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Building: The Puck Building
Date built: 1885
History:

The Puck building derives its name from Puck Magazine, America’s “first successful humor magazine”–that is, humor in  social satire and political cartooning. The magazine is also the first to successfully use full-color lithography in weekly prints and the first magazine to carry illustrated advertising.

puck logoPuck-Building-new-york-354045_400_600Puck, originally a mischievous character from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s dream, served as the personified symbol of the satirical magazine. The magazine’s cover always quoted the character, Puck, as saying “What fools these mortals be!” Today, Puck can be found at the corner of the building and above the western doorway with a top-hat and a hand-mirror, ostensibly repeating his famous refrain to admiring pedestrians.

Architecture:
The Puck building serves as an example of “German Romanesque Revival” architecture. The façade of the building certainly exhibits a Romanesque style given the copious number of arches and the long lower arcade that adorns the entirety of the edifice.

372447-4Puck, the personified character after which the building was named, stands over the entrance of the building as a reminder of old publishing district that once stood in its place. Taking a moment to appreciate this building’s stunning bright, red brick façade pays tribute to a magazine that once “served as a major institution in the city’s civic and cultural life”.

Fun Note: Puck magazine harshly criticized corrupt politicians and tycoons via its political and satirical cartoons. In 1916 media mogul William Randolph Hearst, an often satirized figure, bought the magazine and after two years the magazine, suspiciously, stopped printing. Conspiracy theorists unite!

This post is for Peter Boyce who now works in this gorgeous building.  

 Sources: http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/db/bb_files/1983PuckBuilding.pdfhttp://goo.gl/bNc9EK, http://www.nyc-architecture.com/SOH/SOH037.htm,

source: urban compas

source: urban compass

 

Name:
Nolita derives its name as the abbreviation of ‘North of Little Italy’. This name follows the portmanteau pattern started by SoHo (South of Houston Street), and TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal Street).

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 9.01.49 PMBrief History:
The neighborhood was long regarded as part of Little Italy, but has lost much of its recognizable Italian character in recent decades because of the migration of Italian-Americans out of Manhattan

Fun Facts:
Today, the Feast of San Gennaro, dedicated to Saint Januarius (“pope of Naples”), is still held in the neighborhood every year following Labor Day, on Mulberry Street between Houston and Grand Streets. The feast, as recreated on Elizabeth Street between Prince and Houston, was featured in the film The Godfather Part III.

Landmarks:
The Basilica at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. Opened in 1815 and  rebuilt in 1868 after a fire. The cornerstone was laid on June 8, 1809. This building served as New York City’s Roman Catholic cathedral until the new St. Patrick’s Cathedral was opened on Fifth Avenue in Midtown in 1879.

The Puck Building. An ornate structure built in 1885 on the corner of Houston and Lafayette Streets, which originally housed the headquarters of the now-defunct Puck Magazine (Puck was America’s first successful humor magazine of colorful cartoons, caricatures and political satire of the issues of the day. Puck was the first magazine to carry illustrated advertising and the first to successfully adopt full-color lithography printing for a weekly publication).

Elizabeth Street Gallery/Garden. Located in a renovated 1850s  firehouse with an adjacent sculpture garden of nearly one acre. The Gallery houses a collection of extraordinary pieces including second-century Greek and Roman carved-stone vessels.

Lombardi’s. Gennaro Lombardi started the business in 1897 as a grocery store and began selling tomato pies wrapped in paper and tied with a string at lunchtime to workers area’s factories. In 1905 Lombardi received a business license to operate a pizzeria restaurant, and so it became the first pizzeria in the United States.

Urban Compass Nolita Pics:

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David Hume argues that there is a difference between what we believe to be “reason” versus what we think is “moral”. Ultimately he proposes that “reason” is based on science–a matter that is factual and not swayed by bias or feeling (2+2=4). Alternatively, what we consider to be “moral” is based on the feelings evoked in response to a subject or occasion (murder feels bad, so it must be bad). 

1. Morals cannot be derived from reason. Reason has no consequence, it stands only as fact. Morality has a consequence, it produces actions that reflect moral values.

“Since morals, therefore, have an influence on the actions and affections, it follows, that they cannot be deriv’d from reason…Morals excite passions, and produce or prevent actions. Reason of itself is utterly impotent in this particular. The rules of morality, therefore, are not conclusions of our reason. . . .”

2. In examining why morality is derived from feelings, not reason, we find that morals occur when we are faced with a situation that makes us feel good or bad–and these sentiments guide our perception of whether such action is moral or immoral. Here we find that murder is bad because it feels wrong.

