Month :

May ,2016

What we now call “Lawn Bowling”, and the Dutch and British colonials called “bowls”, was so culturally enmeshed, such a “given” in society, that Bowling Green was considered a necessary feature that survives in Manhattan to this day…

From Chelsea News:

Lawn Bowling Celebrates 90 Years

The New York Lawn Bowling Club is marking its 90th anniversary.

The club was founded in 1926 and, in partnership with the Central Park Conservancy, has maintained residence just north of the Sheep Meadow. Players compete by rolling four oblong bowls along a flat grass surface aiming to place their bowl closest to a smaller target called the “jack.”

The club kicked off summer season with an opening-day tournament on May 7th. Everyone is invited to learn more about the pastime every Monday at 5 p.m. in May and June to try their hand at bowling. More information about the club can be found at

Wearing white is not required.

– See more at:

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From Chelsea Now: Review of From The Chelsea Hotel to The Chintz Age

Added by Scott Stiffler on May 4, 2016.
Saved under Arts, Features

Ed Hamilton, a resident of the Chelsea Hotel since 1995, stands outside of the building, where scaffolding has been up for years as the interior undergoes reconstruction. Photo by Scott Stiffler.

BY PUMA PERL | New Yorkers are notoriously, easily, justifiably irritated by geographical errors and timeline flubs when reading about their city. Fortunately, Ed Hamilton pretty much gets it right. “The Chintz Age,” a collection of short stories, is aptly described on the cover as telling “tales of love and loss.” The characters are living in a time of uncertainty, watching in horror as their neighborhoods turn against them; small businesses are being displaced, chrome and glass have risen up like monsters, and longtime residents are losing the fabrics of their lives.

We meet the characters of the seven stories (and one novella) at pivotal points in their lives. They long for the past as they seek validation in the present. Even the realm of horror is entered, with vultures scheming to take over an apartment. Backed against the high-rise walls of gentrification, the characters find themselves seeking redemption as their lives and relationships are forced into change.

Seven stories and a novella comprise “The Chintz Age,” Ed Hamilton’s look at culture clashes in gentrified NYC neighborhoods. Courtesy Červená Barva Press.

Greg, the protagonist of the opening story, “Fat Hippie Books,” immediately engages the reader. He is the cantankerous and somewhat egotistical owner of a bookstore that is on its way out. Flaws and all, Greg is ours, the type of guy we put up with even when he drives us crazy. Like most of the others in the book, he’s a dying breed; more interested in a dissection of Kerouac’s influences than in a nouveau grilled sun-dried fig cheese sandwich. He’s growing older, and is reluctantly acknowledging that the success he once expected has not come to pass. To the author’s credit, each tale develops fleshed out characters, responding in their own ways not only to the city’s changing landscape and to gentrification, but also to their own realizations and self-assessments. Hamilton’s affection for the outer edges of society is demonstrated by his portrayals of the artists, musicians, writers, pimps, homeless individuals, prostitutes and junkies who roam through the various locales, usually the seediest corners that remain in existence.

Ed Hamilton was born in Atlanta and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Following graduate school, he taught philosophy in Washington, DC, but always wanted to write fiction. When his girlfriend (now his wife), Debbie Martin, received a job offer in New York, they took the opportunity and ran with it.

“We had long been fans of the Chelsea Hotel, since some of our favorite writers and artists had lived there, and it was the first place we tried. Eventually, [then-owner/manager] Stanley Bard rented us a room, and we’ve been there since 1995,” said Hamilton. Incredibly, they have been able to hold onto their home through years of court cases and the constant noise, dust, and lack of services that go along with renovation. “Life at the hotel has not been pleasant,” he said. “The hotel has been stripped of its art collection, most of the historic rooms have been gutted, and it looks like a filthy construction site.…

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From Chelsea Now: Exhibit Puts the Wind Back in Seaport Museum’s Sails

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Sun 05 2016 , by

Hopper-Gibbons House

Hopper-Gibbons House Saga Has a New Addition

BY SEAN EGAN | The latest of the dozens of battles (fought both in and out of court) in the years-long war over the fate of the Hopper-Gibbons House has ended in favor of The Friends of Hopper-Gibbons Underground Railroad Site & Lamartine Place Historic District, who seek to protect the integrity of the historic, documented Underground Railroad site located at 339 W. 29th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Ave.).

