Posts filed under ‘Design’

Johnny hits the big time with Woodwise


We are incredibly excited to announce that Johnny has begun to blog at ApartmentTherapy. He is the man behind a new column, Woodwise, on which he shares his lessons in carpentry and woodworking.

Congratulations, Johnny!


August 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

“So a biker walks into a hotel…”


Paris. London. Hong Kong. Milwaukee?  Recently Craig, Kat, and I had the pleasure of staying at the Iron Horse Hotel, which we agreed was one of the best hotels we’ve spent a night in. Opened in October last year, the Iron Horse was founded by real estate developer Tim Dixon and is the first upscale hotel geared for business travelers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike, which makes sense given that Milwaukee hosts many conventions and is home to Harley-Davidson. Its name comes from the term Native Americans used for the train as it crossed the prairies, and today the Iron Horse is located alongside a historic yet active railroad.


August 6, 2009 at 10:31 am

3 Years, 3 Months, 8 Days.

highlineopening2That is how long we have gazed out of our window at the High Line, dreaming of the day when we might have morning meetings amidst greenery.

IT’S OPEN. Once forlorn, it is now resplendent, and we had a chance to take a stroll on the park’s opening day yesterday. The pictures speak for themselves, but in a nutshell, we thought it was fabulous and well worth the wait.

Huge congratulations go to Joshua David and Richard Hammond, who conceived the idea and formed Friends of the High Line in 1999. Designed by Field Operations (Jame’s Corner’s landscaping design firm) and Diller Scofidio+Renfro, beautiful renderings of the High Line have graced the pages of NY publications for years. Since then, budgets have been slashed and snazzy features have been sacrificed. Nevertheless, the creative juices kept flowing, and there are many elements (undulating and pronged paving, oversized rolling lounge chairs, water features, plants you have never seen before) that will surprise and delight. We particularly love the re-introduction of wild grasses that were found on the High Line when it was deserted.

Come and see for yourself! –Kat

June 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Battle Of The (Randomly Generated) Bands


Before checking out for the weekend, we thought we’d share something silly and wonderful with you. A Flickr user going by the name of “Bishopia” has sparked a new viral trend with his “CD Cover Meme,” a challenge to create your own randomly generated album cover. Don’t have a drop of musical talent? Who cares!

First, click the random article button on Wikipedia. Voila! There’s your band’s name. Second, select the last line of the last quote on QuotationPage’s random option. Bam! There’s your album title. Finally, choose the third picture off Flickr’s “Explore the Last Seven Days” page. Ta da! You have a (fake) band, a (fake) album and (fake) cover art.

This meme immediately reminded me of my colleague Kat’s recent “random delight” post, only now, by inviting people to design and submit original artwork, the randomness phenomena has matured into something new: a call to creative action. Judging from the thousands of impressive submissions, people are taking this silly challenge quite seriously.

— Johnny

Click through for People Are Amazing’s CD art… (more…)

February 20, 2009 at 8:22 pm Leave a comment

High Line Update #4: On The Fence


Last week, my colleagues and I noticed the addition of an oddly imposing structure atop the High Line. Upon closer inspection, it appears that workers have installed a security fence on the section directly above 20th Street. While I couldn’t find any information addressing the fence specifically, the High Line’s website informed me that, “the first section of the High Line (Gansevoort Street to 20th Street) is currently on budget, and is projected to open in the spring of 2009.” Using my cunning deductive abilities, I’ve concluded that this is a temporary border fence to keep this spring’s visitors from stumbling onto the construction of the second section.

Other progress since our last update includes new park benches (one is pictured above, covered for winter) and, in the background, the emergent shell of Cary Tamarkin’s 456 West 19th St. building. We’ll be sure to update you with any new progress!


Previous High Line updates: #3 – At Last Grass, #2 – High Line Sunshine, #1 – Our Dependence On Foreign Soil

February 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

The Amazing Year That Was

Obama crowd

2008 was an unforgettable year for us at People Are Amazing. Aside from Kat getting married, and me getting typhus, we launched this very blog and (despite our best efforts), it is still up and running! Since then, we’ve been privileged to interview a number of amazing people from Kalliopi Kohas, owner of Greek pine sap purveyor Mastiha to Tony Dusko, 5th grade teacher by day, whimsical web animator by night. A personal highpoint was hearing the wise words of 90 year-old Dave Crawford on growing up during the Great Depression and how best to navigate a crumbling economy.

But the recession didn’t keep us from visiting some intriguing places. John took a trip to Brooklyn’s own Fine and Raw for a taste of artisanal, dairy/sugar/preservative-free chocolate. He brought back some perishable, refrigerated samples and we made sure they never reached room temperature! Kat found herself in the Mid-West wandering the aisles of Cincinatti’s own supermarket/amusement park Jungle Jim’s. Food, it seems, is a minor obsession at P.A.A.. Kat’s post about local panini-makers S’Wich found its way onto foodie blog Eater in May. I wrote about an awful new bottled tap water I came across at a bodega; in turn, that company curiously linked to our post, “Tap’NY Must Think You’re Stupid,” in their press section.

Surprisingly, our most popular post ended up being about a miscolored canine. In early May, I was experimenting with ways to boost traffic and I noticed that the search term “green puppy” was “volcanic” in popularity on Google Trends. Apparently, a Labrador with a pea-colored coat had been born in New Orleans and really people wanted to see the pictures. I posted the two images available at the time, unaware that moments later the popular site Buzzfeed would link to our post. Within a matter of minutes, we had thousands of viewers visiting our humble little blog. Thus, the “Green Puppy Effect” was born.

Obviously, you never quite know where a year will take you. This time last year, People Are Amazing didn’t even exist. But between blogging about diabetic rappers and Colorado grease thieves, we were thrilled to ride the ups and downs of 2008. Luckily for us, amazing things are always on the horizon and 2009 is sure to provide hearty fodder for the blog. Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

— Johnny

January 12, 2009 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

Pattern-finding and Random Delight

It’s well-documented that we are in an age of unsurpassed information and data. Luckily, technology has not only created the swirling mess, it has also made sense of it, resulting in everything from Google Earth to Newsmap. Dynamic duo Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar have emerged as thought leaders in the field, and making a splash with their “We Feel Fine” project (pictured above left), which aggregates and maps how the blogosphere is “feeling” at any one time.

Given the rising importance of “pattern-finding,” I was initially surprised when my friend Paul Ratliff shared with me the concept of “Random Delight.” His theory is that there is a counter trend to pattern-finding — technology is also helping to push completely arbitrary bits of information that we seem to enjoy on a playful and instinctive level. Great examples are: the Beacon project, that projects real-time websearch terms on the wall; Urban Spoon’s iPhone restaurant finder application, which has a “slot machine” function (pictured above right) that selects a restaurant based on how hard you shake your phone.

The more I thought about it, the more it makes perfect sense. Pattern-finding helps to feed our desire for logic and order, while randomness feeds the side that delights in human ingenuity, deviations, and providence. We turn to technology to do exactly what we want… can we now trust technology to do exactly what we least expect? –Kat

August 21, 2008 at 9:52 am 1 comment

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