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Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

Remake of “Pelham 123″

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My wife and I went to see “The Taking of Pelham 123″ today. Since I own the original on DVD I was quite interested to check out this new version, especially after having read this review by Randy Kennedy.

Like most of Mr. Scott’s movies, “Pelham 1 2 3,” which is set to open June 12, is a finely calibrated box-office machine with plenty of fireworks and star power. But for anyone who has spent time past a turnstile, one of its chief attractions will also undoubtedly be how devoted it is to the look and feel of the subway and how well it pulls it off. In early reviews since the trailer was released on the Internet, even the most bloodthirsty critics — New York City subway buffs — have had a few nice things to say.

As most fellow geeks that like to laugh and point out blatant inaccuracies on film and TV, I was interested to see for myself how well they would portray the system, especially given how well it was done in the 1974 edition. I was actually quite pleased with it; it seems that the MTA provided a lot of background to make many parts of the story quite plausible. The thing that piqued my interest was the escape scene where they ended up in the Waldorf-Astoria. It turns out that there indeed was a platform at Grand Central for this hotel. This sort of thing was not all that uncommon back then. However, the station where they filmed the escape scene was labeled “Roosevelt” which is nowhere near Manhattan. I’m thinking that it must have been in the abandoned section of the Roosevelt Ave station in Queens.

Another interesting plot is sending the runaway train to Coney Island instead of South Ferry. As Coney Island is outdoors that would make the filming more interesting; but I’m not sure how a 6 could get switched to BMT tracks to take it to Coney Island. At a minimum it would have to be switched to the 4/5 express tracks to send it over to Brooklyn in the first place. I’m thinking that the train would have derailed long before making it in any event. ;)

The 70′s edition had more interaction between the hijackers and the passengers; there is a lot more character development in that story line. In this edition, it is clearly all about the stars Travolta and Denzel which also works well.

The intro for the 2009 version features the high pitched whine that anyone that’s ever ridden the 6 would be familiar with; I thought that was a nice touch. However, the original has the best opening credits score of any movie! I’ve embedded it below for your listening pleasure.

Written by Patrick Peralta

June 21st, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Posted in New York

NY Coherence SIG on Thursday

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This Thursday will be the next Coherence SIG in New York. Check out this new Coherence Blog by PM Craig Blitz for more details. I will be talking about POF (the Coherence platform neutral high performance serialization library), including some new features coming out in Coherence 3.5.

Written by Patrick Peralta

April 13th, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Coherence (and other) activities this week

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There are some Coherence related activities this week that the user community may be interested in.

First, the Winter 2009 NY Coherence SIG will be on Thursday January 29th at the Oracle office on Madison Ave in midtown. Registration is required in order for the bouncers in the lobby to let you in, so be sure to check the link and register if you plan on attending. Yours truly will be talking about using Coherence in production and a peek behind the scenes at the tools and techniques used to provide support for Coherence. We’ll also have one of our customers (Anthony Casalena, Founder and CEO of Squarespace, Inc.) presenting as well as one of our top architects Brian Oliver speaking about using Coherence in a WAN. He just gave a presentation at the London SIG last week that was well received.

For those in the Boston area, you can check out the Boston Scalability User Group in Waltham run by Anthony Chaves. Here is the registration link if you’re interested in attending. This meeting will be a free format discussion on all things scalable, so if you have any questions about a new project or experiences (good or bad, the latter being more entertaining) you’d like to discuss among your peers this is a good opportunity to do so. I should be at this meeting as well.

Update: Due to the weather the Boston SUG meeting has been postponed.

In the virtual world we have a new LinkedIn Coherence Users group that has attracted over 30 members on its first day! If you’re a Coherence user or are interested in networking with Coherence users and architects, feel free to join this group.

While I’m in NY for the SIG, I’m going to try to take some time to check out Joel’s new downtown office.

Written by Patrick Peralta

January 26th, 2009 at 6:02 pm

First NY Coherence SIG A Success

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Last Thursday was the first NY Coherence SIG. We had an attendance of roughly 70 or so come out to see Cameron, Brian, and Steve Jacobs from Merrill Lynch. The key announcement was the introduction of the Coherence Incubator. This is the home for patterns and advanced examples built on Coherence, including multi-cluster replication which is already being used in production by a few customers.

Cameron Purdy at the NY Coherence SIGBrian Oliver at the NY Coherence SIG

Written by Patrick Peralta

October 18th, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Posted in Development,New York

History of NYC Subway Map

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Yesterday the NY Times published an article about the newest draft of the subway map. The current draft, like the current map, points out major streets, parks, neighborhoods, and other landmarks. The New York map is unique among subway maps in that it is (somewhat) geographically accurate and that it points out things that have nothing to do with the subway. When I was a kid I was very much a map (and subway) geek, and I studied the map thoroughly to the point of almost memorizing it. Not only did I have a good idea of where the routes went, but I also knew where all the major neighborhoods were even though I had never been to most of these places. Whenever I travel to other cities with a subway system, I always miss this feature in their maps as they always show just the subway routes to the exclusion of everything else. In one sense this makes the map easier to read since it is less busy. However I would argue that one does not take the subway just to take it; it is helpful to be able to tell where certain streets lie in proximity to a station.

Apparently I’m not the only one with this opinion. Back in 1972, map designer Massimo Vignelli designed a map that emphasized the routes over everything else. Only straight lines, 45 and 90 degree angles were used. As an MTA spokesman said at the time,

“Maps like these have to make deliberate distortions to clarify. We tried to make sure that nothing unnecessary distracts the eye from the subway routes. There’s no sense in using a transit map for geography lesson.”

However, according to the NY Times article the map was not well received at all. After much complaining, the map was redesigned and a new (much more geographically accurate) version was issued in 1979.

From the article:

Although designers love to discuss why Mr. Vignelli’s schematic map didn’t fly, no single theory has emerged. The graphic designer Michael Bierut, however, suggests that New York’s street grid was to blame.

“Londoners are actually unclear about how close one stop is to the next,” he said. “But a lot of Manhattanites could tell you authoritatively how long it would take to walk from Fifth and 28th to Seventh and 44th. So the geographic discrepancies in the Vignelli map, which are no more than those you find in lots of subway maps around the world — they’re just glaring.”

For more on the 1972 map redesign, see this map guide on subway.com.ru. The site nycsubway.org has a great scan of the 1972 map. This map was discontinued in 1979, so I have very vague memories of it. Looking at this map now I offer the following observations:

  • Central Park is a square, and a tiny one at that.
  • Roosevelt Island and Randalls Island are completely missing from the map. I was going to point out the missing Tramway link but that was not built until 1976.
  • The transfer at 42nd St between the 8th Ave IND (The A, C, E lines) and the Times Square station is not drawn. I’m fairly certain this existed way before the 70′s, and it would be something important to know.
  • The Grand St station is on the East River!
  • Queens appears to be very small and it appears to have a lot of subway coverage. Even looking at maps in the 80′s and 90′s, the subway coverage of Queens is quite distorted. To see what it really looks like, have a look at this mashup. Queens is much larger than the map indicates, and most of it is not covered by subway.

In learning about this history, the most amusing thing is the quote “There’s no sense in using a transit map for geography lesson.” That is exactly what I used it for, and it has served me well to this day!

Written by Patrick Peralta

September 4th, 2006 at 1:49 pm

Posted in New York