New York City now has its own web addresses, and they’re only open to locals

Image: .NYC

New Yorkers have always been famous for their supposed aloofness. Now, the city's residents have a new way of emphasising how they stand apart from the rest of the US: by ditching the generic “.com” at the end of their web addresses in favour of the far more sophisticated “.nyc”.

In a sponsored post on Gothamist, .NYC, the City Hall-led group behind the initiative, described the move as a “significant milestone in the history of the city and the internet”:

New York is one of the first cities with its own city-wide domain, and it is the only city to limit the purchase to locals. It takes a little something extra to make it here, and that’s why the City wanted to make sure the web address was reserved exclusively for New Yorkers.

Only residents or organisations with addresses in the five boroughs can purchase the new addresses, which, as of this week, can be purchased here.

More than anything, though, the “locals only” rule seems like a marketing ploy, in order to set the .NYC campaign apart from the crowd: the first city-specific domain name was snapped up by Berlin (.berlin) in March of this year, with Paris (.paris) and London (oh, you know the drill) following quickly behind.

Mayor Bill de Blasio described the launch as a chance for residents to “claim their piece of the City’s high-demand digital real estate”. Whether the online real estate will become as pricy as the city's housing remains to be seen. 

 
 
 
 

London Overground is experimenting with telling passengers which bits of the next train is busiest

There must be a better way than this: Tokyo during a 1972 rail strike. Image: Getty.

One of the most fun things to do, for those who enjoy claustrophobia and other people’s body odour, is to attempt to use a mass transit system at rush hour.

Travelling on the Central line at 6pm, for example, gives you all sorts of exciting opportunities to share a single square inch of floor space with a fellow passenger, all the while becoming intimately familiar with any personal hygiene problems they may happen to have. On some, particularly lovely days you might find you don’t even get to do this for ages, but first have to spend some exciting time enjoying it as a spectator sport, before actually being able to pack yourself into one unoccupied cranny of a train.

But fear not! Transport for London has come up with a plan: telling passengers which bits of the train have the most space on them.

Here’s the science part. Many trains include automatic train weighing systems, which do exactly what the name suggests: monitoring the downward force on any individual wheel axis in real time. The data thus gathered is used mostly to optimise the braking.

But it also serves as a good proxy for how crowded a particular carriage is. All TfL are doing here is translating that into real time information visible to passengers. It’s using the standard, traffic light colour system: green means go, yellow means “hmm, maybe not”, red means “oh dear god, no, no, no”. 

All this will, hopefully, encourage some to move down the platform to where the train is less crowded, spreading the load and reducing the number of passengers who find themselves becoming overly familiar with a total stranger’s armpit.

The system is not unique, even in London: trains on the Thameslink route, a heavy-rail line which runs north/south across town (past CityMetric towers!) has a similar system visible to passengers on board. And so far it’s only a trial, at a single station, Shoreditch High Street.

But you can, if you’re so minded, watch the information update every few seconds or so here.

Can’t see why you would, but I can’t see why I would either, and that hasn’t stopped me spending much of the day watching it, so, knock yourselves out.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

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