Introducing our new series with 6sqft, a publication on architecture, real estate and neighborhoods in New York City.
The glossy cultured patina of Lincoln Center reveals nearly nothing of what the neighborhood once was, and New Yorkers, accustomed to the on-going cycle of building and demolition, have likely forgotten (or never knew) about the lively San Juan Hill that was demolished to make way for the famous cultural center. Any such development dating from the 1960s wouldn’t be without the fingerprints of the now-vilified Robert Moses, who was more than willing to cut up neighborhoods both poor and wealthy in the eye of progress.
While the tough reputation of Hell’s Kitchen on the west side just south of Lincoln Center is well-documented in the history of the Irish diaspora, the history of San Juan Hill was mostly erased by a single sweep of urban planning, by nature of simply no longer existing. As New York City expanded and industrialized, immigrant communities moved northwards. African Americans were also part of this movement, even pre-Civil War, along with their neighbors the Irish, Italians and Germans.
Originally, all groups were mixing and getting in trouble down in Five Points. Harlem’s reputation as the center of African American culture wouldn’t exist without the gradual northward movement of their community through the 1800s. After Five Points, the population moved into Greenwich Village, then to the Tenderloin in the streets between the 20s and 30s, then to Hell’s Kitchen. The area that’s now Lincoln Center was the logical next step, originally settled by the Dutch as an enclave by the name of Blooming Dale with its leafy aristocratic country homes.
The town of Wetzlar, Germany recently celebrated the return of iconic lens and camera manufacturer, Leica, which was founded 100 years ago in this manufacturing enclave outside Frankfurt. The new headquarters, shaped like a camera lens, offers both a look behind-the-scenes into the intricate production process of Leica cameras, as well as an exhibition space that celebrates the company’s illustrious history.
While attending the opening of the new Leica headquarters, we also learned some of the secrets of the company from the staff. One, which particularly caught our attention, was the tunnel system in Wetzlar that enabled Jewish Leica (then the Leitz company) employees to escape Nazi-controlled Germany in the late 1930s. Known by Holocaust historians as the “Leica Freedom Train,” this initiative of Dr. Ernest Leitz II and his daughter Elsie Kuehn-Leitz have all the hallmarks of a Schindler’s List-like story, but remains mostly unknown to the global public. During our trip, we were able to visit the tunnels with a local tour guide.
Nicholas Reale, the Untapped Cities resident biking expert, tour guide for Get Up and Ride and former bike messenger, shares his Top 10 Tips for biking in NYC, if you’re looking to move from the intermediate, post Citibike stage to expert urban cycler.
With a burning desire to elevate your NYC bike lifestyle to the next level, you’ve made the $150 investment for some endearing hunk o’junk (which you will soon christen as Betsy, or whatever) from that ex-hippie that sells bikes street-side on Avenue A. It would be incorrect to call you a “newbie,” but just the same you’re not quite the “expert” yet. Below, we detail some of the top habits and tips to get acclimated with, if you wish to make biking in NYC a daily part of your routine. We’ve intentionally excluded the obvious things like, “Wear a helmet!” and, “Get a bell!” assuming that you have a functioning brain and want to keep it that way.
At 10am on July 27th, a sundial in Battery Park will pay tribute to the veterans of the Korean War. The Korean War Veterans Memorial, also a sundial, commemorates the official ceasefire declared at that exact time and date in 1953. A functioning sundial, the piece is filled as the sun shines straight down the center of “The Universal Soldier,” illuminating the plaque located at the foot of the statue.
Designed by Welsh artist, Mac Adams, the memorial sits slightly north-west of Fritz Koenig’s “Sphere“, a tribute to 9/11. The 15-foot obelisk of black granite contains a cutout in the shape of a Korean War soldier lit up by the sun and offering views of both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Macbook stickers by Macstix, Spotted in a coffee shop on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn
We’ve been spotting these neat Macbook stickers in coffee shops all around Brooklyn and Manhattan recently. And they’re not those big decals that take over people’s Macbooks, ruining the clean, sleek Apple design. These stickers transform the lighted apple, turning it into a lightbulb, the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, a banana and other fun icons.
Digging a little deeper, we discovered that the stickers are by a company called Macstix, based out of New York City. The stickers are designed and made by German architect Felix David who created them to counter the uniformity of the Mac. And with Apple’s latest advertising angle featuring Macbook stickers, along with this super fun video, Apple has given its seal of approval.