Month :

Aug ,2015

The Deli Man documentary is a look at the phenomenon of the Jewish-run delicatessen restaurant, from its first known origins in the USA among New York Jews of German origins in the 1840s, to its present-day situation: less numerically prolific, but ambassadors of Jewish cuisine throughout the nation and the world. A large Jewish Deli restaurant operating in, of all places, Texas, claims the blessing of NYC, citing the authenticity of its cuisine by claiming to be a New York establishment on its sign. Though the Jewish population is not declining and surprising numbers can be found in such seemingly surprising places as Texas, Jews have become more “Americanized” and assimilated. Jewish deli owner Ziggy, whose grandparents were Yiddish speakers, observed that American Jews had “turned their backs on Yiddish culture”. Deli owners and Jewish actors who were regular patrons of certain prominent Jewish Delis blame the numerical decline of Jewish Delis on the hard work and long days required of the owner/operators who take a more personal role with their restaurants than perhaps those dealing with other types of cuisine in the restaurant industry. Many examples of food items which are hand-made on a day-to-day basis are cited. Certain foods which are staples of these establishments such as meat sandwiches and potato salad are not very forgiving of advance preparation and pre-packaging. Another phenomenon is the assimilation of Jewish delicatessen restaurants into the world of non-Jews, which has rendered many of these establishments non-Kosher because have started serving certain non-kosher dishes, such as meat sandwiches with cheese on them, to attract and keep non-Jewish customers. …

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from the New York Nineteenth Century Society, as posted on facebook:

Today in early 20th-century history, after more than 70 years of women’s suffrage movements, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex ….Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

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from yelp! events: Lovecraft Bar NYC Celebrates Horror-Writer H.P. Lovecraft’s 125th Birthday

When: Friday, August 21, 2015 4:00 pm –
Saturday, August 22, 2015 1:00 am

Lovecraft Bar NYC
​50 Avenue B
New York, NY 10009

Official Website

Whether you’re a Lovecraft fan, or just want to celebrate his great influence in modern horror, then mark your calendars for a fun but eerie 125th birthday celebration. On August 21, 2015, Lovecraft Bar NYC will host a party in honor of the legendary horror-writer, H.P. Lovecraft. Bar-goers attending this unique and thrilling event must prepare for a night of live music, burlesque, live readings, costumes, magicians, steampunk, film screening and much more!

H.P. Lovecraft’s 125th birthday bash will consist of dancing, entertainment, and out of this world food and beverage items to choose from. Located in the heart of the Lower East Side, Lovecraft is unlike any other bar in NYC. This captivating bar has been inspired and modeled after legendary Lovecraft’s literary works to generate an atmosphere overflowing with wonder and terror.

There’s no better place to celebrate the life of H.P. Lovecraft than here. Guests attending the birthday bash can indulge in delicious and innovative menu items, while enjoying a variety of specialty infused cocktails and craft beer. The “Lovecraftian” atmosphere creates a spooky yet mystical vibe you will not want to miss on this special day.

The first 50 guests before 6:00pm will receive a free shot to kick-off the night!

About Lovecraft Bar NYC: This horror-themed East Village bar was created in honor of writer H.P. Lovecraft; American author who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction. Lovecraft Bar NYC has been inspired and modeled after his literary works, with drinks that include infused cocktails, a large selection of beers, and scrumptious eats as well as a significant steampunk influence. Everything from the drinks to the décor pay tribute to him and his stories.

The impeccable artwork and design by a local artist gives this bar a “Lovecraftian” atmosphere that is overflowing with wonder and terror. Hespent hundreds of hours making this lounge to the standards H.P. Lovecraft and his fans deserve. Gorgeously painted, the eldritch interior design gives it a spooky yet mystical vibe, which makes this NYC bar simply spectacular. Learn more at: …