The stop at Community Board 4’s (CB4) Chelsea Land Use Committee meeting on May 16 found the Friends and their allies seeking CB4’s denial of support for the owner’s latest plans for the construction, which will be presented to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on June 21. While this step is promising, the House that once served as an abolition center and safe haven for runaway slaves still has a long way to go to return to its former glory.

 In the past, trouble has surrounded the building because at the outset of construction, the owner was in possession of a permit erroneously issued by the Department of Buildings (DOB), rather than the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) — and began to build a fifth floor on the row house. In 2009, soon after the invalid DOB permit was revoked and Stop Work Orders were issued (though, reportedly, construction continued), the building was granted landmark status as part of the Lamartine Historic District. Thusly, in 2013, the BSA ordered owner Tony Mamounas to get approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) before moving ahead with construction. This decision was reinforced both in Manhattan Supreme Court in 2013, and more recently the NY Supreme Court Appellate Division in 2015 — at which point it was noted by electeds and advocates that the LPC had the authority to make the owner restore the building to its prior state.

Mamounas’ architect presented plans the owner hopes will be approved by the LPC. Photo by Sean Egan.

Lawyer Marvin Mitzner, speaking on behalf of the owner that evening, was there to present to the committee the plans for the building that the owner is currently seeking, and planning on bringing before the LPC. Introducing the project’s architect, the assembled were shown renderings of what they ultimately want the building to look like. Their current plan includes keeping an altered fifth floor on the building in a bulkhead, set back seven feet and at a slant, in order to make it less visible from across the street, creating the illusion (from certain angles) of it being flush with surrounding roofs. They also noted that keeping this floor, with stairs, would provide safer access to the roof.

Other touted improvements to the building included a brownstone base, a new brick façade, and new windows to give it a “more distinct profile” — a positive step, according to Mitzner, who characterized the structure as an “ugly stucco building” that is an “eyesore” in the district. 

Committee member Walter Mankoff spared no time taking Mitzner and Mamounas to task after the presentation.

“I do recall year after year, and month after month,” noted Mankoff, “that construction kept going on, on the fifth floor, deliberately violating rules,” making him find it hard to sympathize with their call to support the plan.…

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From Chelsea Now:

A Final Look Behind Bayview’s Walls

One of the Baview roof decks, looking out over the Hudson River. Whether the cage will stay is still up in the air. Photo by Yannic Rack.

BY YANNIC RACK | When the former Bayview Correctional Facility becomes a hub for nonprofit women’s organizations, its transformation will once again breathe new life into a historic part of Chelsea’s waterfront.

Bayview, which closed in 2012 as a result of an evacuation prompted by Hurricane Sandy, has stood at the corner of W. 20th St. and 11th Ave. for more than 80 years. Built as a waterfront YMCA for sailors and merchant marine crews, it was turned into a drug treatment center in 1967 and later became a prison, and has been closed off to the public ever since.

Tatiana Eck, the project manager in charge of the Women’s Building for developer the Goren Group, shows off one of the heavier doors on a cell floor at the former prison, which might find its way into a planned museum/exhibition space in the reimagined building. Photo by Yannic Rack.

But last week the developers of the building opened its doors so that residents could get their first — and likely last — look behind the walls of the former medium-security prison, which will turn into the Women’s Building, a space for girls’ and women’s rights groups, by 2020.

