I Love NYC Street Fairs, 2018 Edition

There will be 166 street fairs in Manhattan this year… down just a hair from 168 last year. But really, who’s counting?

2017 9th Ave International Food Festival

2017 9th Ave International Food Festival

They’re still great fun for those of us who love street food and cheap wallets and people watching. (And still an annoyance for cab drivers and others who find them a hindrance to getting around town.)

Here, once again, is my annual Manhattan Street Fair schedule and map.

As always, the information is here to help you find them or avoid them, depending on your inclination.

And, of course, I once again include the standard disclaimers. The information is presented as is, without any warranties, and always with the possibility that the event producers may change their plans at the last minute. There are a few outer-borough fairs, mainly gay prides. If anyone is interested in adding in a more complete catalog of outer-borough fairs, or, for that matter, using the code for the database for their own purposes, you are invited to contact me at .

 Principal data sources for this map are:

I Love NYC Street Fairs, 2017 edition

Another year, come and gone, with no posts. Some day, I’ll figure out what this blog is for–but until then, it makes a good home for my annual Manhattan Street Fair schedule and map.

20150516_144120As always, the information is here to help you find them or avoid them, depending on your inclination.

And, of course, I once again include the standard disclaimers. The information is presented as is, without any warranties, and always with the possibility that the event producers may change their plans at the last minute. There are a few outer-borough fairs, mainly gay prides. If anyone is interested in adding in a more complete catalog of outer-borough fairs, or, for that matter, using the code for the database for their own purposes, you are invited to contact me at .

Have fun! Enjoy the food and the people watching! Buy a cheap bed sheet set!

 Principal data sources for this map are:

I Love NYC Street Fairs, 2016 edition

20150516_144120This, unfortunately, has become my annual post to my old blog. But at least I write that much.

It’s time again, ladies and gentlemen, to remind you of my annual effort at compiling and presenting all of Manhattan’s street fairs for the year. As always, the information is here to help you find them or avoid them, depending on your inclination.

And, of course, I once again include the standard disclaimers. The information is presented as is, without any warranties, and always with the possibility that the event producers may change their plans at the last minute. Also, tracking just Manhattan’s street fairs is enough of a project as it is. If anyone is interested in adding in outer borough fairs, or, for that matter, using the code for the database for their own purposes, you are invited to contact me at .

Have fun! Enjoy the food and the people watching! Buy some socks!

 Principal data sources for this map are:

I Love NYC Street Fairs, 2015 edition

Love ’em or hate ’em. If you live in New York City–particularly, in Manhattan–you cannot escape them.

20140622_135543From May through October, there are at least three of four every weekend–sometimes more.

With several exceptions, they all have the same food vendors (sometimes with four or five booths scattered along a single fair!).  They all have the same craft-and-T-shirt booths.

But they are also–to me–a lot of fun. I go to at least two a month for the fresh-cut watermelon and/or mango, for the Mozzarepas, and for the unparalleled people watching.

But it’s okay with me if you hate them, find them disruptive, whatever.

This map is for you, too, so you can avoid them.

The map opens pre-filtered to the coming week. You can see all the events for the year by clicking the [Clear Filters] button, and you can filter and sort to your heart’s content using the header, where column widths can also be adjusted. Click on a table row to see a popup indicating that event on the map. Additional notes and a list of street fair organizers and production companies are hidden behind the map itself. You can reveal them by clicking the arrow button at the top right.

I wish I had time to add street fairs for all the other New York boroughs… or for that matter, street fairs throughout the U.S. or around the world. This interface, which I built last year, is suitable for that use. If you’re interested in adding street fair information to this database–or using the interface on your own website, feel free to contact me: . Same address if you have any corrections or additions for this database.

 Principal data sources for this map are:

I Love NYC Street Fairs, 2014 edition

Whether, like me, you love street fairs or, like some New Yorkers, you hate them, this is the only map I know of that collects all of Manhattan’s street events into one place so you can find (or avoid) them.

This year’s NYC Street Fair map looks quite a bit different from previous years:

 

Google’s newly-launched  Maps Engine was intended to make creating your own map–like my annual NYC street fair map–simpler and more powerful. But in practice, it meant essentially re-doing my map from scratch (almost) to produce something that, in the end, would be more cluttered and confusing for the user.

