The New York Observer

App Genius Develops Pixable for Android in Freakishly Short Time

juan-carlosDesigning apps is a bit like pleasing two siblings: either you create the iPhone version first and risk pissing off Android users, or vice versa.

Fortunately for Pixable, that is no longer the case. The previously iPhone-only company announced at noon today that their photo-sorting app will be available in Android form, too.

Inaki Berenguer, co-founder of the four-year-old social media company, said that creating an Android app was always on his agenda, but that the company had just never gotten around to it. “The reality is that it was in the road map but we didn’t feel any urgency to build it right now,” Mr. Berenguer told Betabeat. (Click here to read more)

Hotelier Gets Claustrophobic With Tomb-like Rooms

TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Natalie HUET, USWe are as fond of baby animals and those brightly-colored mini food erasers as much as the next person. But our affections are decidedly more muted when it comes to small hotel rooms. Certainly there’s something cute about the teensy spaces, but it’s one of those you-won’t-know-until-you-try-it kind of things. And we’re not sure that we want to try it.

That said, tourists will have more opportunities than ever before. BD Hotels, the developer responsible for opening the first tiny hotel (or pod—if you want to put a positive spin on it) in Manhattan in 2007, is opening up a new location in Murray Hill, reports The New York Times. The 366-room hotel, Pod 39, will be slightly larger than its Midtown East sibling, Pod Hotel, and it will have more amenities. (Click here to read more)

Give Us Your Tired, Your Weary Buildings: Ellis Island Named to Endangered Building List


Ellis Island Hospital Complex To Be RestoredPlants and animals aren’t the only things that are endangered—buildings are, too! Or so says the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


And although the number of endangered historic buildings is nowhere close to the whopping 2,000 endangered plant and animal species, endangered anything is never a good thing, which is why the Trust releases a list of the top 11 endangered historic buildings each year.


Since the annual list was started 25 years ago, only seven New York sites and buildings have been classified as endangered—thanks to the city’s Landmarks Law, in part—though that seventh was just added this year.They are: Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront, the Hudson River Valley, John Coltrane’s Huntington ranch house, the Peach Bridge Neighborhood in Buffalo, certain turn-of-the-century buildings in Harlem, the Lower East Side, and this year’s addition, the Ellis Island Hospital Complex. (Click here to read more)

Jaded! Williamsburg Still Waiting for the City to Build Its Promised Park on the Waterfront

2033883615_eef51f0e0c_zWilliamsburg residents are pissed, enraged, and furious—and not just because the Foster the People Summerstage show is sold out. No, this is a problem with a park on this side of the river, namely one the city has refused to build.

“I feel like the city has let us down,” Laura Treciokas, co-chairwoman of the Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park told DNAonfo. She likes to take her one-year-old child to the park, she said, adding that they are “avid users of park space.” But, because the city has still not rezoned a 30 acre open waterfront space, which they pledged to turn it into a park in 2005, Ms. Treciokas complains that “what exists is very crowded” and going to the park is now “tough.” (Click here to read more)

Going to the Dogs: More and More Apartments Have Pooch-Pampering Amenities

Pooch Hotel Hollywood Grand OpeningIf The Observer were an oracle, we’d prophesize this: dogs will one day take over the world. First, they’ll get the right to vote. Then they’ll run for office. Next will come the wars and eventually human beings will become their bitches (open to interpretation).

But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Perhaps we got a little too excited about last week’s science-fiction-themed New Yorker.

We hope this is the case but one thing’s for sure: dogs have increasingly more sway in society. And we don’t just mean with entrepreneurs or boutique owners. They’ve now got developers and building managers clasped between their furry paws, too. (Click here to read more)

Another Dry Summer? A Plea for Drinking in Public

Picnic Basket and Red Picnic Blanket, Chile

There are two types of people in this world: those who think that alcohol creates problems and those who think that alcohol solves them. Most people believe in the latter, but some believe in the former. And for some reason that “some” always happens to be elected officials. Are we lucky, or what?

Because of this unfortunate coincidence, New Yorkers are looking at a mighty dry summer. Put away that flask, leave your portable wine carafe at home, and stuff a Smart Water into that drink holder on your beach chair because there will be no public drinking allowed.

(Click here to read more)

Michael Stipe is Losing His Religion…and His Loft, Yours for $11 M.

14139_aMidlife crises tend to evoke the same images: red sports cars, hair plugs, letters of resignation. But not if you’re a rock star. Not if you’re Michael Stipe.

