No doubt you have wondered what the mysterious blogger behind Steamboats Are Ruining Everything sees when he looks up from his laptop. The answer (at least when I work at the kitchen table): a lot of sky, and a few backyards in southern Park Slope, Brooklyn. You can see the view for yourself at left, as improved by the art of our friend Matteo Pericoli. Having drawn Manhattan from the inside and the outside, Matteo has returned to draw New York as sixty-three of its writers, architects, designers, and producers see it, in a book titled The City Out My Window. Besides our window in higher-fi, and a few of my thoughts about it, the book features the windows of Mario Batali, Stephen Colbert, Nico Muhly, and Lorin Stein. Matteo promised not to show the interior of anyone's home, and he doesn't, but the views are strangely revelatory anyway—inside-out Peeping-Tomism, somehow. For further sample peeks, including the views of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Wynton Marsalis, check out Matteo's website.
If, like me, you live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and are rash enough to have voted in previous Democratic midterm municipal primaries, you will have been so bombarded by campaign literature and robocalls in the past few weeks that you will be suffering from information glut. In other words, you will have felt obliged to immediately recycle all campaign fliers, you will have deleted without listening to them the lengthy voice messages left to you by Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo, Charles Rangel, and a cast of thousands, and you will have told innumerable cheerful people with clipboards that you are on deadline and can't talk right now.
Unfortunately, you will still feel obliged to vote on Tuesday, and now, thanks to your own cussedness, you don't know anything about the candidates. I herewith offer my cheat sheet, just compiled. Please note that I'm not offering my endorsements, because I'm not knowledgeable enough to dare.
The purest information source seems to be the impartial New York City Campaign Finance Board's 2009 Primary Election Voter Guide, which gives brief resumes of all candidates, in a consistent format, and presents their answers to a few simple questions. I live in Council District 39 of Brooklyn, but this particular voter's guide is useful for all districts in all boroughs.
Specific to Council District 39, the Brooklyn Paper ran a brief Q&A this weekend with all of the City Council candidates: Brad Lander, Bob Zuckerman, John Heyer, Josh Skaller, and Gary Reilly. The Brooklyn Paper has itself endorsed Heyer, which seems a somewhat odd choice for this community, given Heyer's opposition to abortion and gay marriage.
I usually resort in such circumstances to the crib sheet printed by the New York Times in its City section the weekend before an election . . . but the City section is no more, and I saw no crib sheet today in the Metropolitan section, which replaces it. After dutiful searching, however, I can report that the New York Times endorses Brad Lander for City Council, Bill de Blasio for public advocate, and David Yassky for comptroller. The Times has also published answers by candidates for public advocate to a standard battery of questions. They have also published in the printed paper a similar table of Q&As for the comptroller's race, but I can't find it online.
Update, Sept. 14: The New York Times has added a short primer to the races for public advocate, comptroller, and city council.