So I took this as a sign that it was time for me to do something I’d intended to do for a couple of years: build my own database and mapping system. I studied up on Leaflet and the latest version of DHTMLX and dove in. You see the result above.

The map opens pre-filtered to the coming week. You can see all the events for the year by clicking the [Clear Filters] button, and you can filter and sort to your heart’s content using the header, where column widths can also be adjusted. Click on a table row to see a popup indicating that event on the map. Additional notes and a list of street fair organizers and production companies are hidden behind the map itself. You can reveal them by clicking the arrow button at the top right.

Please email any corrections to me at

Principal data sources for this map are:

Other sources are indicated in the notes column.

 

I Love NYC Street Fairs, 2013 edition

Another spring has arrived with its showers sweet, and so has another edition of my annual New York City Street Fair Map and List.


Full Google My Map with event listings in chronological order

Like last year, I made this year’s map by editing the previous year’s. But to fix some glitches, I actually hand edited the kml file. Now the dates and other descriptive material will (I hope) appear correctly in the mobile version of Google Maps, and the color codes for each month will be consistent.

For those viewing the map in Google Maps Mobile, please note that only the 100 events closest to your current geographical location will appear–regardless of whether they’re coming up soon or in later months. To see all 137 events (as of this writing), scroll down to the bottom of the listing. The remaining events will load, in date order.

The biggest producer of New York street fairs, Mardi Gras Festival Productions, was very late in putting its schedule up this year, and even so the slate has many TBA events currently listed. I’ll try to circle back later this spring and fill in the holes. Since this is a public collaborative map, you are welcome to do so, as well.

Once again, as with previous years’ maps, you’re encouraged to click through the link beneath the map to visit the Google My Map page, where a sidebar shows all the fairs in chronological order (the map is much less useful without this sidebar). The map is not only great for finding NYC street fairs (if you love them like I do), but also for avoiding the crowds and traffic–which is what my partner mostly uses it for.

I Love NYC Street Fairs, 2012 edition

I still love New York City street fairs, and I still find these maps very handy for getting my weekly dose, so I wanted to make one for 2012.

There’s a lot of work involved in collating the dates and locations from several web sites, and there’s no straightforward way around that. But I was hoping to at least automate the process of mapping that data. I looked around at several different systems for doing this and concluded that Google Fusion Tables would be the best tool. It comes in two tiers: simple UI platform and more a complex and powerful API platform. Unfortunately, I concluded that a) automating this project from table to map would require using the API and b) the API is somewhat beyond my humble coding skills.

So instead I took my very wise partner’s advice and just updated last year’s map, line by line. It proved to be easier than I had feared, and here’s the result.


Full Google My Map with event listings in chronological order

As with last year’s map, this includes every fair in Manhattan (only) that I could discover, including those from the three main producers plus Taste of Tribeca, Gay Pride, the BBQ Block Party, and more. It’s a collaborative map, so if you know of other festivals or want to add street fairs from other boroughs, be my guest.

All the fairs are color coded by month. Click through the link beneath the map to visit the My Map page, where a sidebar shows all the fairs in chronological order. The map is useful not only to find NYC street fairs, but also to avoid the crowds and traffic–which is what my partner mostly uses it for.

Link of the Week: A Pronouncing Vocabulary

Time now for another resource on pronunciation, the news announcer’s abiding obsession.

For this one, you have to set your wayback machine to 1857, the publication date of Elias Longley’s Pronouncing Vocabulary of Geographical and Personal Names, available (in the public domain) through Google Books. As the name suggests, this 205 page work contains extensive lists of pronunciations for place names, then personal names, then a shorter catalog of scriptural names. Because of its long-ago publication date, the book–especially the personal names part–is useful mainly for names of note at or prior to the mid-nineteenth century. It also uses an obsolete typographic phonography system (lots of funny Greek-looking characters) that is a little hard to decipher at first, but that is well-explained in the introduction and in a summary table immediately following.

For all its limitations, I find Longley’s Pronouncing Vocabulary a handy resource for names and places that often appear without pronunciations in dictionaries and encyclopedias, or without authority in many of the online sources I’ll be mentioning in future entries.

