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Idea Central

An antidote to the airy nothings of today's political rhetoric.


"Everything You Know Is Wrong." Or so the creators of this new search engine are out to prove.

World Birthday Web

Banal online gimmick or digital dadaism?

Witness: Roads to Refuge

An innovative online documentary looks at the plight of Bosnia's uprooted population.

The Library of Congress Exhibitions

A look at one of the country's -- and the Web's -- most extraordinary resources.

For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.

Metrobeat NY November 6, 1996

Much is made of the Web's potential to connect diverse people around the country and the planet. But what about those who simply want to know what's happening on a Friday night in their own hometown? Metrobeat NY shows how the Web might strengthen local, not just national or global, communities.

From a strategically situated loft in SoHo, Metrobeat NY staffers fan out across the city, seeking and gathering information on the hippest goings-on in the Big Apple. They then sort the findings into twenty-one areas that range from "Art Galleries" to "Books & Readings" to "Comedy & Cabaret" to "Opera" to "Restaurants." These areas are accessible from a graphically austere homepage that suggests a vast array of contents lurking in the depths while also featuring a selection of daily "must see" events accompanied by witty, street-savvy reviews. An emphasis on content with a distinct style and a critical edge sets Metrobeat NY apart from mere events listings.

Metrobeat NY has recently merged with CitySearch, a national corporation that is now attempting to apply Metrobeat NY's model to cities and metropolitan areas around the country, including Raleigh-Durham, Pasadena, and San Francisco. CitySearch still has a lot to learn; it remains to be seen whether the new sites will capture local accent and flavor the way Metrobeat NY does. Nevertheless, the sites are interesting for what they suggest about the future of the Web and its potential for fostering local culture. Chances are there's more going on in your backyard than the national media and entertainment industries would have you believe.

Copyright © 1996 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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