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New York City’s major religious groups are without question, old-school: the adherents of Catholicism and Judaism, in various degrees of Orthodoxy, are numerical majorities and political pluralities in various parts of the City and State.  New York is said to have the largest population of Jews in the world outside of Israel. It is just a fact of life for the rest of us that we get Jewish holidays off and alternate side of the street parking suspended on certain high holy days, shops and restaurants display information on whether certain of their products are kosher, and one can register to take civil service exams on Sundays normally administered on Saturdays if one is a “Sabbath observer”. The Ultra-Orthodox among New York’s Jewish population exercise a great deal of influence in the political life of the city due to their power as a voting bloc. (The article in that link has some important information about the growth of the declared Orthodox Jewish population in NYC as well as their growing political influence. Though the tone of this and related articles appeals to the “they’re taking over” mindset, I do not see doom and gloom in these demographics, nor do I share the political views represented by a website affiliated with David Duke, but I am confident that the rest of us will adapt to the situation, and New Yorkers, resilient as always, will simply live life as always, just with more of “them” around. The last time that sort of religious and population boom happened in the metro area, it triggered similar knee-jerk reactions; but since then, the Catholic immigrants have intermarried, assimilated, and built a largish Cathedral which is now a tourist attraction.) It is well-known that a community of Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg got bike lanes removed from their area due to their raising a religious objection to their having to see, as a result of the bike route, modern, presumably non-Orthodox women, in revealing sports clothing, such as Spandex, tank tops, and bike shorts, pedal through their community.  Unfortunately, there are some men among the Orthodox who are not so squeamish about the sexual possibilities of women outside their community, and one of the worst-kept secrets in the city is that there are (visibly) Orthodox Jewish men who purchase the services of certain low-end prostitutes, and not surprisingly, return to their own communities with sexually-transmitted diseases to spread. (Yes, there have been Jewish prostitutes as well, and Jews who allegedly played a role in the human-trafficking industry.) It was because of the fact that herpes and worse began to be transmitted within these communities. Even oral herpes, which can sometimes be passed and be symptomless in adults can be fatal to babies’ undeveloped immune systems in the case of ritual circumcisions performed with traditional mohels. This has become a somewhat NYC-specific public health problem. In the recent past, former Mayor Bloomberg instituted a requirement that parents of children facing such procedures be required to sign consent forms and be advised of the health risks of the practice.…

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from BK

Dreamland as Muse: A Look Back at 150 Years of Coney Island Art, Photography, and Film
by Carey Dunne

Since evolving from swampy farmland into the so-called People’s Playground in the late 1800s, Coney Island has served as the go-to destination for some of New York City’s weirdest characters: exhibitionist mermaids, paintball freaks, fortune tellers, elephant brothel patrons, and, more recently, lifesize SpongeBobs and Mickey Mouses. All of which has helped make Coney Island a muse for artists, photographers, and filmmakers for more than 150 years.

The Brooklyn Museum has just announced they’ll be soon opening a major exhibition dedicated to the whimsical visual record such artists have created, called Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008.

The mixed-media exhibit captures Coney Island’s campy, trippy aesthetic with a hodgepodge of photographs by the likes of Walker Evans, Weegee, Bruce Davidson, and Diane Arbus (since Coney Island was basically tailor-made for a Diane Arbus photo shoot). Also on view are pastoral seascapes from the 1800s; sideshow posters galore; a turn-of-the-century gambling wheel and carousel animals presented like sculpture; film stills from the likes of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall and Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream; and a modernist abstract composition by Frank Stella. With red and yellow stripes around a blue square, Stella distills the sand and sea and sun into what looks like a primary-colored flag for Brooklyn’s most famous destination.
In these pictures, Coney Island serves as a microcosm of American mass culture as a whole, and the chronology of 140 art objects here chart major societal shifts, from the dawn of the Great Depression to desegregation. “The modern American mass-culture industry was born at Coney Island, and the constant novelty of the resort made it a seductively liberating subject for artists,” Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank, curator of the exhibit, which Wadsworth Athenaeum helped organize, said in a statement. “What these artists saw from 1861 to 2008 at Coney Island, and the varied ways in which they chose to portray it, mirrored the aspirations and disappointments of the era and the country. Taken together, these tableaux of wonder and menace, hope and despair, dreams and nightmares become metaphors for the collective soul of a nation.”

