Thursday, October 09, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - Fields of Gold

Not unlike any other place that spans time, every street in New York City tells a story. I love that every day, I walk by slices of time - sometimes unknowingly - that span hundreds of years and tell stories that I may never get to hear or could ever possibly imagine. Going back to WCU last weekend has really heightened my sensitivity to the passage of time and memories built on top of other memories. It reminds me of that old Sting song.

According to Thrillist New York: Every New York City street tells a story; unfortunately, every New York City resident tends to mace you when you tug on his sleeve and say "hey mister, tell me a story". Get the tales without the searing pain, at City of Memory.

From the guys behind nation-trotting nouveaux folklorists StoryCorps, COM's an interactive Flash map that compiles all manner of NYC yarns and displays them according to the hood where they occurred, from Brooklyn's brine-covered docks, to the South Bronx's storied skate parks, to the Bowery's fetid luxury condos. Stories are split between orange dots (curated by site editors) and blue ones (user-submitted); simply roll over to reveal titles and locales, e.g., the potentially exhausting "The Empire State Building Run-Up" (5th Ave and 34th St), the
potentially enlightening "Birth of Hip Hop" (Devoe Ave in The Bronx), and the potentially NSFW "Youth Wants To (A Chelsea Tale)". Clicking reveals everything from personal vignettes (a neighbor dies during the 2003 blackout; playing street games in 1950s Bklyn), to professional remembrances complete w/ video clips, e.g., "Gleason's Gym" (clip from WNYC's "The Next Big Thing"), "Boccie in Spaghetti Park" (locals interview Italian gents), and "The Death of Black Benji" -- about 1970s Bronx gangs, not a muttsploitation flick.

In spite of the site's Flash foundation, COM
makes it easy to play e-raconteur by letting you email direct story links to friends; or, you can tell the stories in person, though nothing brings out the mace like a man who won't shut up.

Spin somebody else's yarn, at

"... Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You forget the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in the fields of gold ..."
"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Approved!

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