Link of the Week: Google Translate

One of Google’s many boons to foreign reporting has been its Google Translate service. There are several ways to access it. Google searches, for example, include a “Translate” link for any website that’s detected as being in a foreign language. And if you use Google Toolbar in your browser, it will put a ‘Translate’ control bar at the top of any page you visit that’s detected as being in a foreign language (including some that aren’t really foreign).

If neither of those cases apply to you, you can just go to the Google Translate page and type the URL of the foreign language website into the text box. Pick the source language (or let Google figure it out automagically) and your language, and POW, you have what’s usually a pretty good machine translation of the material. You can also type free-form text into the box (‘Where is the bathroom?’) and Google will translate that (‘Waar is de badkamer?’), adding a handy ‘Listen’ button so you can hear the pronunciation.

All this convenience and power comes with one big red-flag caution: It’s still a machine translation, which means it works well on simple, straightforward phrases, but is terrible at translating slang, idiom, and cultural context.

In the journalistic context, that means you can use Google Translate (or other machine translators) to get the gist of a foreign-language article and decide whether to pursue it further. But if you want to use any facts or quotes, machine translation isn’t good enough. For that, you’ll still (as of this writing) need to find a real, live fluent speaker of the language to translate it for you.

My first post on writing numbers for broadcast

How numbers are written out is one of the quickest ways to determine at a glance whether copy is intended for print/online or for broadcast. Numbers in broadcast scripts, in most cases, look nothing like those you’re used to reading on the page/screen, for the simple reason that the broadcast writer tries to relieve the news announcer of as much mental effort as possible, so she can concentrate on diction and performance. In short, you want to remove all the speed bumps that inhibit the anchor’s comprehension.

Also, spelling out numbers helps to get a more accurate time calculation from computerized word- or character-counting systems.

There are a few differences of opinion among broadcasters, but here’s my handy guide to spelling out numbers. They apply only to American-style broadcast writing.

In a nutshell, you are trying to transcribe the way the figure would be spoken aloud–within these parameters.

  • Spell out ‘one’ through ‘twenty.’
  • Use digits from ’21’ through ‘999,’ except…
  • Spell out round numbers from ‘twenty’ through ‘ninety.’
  • Use the words ‘thousand,’ ‘million,’ ‘billion,’ etc. where they would be spoken: “four-million;” “21-thousand-450.”
  • For a conversational style–between 1,100 and 10,000–use the word ‘hundred’ where it would be spoken, especially for round numbers: “45-hundred;” “62-hundred-and-50.”
  • Don’t use a dollar sign ($), cent sign (¢), or percent sign (%). Spell them out as they would be spoken: “six-million dollars;” “87 cents;” “sixty-percent.”
  • Don’t use a decimal point (.). Spell it out as it would be spoken: “62-point-five million.”
  • None of the above applies to years. Write them with Arabic numerals, as usual.
  • For ordinals (“first,” “53rd”) all the same rules apply, except of course you use the ordinal abbreviations (“st,” “nd,” “rd,” “th”) where they mix with Arabic numerals.

I’ll discuss the question of precision (i.e. how accurately to represent a lengthy number) in a future post.

Thoughts on writing the lede

Thousands, no, tens of thousands of words have been written about how to write a news lede (or lead, or leed). Whole forests have been felled. So rather than recap a lot of that same information, let me suggest you get the basics by visiting some of the sites linked to in the lede sentence of this post, and instead I will just offer a few supplemental thoughts of my own.

  • If you haven’t already, go read my previous post on the use of tense in ledes.
  • Likewise, my post on names in ledes.
  • Now, in addition: A lede should always feature the ‘grabbiest’ element of the story. Usually, that means featuring the conflict (if any) expressed or implied in the narrative. Other times, it means featuring the ‘twist’ element, or the celebrity name, or some other ‘sexy’ aspect.
  • Ledes, more so than any other part of a broadcast news script, must be in the active voice, if at all possible. (This differs a bit from print, where the important thing is to have the newsmaker as the subject of the sentence, which sometimes forces you into the passive voice.)
  • Ledes should orient the audience, not disorient it. This means different things depending on the audience. In the case of OutQ News, we run a service heard nationwide, so every lede must locate the story in a state or major city. For a local broadcast news operation that does breaking news around the clock, it might instead mean always including a reference to the time the news event occurred.
  • For spot news, such as we do here, only a straight lede is suitable. Creative-type ledes, such as the delayed lede which pushes the ‘nut’ (i.e. point) of the story down several paragraphs, are a no-go.

