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Former New York State Division of Parole office to Become Cafe R?

The Hell's Kitchen storefront at 119 W 31 St., a former office for parolees can check in with parole officers is closing and will become "Cafe R", according to records found on EveryBlock and other City of New York sources. Here's a look at the location on Google Street View:

Cafe R, 119 W 31 St., Manhattan

This post on the excellent DNAInfo ("More Parolees Bound for Hotel-Lined Block in Hell’s Kitchen" notes that the New York State Division of Parole is closing its office on 31st Street, but maintaining the office just 10 blocks away at 314 W. 40th.

I first got interested in this location when I saw this permit for an illuminated sign on EveryBlock. The record shows that the sign will have the text "Cafe R". So then I wondered whether this was a new restaurant and what their deal was in general.

A search of EveryBlock for the location pointed me to the recent DNAInfo post, but I wanted to know more. It appears there haven't been any building permits issued for the address, but I figured I'd double-check at the source.

I've written about the Building Information System in NYC before-- it is an amazing stockpile of info.

The original record for the sign has the name, address, phone number, and email of the person who ordered the sign (a boon for reporters and bloggers) as well as contact info for the sign contractor, building owner, and condo board officer for the building. It also notes the cost of the sign ($4,000). These are some amazing public records.

Here's more about the property itself.

I contacted the owner, Louis J. Lee, by email and asked him what Cafe R is all about. I got an unhelpful auto-response in return, but that's neither here nor there.

A search of all restaurant inspections in the city turned up nothing on "Cafe R", and a search of business licenses in NYC led me to a number of avenues that include paying money for lists (not going to happen). I did find a "Online directory of certified businesses with a detailed profile" in NYC Data Mine, which was has a stunning amount of detailed info for the business.

If you have any info about this burgeoning block, lemme know!

Goodnight, Mounds

Goodnight, Mounds, originally uploaded by juggernautco.

Yesterday. Complete set here.

Police Raid, Children Walking

Photo of the year, by any spot photographer anywhere. By David Schalliol. See more of hos work here.

Holiday Train 2010!

We took the CTA Holiday Train northbound from Belmont to Kimball and back. A wonder of the city. Here's the whole set, and here's a video of the train pulling in:

Holiday Train 2010! from Daniel X. O'Neil on Vimeo.

Welcome to the Madhouse

Welcome to the Madhouse, originally uploaded by juggernautco.

Shawn-Laree and I took the kids to the Bulls game vs. the Lakers tonight. They won 88 - 84, and it brought back so many powerful memories and emotions.

It was so great to care for a set of people who didn't let me down. These Bulls are the real deal-- some real players with heart.

On Wikileaks, Great Reporting, Distributed Publishing, and Terms of Use (An Appreciation)

image from www.state.gov I like to know things, I like original documents, and I like fucking shit up. Therefore I love Wikileaks. I'm grateful to Julian Assange for getting up in the morning, and I want to protect him from harm. I think that he is an important person, and his work should be built upon by other journalists and technologists. He is a radical prince from the future.

I have been reading the cables off and on since they wre published. I'm fascinated by the unvarnished language and the cool-headed analysis the cable writers make in their communications. Being a diplomat is a tough job, and I admire them. I'm also struck by the dry, reporter-like style they employ. I can understand why reporters are often accused of being spies-- it seems like it is the same damn job!

I'm also struck by how much the cables-- especially the ones from Afghanistan and Pakistan-- confirm the reporting that has come out of those places for years. I have read reports from Dexter Filkins that have nearly word-for-word recitations of cable elements have appeared in his writing. This makes me appreciate the work of him an his colleagues even more, if that were possible.

image from realitystudio.orgI'm further grateful for the excellent analysis of the cables that I've read in the NYT. (I'm somewhat provincial and tight when it comes to newspapers-- the NYT is my one and only).

I am not at all prepared to vilify Amazon, Paypal, and Tableau Software for cutting Wikileaks off from their services once the heat was placed upon them. Their reticence is to be expected, and it doesn't signal the end of Wikileaks or the ability to publish uncomfortable, radical things. It merely means we've got to double-down on the Internet on distributed publishing. The published cables of today are at least as important as a 1972 live version of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, so it's worth streaming these docs on Bit Torrent or whatever other Napsters there are.

And please let's stop using the word "censorship" in relation to these acts. Bleats and moans of censorship are dumb. Just because a company removes the right of an individual to use their hardware or software does not mean that they are advocating or acting upon the removal of that person's right to speak, or to use other means to say the same thing. It is especially odd to see the word censorship used in the same post that the purportedly censored speech is reproduced. That's speech propagation, not censorship. One cannot be censored and published at the same time.

