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Red Hook

From huck magazine:

The photographer who defined old-school cool

Street symphony

Posted
Text by Alex King
Photography © Jamal Shabazz

Jamel Shabazz has spent his life documenting the city that never sleeps. But while his shots of urban street style have become iconic, the bigger picture – a world of police and prostitutes, drifters and dancers – reveals something much deeper: a commitment to community.

It’s early morning in Rikers Island jail and a young corrections officer named Jamel Shabazz has just begun his first inspection. The residential wing is so hot that the stench of stale cigarettes and dead rodents hangs heavily.

There is a line of 30 units on both sides of the corridor, each one of them holding a juvenile inmate who may have trashed his cell, retreated to a corner or hung himself with a bed sheet.

“To make a physical count, you have to make sure a body is in each cell,” Jamel explains. And there is an abundance of bodies.

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It’s the mid-1980s and a crack epidemic is sweeping through New York City, generating a wave of violence that’s carrying thousands of young black men into the city’s prisons and morgues.

“It felt like being in a lifeboat watching a sinking ship and you can only help so many people,” says Jamel, thinking back to that time.

“But it didn’t stop me from going to work every single day looking for someone to connect with and provide direction to.”

Working in prison made Jamel’s mission clear to him: he became determined to steer young men away from ruining their lives, feeding a vicious cycle of regret. And it didn’t take long for him to realise how he’d do that.

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Think of old-school hip hop and, chances are, you will conjure up one of Jamel Shabazz’s unforgettable portraits. Jamel came of age during the birth of rap in mid-70s New York. He remembers block parties in Coffey Park, Brooklyn, where a group of DJs and MCs would “hot-wire” the electricity supply of a lamppost to keep the party going long into the night.

His photobook Back in the Days immortalises the b-boys, boomboxes and big hair of 1980s New York City in one cornerstone document. But the purpose behind these images has often gone overlooked.

“I don’t get caught up on the fashion,” he says. “My photographs have always been about the personal connections I make in my attempt to communicate what’s going on in the streets.”

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Jamel’s new book, Sights in the City, aims to redress that balance by showcasing his street photography in one place for the first time. It spans the duration of his career and illuminates the complex city that has defined his life.

Growing up in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, Jamel discovered photography through his father, a naval combat photographer who taught him to carry a loaded camera at all times.

Initially borrowing his mother’s cheap Kodak, the 15-year-old began directing groups of his friends into poses and developing a signature style.

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or, The Whale
Lehigh Valley Barge #79, Waterfront Museum
Brooklyn , NY
“An ensemble of eight actors embody the beloved characters of Melville’s classic and take us on the epic journey that is said to carry the DNA of America in it. But with the “ungodly, god-like” Captain Ahab at the helm- who will live to tell of it?Join us for four performances aboard the Lehigh Valley Barge #79 docked in Brooklyn’s historic Red Hook harbor and home to the Waterfront Museum.

Threadbare Theatre Workshop illuminates epics in a simple way through the magic of resourceful storytelling; laying bare our humanity so we may thread more empathy into existence. Our inaugural season celebrates bold reimaginings of ancient myth- beginning with OR, THE WHALE on the Brooklyn waterfront this October.

Adapted & Directed by Kate Russell. Featuring *Paul Terzenbach, C Bain, Steven Hajar, Aniela Gonzalez, Andrew Langton, Nicholas Lazzaro, Jake Choi & *Keona Welch. Production Stage Manager: Kacey Gritters. Costume Design: James Veloria. Lighting Design: David Sexton.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE…

~Once you board you cannot exit until intermission and once again when the play is finished.

~There will be NO LATE SEATING. Please leave ample time to travel to Red Hook, Brooklyn and navigate the waterfront’s parking and transportation.

~Suitable for ages 13 and older.

~Original Artwork by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

*Actors appear courtesy of Actors Equity Association ”

Location

Lehigh Valley Barge #79, Waterfront Museum (View)
290 Conover Street
Brooklyn , NY 11231
United States

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H.P. Lovecraft Festival Kraine Theatre; 7:30pm; $20
Cthulhu, Shoggoths and the other trippy stars of the Lovecraft canon take center stage at this theatrical celebration of the beloved sci-fi visionary. Enjoy live adaptations of The Horror at Red Hook, Hypnos and The Curse of Yig as Kraine Theatre kicks off the 10-day festival.…

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The recent resurgence in popularity of H.P. Lovecraft can not legitimately pass by New York City. Lovecraft was known to have lived in, and written of, New York City from 1924-1926The historical times he lived in, combined with WASP and old-money bigotry, contributed to From the Pest Zone: The New York Stories which are featured in his surviving writings:

“His long story “The Horror at Red Hook” is his most prominent New York work. Today you can see where Lovecraft lived in Brooklyn, and on the Upper West Side of Manhattan you can visit the museum of the Russian mystic artist Nicholas Roerich. Lovecraft knew and admired Roerich, who went on to have quite a bit of influence over one of Franklin Roosevelt’s Vice Presidents.” (-from H.P. Lovecraft and Nicholas Roerich in New York) He initially moved into his wife’s apartment at 259 Parkside Avenue in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn,  and later, when their financial stability and their marriage fell upon hard times, a one room apartment at 169 Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights: both buildings still stand (though doubtless the interiors have been renovated to comply with modern regulations and the standard of living.)