I’ll include more thoughts on ledes in future entries on related topics–or just as ideas come to me. That’s the great thing about a blog.

Questions? Feel free to add a comment below or [encode_email email=”” display=”email me”].

Link of the Week: FOIA requests as easy as Pop-Tarts™

I’ve never had to actually file a Freedom of Information request. But I’ve come close enough in the past that I had to research how to do it. Behold, the Federal Open Government Guide, published by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. It includes a very detailed but easy-to-read guide on what FOIA is, how it works, and how to formulate and file a request. To make it truly easy as pie (or PopTarts™), you’ll find on this page a link to a tick-the-boxes automated request letter generator for federal and state FOIA requests.

If I ever do need to file a FOIA request, this is where I’m starting.

Says versus said

We’ve already taken some time to talk about tense (especially as it relates to the lede), but I wanted to spend an additional minute on the special case of the verb “to say.”

In general, the preferred tense for verbs of expression (say, claim, note, etc.) in broadcast newswriting is the straight present.

20-year-old Tim Spriggs says, “We need a gay-straight alliance at St. John’s for the same reason that there are organizations for other minorities.”

This works most of the time, because most often we’re describing a recent statement that reflects the speaker’s current views (as above), or the current state of affairs.

But it doesn’t always work. Sometimes a quote or paraphrase is part of a narrative that you’ve already explicitly set in the past, using the past tense. In that case, it breaks the narrative thread for you to suddenly switch into the present tense for a quote or paraphrase.

In the actual OutQ News story from which the quote above was drawn, the two preceding sentences were this:

Some twenty students sat on the St. John’s University Great Lawn making rainbow gay rights posters. They told the New York Daily News they’ve been pushing for a campus GSA for years.

We’ve already set up an event from the preceding Friday, and any quotes or paraphrases emerge from within that narrative. Thus, we’re sort of stuck with putting everything (everything within the narrative, that is) in the past tense.

But further down in the same story, we escape the little narrative about the protest on the lawn to get a quote from a university spokesman. He spoke recently, and what he said reflects the school’s current view.

But a university spokesman says St. John’s has gone as far as it can to support gay students, considering its Catholic mission and values.

So in a nutshell: Use the present (says, notes, claims) unless they’re part of a story you’ve set in the past. In that case, stick with the tense of that story.

So-called ‘writers’ misuse ‘so-called’

Because it actually has two quite different meanings, one of them loaded, the phrase ‘so-called’ is particularly tricky to use in news copy, where we’re supposed to be neutral.

Most people know without thinking about it that ‘so-called’ has two meanings. Both are a spoken way to signal quotation marks. But the first signals jargon the listener may not be familiar with, or sometimes an imposed nickname, as in this example.

Republican Stacey Campfield is the sponsor of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill–it’s the same measure he unsuccessfully pushed for six years as a member of the state House.

The second meaning is the one that jumps to mind whenever the phrase is used without context.

The so-called ‘healing centers’ are really nothing more than a con game, preying on the desperate.

Of course, it’s this usage–loaded with sarcasm–that should be avoided in straight news copy.

But because it’s the same phrase, and the context doesn’t always make it crystal clear which meaning is intended (see my first example), it’s generally better to avoid its use altogether. Luckily, there are a few good alternatives for the neutral, jargon-introducing version.

Republican Stacey Campfield is the sponsor of what some are calling the “Don’t Say Gay” bill–it’s the same measure he unsuccessfully pushed for six years as a member of the state House.

Other alternatives that can be used (depending on the context) include “…what’s known as…” and “self-described.”

Add a comment if you think of any others.

what some are calling

Link of the Week: U.S. House Floor Proceedings

One thing we do fairly often at Sirius XM OutQ News is watch (and record) floor video from the U.S. House of Representatives. Because that’s being done while we write, edit, take bathroom breaks, etc., it often happens that we’ll miss some detail. Even if you’re watching closely, action moves so quickly in the House that it’s common for something to fly by too fast to note.

This page on the U.S. House website is the handy fix for that. It includes one week’s worth of every single official action of the House (votes, introductions of bills and amendments, referrals to committee, and so on), logged in near-real time. It can be a real life-saver if you need to know the yeas and nays on some bill or amendment, including the roll call.