“They were all very glad to see the inside of the building after it’s been a part of the neighborhood for so long,” said Tatiana Eck, a senior project manager at the Goren Group, who led about two dozen people through the eight-story structure on Thurs., May 19 (Goren is the project developer along with the nonprofit NoVo Foundation).

The walkthrough led past empty cells and forlorn storage rooms, but focused on showing off the building’s many unique features.

Eck said plans for the renovation include bringing back the barreled ceiling in the entrance hall, restoring the brick and terracotta façade, and fixing up the colorful wall mosaics found in and around a pool that was used by the sailors during the building’s days as the Seamen’s House YMCA.

“Our plan is to bring back the pool, restore the mosaics — and we’ve been talking about ways we may be able to provide access to the pool to our neighbors,” said Eck. In more recent years, the pool was covered with plywood and used as a storage space for the prison.

Examples of the colorful mosaics in the pool area, which will be restored. Photo by Yannic Rack.

“But keeping in mind that this building will be full of activists working on women’s rights issues, security is always a concern,” she added. “So we are working to balance both of those things — have this really important cultural institution, and provide access to the community.”

Visitors exploring the pool, which was used by sailors in the building’s days as a YMCA, but was later covered with plywood and used as a storage space by the prison. Photo by Yannic Rack.

Another historic feature is the first-floor chapel, complete with nautical-themed stained-glass windows and a solemn altarpiece depicting a ship at sea.

The cells, which used to be hotel rooms for the sailors, will likely not survive the renovations, but Eck said some details, like one of the heavier metal doors, might find a home in a small museum space dedicated to the history of the building.

“[We want] something that really helps people understand what the building was, both in its days as a sailors’ hotel and as a prison,” she said.

The gym might retain its double-height ceilings in the planned renovation, and could become an events space to host fundraisers and other functions, according to Eck. Photo by Yannic Rack.

The locals who toured the building were most impressed, however, by that most coveted asset in the modern city — the view.…

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On this new encompassing tour offered by Untapped Cities in partnership with the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, guests will visit the stunning Bialystoker Synagogue, normally off-limits to the public and only accessible via our organizations. The landmarked synagogue was built in 1826, originally as the Willett Street Methodist Episcopal Church and is an example of architectural reuse in New York City from church to place of worship for the Jewish community. It is one of only four early-19th century fieldstone religious buildings surviving from the late Federal period in Lower Manhattan. In addition to its architecture, the building has its fair share of secrets, which will be shared on this tour.

On this tour, you will also walk the streets of Historic East Broadway, viewing historical sites like the Henry Street Settlement, The Forward Building, Seward Park, Straus Square and more. We will stop at the exterior of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol – once home to the first and largest Russian Jewish Orthodox congregation in the United States – and tour a shteibl, a one room house of prayer. You will see where immigrants went to shul, pray, and how a new generation is carrying on these traditions. Buy tickets online. Tour takes place Sunday, June 5, 2:00pm-4:30pm.

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The Entire History Of Photography Is Now Accessible Through An Online Database

Searchable resource contains 110,000 photographers and others involved in photographic production

Marielle Castillo

The New York Public Magazine launched an incredibly useful photographic resource. The Photographers’ Identities Catalog (PIC) is an online collection of biographical data of around 110,000 photographers, studios, dealers and others involved in photography production.

The platform covers the entire world and history of the medium, including everything from early days daguerreotypes to present day images, making it a vast and growing resource for students, historians and photography lovers.

This project has been in the making for years. For David Lowe, Photography Specialist at the New York Public Library, PIC has been central to his work at NYPL. In 2003, he began surveying and rearranging their physical collection, noting locations of their cataloged material and storing all of a photographer’s work together, arranged alphabetically.

The beautiful interface was built by the NYPL Labs team, the Library’s digital innovation unit. The map is an experimental interface that makes use of CesiumJS, a JavaScript library for 3D maps. The information was sourced from original research by the NYPL Photography staff, as well as trusted biographical dictionaries, databases, websites published by photography scholars and catalogs, as well as Wikipedia and Wikidata.

