Winning "Wear a Mask" PSA is a real love letter to NYC

Earlier this month, New Yorkers were challenged by their governor's office to create a public service announcement to "help communicate why it is so important to wear a mask to stop the spread of coronavirus." Over 600 submissions were received and were voted on by more than 200,000 people. The winning ad, Bunny Lake Films' "We Love NY" captures just the right vibe: it's positive, inclusive, and very "New York."

Gothamist reports:

While the "We Love NY" PSA by Bunny Lake Films (from directors Celine Danhier and Aliya Naumoff) received the most votes and became the official winner, the state will actually run two ads. "You Can Still Smile" by Blue Slate Films/Natalia Bougadellis came in second, just around 500 votes behind first place.

See a few more of the PSAs here. Read the rest

Legendary East Village corner store, Gem Spa, closes its doors

The Gothamist is reporting the sad news that Gem Spa, the iconic NY corner store that has been a fixture at St. Marks Place and Second Avenue for around 100 years is being forced to shutter its doors and windows for the last time. The Spa has been struggling to keep up with increasing rent prices and COVID-19 has apparently proven to be the final nail in its coffin.

"It’s where Robert Mapplethorpe bought Patti Smith an egg cream on the day they met. It’s on the back cover of the New York Dolls’ 1973 debut (and where, according to lore, Johnny Thunders and others went for post-heroin sugar fixes between sets at CBGB). Before that, it was where Abbie Hoffman gathered Yippies to rain money on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s where Allen Ginsberg, Ted Berrigan, and other neighborhood poets went to pick up the Sunday New York Times on Saturday nights (and which was inevitably commemorated in their poems)."

Read the rest.

Image: Alex Lozupone, CC BY-SA 4.0 Read the rest

A day in NY in the early 1980s through the eyes of musicians, artists, activists, filmmakers, and more

I recently bumped into this piece in The New York Times Style Magazine from a few years ago which chronicles a day in the life of New York City in the early 80s through the memories of dozens of well-known NY artists (of all stripes), gallerists, club owners, and activists.

Kim Gordon, musician

When I first moved to the city, there was a garbage strike. I was hustling. I had a horrible graveyard shift at a coffee shop, one of the only places to eat in Chelsea, open 24 hours — super crickets, deserted. I worked part-time for gallerist Annina Nosei. She and Larry Gagosian had this space, it was a condo loft in a building on West Broadway. [By 1 a.m.] I’d be somewhere like [the TriBeCa No Wave club] Tier 3, seeing [the electronic Berlin band] Malaria!, and then walking over to Dave’s Luncheonette. A lot of the alternative spaces — Franklin Furnace, A-Space — had music, too. Hearing hip-hop on the street, minimalist new music, free jazz — it all added to this fabric that was a landscape.

I was kind of tomboyish, but also pretty poor. I had glasses, so I put these flip-up sunglass visors on them. But I didn’t feel super cool or anything. The people who were chic, the downtowners, pretty much just wore black — that could instantly give you a look. Our first goal [as Sonic Youth] was getting a gig at CBGB. Then it was getting a good time slot at CBGB, so you weren’t on last and weren’t on first. Read the rest

Black and Latino New Yorkers are dying of coronavirus at twice the rate of whites

Preliminary data released today on the coronavirus outbreak in New York City shows that black and Latino people in the city are dying at twice the rate of white people who contract the virus. Read the rest

Recently discovered: Eiffel's drawings for a slightly different Statue of Liberty

In 2018, Barry Lawrence Ruderman, a rare map dealer from California, bought a folder of documents and blueprints related to the Statue of Liberty. What they didn't realize is that the lot contained almost two dozen original engineering drawings for the Statue produced by Gustav Eiffel's workshop. Ruderman and Alex Clausen, director of Ruderman's gallery, hope to eventually show the drawings at a museum but for now you can inspect scans they posted online. Greg Miller writes in Smithsonian:

Berenson thinks the drawings may nail down something that historians have long suspected but not been able to prove: that Bartholdi disregarded Eiffel's engineering plans when it came to the statue's upraised arm, electing to make it thinner and tilted outward for dramatic and aesthetic appeal. Several drawings appear to depict a bulkier shoulder and more vertical arm—a more structurally sound arrangement. But one of these sketches (below) was marked up by an unidentified hand with red ink that tilts the arm outward, as Bartholdi wanted. “This could be evidence for a change in the angle that we ended up with in the real Statue of Liberty,” Berenson says. “It looks like somebody is trying to figure out how to change the angle of the arm without wrecking the support.”