A few images reflect the darker days of this collective soul, revealing a side of the island’s history that’s often glazed over in narratives of the place as all fun and games. One 1930 photograph by Edward J. Kelty shows the Harlem Black Birds, an African-American musical revue assembled for a sideshow at Coney Island. In the center of the image, famed tap dancer King Rastus Brown wears a derby and smokes a cigar, while two comics in blackface perch on booths labeled “HIGH CLASS COLORED REVUE.” It’s an example of the seamy underbelly of so-called Dreamland’s corner of the entertainment industry in the 30s, and a reminder of the segregation that plagued Coney Island until the 1960s–there were white-only sections of beaches and bathhouses. But works by contemporary artists like Daze and Swoon highlight the comparative diversity and freedom of modern-day Coney Island, the place Borough President Marty Markowitz liked to call “America’s favorite playground.”

Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008 is on view at The Brooklyn Museum from November 20th, 2015 to March 13, 2016.…

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New York magazine has compiled “A Public Transformation” an online slideshow of photos documenting several prominent public spaces in New York City (read: Manhattan) during two different periods in history, in honor of an upcoming television series, TNT’s new cop-and-crime series Public Morals (premiering August 25 at 10/9c). Without further ado, here is the link to the feature which uses online technology to enable immediate comparisons between photos of well-known public spaces in New York City taken 50 years ago with those taken in our own time:

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According to The New York Times, abandoned cars are “A New York Memory”.

“In 1988, the Department of Sanitation removed 148,257 abandoned cars from city streets (and parks and waterways).

That’s an average of 406 cars a day, 17 every hour, one every three and a half minutes. In other words, a lot of steel.

Abandoned cars were such a fixture on the New York landscape that a 1970 Volvo ad showed a couple of battered Detroit products rotting on either side of the George Washington Bridge with the slogan, “The Roads of America Are Strewn With Broken Promises.” The carcasses were an ecosystem unto themselves, feeding first the scavengers of stereos and wheels and batteries, then the resourceful harvesters of wiring and lights, then serving as jungle gyms for underserved children before finally going to the scrap heap that awaits us all.”

Why and when did abandoning non-working cars on the streets of NYC cease to be “a thing”?

“Changes in laws, the value of scrap metal, and car security systems have slowed car theft and abandonment to a near standstill. In fiscal year 2013, the last for which statistics are available, the sanitation department hauled just 2,156 derelict cars to their final resting place.

These photographs from the morgue of The New York Times, taken between 1968 and 1990, show a city all but gone from memory, when the five boroughs’ reverse alchemy turned a four-figure sleek machine into a heap that in 1968 brought the city as little as $1.01 per automobile, and topped out at about $5. No wonder people just walked away.

These days, as steel mills have increasingly turned to recycling old metal, a junker is too valuable to just leave by the side of the road. Somebody wants it and will pay for it. Love survives after all. And the streets are a little cleaner for it.”…

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Onstage Outlaws: Mae West & Texas Guinan Jefferson Market Library; 6:30pm
Visit the courtroom where infamous writer/starlet Mae West was tried for indecency in 1927; see rare photos of the speakeasies and night spots frequented by West and writer/producer Texas Guinan; and hear West’s jailhouse poetry in this immersive look at the lives of the Prohibition era’s most fabulous broads.…

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Denny Daniels’ newsletter for the Museum of Interesting Things has the following information to impart: “As I mentioned, save Sept 13th for the Nautical/Prohibition Speakeasy. This week I got this 16mm film on old sailing boats just for that event! Our collection of vintage 16mm films is over 300 and has nearly every subject. From Nasa to Old cartoons to WW2 footage, circus footage and Bouncing Ball singAlong footage. I even got one vintage film on Arctic Ice and a 1940’s German one on how to make shoes. My dad was a big shoe designer.”…

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The Museum of Interesting Things will be supplying props for the Times Square production of:

Angie Jackson…The Musical

This professionally produced production (including 20 original songs) covers one extraordinary year (1935) in the life of America’s 1st ever African American Female Jr. Detective Solving Crimes All Over NYC. & Harlem!!! Angie Jackson Kid Detective in her adventures meets an assortment of legendary figures in history such as Satchmo Louie Armstrong, Cab Callaway, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday who assist her to be the 1st ever to win “SHOW-TIME AT THE APOLLO”. The cast of the production includes a stellar group of Hudson County & NY-NJ-Pa area up and coming stars of stage and screen ranging from 6 to 60 years old.

The Musical’s August 19th 2015 presentation during the festivities of the New York New Works Theatre Festival is at 300 west 43rd str 2nd floor.…

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