Month :

Feb ,2014

Death in a Nutshell: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death: Illustrated lecture with Bruce Goldfarb, executive assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland
Date: Thursday, February 27
Time: 8:00
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death is an extraordinary collection of miniature dioramic death scenes, hand-crafted in the 1940s in obsessive detail by Frances Glessner Lee. They were — and still are — used to train police in the methods of forensic death investigation. Lee, a wealthy socialite with no formal education who in middle age was commissioned by the New Hampshire State Police, is considered the mother of modern, scientific death investigation; she is also said to be the inspiration for the character of Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. Ttonight’s illustrated lecture will tell the fascinating story of Frances Glessner Lee and her Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. Later, on Saturday, March 29th, join Morbid Anatomy for a special field trip to Baltimore featuring a tour of The Nutshells and the forensic facilities by Mr. Goldfarb. Visits to additional “Charm City” highlights will be organized with the help of our guide, rogue taxidermist and “angelic boyfriend” Robert Marbury.

More info here.


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Hierarchies of the Dead: Bodysnatching in Old New York

A drawing of two graverobbers stealing the corpse of a woman, with Death (in the form of a skeleton) watching over and holding their lantern, by Thomas Rowlandson, unsigned, probably 1775. Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons, London

Illustrated lecture by Bess Lovejoy, author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses
Date: Tuesday, February 18

Time: 8:00
Admission: $8

Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Stealing corpses for anatomical dissection was a way of life for New York’s earliest medical schools. It was even the spark that led to the nation’s first riot, in 1788. But who were the earliest bodysnatchers, how did they operate, and whose graves were they plundering? In this illustrated lecture, Rest in Pieces author Bess Lovejoy will discuss this forgotten chapter of New York’s medical history, with some stops in points South. She’ll also cover some archeological research on the victims of the bodysnatchers, and how they have been remembered in the New York of today.

Copies of Rest in Pieces: will be available for sale and signing; Lapham’s Quarterly Death Issue will also be available for sale.

Bess Lovejoy is the author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses, which named one of the best books of 2013. She has written about death, obscure history, and other topics for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Lapham’s Quarterly, The Boston Globe, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn.…

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Amazon Local is currently offering a discount on this evening tour of bars in NYC which (illegally) served alcohol during Prohibition.  “A seasoned tour guide will lead you through these well-preserved watering holes, sharing illuminating facts along the way”. The tour is comprised of several older bars in Manhattan.

Tours conducted by SP& Big Apple,held at 7:30 pm Thurs.-Sat.…

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from the Village Voice:

The Left Bank of Brooklyn: Gertrude Aims to Bring a Touch of 1920s Paris to the New York Art World

By Keegan Hamilton Wednesday, Jan 29 2014

At a tiny little underground art gallery in the East Village, photographer Duane Michals has enraptured his audience. A diminutive man with bushy eyebrows and wisps of gray hair that float like cumuli around his otherwise bald cranium, the octogenarian is livelier than most folks a fraction of his age. He spins yarns about his childhood in Pittsburgh, recites poems from memory, tells bawdy jokes, and waxes philosophical about his life in general.

“The great revenge on death is a sense of humor,” Michals tells the two dozen people gathered around a table scattered with rare photography books from his personal library. “It will carry you through all sorts of pain and suffering.”

He talks for an hour, fielding questions about his formative years photographing the Soviet Union in 1958, his evocative use of text with photos, his disregard for all things digital. Afterward, people buzzed on Champagne linger and reflect. It’s a mix of twentysomething musicians and artists, a few guys buttoned down in expensive-looking suits, and a couple of middle-age art nerds freaking out at the intimate access to Michals, a legend in art and fashion photography.

For many years, that scene from an autumn evening might have unfolded only at a private party or exclusive reception for tastemakers. Over the past year, however, a Brooklyn start-up has been creating similar gatherings for the paying public at dozens of pop-up venues across New York. The company is called Gertrude, and the events are branded as “salons,” in homage to Gertrude Stein and her famed Saturday evening congregations in Paris with Hemingway, Picasso, Matisse, and other titans of modern art and literature.

Conceived in late 2012 by a 26-year-old Frenchman named Kenneth Schlenker, the company aims to redefine how art is consumed and commercialized in the Internet era. Under Schlenker, a former product marketing manager at Google, Gertrude has grown from an email newsletter published from a cramped room inside a produce factory in Bushwick to a sleek website headquartered inside a brand-new office building in Williamsburg. The outfit now hosts multiple salons weekly in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with ticket prices ranging from $10 to $1,000 or more (though usually in the $25–$50 range).

“So much of art is the process and the creative thinking, but so much of the value is the visual product that is created,” Schlenker says. “What we’ve done, or what we’re trying to do, is create a platform for the art experience to happen. I see the art market as a pyramid. At the very tip is the transaction: this painting you buy and put up on your wall. What’s below that is the creative process, the education, and the access to the artist.”

Schlenker says he developed the idea shortly after he transferred from Google’s Paris office to New York, where he studied how consumers reacted to products like Google Maps and helped devise improvements based on the feedback.…

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In today’s selection — from Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington.

