1. Last night’s episode of Girls was yet another round in what has become a competition to see who can be the show’s most sociopathically unlikable character, as the girls in Lena Dunham’s HBO dramedy grappled with the untimely passing of Hannah’s editor.

    Hannah, in predictable fashion, uses the death as an opportunity to get attention, while admitting the only real remorse she feels is for the unclear future of her e-book. Jessa and Shoshana share stories about their own experiences with death, with Shosh conceding that it was ultimately a good thing for her high school clique, and Jessa getting so involved in her own story that she forgot Shoshana’s altogether. Marnie continues in her tireless efforts to become the kind of girl “fancy people want to work with,” and then Hannah, Laird, and Caroline cart-wheel through a cemetery.

    In other words, it was the usual display of self-involved delusion and tragically poor communication that has become a hallmark of the series. After each episode since the conclusion of the brilliant first season, I’ve asked myself: Why do I continue watching this show? Is it because the whole series has become such a spectacle? Am I challenging myself to white-knuckle through one uncomfortable scene after the next? Is it because as a twenty-something writer living in New York I’d feel totally irrelevant not watching it?

    No, I realized, it’s because of the boys.

    — Monica Nickelsburg, in Why I only watch Girls for the guys

     

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  3. It’s hard to believe that this beautiful heap of Beaux Arts majesty is 100 years old. But sure enough, Grand Central Terminal opened its doors to the commuting masses at midnight on Feb. 2, 1913, and soon became a world-renowned icon of transportation and capitalist might. In honor of Grand Central’s birthday, we take you back in time with 12 early, black-and-white snapshots of a timeless building, as well as the millions of busy travelers who have passed through it. 

    Photos:

    • Sunlight beams into the terminal, 1930. (Hal Morey/Getty Images)
    • Members of the National Boys’ Club offer Victory shoe shines to every man and women in uniform in Grand Central’s USO Lounge on April 6, 1943. (AP Photo/Dan Grossi)
     

  4. "Sure, Bloomberg is an important figure in American politics, but Clinton is a global icon and one of the most powerful women on the planet. And while running New York involves much more than making sure the garbage is picked up on time, it’s definitely a step down from helping negotiate a truce between Hamas and Israel or becoming the first high-ranking American official to meet Aung San Suu Kyi." —Ryu Spaeth speculates on why Hillary Clinton turned down Michael Bloomberg’s suggestion that she run for mayor of New York

    (Source: theweek.com)

     

  5. It is apparently quite common for school districts to request that standardized tests not include certain words that students might find offensive. But New York City’s list of some 50 banned test topics is twice as long as national sensitivity lists, and stands out as “a bizarre case of political correctness run wild," says Yoav Gonen in the New York Post

    Here, a look at some of the blacklisted topics, and why they might have been deemed problematic:

    1. Birthdays
    Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays

    2. Dinosaurs
    Some students don’t believe in evolution

    3. Halloween
    Suggests paganism

    4. Religious holidays and festivals
    Could offend students who don’t celebrate one or more of the holidays

    5. TV, celebrities, and video games
    To “avoid giving offense or disadvantage any test takers by privileging prior knowledge” like pop culture, Robert Pondiscio at the Core Knowledge Foundation tells the New York Post.

    6. Computers in the home
    Not all students have computers at home 

     

  6. Accidentally Occupying Wall Street

    John Darkow, copyright 2011 Cagle Cartoons

     

  7. What’s going on here?

     

  8. shortformblog:

    producermatthew:

    Kevin Cosgrove was the vice president of claims for the Aon Corporation based in the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

    At the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, this 9-1-1 phone call Cosgrove placed from the South Tower was played. In the phone call, Cosgrove could be heard repeating his location several times — he had sought shelter in the office of John Ostaru with another individual, Doug Cherry.

    The phone call is notable as it is one of the few audio recordings made just before and during the collapse of Two World Trade Center.

    “Three of us, two broken windows,” Cosgrove tells the 9-1-1 dispatcher, followed by some rumbling and shouts of “Oh God! Oh —.” Then line goes silent. [YouTube]

    The last two seconds of this call will stick with you. It all ends so abruptly. A harrowing piece of audio.

    (Source: matthewkeys, via shortformblog)

     

  9. architizer:

    When New York was founded in 1609, it was teeming with over 55 different ecological communities. The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Welikia Project seeks to recover traces of the city’s lost ecologies.  

     

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  11. New York Republicans are responsible for passing gay marriage. The party will pay a grave price.
    — Maggie Gallagher, National Review. Other sources say the vote was a “disaster for the Republican party.” Will the GOP pay for backing gay marriage?
     

  12. $487.25 - Price of a premium ticket to The Book of Mormon bought less than 48 hours before a performance, which eclipses the record set by The Producers in 2001. The musical won nine Tony Awards on Sunday, and its cast album skyrocketed to number three on the Billboard charts. That hasn’t happened in 42 years.

     


  13. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.
    — Republican New York State Senator Roy McDonald comes out for gay marriage, tells opponents he’s tired of Republican-Democrat politics. “They can take the job and shove it.”

    (Source: theweek.com)