The search and filtering options are pretty impressive. A quick search for any photographer yields a great amount of information, from basic stats like dates of birth and active years, but it can also reveal more specific details, including a map of where the photographer was active, the art collections that own the photographer’s work around the world, the photographic processes used, and more. Since the search engine is equipped with many filters, PIC is also great for exploring specific interests.

While PIC is the latest online resource for photographic information, it’s not the only one. Similar databases include Yale’s Photogrammar and the NYPL’s public domain visualization tool.

The Photographers’ Identities Catalog (PIC)

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Press photographer Weegee’s Bowery was a Skid Row of derelicts and drunks – a world away from the boutique hotels and hipster joints that line the street today. In the ’40s and ’50s, it was notorious for fleabag hotels, flop houses that offered 25-cent-per-night beds, and crowded all-night missions that provided food and shelter to those who could afford neither.

We previously shared the news that a new exhibit Weegee’s Bowery, curated by the International Center of Photography would be at Mana Contemporary in New Jersey. We are pleased now to show additional photographs that shed led on this underclass of transients, who huddled in the shadow of the Third Avenue elevated railway, and were caught by Weegee’s lens.

Weegee even lived amongst his subjects in the early 1930s. ICP Weegee specialist Christopher George said: “In his autobiography Weegee by Weegee, he writes for a time he lived in a ‘Bowery flea bag. Beds in the dormitory were only fifteen cents, but I liked the privacy. The coughing of the drunks went on all night long, but I didn’t care. I liked the Bowery. It was colorful. At night I would go to the missions… There was no crime on the Bowery’.”

Weegee’s Bowery includes an extensive selection of his photographs of a raucous nightclub and cabaret called Sammy’s, located at 267 Bowery. From its opening in 1934, until its doors closed in 1970, Sammy’s provided a setting where adventurous uptown sophisticates could mingle with the bar’s flamboyant entertainers and hard-drinking regulars. The New York Times described Sammy’s clientele as a mix of “drunks and swells, drifters and celebrities, the rich and the forgotten.”

Weegee – whose real name was Arthur Fellig – also appears in a number of the 39 photographs on display, as the boisterous book-launch parties for his publications Naked City and Weegee’s People were held at Sammy’s. But while Weegee photographed hard-living drinkers, he himself was known more for being extremely hard working.

George explains: “The photos of Weegee’s book publication celebrations, in 1945 and ’46, are fascinating. In July 1945, when World War II was winding down, a few weeks before atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, Weegee was at the acme of his career and was famous.

“The wildly exuberant publication parties were the culmination of 10 years of near-obsessive, around-the-clock work as a freelance photographer and photojournalist, often photographing difficult things; tragedies like crimes and fires.

“In the photos, Weegee is celebrating (dancing with and kissing many female guests) but he’s also working. During the 1946 Wegee’s People publication party, in photos made by the genius Simon Nathan and brilliant Lee Sievan, he’s seen wearing a tuxedo and holding a Bolex 16mm movie camera.

“Portions of what he filmed that night at Sammy’s are in his film Cocktail Party – which is included in Weegee’s Bowery.

The 39 prints in the exhibition have been chosen by George from ICP’s holdings of more than 20,000 Weegee photographs. He said: “More than 300 of his photographs were made on the Bowery.…

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Medicine Show Theater, 549 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

May 29, 2016 at 5:00 PM (EDT)
NYC, New York

The History of Fashion Fashion show is both a fashion show AND a history lesson.  Come see men and women dressed in period clothing but represent real men and woman who made New York State famous.  Come learn about the woman spy of the American Revolution to the man who taught Andy Warhol how to use a computer to design Blondie’s album cover.  This year the show will be in Troy NY and New York City.  Seating is limited in both locations so get your tickets early.

LOCATiON NYC:  Medicine Show Theater,  549 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019

Phone:(212) 262-4216

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