Brooklyn Bridge: Before and After Renovations

Renovations are being undertaken on the Brooklyn Bridge later this year.  Thousands of dollars have been earmarked for Navillus and MLJ construction companies to work on the two towers, replace walls and facades and generally improve the entire area.  Over the last century-and-a-quarter the Bridge has – naturally – experienced substantial wear and tear.  There is also much graffiti.

Photographer Mozes Victor Konig, Tel Aviv native said the following:

“Even though of course I know that this work is important, somehow I feel that it will be a shame to bid farewell to the graffiti.  As such, I plan on doing a before and after shot of the area.”

Local photographer Michelle Kamuchi echoed Konig’s words:

“Who can not smile when they see ‘LOVE, LOVE, LOVE’ emblazoned on the middle of the bridge. Is the plan to remove thatas well?” she asked.

On the flip side, a few years ago, an observation was made about the

“large swaths of the promenade covered in graffiti…. A picture drawn on a steel beam shows a man’s private parts. In another section of the beam, a visitor crudely boasts of having urinated on the span.”

It seems there is definitely room for improvement.  But still, we like Mozes Victor Konig’s idea about the before and after shots.  Watch this space!

The Buzz in Chinatown

Chinatown is one of New York City’s most charismatic neighborhoods.  It is rich in not only culture but history and simultaneously offers a substantial insight into modern day living for its inhabitants.  According to Museum of Chinese in America president Nancy Yao Maasbach:

“The density of Chinese people and Chinese-Americans living in the United States is the highest in New York City. [The museum educates its locals and visitors alike to the region’s 1870s Chinese-US heritage as well.] We’ve found that while the neighborhood is not geographically expanding, third and fourth generations of Chinese-Americans are moving back to make this their home. They are entrepreneurial in a way that deepens the culture of Chinatown. It’s here that you see the old and also the new. There’s tradition, with an incredible fusion. And I think there’s never been a more exciting time for this neighborhood in New York City.”

As such it is perhaps not surprising that the area is subject to change and evolution of sorts.  Currently there is a potential art piece that is causing controversy. Gateways of Chinatown has been in charge of the project in conjunction with Chinatown Partnership and the Van Alen Institute. The aim of the sculpture to be placed at a traffic triangle was to “engender pride of place, foster connectivity, and reinforce cultural and social identity within Manhattan’s Chinatown.”

Lindy Lee, a Chinese-Australian artist was selected out of 80 submissions.  She worked with Levenbetts architecture firm and Urban Art Projects to create the design and installation of the artwork.

Herald Square Happenings

Deep into the summer what can New Yorkers (or tourists) expect from the various neighborhoods?  Here, we take a look at some of the latest goings on in Herald Square.

What better way to cool off than with a funky milkshake at CrazyShake Bar?  Black Tap just opened one of its famous restaurants right in Herald Square, treating customers to a visual as well as a delectable experience. Watch your very own milkshakes being created in a manner that brings exciting ingredients to life.   This newest location marks Black Tap’s largest branch in New York and features a mural designed by local twin artists, How and Nosm.

Last week, Pokémon Go launched a program from 3-7pm, altering and “hacking” the region.  In an attempt to defeat Team Go Rocket Grunts through local PokeStops, trainers made their way to Herald Square to check out the coup (which could also be enjoyed above the Hudson River).  Later on in the week, Special Research Tasks were added to Pokémon Go, tasking players with catching and purifying Shadow Pokémon.

Local Store Openings

There have been a few new store opening recently in the Manhattan region.  One of these is the increasingly popular CBD store.  A play on words (or letters really) Come Back Daily sells Cannabidiol in various forms. These include:  oral, topical, edible, drinks and vapes and can aid in a variety of conditions from pain, sleep, PMS and more.  Brands that are offered include: Moon Mother, Real Scientific Hemp Oil and others.

Come Back Daily already has a presence in Manhattan.  With two storefronts in the neighborhood, its current goal is to make this third one the “Sephora of CBD…bringing CBD-enthusiasts to a one-stop-shop, and encourage their customers to — as its moniker suggests — come back daily.”

It has now been confirmed that Trader Joe’s will be opening a new store in the East Village.  The exact address is 432-438 East 14th Street. 

And then there is the pop-up Fabletics store in SoHo, featuring a small boxing ring for customers to try out the activewear apparel before purchasing. They can select the items, put them in an e-commerce cart and then go into a store to try them on via the OmniShop system.