“Take any action allow’d to be vicious: Wilful murder, for instance. Examine it in all lights, and see if you can find that matter of fact, or real existence, which you call vice . In whichever way you take it, you find only certain passions, motives, volitions and thoughts. There is no other matter of fact in the case. The vice entirely escapes you, as long as you consider the object. You never can find it, till you turn your reflexion into your own breast, and find a sentiment of disapprobation, which arises in you, towards this action. Here is a matter of fact; but ’tis the object of feeling, not of reason. It lies in yourself, not in the object. So that when you pronounce any action or character to be vicious, you mean nothing, but that from the constitution of your nature you have a feeling or sentiment of blame from the contemplation of it. Vice and virtue, therefore, may be compar’d to sounds, colours, heat and cold, which, according to modern philosophy, are not qualities in objects, but perceptions in the mind”

3. “This is” versus “this ought to be”. Hume recommends that readers take note of how authors propose arguments about “what is” and “what ought to be”. “What is” denotes facts, science, and reason. “What ought to be” denotes opinion and morality. There is a bridge that separates these two which requires explanation to bridge the two.

” In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark’d, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surpriz’d to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not , I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought , or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought , or ought not , expresses some new relation or affirmation…”

4. What is good? What is bad? We know the answer to this given by understanding whether an action makes us feel good or bad. If murder makes us feel bad, then it is bad. Feeling is what bridges reason with morality.

“…we are brought back to our first position, that virtue is distinguished by the pleasure, and vice by the pain… any action or sentiment upon the general view or survey gives a certain satisfaction or uneasiness in order to shew the origin of its moral rectitude or depravity, without looking for any incomprehensible relations and qualities, which never did exist in nature, nor even in our imagination, by any clear and distinct conception.”

This post was inspired by the Edx Course “Ideas of the 20th Century”

Claudia Chan created S.H.E. Summit Week, as an opportunity to highlight women during a “women’s week” full of events organized by female-led brands and designed to inspire women personally and professionally. At Claudia’s #SHEsummit the company overture filmed women speaking about what empowers them–and here is mine to share!

Find out more about the summit here: shesummit.claudiachan.com

Favorite Quotes:

“…we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement. We have come to see them as the point – and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole. No longer is it how you play the game, no longer is it even whether you win or lose, or learn or grow, or enjoy yourself doing it… Now it’s “So what does this get me?” As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans. It’s an epidemic”

“…As you commence, then, and before you scatter to the winds, I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance. Don’t bother with work you don’t believe in any more than you would a spouse you’re not crazy about, lest you too find yourself on the wrong side of a Baltimore Orioles comparison. Resist the easy comforts of complacency, the specious glitter of materialism, the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction. Be worthy of your advantages. And read… read all the time… read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect. Read as a nourishing staple of life. Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it. Dream big. Work hard. Think for yourself. Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might. And do so, please, with a sense of urgency..”

“…Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct. It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things. Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you. Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly. Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion-and those who will follow them. And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special.

Because everyone is.”

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, cities tried to respond to [internal] issues with active government–what historians have labeled progressivism. Despite the persistence of corruption, widespread poverty, and racial discrimination, cities increased municipal expenditures, professionalized their administration, and constructed buildings and infrastructures that supposed the most vibrant and successful era in American urban history. in the late twentieth century, by contrast, the response to similar issues was the withdrawal of active government, evident in reduced federal funds, reliance on market based solutions to urban problems, and the need to turn to private initiatives, like special service districts to carry out public functions, such as street cleaning and security. The results are everywhere to be seen, in homelessness on city streets, poverty spreading outward to inner suburbs, uncontrolled sprawl eating up open space, crumbling infrastructure, gross inequity on public education, the future of urban finance mortgaged to casino gambling, the incapacity to prevent or respond effectively to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the subprime mortgage crisis. The widely heralded comeback of American cities is thing and fragile. If you move away from shiny center cities, it is not nearly so visible. Look at city budgets, and it does not seem nearly so robust. The question, What is an American City? has begun to elicit both a cacophony of definitions and an array of intelligent and promising ideas about ow to respond. But we have yet to see a powerful and pervasive new urban progressivism. Clearly,, though, without the will to forge an effective and coordinated political response, the future of American cities, however defined, is unlikely to be as buoyant as their past.

Michael B. Katz, “What Is An American City?” Dissent 56, 3 (2009)

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1. Luck exists: sometimes you’re at the right place at the right time and everything works out perfectly. (this doesn’t always happen)

2. College is as informative and useful as you make it, and a GPA is not necessarily a reflection of that.

3. It’s critically important to accept failure and to stay humble.

4. Networking is a *highly* valuable skill, not a bad word. Approach networking as an opportunity to leverage your curiosity to meet cool people you wouldn’t meet otherwise.