When Walking With Cthulhu: H.P. Lovecraft as psychogeographer, New York City 1924-26(Manhattan), he and his friends, an association of writers who called themselves [(Lovecraft’s New York Circle: The Kalem Club, 1924-1927 * * )] [Author: Mara Kirk Hart] [Jun-2006], would hang out at the Double R coffee house, (then) at 112 West 44th Street.  Sometimes he would go to see the visual art works of Nicholas Roerich, further uptown: “There is now a Nicholas Roerich Museum. It is at 319 West 107th Street, close to the location that Lovecraft describes as “good old Nick Roerich’s joint” on 103rd Street. ”

Having experienced the dissolution of his marriage, further impoverishment, a failed job-hunt, the extreme cold of the New York winter, and a burglary, it’s safe to say that New York City was quite the chamber of horrors for Lovecraft, even aside from the (still) diverse immigrant population.

I attended an H. P. Lovecraft 125th Birthday celebration, with theatrical performances, dramatic readings, a costumed Cthulu, and a burlesque show, at the modern-day Lower East Side restaurant/bar which bears his last name, and attempts to cultivate an appropriately spooky atmosphere while serving reduced-thujone re-legalized absinthe, a seafood-oriented menu, and complying with the raft of modern-day business regulations.  Multitudes packed in, some of them dressed in steampunk style, to celebrate the writings of an author long-gone, if not his racial views. Someone I met there told me that Lovecraft had moderated his racial beliefs in his later years, and even went so far as to marry a Jewish woman.  He also told me that besides an outpouring of fan fiction, fans of H.P. Lovecraft’s writings had made a couple of modern-day silent films based on his stories, as well as a recreated-history radio drama in homage to Lovecraft’s stories. …

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“44 Amazing NYC Places That Actually Still Exist” (Buzzfeed).

Most are bars and restaurants.

A lot of classic New York City spots might be disappearing, but you can still go to these distinctive shops, bars, and restaurants. For now, anyway.

1. Russ & Daughters, 179 East Houston St. (East Village)

Russ & Daughters, 179 East Houston St. (East Village)

Jeffrey Bary / Via Flickr: 70118259@N00

Russ & Daughters, a family-operated “appetizing store” focused on selling traditional Jewish fish and dairy products, has been a fixture of the Lower East Side since 1914. It’s one of the only existing stores in the entire country dedicated to appetizing.

2. Eddie’s Sweet Shop, 105-29 Metropolitan Ave. #1 (Forest Hills)

Eddie's Sweet Shop, 105-29 Metropolitan Ave. #1 (Forest Hills)

Joe Shlabotnik / Via Flickr: joeshlabotnik

Eddie’s Sweet Shop is an old school ice cream parlor and soda fountain that has served the neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, for over a century. It’s not too hard to find ice cream shops that aspire to capturing the vibe of an old-timey soda fountain, but this is the real deal.

3. Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (East Village)

Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (East Village)

Postdlf / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Strand may be the single most beloved and iconic used book store in the entire city, and has been a destination for bibliophiles around the world for nearly a century. The store contains a staggering amount of books and truly lives up to its hype.

4. Di Fara Pizza, 1424 Avenue J (Midwood)

Di Fara Pizza, 1424 Avenue J (Midwood)

apasciuto / Via Flickr: apasciuto

Di Fara has been around since the mid-’60s but made the shift from local treasure to a destination spot for world class pizza sometime in the past decade or so. The pizza is so good that people are willing to travel from all over the city and wait for up to three hours to get a pie handcrafted by restaurant founder and pizza auteur Dom DeMarco.

5. Generation Records, 210 Thompson St. (Greenwich Village)

Generation Records, 210 Thompson St. (Greenwich Village)

Daniel Lobo / Via Flickr: daquellamanera

Greenwich Village was once a major destination for record collectors, but this large punk and metal-centric shop is one of the few stores that’s managed to stay open over the years.

6. St. Mark’s Comics, 11 St. Mark’s Place (East Village)

St. Mark's Comics, 11 St. Mark's Place (East Village)

St. Mark’s Place has been heavily gentrified over the past 20 years, but this stalwart comics shop has stuck around despite so many seedy punk and counterculture shops getting replaced with chains like Chipotle and Supercuts. (And yes, this is the comic book store from that one episode of Sex and the City.)

7. Caffe Reggio, 119 Macdougal St. (Greenwich Village)

Caffe Reggio, 119 Macdougal St. (Greenwich Village)

Scott Beale / Via Flickr: laughingsquid

Caffe Reggio has a crucial role in the development of coffee culture in the United States — it was the first establishment to sell cappuccino in America back in the 1920s. The cafe still has its original espresso machine, which dates back to 1902, and was purchased by founder Domenico Parisi when he opened the place in 1927.

8. Old Town Bar on 45 East 18th St.

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