New Gallery Opening

Yesterday a new gallery opened.  Situated at 19 Monroe Street, the A.D. gallery is taking the space formerly occupied by the Bible gallery.  It is the brainchild of three co-owner artists:  Philip Hinge, Nick Irzyk and Nicholas Sullivan.

The opening group show, Daisy Chain will have presentations from a variety of artists including: Mitchell Algus, Ennst Yohji Jäger, Maggie Lee, Clair Morey, and Nikholis Planck.  the idea behind the gallery is combination of quirkiness and tradition.  as Irzyk explained:

“Me and Phil’s spaces are on the quirkier side, so we’re looking forward to doing shows that fit in a more traditional space…Phil is tapped into an international network of sorts, so we’re interested in bringing people from outside New York to do shows alongside local artists. For us, this is a totally new venue.”

Interactive Off-Broadway Show

When she found that there wasn’t that much going on for kids and their parents in the entertainment sector in her neighborhood, Rania Ajami – along with her brother Rami Ajami – decided to take action. The result was ‘Pip’s Island’ an interactive show that is opening later this month at the Pod Hotel theater, 400 W. 42nd Street.

It took six years to make this happen. And it cost $20 million and a 10 year lease with hotelier Richard Born who has now partnered with the show that he “instantly fell in love with the concept and the enthusiasm of the principles behind it.”  It is for kids aged 4-10 and features music, puppets, video and animation.  The story is based on a boy and his friends who rescue a magical island from the evil clutches of Joules Volter and his allies.  The idea is for members of the audience to participate in the challenge, earn “sparks” on their light-up wristband and more. 

While right now it’ll just be the play, it is hoped by Ajami and partners that it will later extend to books, games, merchandise and a series.  The story, featured characters and sets fluctuate so it’s more than a one-time event. Tickets are $39 each.

Books Below 14

Tomorrow is independent bookstore day, and booklovers in Manhattan are celebrating along with the rest of the nation. True it’s very easy to get a new book delivered to your door without leaving your home, but there are still many true literary lovers who absolutely thrive on spending an entire day engaged in “an independent bookstore crawl.”

A few years ago Manhattan had a beautiful independent bookstore right on 57th Street.  The Rizzoli store was a six-story townhouse that dated back to the early 1900s, featuring wooden ceilings and chandeliers.  Although it closed in 2014 the Rizzoli store reopened in Madison Square Park, Manhattan and is still full of character.

And then there’s The Dusty Bookshelf which just re-opened (after its closure 2 years ago) in Manhattan. Offering live music and  hot coffee, opening day began with shelves being filled with books and the store making the new space its home.  Until it’s all complete true literary lovers are welcome to go through the boxes to see what might delight them. Open from 9am to 8pm every day, both new and used books are for sale.

Manhattan Guide: Take a Virtual Tour

Alex Hunter from Attaché (the show that gets you in, out, and around some of the world’s greatest cities in under 20 minutes), humorously takes a look at transportation options from New York airports. There are three of these which are all equally bad – but thankfully they are also all slated for major redevelopment in the next decade.  Here we get a review of the various options of getting from the airports to town.  Really good cab system.  The airporter is another option, flat fee $17 each way, free wifi, drops off at Penn Station.

The Color Factory

The Color Factory in NY is a pop-up art exhibit that explores and displays each color. Housed in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City, this exhibit features 16 participatory installations.

Visitors enjoy this multi-sensory experience which includes playing in an enormous ball pit. The Color Factory explores color in a vivid and creative way that’s fun for all ages. They museum has garnered criticism for being an “Instagram museum,” a museum geared towards millennials who visit museums to photograph themselves and share pictures on social media.

Co-founder Jordan Ferney has refuted these claims, stating that her goal “had always been to make something that was beautiful to experience, not photograph.”

The museum also created the Manhattan Color Walk, a unique map of colorful landmarks within Manhattan. The Manhattan Color Walk allowed visitors to explore neighborhoods through its creation of a colorful portrait of this diverse city.

NYC Fire Museum

Interested in learning more about firefighting? This museum is the place to visit.

The New York City Fire Museum is a museum that’s housed in a renovated 1904 firehouse. The museum is located at 278 Spring Street and receives over 40,000 visitors each year.

The museum contains more than 10,000 objects including photographs and other memorabilia. A special memorial to the 343 members of the FDNY who died on September 11 is on permanent display at the museum.

The museum showcases items dating back to the mid-18th century. Displays trace the evolution of firefighting, from bucket brigades and volunteers to firetrucks and salaried firefighters.

In addition to sharing this slice of history, the museum offers rentable space for events and birthday parties. They also offer interactive exhibits for students as well as sessions on fire safety.