Category: New York

Walter De Maria lived on my street

Walter de Maria's abode, 421 East 6th Street

Walter de Maria’s abode, 421 East 6th Street.  Courtesy Katharine Marks for The New York Times.  

I’ve lived in the East Village for nearly ten years.  Recently I found out that the creative type living in the strange building on my street was Walter De Maria.  Once or twice I saw a man going into the building but that was it.  No hullabaloo or nonsense over there.

Mr. De Maria died last summer and his home plus the vacant lot to the left is for sale.  Do you have $25 million and need a housekeeper/cook?  Adopt me!  Do not judge this book by its cover because it’s amazing inside.

There’s a slideshow here, and the original article from The New York Times.



One World Trade Center

One Monday this past July I went on a tour of the World Trade Center construction site.  It was one of those moments when knowing someone comes in handy.  My aunt works for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the short version is that a tour was happening, do I want to go?

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

Of course I did.  I am fascinated by the construction of buildings, like 432 Park Avenue, and couldn’t wait to explore one of most famous construction sites in the world.  Even before 9/11 the World Trade Center towers were internationally recognized.  Their creation added the neighborhood of Battery Park City to lower Manhattan.  New methods were used thanks to innovators like Arturo Lamberto Ressi di Cervia who supervised the slurry wall construction of the original trade centers which still survive today and are now visible to the public (pictures below).

The importance of One World Trade Center is not lost on me.  I had lived in New York for a little over 1 year on 9/11.  When I got to work  around 9 am the doorman of the building said something had happened downtown but wasn’t sure what.  We opened at 9:30 so most of my colleagues were there too.  Our gallery is located in Midtown Manhattan which is approximately 4 miles north of the World Trade Center.  We found a radio and tried to figure out what was happening.  My cell phone wasn’t working but fortunately I got in touch with my parents who live outside of New York and told me the news.   More

Cherry Bombe! A magazine you need in your life

Cherry Bombe, Issue No. 1

Cherry Bombe, Issue No. 1

Back cover of Cherry Bombe

Back cover of Cherry Bombe

I heard about Cherry Bombe and was excited to get my hands on it.  Kerry Diamond, Editorial Director, and Claudia Wu, Creative Director (both worked at Harper’s Bazaar) have a mission: “To celebrate women and food, those who make it, grow it, serve it, sell it, style it, enjoy it and everything in between.  Did we mention most of our contributors are women too? ”

With their first issue, “The Tastemakers Issue” they have succeeded in their mission.  It was $18, but at 8 1/2 x 11 inches, 173 pages, 1 pound, 11 ounces, with beautiful photographs, styling and stories you want to read, it is worth it.  The matte paper stock feels lush making me want to keep it forever instead of recycling it with my other monthly magazines.  If you picked up Lucky Peach or any of the Edible magazines then you’ll know what I mean.

How can you resist supermodel Karlie Kloss on the cover with her bowl of The Perfect 10 Kookie batter that she conjured up with Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar?  I haven’t tested the recipe for the kookie yet but I have tasted it (they’re available for purchase at Momofuku) and the dairy, gluten-free, vegan cookie is yummy.

A quick rundown of the table contents reveals known and unknown women and subjects (this is a small selection): Rachel Dutton, Harvard microbiologist who focuses on food; food stylist badass Victoria Granof who made all those Irving Penn food photos amazing; Helen Turner of Helen’s Bar-B-Q in Brownsville, Tennessee; Charlotte Druckman, author of “Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen”; Caitlin Freeman‘s cake tribute to Dries van Noten; “food artist” Jennifer Rubell; Nandini D’Souza’s memories of her Mother’s cooking literally adding spice to Ridgefield, Connecticut; Celia Sack of Omnivore Books.

There is so much jam-packed into this magazine that you should immediately buy it or get a subscription.

I enjoy the work that went into Cherry Bombe.  They ran a Kickstarter campaign which is now over, but I’m glad they got their funding.  Since it seems that art, fashion, food are colliding every day I’m happy to see magazine try to encapsulate that, and move beyond it.


