Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Best Sex Shops in New York City

By Nicole Caldwell


This bicoastal chain has made masturbation and prop-aided sex mainstream, with workshops, classes and even a monthly “Babeland Brunch,” featuring free coffee, muffins and sex talk. Babeland’s brightly lit Brooklyn location includes a diaper-changing table and aisles wide enough for strollers. For prudes still shy in spite of the store’s ├╝berfriendly staff and mid- to upper-class clientele, it offers private shopping by appointment—or delivery within three hours for $30. 94 Rivington St at Ludlow St (212-375-1701, babeland.com) • 43 Mercer St between Broome and Grand Sts (212-966-2120) • 462 Bergen St between Flatbush and Fifth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-638-3820)

This boutique caters to rubber fetishists, dominatrices and anyone who loves to get all tied up. Headquartered in Amsterdam, The 1,300-square-foot Manhattan branch of this Amsterdam-based company is a cornucopia of impeccably constructed rubber lingerie, bodysuits, pants, collars, whips, masks—even leather-suspension body bags. Such high quality doesn’t come cheap, though: A standard rubber harness with external dildo starts at $185. Expect an intimidating atmosphere if you’re uninitiated, and heaven on earth if you are. 144 Orchard St at Rivington St (212-466-0814, demask.com)

Read the rest of this article here.

(Originally published in Time Out New York, June 29, 2009)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New iPhone Exceeds Expectations

by Nicole Caldwell

Apple’s June 19 release of the newest iPhone exceeded sales forecasts of 500,000 in its first weekend, with numbers matching those of the phone’s previous incarnation last year, according to the company.

“We sold over a million of our Apple 3GS model over the weekend,” Natalie Kerris, a public relations representative from Apple, told the Times Square Chronicle. “Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning,” Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, added in a June 22 press release. “With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever.”

Expectations for popularity of the 3GS were likely diminished due to a smaller international release, fewer technological advances, and increasing competition in the smartphone market.

The 3GS was released in eight countries on its first day, as compared to its predecessor, which was released in 21. The 3GS also comes equipped with fewer advances, notably the capability to capture and edit video, the implementation of voice commands, and double the speed of last year’s iPhone 3G. The phone is, however, still unable to run multiple programs at once.
The 3GS is the third version of Apple’s smartphone. The company has lately been under pressure to add new features to its iPhone in the face of major smartphone advances from companies such as Palm Inc.'s Pre phone and Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry Tour.

At least 500 people lined up before Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue opened on the 19th, and a steady stream of customers visited Apple stores internationally. The 3GS costs $199 for a 16GB model; the new 32GB model costs $299 with a mandatory two-year contract. The iPhone 3G is has dropped in price to $99 for the 8GB model; perhaps an attempt to stay competitive with other brands’ less expensive versions of smartphones.

Delays faced while trying to activate the new phones were met with Apple offering $30 iTunes gift cards to those customers. The offer was made in an e-mail by Apple alerting its customers to the delays, and explaining these were caused by high traffic and system problems.

[Originally published in The Times Square Chronicle, June 24, 2009]

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spotlight On... Solar One

By Nicole Caldwell

Stuyvesant Cove Park is a green space resting atop 1.9 acres of Manhattan waterfront that once held a concrete factory. The native plants and grasses stretching lazily along the East River at 23rd Street attract and sustain native bird species and butterflies; and offer a fitting backdrop to New York City’s most cutting-edge green space: Solar One.

The building—and park—is maintained by a nonprofit of the same name striving simply to “empower people of all ages with the vision, knowledge, and resources to attain a more environmentally sound and sustainable future.” It’s a microcosm for what Solar One’s next big project, Solar Two, could be for all of New York City when it’s constructed on the same space and becomes the first self-standing, carbon-neutral, net-zero energy structure in the five boroughs.

Read the rest of this post here.

[Originally published in Green Edge NYC's The Leaflet, July 2009 issue]

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cross-Blogging Phenomenon: ""

About six months ago, I submitted a photo I snapped in Tijuana to an amazing blog devoted solely to documenting extraneous quotation mark usage. Got an e-mail this morning saying my photo would be featured! Lo and behold :

Thursday, June 4, 2009

More Bang For Your Bike

Photo/Nicole Caldwell

Take full advantage of these sweet summer months by tuning up that old, rusty bike of yours and hitting the streets of New York City. If you've never repaired a bike before and have anxiety over sticking your fingers in those chains and spokes, sign up for classes from Time’s Up!, where you can learn basic skills so you never have to -gasp!- carry all that bent metal on your back.

You can get biking directions anywhere in the five boroughs at Ride the City, a Web site devoted to providing cyclists with safe, safer, or just plain fast ways to get around on two wheels. NYC Bike Maps is a great guide for planning a fun bike route, and Transportation Alternatives will set you up with cheap bike shops, bicycling laws, and—when you break all of those—even cycling lawyers.

Read the rest of this article here.

[Originally published at Examiner.com]