O-Bits: New York City Ghosts Edition

The November issue of The Believer features a A selection of the artist Chris Russell’s “Subway Ghosts” photographs.  They’re sketches of various straphangers that he draws on a transparency, then inserts them into his photographs by the simplest way imaginable: holding the transparency in front of his cellphone while taking pictures during his daily commute.  He compares them to Taoist or Buddhist cave narratives, “in which some unwitting person wanders into a plane of immortals.”  The resulting images are both haunting and wry.

Chris Russell

If, on the other hand, you want to encounter some real ghosts on the NYC subway, New York Tour1 offers a tour of the haunted subways of New York. They’ll show you were all the strange—perhaps paranormal—activities on IRT, IND, and BMT lines. You might see August Belmont’s ghost train haunting the Astor Place station; or maybe you’ll catch George McCallen, the city’s Mayor when the first subway opened, sitting in the engineer’s booth of a 6 train; even if you don’t meet the member of the Leni Lenape tribe, said to haunt the old City Hall station, which dug up Native American burial grounds, the sight of the ornate old station—now unused—should be enough.

A game of “trust” went terribly wrong in New York yesterday, and a U.N. diplomat fell to his death. The New York Post reports that Julian Simpson, 30, part of the Australian delegation, and his friends were on the roof of his apartment building in the Lower East Side, checking out the Empire State Building, which was lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate the Australian vote on same-sex marriage. They’d been drinking at dinner, and Simpson started swinging one of the women around. When her husband objected, Simpson offered to play the “trust” game, where someone sits on a ledge and leans back, trusting someone will catch them before they fall. He sat on his fire escape, and leaned back.  The other man tried to catch him, missed, and Simpson fell seven stories. The police say no charges will be made, but we’re surprised a diplomat didn’t remember the Russian maxim Ronald Reagan liked to repeat: “Trust, but verify.”





Steven Mirkin

Steven Mirkin’s diverse career has taken him from politics to pop culture to high art, offering him a front row seat to some of the most fascinating events and personalities of our time: writing speeches, fundraising appeals and campaign materials for Ed Koch, John Heinz and independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson; chronicling the punk/new wave scenes in New York and London; interviewing musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon and Buck Owens; profiling modern masters Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader and Jonathan Safran Foer; and writing for TV shows including 21, The Chamber, Let's Make A Deal, and Rock Star: INXS.

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