The other day I found myself walking down 7th Avenue South, as is usual, and I decided to pop into Blecker Street Pizza.  I haven’t been there in years because of all the other great pizza in the neighborhood like John’s, Keste, Number 28 (which is claimed best by Citysearch), Risotteria (so I’ve heard) and Joe’s.

I remember not being a blown away by the place and I reaffirmed that this time.  It’s not awful but it certainly isn’t the Best Pizza in New York as the Food Network seems to think.  With all the good options around the area I think it will be a while before I pop back inside.

This makes me doubt everything the Food Network says.  I’ll be sticking to Travel Channel’s Man v Food starring Adam Richman who regularly shows his affinity for Lombardi’s with his t-shirts (as seen below) and loves L&B Spumoni Gardens.

Adam Richman Getting Made Up

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

Back in May I finally made it to L&B Spumoni Gardens and Slice was right, it is a Rite of Passage and totally worth the subway ride.

My friend and I got a sicilian pie (12 slices) half plain and half mushrooms.  They make it in an upside down style similar to New York Pizza Suprema, but it is the atmosphere that really makes L&B.  You can feel the ocean breeze as you sit at picnic style tables outdoors.  Quite an experience.

We finished off the meal with their signature Spumoni.  I forget what flavor I got, but as you can it was extremely tasty and a great way to top off the pizza.

Spumoni at L&B Spumoni Gardens

It also gets approval from Man v Food’s Adam Richman who visited some time last season (or the first?).

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

Ok, I’m a few months behind on this one, but I saw this post by Adam Kuban on Serious Eats for a Shake Shack iPhone App and I had to mention it.  There have been many times that I wanted to check the Shake Shack line but didn’t have Flash on my iPhone.  The app has a lot of great features, but Adam covered them in his post, I just wanted to share my joy in discovering that I can now check the live feed from my phone and then decide to meander into line.

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

The other day, I was working near Houston street, teaching a class on QlikView (which itself could be a great post topic about data munging for statisticians).  On the last day of the class we decided to head to Bleecker street for a pizza feast.

We got two pies from Keste (Pizza del Pappa and the Margherita), a large pie from John’s of Bleecker (half plain, half sausage and pepporoni) and a large cheese pie from Joe’s. Continue reading

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

The New York Times, in what seems like a continuing series on NYC transportation, has an article about a decline in subway ridership.  The article points out declines that were to be expected such as in the financial district or Midtown as well as expected increases like along J, which shares a route with the M and Z which are facing service cuts.  It will be interesting to see how these findings impact the expected service cuts.

Another area with expected results was a massive drop off at the moribund Mets’ stop and a below average drop at the World Champion Yankees stop.  However, the Mets–unlike the Yankees–have a convenient commuter rail stop.  Perhaps that explains the drop more than the team’s performance. Continue reading

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

Thanks to Drew Conway for posting this video of me dicussing my thesis (pdf) on NYC pizza.  It was part of the New York R User Meetup on Applications of R.

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

Being a stats junkie I’m probably more excited about filling out my Census forms than most people.  That said, a lot of my friends have expressed glee at receiving their Census forms.  Perhaps that says something about social group.

So you can imagine my delight when I came across this giant, inflatable Census form in Union Square last Saturday night.

I’m not sure about other markets, but there has been a huge advertising blitz for the Census in New York including the commercials featuring actors from the “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind” movies.

One more closeup of the moon-bounce inspired Census form after the break.

Continue reading

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

I don’t mean to shamelessly self-promote here, but I wanted to note that the Slice story on my pizza paper (pdf) has also been picked up by NBC New York’s food blog, Feast, and by Revolution Computing’s blog.  For people who don’t know, Revolution Computing optimizes R, the language used by a large number of statisticians for computations.

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

This article from the New York Times about grilock in New York is from two nights ago, but I think it’s worth a glance.  The article is a great look at how slowly cars move.  I especially like the line, “Weekday traffic in the district moved at an average of 9.5 miles per hour — about the speed of a farmyard chicken at full gallop.”

This goes to show how we often misperceive reality regardless of the underlying data.  I know there have been plenty of times that I felt I made much faster progress during midday traffic, but the numbers don’t lie.

I wonder if they account for the different driving patterns between taxis and private cars and if that would make a difference.  I wish the Times had posted a link to the original study so I could see the methods they used.  I would guess they use spatial statistics that can track autocorrelation in time and space and there is a lot of power in those kind of tools.

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

The Slice article got picked up by MidtownLunch.

A lot of people have been asking for my favorite pizza places.  The answer depends on what type of pizza I’m looking for, but Maffei’s grandma slice and and Keste are two places that pop into my head a lot.

Someone at the ML forum asked about New York Pizza Suprema, and yes, I love their upside down slice.

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Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.