During the Roaring 20s and into the Great Depression, the hottest club in New York was the Cotton Club, an establishment owned by one of New York’s most notorious gangsters. Though it featured black performers and was located in the middle of Harlem, New York’s preeminent black neighborhood, black patrons were almost never allowed and the decor was made to evoke a Southern slave plantation.

“In 1927 Harlem was a playground for white people who could afford to pay for liquor and sex — and who liked having sex with black people, so long as they didn’t have to talk to them afterward. Of the uptown nightclubs that catered to white patrons, the Cotton Club, which billed itself as ‘the Aristocrat of Harlem’ in its newspaper ads, was the best known and most expensive, as well as the one with the dirtiest pedigree. Owney Madden, the owner, was an Englishman of Irish parentage whose family had emigrated to New York’s Hell’s Kitchen when he was eleven years old. He was slight of stature and spoke in a high-pitched voice that sounded, Sonny Greer said, ‘like a girl.’ But appearances were deceiving, for Madden was a vicious street fighter who in his youth had racked up a long list of cold-blooded killings. He now ran one of New York’s most successful bootlegging gangs, investing his profits in Broadway shows like Mae West’s Sex (and, it was whispered, having a backstage affair with West herself). In 1920, while he was serving an eight-year term in Sing Sing for manslaughter, he acquired a failed Harlem supper club called the Cafe de Luxe that had been ‘owned’ by Jack Johnson, the famous black boxer, who served as the front man for yet another mobster. After Madden was paroled in 1923, he turned it into a cabaret with a stiff cover charge whose scantily dressed dancers and sexually suggestive stage shows became the talk of Manhattan.


“Located on Lenox Avenue at West 142nd Street, the Cotton Club was a second-story walk-up that held between six and seven hundred people who sat in two tiers of tables surrounding the dance floor. The walls were covered with what Irving Mills, who was prone to malapropisms, called ‘muriels.’ The rest of the decor, as Cab Calloway recalled, was suggestive in a less innocent way:

The bandstand was a replica of a southern mansion, with large white columns and a backdrop painted with weeping willows and slave quarters. The band played on the veranda of the mansion …. The waiters were dressed in red tuxedos, like butlers in a southern mansion, and the tables were covered with red-and-white-checked gingham tablecloths …. I suppose the idea was to make whites who came to the club feel like they were being catered to and entertained by black slaves.

“Spike Hughes, who visited the club a few years later, described it as ‘expensive and exclusive; it cost you the earth merely to look at the girl who took your hat and coat as you went in.’ He was stretching it, but not by much.…

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5 Gilded Age Delicacies and Where in NYC to Find Them Today

The_Kitchen_at_Delmonico's,_1902The kitchen at Delmonico’s, 1902 via Wikimedia Commons

The Gilded Age is having a comeback. Hipsters are sporting mutton chops, pickling is the new knitting and a restaurant named 1 Knickerbocker recently opened in Bushwick featuring modern interpretations of Gilded Age cuisine. Mayor Bill De Blasio suggested we might be re-living that time period with an economic condition comparable to A Tale of Two Cities.

Food in 19th century New York borrowed from French haute cuisine. The wealthy dined in legendary restaurants like Delmonico’s, private dining rooms like the Metropolitan Club and 12-member dining societies like the Zodiac Club

1 Knickerbocker restaurant Bushwick Brooklyn NYC Untapped Cities1 Knickerbocker by Graham Friedman for Bushwick Daily

metropolitan club-nyc-untapped cities-007Ceiling murals inside the Metropolitan Club

“Local” was not a virtue unless you were talking about East River oysters. The city enjoyed the bounty of international food markets, which imported everything from pineapples to elk meat. Spices arrived regularly from India and China. Chesapeake Bay area hunters nearly exterminated the canvasback duck to keep up with the hunger for them in New York City.

Thousands of food trends have washed over the city since the 19th century, yet there are a few relics of the past that can still be enjoyed in post-Knickerbocker New York.

1. Mutton Chops at Keen’s Steakhouse

Keens Steakhouse Herald Square NYC Untapped CitiesThe Bull Moose Room in Keen’s Steakhouse, named for Teddy Roosevelt

Gilded Age men loved their mutton chops, both on their cheeks and on their plates. Today, mutton (adult sheep) is a rare find, though it’s the specialty of the house at Keen’s Steakhouse. Open since 1885, Keen’s is a step-back into the lair of 19th century men.

2. Sanguinaccio on Arthur Avenue

If you read Italian or Latin, you’ll know right away that the star of sanguinaccio is blood. Italians streamed into New York in the 1880s, bringing with them many of New York’s most beloved foods. Sanguinaccio, a sweet pig’s blood pudding made during the late winter pig slaughters, was one that never quite caught on. Italians today consider sanguinaccio utterly disgusting, while Italian-American chefs like Mario Batali have replaced the blood with chocolate. A few spots on Arthur Avenue, the heart of Little Italy in the Bronx still sell this peasant pudding in the months leading up to Easter.

