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Personal storage, Pop Art, Playing with iFire

Very Short List delivers one excellent item to your inbox, daily: Books, films, music, web-things, and dispatches on science and technology. Click through for gorgeous photos of not-yet forgotten New York, a crafty little iPhone app, and the world’s smallest, toughest art critic.

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VERY SHORT LIST

Personal storage
The Neighborhood Retail Alliance Ben Katchor Katz's Delicatessen
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NONFICTION
Store Front

Twenty-first-century New Yorkers identify their city less by what’s there than by what used to be there. The stunning, color-saturated photos in Store Front – which documents street-level store facades in all five of the city’s boroughs – are big, beautiful reminders.

Jim and Karla Murray take us from Coney Island to Astoria, show us dive bars and furriers, and introduce us to the Yonah Shimmel Knish Bakery and the Lemon Ice King of Corona. The accompanying interviews are uniformly excellent. (“If you were a customer in 1948 and you came back today, it would look pretty much the same,” the manager of Manhattan’s 121-year old Katz’s Deli says.) And the photos themselves are battle flags in the war against corporate sameness.

BUY Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York (Gingko Press; hardcover; 336 pages)

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VSL:WEB

Pop art
Wonderland Frank and Nancy Sinatra Robert Hughes
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BLOG
Tiny Art Director

If you think your boss is a brutal taskmaster, get a load of Bill Zeman’s super-demanding overseer: Her name is Rosie, and she’s 4.

Zeman is a Brooklyn-based artist and Rosie’s father. His blog, Tiny Art Director, is a running account of their working relationship, which began when Rosie was 2 and requested specific illustrations, like “A dinosaur. Not too scary.” He obliged, only to receive a devastating critique. “He’s a ugly one!” Rosie said. “I hate those kind of dinosaurs!” And while Rosie’s tempered her critique a bit in the intervening years, she still has it in her to cut straight to the bone. “You just don’t draw so well,” she said last week.

CHECK OUT Tiny Art Director

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VSL:SCIENCE

Playing with iFire
Cheating Vegas Phantom Vibrations Bringing Down the House
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SOFTWARE
Blackjack Card Counter

Blackjack Card Counter is a $2.99 iPhone app that helps you even the odds in Vegas. But it might land you in jail.

The program tracks high cards (10 through ace) and low cards (2 through 5 or 6) to generate a single, constantly changing “count,” such as -2, or +4, that indicates how light or top-heavy the remaining deck is. If the count is low, the advantage belongs to the house; if it’s high, the advantage swings to you. Casino employees say that the app – which includes a stealth mode that lets you use it in your pocket or purse – is marvelously effective. But they also note that it’s illegal, and that they’ll prosecute any users they catch.

READ more about the Blackjack Card Counter

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