We have the power-- all of us-- to help Wikileaks publish. Any time one entity has to step down in order to protect themselves, another should step up, and w/o deprecating those who had to bail. It might be you who has to step down next. No big deal-- someone else will step up, if we're all doing our jobs. Using that language is an insult to people in the word who are truly censored.

eula ftw!Lastly, we all click through EULAs and Terms of Use in a devil-may-care fashion-- they are the great legal fictions of our age.

And there are plenty of winks and nods-- and even high-fives, as Tableau Software initially crowed about Wikileaks viualizations-- but in the end, words have to mean something, even if they are written by lawyers or (more likely) copy-pasted from some other Web site. If they don't, we really can't rely on anything.

One last thing-- it seems that the latest release from Wikileaks may be actually dangerous rather than just embarassing. That sort of goes with the territory. It's like John P. O'Neill, the great seer of the Al Qaeda threat, who operated somewhat loosely and lost a briefcase. It seems one cannot be tight and open at the same time.

Waiting For A Common Place Name Database

I want to have a reliable way to reference online anything that I can see in real life. I want every person, place, and thing to have a distinct reference on the Web.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, is a leader in this-- he can explain the need for linked data better than I could, so I'll just focus on what I want.

I want a central service to which I can tell something about an entity (company, service, person, etc.) and have it logged somewhere. And I want this aggregated in a reliable place where everyone can see, reference, and do things with that list.

What I want right now is a public database of places. Every restaurant, store, school, park, museum, beach, statue. Every place should have a place in a magical Place Name Database. Lots of companies are building their own, and the commercial need for such a thing is well-established. But setting standards among established companies ain't easy.

But once we have this, we can start saying things-- and learning things-- in automated ways about a place, and communicate directly with a place in an authoritative fashion.

When a restaurant is inspected, and the result is published on EveryBlock, why can't we automatically notify the restaurant like this:

Way to go @michaelminasf MICHAEL MINA RESTAURANT http://t.co/wrW5Na5 for your 100 score on Monday's restaurant inspection

A person has a good experience at a store, and it is added to the public record about that place directly from Yelp, with a link back to the Yelp review. A taxi runs into a pole, and my photo of that incident is logged, with a link to my image. Right now this content is completely balkanized (no offense to my Balkan friends).

I think we'll look back decades from now and see our current place discovery methods as brutish and dumb. We can do so much more with existing databases, mobile devices w/ GPS, and our own energy. It's time to move beyond the check-in.

Couple things worth noting here: 1/ The President and his military are some serious people, and 2/ I am extremely grateful to those who kill our enemies for us.

P120310PS-0485, originally uploaded by The White House.

P120310PS-0387, originally uploaded by The White House.


Notable Items from the New York City Weekend Traffic Advisory, Friday, December 3, 2010 to Sunday, December 5, 2010

Heads up in NYC this weekend-- traffic snarls that lead to fun (festivals) and profit (crane operations):


East 59th Street between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue: This street will be closed from 7am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday to facilitate NYCDDC trunk water main and utility work. Motorists should use alternate routes and posted detours to access Queensboro Bridge such as 2nd Avenue southbound or East 58th Street eastbound onto the Second Avenue contra flow lane.

West 44th Street between 8th Avenue and 7th Avenue: This street will be closed Saturday and/or Sunday from 12:01am to 5:59am to facilitate crane operation. Any pics of what they're building here?

West 65th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway: This street will be closed to traffic from 11pm Friday to 11am Saturday, 11pm Saturday to 11am Sunday and again 11pm Sunday to 6am Monday. One lane of traffic will be maintained from 11am to 11pm Saturday and Sunday to facilitate crane operation. Any pics of what they're building here?

Stone Street between Hanover Square and Coenties Alley; Mill Lane between Stone Street and South William Street: These streets will be closed daily from 10am to 11pm April 1 through November 30th for the Stone Street Pedestrian Mall as permitted by the Mayor's Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO). I can't find any info on the Web about what this pedestrian mall is all about-- what kind of stores are there? Any activities?

Madison Avenue between East 57th Street and East 86th Street: This street will be closed Sunday from 11am to 6pm for the Miracle on Madison Avenue.


Hudson Street between Fulton Street and Dekalb Avenue: This street will be closed Saturday and/or Sunday from 8am to 6pm to facilitate crane operation. Any pics of what they're building here?


Eastchester Road between Morris Park Avenue and Wilkinson Avenue: One lane in each direction will be maintained from 7pm Saturday to 11:59pm Sunday to facilitate crane operation. Any pics of what they're building here?


Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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    • Wesley Willis Art
      Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
    • CTA Alerts
      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
    • Y!Q Link Generator
      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.