3. Turtle soup in Chinatown

1 Knickerbocker mock turtle soup Bushwick Brooklyn NYC Untapped CitiesIf you don’t have the stomach for the real thing, you can try the mock turtle soup at 1 Knickerbocker. Photo via 1 Knickerbocker’s Facebook page

Terrapins were the society meal in the Gilded Age, as was turtle soup. Because of the slow breeding cycle, turtles became endangered and eventually illegal to kill. Today a careful search through Chinatown’s side streets might lead you to a tub of live turtles in the back of a seafood market. Congee Village has turtle soup on the menu for a mere $4.95, a bargain when considering that during its hey-day, a turtle dinner could cost you the modern equivalent of $55.…

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From Untapped Top 10 Secrets of the Woolworth Building


On our recent Untapped Cities exclusive tour of the Woolworth Building, preservationist Lisa Swyers along with Roy Suskin of The Witkoff Group took us to some truly off-limits spots in the already off-limits building. We went down into the bowels to see the mechanical rooms that support the 57 story building, we saw the famous pool, and we went up to the mezzanine. Aside from the unprecedented access, we learned from our guides some wild facts about the building. It’s our third visit there, and we keep learning new things each time. Here are 10 secrets to whet your appetite for our next Woolworth Tour on April 12th.


1. There’s An Abandoned Pool and Hot Tub in the Basement

Woolworth Building-Downtown Manhattan-Untapped Cities-Ben Helmer-5073

Woolworth’s vision of the pool—a luxurious and lavish Pompeian pool and hot tub—was never quite realized. The pool had its best use as a Jack Lalanne fitness club, but it’s boarded up today. However, there are plans to renovate the pool along with part of the building that will be turned into condos. Another fun fact: It’s the second oldest pool in the city, after the one at Teachers College, according to Roy. Also, there was the pool contained a drain to allow the water to be used by the building’s fire prevention system as another method to ensure it’s safety (since it was constructed right after the sinking of the Titanic, which was allegedly unsinkable, Woolworth wanted to ensure that his building truly was impervious).

Woolworth Building-Downtown Manhattan-Untapped Cities-Ben Helmer-5075The remnants of the hot tub

Woolworth Building-Downtown Manhattan-Untapped Cities-Ben Helmer-5071

2. There’s A Water Tank in the Basement!

Water Tank-Woolworth Building-Secrets-NYC

The Woolworth Building was built atop a swamp, so this cedar water tank was added to the basement in the ’70s to siphon out water that seeps up into the basement floor. It wasn’t used for long because the minerals from the water basically ate through the pipes. The water tank just sits pretty these days, in good shape protected from exterior elements.

3. All these Original Decorative Pieces from the top of the Woolworth are in the Basement

Woolworth Building-Downtown Manhattan-Untapped Cities-Ben Helmer-5018

This pile of decorative elements is a treasure trove for antique collectors. Originally at the top of the Woolworth Building, they deteriorated from the elements and starting breaking apart. You can imagine how dangerous it would be if one of the spikes fell the nearly 800 feet from the top onto the street. One of them is currently being used as a cast in order to create replacement railings for the building.

Woolworth Building-Downtown Manhattan-Untapped Cities-Ben Helmer-5048

4. Part of the Manhattan Project Was Headquartered in the Woolworth Building

Woolworth Building Tour-Downtown Manhattan-Untapped Cities-Ben Helmer-4934

According to Roy, the Woolworth Building was where the Manhattan project managed its payroll and produced false identities. It’s indeed one of the places listed in this mapping of Manhattan Project locations in NYC.

5. The Doors in the Basement Once Led to the Subway

Woolworth Building-Basement-Subway Entrances-NYC_1

Now closed off, the doors in the bike room area of the basement once led directly into the subway system.

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Guerilla Secret Speakeasy

16mm Films & Antiques & Music!
in Soho


Sat Feb 1st
6 pm onward


Theme this time is
Favorite Things! for My Bday & we got a Sat Nite!

This should be a sweet small one
See 16mm short films
Hear original vinyl records
Drink & Enjoy actual antiques you can handle and get demonstrated!

The Museum has a show featuring
Rare 16mm films from the
1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s

and you get to pick the films allll night!

and many more 16mm as well as a few 8mm films too!
Early 1900’s and some 1800’s
Stereviews and Mutoscope cards!

A perfect date night or come meet someone new!
Rooftop garden is OPEN with great NYC views!
2500 sq ft loft with 2 fireplaces and
There will be refreshments
and you can order food from Peep,
the popular restaurant on our ground floor
ironically called PEEP!
They will deliver food just for us!

AND we will have free ORIGIN MAGAZINES there for the early birds thanks to DJ Spooky, if you do not know him google him, his work is amazing and he is even the resident DJ at the MET! his work is beyond music, it is art
Yes, the rumors are true, we are shooting part of
a pilot for a possible show at the gig. smile 😉

The Loft at Prince Street 177 Prince Street
6th Floor penthouse! $10 donation
Between Thompson & Sullivan street
in Soho NYC 212 274 8757

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