After six years of presumably felicitous dwelling in his two-story penthouse loft home and studio on Canal Street in SoHo, Mr. Stipe, the former lead singer and lyricist of now-disbanded R.E.M., is calling it quits and, like most retirees, moving south. And by south we mean downtown Manhattan.

When his band of 31 years split up last September, Mr. Stipe had a revelation, a change of heart, a loss of religion, if you will.

“I wake up in the morning thinking of sculpture, not lyrics,” Mr. Stipe told The Wall Street Journal. “Lyrics are too hard.” (Click here to read more)

She Can’t Kazakhstan It! Plaza Patsy Denies Hubby’s Entreaties

14-2n025-plaza1-c-300x300Just when we thought we could count on some titillating, juicy scandals a la The Real Housewives of Kazakhstan, Maira Nazarbayev, the Plaza filcher, has let us down.

According to the Post, Ms. Nazarbayev, the (debatably) ex-wife of Bolat Nazarbayeva, is not, in fact, single. “I consider myself married and in a good relationship with my husband,” she told the tab. “And I’ve never seen a document related to divorce.”

Uh-huh. Mr. Nazarbayev sure is a forgiving guy then if he’s stayed with Ms. Nazarbayev despite the allegations that she and her son conned him out of their $20 million 4,000 square-foot apartment at the Plaza earlier this year.

(Click here to read more)

Sinking Williamsburg: Pols Plead for Seven-Year-Old Waterfront Park

image320x240Five-hundred years ago, Council Member Stephen Levin would have rode in on a horse, tooted his trumpet, and read from a really really long scroll. But instead, he held a hearing.

“The community wants to know why it has taken this long to move these open space projects forward,” he said in a press release decrying the city’s slow action on a slew of promised parks in his district.

One of the open space project is particularly irksome, a 2005 plan by the city to turn a 30-acre site along the waterfront in Williamsburg into an as-yet undeveloped park. “The community deserves to see a plan to build the parks that we were promised,” Mr. Levin added.

(Click here to read more)

How To Make It in Tribeca: Be Sleek Yet Just Historical Enough

3130093214_dcd3802992_bHistoric designations are like monkey traps (yes, these exist): they work in the beginning, but eventually their intended targets learn how to out-smart them. Case in point: development in Tribeca.

For years, the neighborhood’s “historic designation has helped preserve [Tribeca’s] architectural character and low-density environs,” the Wall Street Journal writes, but developers are increasingly finding ways to get around the zoning restrictions.  Spurred in part by buyers’ high demand to live in the low-density, somewhat remote area, brokers and developers have lined up a number of new projects that are set to open in the next 18 to 24 months. While some of these new projects are loft and warehouse conversions, most of them are ground-up construction projects.  And boy are there a lot of them.

(Click here to read more)

Absent the Mayor, Gracie Mansion Still Needs a New Kitchen

graciemansionIf Gracie Mansion were our friend, we’d lightly slap her face and tell her to snap out of it. “Put down that compact mirror, girl,” we’d chide. “You don’t need botox or permanent eyeliner tattoos. You look great as is. Don’t go changing yourself for some man.” She’d then probably start crying and wailing, “Why, oh, why doesn’t he love me?” at which point we’d start feeling awkward and might hand her a box of Kleenex to shut her up.

Because the thing is, we don’t know why Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn’t love you, Gracie. We don’t know why he refuses to live inside your beauteous walls (well, maybe we do), but the thing is, changing how you look won’t help. It won’t bring your man home. You’re wasting your time, squandering your money, and becoming a cliché. And yet, we know you won’t listen to us. We know you’ll do it anyways; we know you’ll have your kitchen remodeled.

And whatdoyouknow? We were right. (Click here to read more)

TechStars NYC: Where Are They Now?

We feel a little guilty. We’ve been fickle and easily distracted. Last year, the first two TechStars NYC classes were all we could talk about. But when their programs ended, we kind of forgot about them and directed our attention to the newest TechStars NYC class. Shame on us!

But back in the day, those first 23 companies were all the rage. Like shiny new toys, they were exciting and fascinating. There was even a reality television show about them. So even though their three-month, highly-competitive startup accelerator program has ended, these companies are still around. They didn’t just vanish into thin air. (Well, some of them did).

But all of this begs the question, where are these companies now? How have they fared in the big, bad world? Did they flop? Or surpass expectations?

(Click here to read more)

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