New York, Earth’s Most Competitive City

I read this article by Jason Gay in the Wall Street Journal a week ago, “NYC is No. 1 Forever(ish)”.  Gay states that New Yorkers compete on every level possible: careers, apartments, public transportation, sidewalks, real estate open houses, exercise, dining out and vacations.  I was a little upset when he decided to use the Mets as his example of non-competitive New Yorkers, but then I decided he must be a Yankees fan (He’s a Sports Columnist for the WSJ.  My quick internet research proved inconclusive as to which NY baseball team he roots for.  Perhaps he has to be unbiased).

My first reaction was, “I don’t compete with anyone but myself,” and busied myself with other things.  Over the next few days I couldn’t stop wondering though if I compete with other New Yorkers.   More

Gravity & Grace: Monumental works by El Anatsui

View of installation at the Brooklyn Museum

View of installation at the Brooklyn Museum

Last night I attended an opening for Gravity & Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui at the Brooklyn Museum.  The show opens today and runs through August 4.  I brought my handy lo-fi Blackberry camera so be ready for some awesome shots!  They let anyone snap away as long as there was no flash.

The exhibition originated at the Akron Art Museum and will travel to the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa followed by the Bass Museum of Art, Miami, Florida.  It would be worthwhile to see the exhibition in all 4 locations since El Anatsui gives the curators, exhibition/installation managers and art handlers free rein in how to install the pieces.  If you look at the photos of the pieces in Akron you will see they are not quite the same in Brooklyn.  They are the same artworks but just draped and reconstructed in different ways.   More

Watch me Work: Bernini and Matisse at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Bernini, Fountain of Four Rivers, Piazza Navona, Rome.  Courtesy Bruce Oz

Bernini, Fountain of Four Rivers, Piazza Navona, Rome. Courtesy Bruce Oz

Bernini, Sculpting in Clay and Matisse, In Search of True Painting feature two artists who worked roughly 300 years apart but were foremost in their time and mediums.  Both exhibitions focus on the artist’s process.  In the case of Bernini before he created larger than life marble sculptures of saints and angels he needed to understand the technical aspects of his work. For Matisse he was searching for an answer to what exactly “true painting” was to him.

Matisse, Interior with Goldfish, 1914. Oil on canvas. Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, Bequest of Baronne Eva Gourgaud, 1965© 2012 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Matisse, Interior with Goldfish, 1914. Oil on canvas. Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, Bequest of Baronne Eva Gourgaud, 1965
© 2012 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


The City in the Storm by Iwan Baan

NY Mag Cover Photo by Iwan Baan

NY Mag Cover Photo by Iwan Baan

Remember my post about Iwan Baan’s photographs of Lower Manhattan for New York magazine just after Hurricane Sandy?  Go here.  Well if you want a poster of that haunting image you can purchase it for $25 from The MoMA Design store with proceeds from the sale of this poster benefitting the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Or if you have the big bucks, say $100,000, his gallery in L.A. (they just signed him) Perry Rubenstein, will have the photo in an edition of 10 for $100,000 each with those proceeds going to Hurricane Sandy relief.  The photo will be in included in a show called “The Way We Live.”  You can read Baan’s detailed account of taking the pictures here.


African Art, New York & the Avant-Garde at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Interior of Arensberg apartment, 33 West Sixty-Seventh Street, New York, 1919 by Charles Sheeler. Courtesy The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Interior of Arensberg apartment, 33 West Sixty-Seventh Street, New York, 1919 by Charles Sheeler. Courtesy The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Currently on view at The Met is a small, focused exhibition African Art, New York & the Avant-Garde.  The photo above best describes what the show aims to do: put you in the home and atmosphere of the art patrons who were bold enough to collect African art juxtaposing it with Modern and Contemporary art just after the New York Armory show in 1913.  There are approximately 40 masks and sculptures from West and Central Africa along with photos, paintings, drawings and sculpture by Charles Sheeler, Alfred Stieglitz, Constantin Brancusi, Francis Picabia, Diego Rivera, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, among others.

