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Into The Volcano

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The Pied Pipers of Dallas and Louisville

With city fast food restaurants being overrun with rats last week, Daily Intel heard the other side of the rodent's story from a local enthusiast, Raquel Cintron. Her claim that rats are simply misunderstood was met with cheers from others around the country who keep the animals as pets. Perhaps predictably, their side of things is not often heard in public. After the jump, letters from people decrying the injustice of allowing tenants to keep hamsters but no rats. "People just think about the tail," lamented one rat-keeper.

Do Morandi’s Restrooms Live Up to the Rest of McNally’s?

As far as restrooms go, Keith McNally’s are the gold standard. The man has pissed away a great deal of money importing gigantic urinals and sinks (as Schiller’s barkeep Corey Lima told us, boozed-up patrons often mistake one for the other), and his restroom lounges are bigger (and have nicer furniture) than certain apartments we’ve lived in. When he built the bathrooms at his new venture Morandi, he must’ve known everyone was watching. Did he suffer from performance anxiety?

Manhattan Too Inexpensive — for Parking

Astoria: The 121-year-old waterfront Sohmer Piano factory has been landmarked (despite the unlikely opposition of the community board) and will soon house 70 apartments. [Times Ledger via Queens Crap] Dumbo: Residents sickened by the area’s rampant condo-ization can now seek palliatives at a pharmacy coming to the first floor of the massive new J Condo. [DumboNYC] Harlem: Call it luxury lockdown. Jail turned condo 10 Mount Morris Park West is near-ready for its inmates — uh, residents. [City Specific] Manhattan: Blame the traffic congestion on free or cheap parking in the city. [Streetsblog] Tribeca: Jewish alterna-singles to descend on the land of JFK Jr. and Bubby’s when Makor moves to Hudson and Canal this fall. [92Yblog via Curbed] Upper West Side: The revolution will come with a schmear of cream cheese — when the area secedes from the city, that is. [Upper West Side Liberation Front via Curbed]

Daniel Pinchbeck Hates Processed Food, Likes Coffee

Daniel Pinchbeck, the mind-expanded author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey Into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, realized the first time he took mushrooms — back in college — just how much he didn't like processed food, and he's been trying to eat on a higher plane ever since. How does he do that? With a lot of coffee, it seems, and occasional stops for raw food. Find out his latest noshes in this week's New York Diet, at Grub Street. Psychedelic Writer Daniel Pinchbeck Likes His Chocolate With ‘Special Properties’ [Grub Street]

You're Probably Too Late for Boerum Hill (Unless You're Rich)

Ah, Boerum Hill, the land of Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams. Gossips were shocked when the Brokeback Mountain twosome decided to buy their $2 million townhouse there. But locals who'd long been in Boerum Hill weren't: They understood the allure of its leafy streets, its burgeoning dining and nightlife scene, and its brownstone Brooklyn charms. (The name, by the way, comes from Simon Boerum, who, according to the South Brooklyn Network, was a local farmer.) Besides, the neighborhood has had its share of fame before, though of a literary sort — writer Jonathan Lethem set his books, Motherless Brooklyn and Fortress of Solitude there. Like other pockets in the city, its borders have become more malleable recently; it's more or less between Schermerhorn Street and Douglass Street west of Fourth Avenue, depending on which real-estate brokers are talking. Boerum Hill is no question one of the most vibrant parts of the borough, making true bargains as unlikely here as in the nearby prime areas of Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, and Park Slope. So take a look at the open houses listed below and wish for the foresight to have bought long ago or the movie-world moola to stake a claim there now. —S.Jhoanna Robledo

We Understand, and We're Talking About It

Miranda July
L.A.-based artist and filmmaker Miranda July’s new performance piece, Things We Don’t Understand and Are Definitely Not Going to Talk About — potentially the basis for a new film — opened last night at the Kitchen for a sold-out weekend run to an enthusiastic crowd, which included David Byrne. Things, in essence, is a love triangle, a clichéd story you might see on a Saved By the Bell rerun. But July’s gentle charm and engaging use of video, audience participation, and a dead cat demonstrate how the story itself can be much less important than the telling.

Introducing GONYC, Which We Proclaim the Best Thing Ever

So nymag.com is launching this new service, and, although we know it's our job to say so, we'd say it anyway: It's pretty amazingly cool. It's called GONYC, and it lets you access the listings info we've got on the site from the comfort and privacy of your cell phone. How's that? It's a text-back service. Send a text message to GONYC — that's 46692, for those of you more numerically inclined — saying, for example, "name planet rose" (we never remember if it's on First or A), and it nearly immediately returns the bar's location, phone number, and whether it's a Critic's Pick. (Avenue A, as it turns out.) You can look up a restaurant or bar by name (type "name" then the name: "name wxou"), bars by location (type "bar" then a Zip Code, borough, or neighborhood), or restaurants by cuisine and location ("food" then cuisine then neighborhood: "food chinese west village"). We've been playing with it all morning, and we're loving it. It's explained with pretty pictures at nymag.com/mobile. Go.