The date on that sketch, July 28, 1882, as well as dates on several pages of handwritten calculations and diagrams pertaining to the arm, suggest that this change was made after much of the statue had already been built. “It’s really late in the game,” Berenson says.

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This is New York City in 1993... in HD

This footage was captured from a demo tape used by home entertainment dealers showing off the high quality of the new D-Theater (D-VHS) digital video recording. Enabling the recording and display of HD content, D-Theater/D-VHS was the VHS videocassette format's last gasp. From Youtube Pedant:

In 2002 D-Theater launched in the US - the dealers needed a demo tape of HD footage. JVC reused some HD video that had been shot as a demo for the Japanese HD market back in 1993. This footage would have most likely been originally used for a HiVision MUSE demo (an HD Broadcast, Tape & Laserdisc format).

You can determine that the year is 1993 by the adverts in Times Square - The Radio 501 CD that's advertised on a billboard came out in 1993 and Paper Moon is playing at the Marquis Theater.

(Thanks, UPSO!) Read the rest

Meet McMuffin Rat

He's lovin' it. And I have to say, what's not to love. (That's a rhetorical question.)

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Watch this impressive c.1929 footage of construction workers atop NYC's Chrysler Building

https://youtu.be/iEk7qXbYDf0

No, they aren't wearing any harnesses. But some of them are sporting rather dashing chapeaus. From Speed Graphic Film and Video:

New York's Chrysler Building, one of the city's most iconic skyscrapers, was built in a remarkably short time--foundation work began in November 1928, and the building officially opened in May 1930. Even more remarkably, the steelwork went up in just six months in the summer of 1929 at an average rate of four floors a week.

Fox Movietone's sound cameras visited the construction site several times in 1929 and 1930, staging a number of shots to maximize viewers' sense of the spectacular heights. Movietone almost never put somebody in front of a camera without giving them something to say, so a number of scenes include some staged dialogue.

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RIP, Jason Polan, who tried to draw every single person in New York City

12 years ago, I covered the launch of artist Jason Polan's project to sketch every single person in New York City (he'd previously sketched every work of art in the MOMA). Read the rest

Andrew Cuomo's naked hostility drives out MTA president Andy Byford, the "Train Daddy" who has transformed the world's rail systems

Andy Byford comes from generations of public transportation workers and worked his way from a London Underground platform supervisor to running multiple British rail lines; then went to Australia where he oversaw Railcorp in NSW; then to Toronto, where he ran a successful five-year initiative that turned the TTC into the American Public Transportation Association's Outstanding Transit System of the Year -- and then he moved to New York City, to turn around the ailing MTA. Read the rest

Manhattan: a city of empty luxury condos and overflowing homeless shelters

New York's luxury real-estate market has been in freefall for years, and now the city's super-luxe buildings are sitting empty -- even as property prices in the city remain stubbornly high, prompting 300 New Yorkers to move out of the city every day, and filling the homeless shelters to capacity and beyond. Read the rest

Photographer documents the beautiful, eccentric apartments of New York's historic Chelsea Hotel

Colin Miller spent four years photographing the apartments of New York's bohemian Mecca the Chelsea Hotel. The fruits of his labor have been collected in a new book, Hotel Chelsea: Living in the Last Bohemian Haven, from The Monacelli Press. Miller and writer Ray Mock document the amazing apartments and lives of some two dozen current residents.

