The annual New York City Marathon took place Sunday, and almost 50,000 runners were focused on one major goal: completing the race in the least amount of time possible. New York Times cartoonist Christoph Niemann had other ambitions. Niemann created two Twitter handles, @AbstractSunday and @AbstractSunday1, under which he live-tweeted while drawing real-time pictures. Niemann posted more than 49 tweets and 40 sketches during the course of the 26.2-mile race. His posted his first tweet at 4:48 a.m., when he woke up, and he continued tweeting until he crossed the finish line, almost 12 hours later. During the race, Niemann never stopped to draw. While most runners train for months to get conditioned for the marathon, Niemann practiced simultaneously running and sketching. As you might imagine, running and sketching is not going to shave any time off your personal best. In fact, it only adds to the amount of time it took for Niemann to complete the course (6 hours and 11 minutes). The winner of the race set a record. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya completed the marathon in just 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 6 seconds. The only remaining mystery about Niemann's feat is where he kept his drawing tools while running? In an email, Niemann replied that he had two sketch pads, paint tubes, markers, pencils, a sharpener, an eraser, two iPhones, and extra batteries that he kept in a backpack. He also says he was so concerned about the weight of his supplies that he scrutinized every half-ounce of weight in his paint tubes. What was the most difficult part? Keeping his tools organized.
Also making headlines is one of the most well-known graffiti artists in New York City. Steven Weinberg, a 43-year-old former NYPD officer who is allegedly known as NEO, is set to go to trial Thursday. Weinberg is accused of tagging hundreds of subways and bridges around New York City for almost 30 years. The graffiti website Subway Outlaws has an anonymous interview in which Weinberg confirms that he started doing graffiti or "tagging" in 1979. However, Weinberg says he has not used spray paint since 1995, when he joined the NYPD. Police say otherwise. During the past two years, the "NEO" tag has reappeared in public places such as train trestles and highway overpasses near Weinberg's home. The recent tags have prompted an investigation. Weinberg's lawyer says his client is "physically incapable" of tagging bridges and subways because of a leg injury he sustained while chasing a suspect. Weinberg resigned from the NYPD in 2001. He now walks with a cane and receives disability insurance. Weinberg is countersuing the city of New York, saying his arrest is based on "defective information." One cannot help but wonder if there's a copycat artist out there.