I wish that everyone would go see it, especially a nasty man who came into the gallery (full disclosure: I work in an art gallery that specializes in antique tribal art from Africa and Oceania) and told me that all the masks and figures look the same and there is no way that Picasso or Matisse were influenced by African art.  I cited Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907, as an example but he refused to believe me.  The Museum of Modern Art who owns the painting even states on the gallery label next to the painting:

“Picasso drew on sources as diverse as Iberian sculpture, African tribal masks, and El Greco’s painting to make this startling composition.”

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907.  Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907. Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Needless to say the man walked out of the gallery unconvinced and I felt a little sad for him because there are so many things in the world that are influenced and tied to each other, as disparate as they seem, if he would only open his mind a bit.  Anyhoo. More

Late to the Kiki Party

But can you ever be late?  “Lock the door, lower the blinds and fire up the smoke machine.”  Leave it to an episode of Glee for me to discover “Let’s Have a Kiki” by the Scissor Sisters.  I have their first two albums but missed their third and now I know about their fourth and perhaps last album.  When Kurt (Chris Colfer), Rachel (Lea Michele) and Isabelle (Sarah Jessica Parker)  started singing and dancing I thought whatever this is I like it.  Finally  Rachel and Kurt are having a NY experience: a house party with drag queens and Carrie from “Sex and the City!”  Hahaha.  The mashup of Turkey Lurkey Time with the song isn’t too annoying.

The Scissor Sisters haven’t released an official video for the song but one was made by the Videodrome Discotheque which was approved by Jake Shears and has a collage of Liberace, RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Cher, Queen, Donna Summer, Candy Darling, Dressed to KillThe Boys in the BandMyra BreckinridgeThe Wiz, Boy George,ShowgirlsPerfectThe Phantom of Paradise, Cher’s workout video, Richard Simmons, LisztomaniaCan’t Stop the Music, The Golden Girls and possibly more.  Oh and Ana Matronic’s intro/message is longer and funnier so watch it!

Let’s Have a Kiki!

Watching the tallest residential building in the U.S. go up

Future home of 432 Park

In the 12 years I’ve been in New York I’ve seen plenty of buildings torn down to make way for new ones or old ones get renovated and reborn.  Lucky us that directly next to and behind the gallery the tallest residential building in the U.S. is going up at 432 Park Avenue.  The Rafael Vinoly tower will be 1,380 feet tall and should be ready by 2016.  The penthouse of the 95 story building is rumored to be a 8,255-square-foot-six-bedroom for an easy $82.25 million.

The Drake Hotel once lived in the space but Harry Macklowe bought it and demolished in 2007 to make way for bigger and better.  Once the financial crisis of 2008 happened the lot sat vacant.

Closest to 57th street was a row of 3 or 4 townhouses but they took those down about a year ago when construction commenced.  It’s perfect for them because they can create a retail footprint on 57th Street.  They’ll be across the street from the Four Season Hotel, a Prada accessories store and only a block away from Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton.  Watching the demolition of those townhouses was exciting.  I’ve never seen buildings eliminated from the top down.  The demolition guys would use blow torches or chain saws to cut the beams depending if they were steel or wood.  They also had an elaborate way of moving a small crawler excavator from floor to floor as they removed beams, bricks, pipes and concrete.

Once those smaller buildings were out-of-the-way they began breaking up the bedrock and schist to lay the foundations.  Have you ever heard those whistles blown at a construction site just before they detonate the dynamite?  Imagine hearing those and 2 seconds later the whole building shakes.  They also used drills to break up the solid rock into smaller chunks.  Whistles, explosions, a shaking building, drilling,this went on and on for a year.  Most of my colleagues developed coughs and it certainly didn’t help those with allergies.

They dug down 3 stories, poured the concrete foundations and have put in the first re-bars.  Until they hit 10 floors I’ll be able to watch this all from a window in one of our offices.  Once I lose the view I can watch it on the building’s website here and you can too!  Be amazed by what humans can do!