In this book, photographer Colin Miller and writer Ray Mock intimately portray the enduring bohemian spirit of the Chelsea Hotel through interviews with nearly two dozen current residents and richly detailed photographs of their unique spaces. As documented in Miller's abundant photographs, these apartments project the quirky decorating sensibilities of urban aesthetes who largely work in film, theater, and the visual arts, resulting in deliriously ornamental spaces with a kitschy edge. Weathering the overall homogenization of New York and the rapid transformation of the hotel itself—amid recent ownership changeovers and tenant lawsuits—residents remain in about seventy apartments while the rest of the units are converted to rentals (and revert to a hotel-stay basis, which had ceased in 2011).

The opening image is of photographer Tony Notarberardino’s Hotel Chelsea bedroom.

More images and details can be found in this New York Times gallery article.

[Photo credit: All photos © Colin Miller/Courtesy of The Monacelli Press. Used with permission.] Read the rest

Tickets for HOPE 2020 go on sale today!

Aestetix writes, "Our 13th conference is taking place next summer in a brand new location as you've probably heard. We expect it to be bigger and better than ever with lots more activities and space - all without leaving New York City! Since this is #13, we figured we'd make an initial batch of tickets available on November 13th at precisely 13:13 Eastern Time (that's 1:13 pm for those who don't do 24 hour clocks)." Read the rest

Pacifica Radio ignores injunction, continues to play canned content on NYC's WBAI

On Oct 7, workers and volunteers at New York City's beloved Pacifica Radio affiliate WBAI received a sudden notice informing they that they were all fired without notice or a board vote, as is required by Pacifica's by-laws; the next day, a court issued an injunction requiring Pacifica to reinstate local programming until a hearing on Oct 21. Read the rest

'Feltist' Lucy Sparrow is back with an all-felt pop-up deli at New York City's Rockefeller Center

Lucy Sparrow is a felt artist, or as she likes to call herself, a "Feltist." You might remember that in 2017, she packed a NYC bodega full of her faux products in felt and that last year in Los Angeles, she opened the Sparrow Mart Supermarket at the Standard Hotel. Well, she's back! Her latest all-felt venture is a pop-up delicatessen in Rockefeller Center. The British artist created over 30,000 soft sculptures for this Delicatessen on 6th.

This sixth installation in her felt shop series is a New York City upscale deli, with every single one of the items, from cheese to fish, chocolate to fruit handmade out of felt. All items in the fine food shop is available for purchase. This installation is part of the ‘Art in Focus’ public art program at Rockefeller Center presented in partnership with the non-profit Art Production Fund. Open 11am - 8pm, 7 days a week, October 1 - 20, 2019.

photos by Heather Cromartie, via the Art Production Fund

(artnet News) Read the rest

Sculptures of wolves mauling tourist appear in New York City parks

This is weird. A series of identical monuments depicting a tourist being mauled by a pack of wolves have surreptitiously been installed in different New York City parks with plaques that read:

Dedicated to the many tourists that go missing every year in New York City.

And a reminder as to why the parks close at dusk.

Erected by the Ed Koch Wolf Foundation and the NYC Fellowship.

A brilliant prankster with mad sculpting skills is taking credit.

His "Ed Koch Wolf Foundation" reveals the fabricated backstory behind the statues:

In the late 1970s, New York Mayor Edward I. Koch launched an unprecedented campaign against subway graffiti. The city employed new guardians to patrol its vast train yards—wolves. Captured from upstate New York and set loose in various borough depots, the wolves successfully kept taggers at bay until anti-graffiti technology eliminated the need for the animals. At that point, the wolves migrated underground. Since then, wolf packs have survived and even thrived in New York’s labyrinthine tunnels, emerging in local parks only on occasion to hunt in the moonlight for live prey. In fact, the NYPD chalks up the majority of missing tourist reports each year to the city’s subterranean canine inhabitants. Today, The Ed Koch Wolf Foundation in partnership with the NYC Fellowship is erecting monuments in city parks to serve as cautionary reminders to out-of-town visitors. When in NYC, visit our many beautiful green districts. Just let these stunning statues remind you as to why we close our parks at night.

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Kickstarting a two-book collection of Anthony "Tonky" Clune's street photos

For many years, we've brought you the delightful arts and crafts of Anthony "Tonky" Clune: beautiful felt housewares, giant wall-stickers, a short film about thrifting, cool reflective cycling safety badges and more. Read the rest

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