,” he said, until board members of the 59th St. hotspot saw old black-and-white photos of the artwork.

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Of Mice and Men and Expanding an Acting School with James Franco

Gotham magazine online editor April Walloga has a zippy Q&A with Jim Parrack, a Texas-born actor who can currently be seen alongside James Franco in the Broadway revival Of Mice and Men (in previews).


Parrack was previously based in LA, but he recently relocated to Fort Greene, Brooklyn not just for Broadway purposes but also to watch over a separate new “Brooklyn Lab” endeavor with his Broadway co-star Franco:

“James [Franco] and I both studied at a place called Playhouse West, and the founder of the school asked me to start teaching about four years ago. One of the reasons I wanted to move out here was to extend the school out here [from Los Angeles] and start the Playhouse West Brooklyn Lab.”

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Sally Field on the Joys of Her New York Apartment

In support of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sally Field is on the cover of the May 2014 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal. With her three sons now fully grown, she’s relishing the freer rhythms of her personal life.


Field recently traded a large Malibu estate for a smaller home in LA and second apartment in New York. In the Q&A with former Parade EIC Janice Kaplan, she extols the virtues of that east coast abode:

“It’s an old prewar apartment with a view of the Empire State Building and the new World Trade Center tower, so it feels very New York to me. It just invites reinvention. I get to see all the opera and theater that I want and still it’s not enough. There’s so much to do that sometimes I just say, ‘Okay, Field, you have to stop for two nights and just read your book!’”

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Wily Chefs Surprise Wylie Dufresne

WylieDufresnePicNew Yorker reporter Sophie Brickman tells readers to think of the three covert days spent in Brooklyn by 20 world-class culinary artists as The Real World: Chef’s Edition. And that’s just the tip of the analogous iceberg. FishbowlNY while reading also saw visions of Real House Chefs of Williamsburg, Undercover Sauce, America’s Got Imported Talent and more.

Two years in the making, the top-secret 72-hour assembly of world class restaurant chefs was for the purposes of honoring one of their molecular gastronomy own, Wylie Dufresne (pictured), with a surprise birthday celebration. It all went down successfully last night:

They’d focus on three of Dufresne’s signature dishes: shrimp noodles, cold fried chicken and scrambled egg ravioli, a cube-like concoction made of scrambled eggs encased in a sheath of egg yolk. They’d form cooking groups, pick their dishes and converge at wd~50 on a Tuesday, when the restaurant was closed. At the appointed hour, someone would call Dufresne to inform him that the restaurant was flooded. When he came rushing over, he’d arrive to the party of his dreams.

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