Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, June 04, 2021

the size of it
So how do you get across to a New Yorker the concept of how big (or small) some exotic country, region or geographical area is?

Easy: You tell it in terms of the size of New Jersey:

“In journalism,” the comedian Robert Klein once said, “everything is approximately the size of New Jersey.”

This newspaper alone has used that wellworn phrase at least 162 times since 1911 to describe places and things as varied as Albania, northern Morocco, Kuwait, Egypt’s Western Desert, the State of Jahore in Malaysia, the Asmat region in New Guinea, the rebel-held territory in Congo, the reservoir that would have been created by a proposed dam at Rampart Canyon in Alaska, French Somaliland (now Djibouti), a moist air mass that turned into a violent thunderstorm in 1969, an algae bloom in the Atlantic, and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

That is not to mention Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, a swath of North Dakota over which 150 Minuteman 3 missile silos were deployed in the 1980’s, the cocoa-growing Chapare region in Bolivia, East Timor, Swaziland, the “Dead Zone” formed by pollutants in the Gulf of Mexico, Chechnya, the Iraqi marshlands drained by Saddam Hussein, Belize, Armenia, the United Arab Emirates and the all-time champion of “size of New Jersey” references, Israel.

It is a phrase that derives from a kind of offhand familiarity that is more common among visitors and newcomers than among those who have spent much time here — the mistaken belief that New Jersey is a small, predictable, vaguely comic place that is easy to measure, and easy to know.

What’s particularly funny about this well-worn frame of reference is that, despite proximity, I doubt most people in the tri-state area (including Jersey) have a strong grasp of the Garden State’s actual size. When people around here refer to New Jersey, they pretty much always mean the familiar northern part of the state. Even though the territory that’s directly linked, economically, to NYC is steadily creeping southward, the typical New Yorker mental geography considers New Jersey south of about Sayreville to effectively not exist (aside from occasional trips to Atlantic City).

I could make a joke here about being in a “New Jersey state of mind”. But I’ve got a headache, so I’ll refrain.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/04/2021 09:01:03 PM
Category: New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback (3)

Nationally, apartment rents are projected to rise 5.3 percent this year.

So there’s no telling how long the surprising supply of $1,000 per month rental gems in New York City will last. (Actually, since the Times just ratted them out, I’m guessing they’ll all be gone by Tuesday morning.)

Naturally, all of these one-bed dealios are in the outer boroughs; Manhattan probably has its share (especially counting rent controls), but they tend to not stay vacant long enough to get listed. And bear in mind, what counts is location, not dimensions:

For $1,125 per month, with a month’s rent free, everything was brand-new — just really small. The bedroom measured about 10 feet by 12 feet, and the whole apartment was only 350 square feet.

Hell, who needs square footage when you’re living in the Big Apple? Just extra incentive to go out every night.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/04/2021 04:34:58 PM
Category: Society, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback (2)

This is a handy rule-of-thumb reference for the definition of a British Thermal Unit (BTU):

A wooden kitchen match produce approximately 1 BTU

More relatable than the standard laboratory measure: The amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a pint of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

As far as this being a practical fact for everyday use, you got me there…

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 06/04/2021 03:12:32 PM
Category: Science | Permalink | Feedback