5. Using time effectively matters so much. It is the one resource that is constantly depleting.

6. Just be nice. Being respectful and kind to everyone makes you a better person and the world a nicer place.

7. Getting involved in extracurriculars that are not work or school related will likely make you happier and more fulfilled.

8. Forming healthy habits early on matters The sooner you establish them the faster you can reap the benefits of being well.

9. Social media is here to stay, using it to your advantage (to stay informed and add to meaningful conversations) can add positive value to your days if used properly.

10. Thinking about how much work you have is worse than actually doing the work. Sitting down, putting headphones on, and getting it done feels a million times better than ignoring it.

11.  It’s true that you are (and become) what you think–fill your mind with great thoughts.

12. Understanding art history (the evolution of humans’ representations of themselves and the world as they see it), astronomy (the astounding laws and forces the shape the universe), and computers (what’s the ROM again?) is a great way to appreciate your surroundings and the intricacies of the tools you interact with every day.

13. It’s never a bad time to step back and put stuff in perspective.

14. Traveling (even as a student) is not as expensive or difficult to plan as people make it out to be. If you really want to travel you can do it.

15. Make no excuses for your behavior. Always make the right choice.

16. Being around great people makes all the difference. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

17. Be grateful for the love you receive.

18. It’s better to focus on the things you have control over rather than dwelling on matters that are out of your hands.

19. Being practical and down to earth goes a long way.

20. Upon meeting someone who challenges your core values, hold on to your beliefs.

21. “Life is a marathon, not a sprint”. Don’t wait until you reach the finish line to realize that you were competing against yourself the whole time.

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Bite Sized Summary:  Story of man’s desire for perennial youth at the cost of his soul. The novel is an exposé of humanity’s odious tendencies when unchecked by nature.

Thoughts: Overrated, but worth a quick read. I was interested by the parallel between Dorian’s character in the book as a reflection of Oscar Wilde’s reflections on his own life. This quote from Oscar Wilde, I thought, embodied Dorian’s character pretty tightly–while also touching on the characters of Basil and Henry.

I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease. I amused myself with being a flaneur, a dandy; a man of fashion. . . . Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in the search for new sensation. What the paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion. Desire, at the end, was malady, or a madness, or both. I grew careless of the lives of others, I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has someday to cry aloud on the house-tops. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace. -Oscar Wilde

Questions: Does the ending of the book mean that Wilde was not a fan of aestheticism? Could it mean that he disapproves of the way he led his own life? I read the revised (popular version) of the book, does it differ much from the first print Wilde intended to be published?

A Classic: How to Live Before You Die

“you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever—because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”

-Steve Jobs


can you understand the connection between these two images?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably curious about the finding of the Higgs Boson particle that was announced yesterday (July 4, 2012). What does the finding mean? What is the Higgs particle? And why is it so important?

Here’s what you need to know (in plain and simple English):

A little bit of background

There’s this theory called The Standard Model which attempts to describe the basic building blocks of the universe. By knowing the building blocks of the universe we would be able to understand the ‘history’ of how the universe developed. The best way to describe it is to say that “The Standard Model is to physics what the theory of evolution is to biology”.

The Standard Model is composed of 12 fundamental particles that are governed by four basic forces. Up to now they had only found 11 of the 12 particles (but with the finding, the Higgs became the 12th and final one). Because we found the final one we can now validate the The Standard Model (aka we can now learn about the very forces that rule the universe and its development!)

But what does the Higgs particle do?

The short answer: The Higgs is thought to solve the mystery of the origin of mass. (Quick refresher: mass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object).

The long answer: After the Big Bang it is believed that the universe was made up of particles racing around at the speed of light without any mass. Some particles didn’t slow down (like light, which is not affected by and does not have any mass), but other particles began to slow down when they started interacting with the Higgs field. Their interaction with the Higgs meant that they would gain mass and eventually form things like stars, galaxies, planets, and humans.

So why is it important?

Well basically, without the Higgs field you wouldn’t exist. So it’s pretty cool that we found it.

jk- Actually we’re over 99.9% sure that we’ve made the discovery,  but because the finding is so new scientists can only say they’ve “discovered something which is consistent with [the] Higgs”, as supposed by physicist John Ellis.

For more information on The Standard Model and the Higgs particle I recommend these two sites http://physics.info/standard/ and http://reut.rs/MW3zQV