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Arts&Design_SandraBloodworth_NYC_UntappedCites_bhushan mondkar-007Rendering of the upper mezzanine level of the 34th street station built as part of the 7 subway extension. The dome will feature artwork by Xenobia Bailey. Rendering courtesy: MTA

Last week we presented the first part of our interview with Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts & Design, where we talked about the incredible rebirth of the New York’s subway system over the past three decades and how the introduction of permanent art has transformed the transit experience in New York. From mesmerizing art cards and poetry in the trains, to captivating music in the stations, Arts & Design continues to touch our lives and ignite our imagination, as New York chugs along every day. In this second part of our four part series, we discuss how Arts & Design has influenced the aesthetics and design philosophy in NYC public transit as well as the different programs within Arts & Design, including the new ones that will soon be rolling down the tracks! This interview was conducted by Catherine Mondkar and Bhushan Mondkar.

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Verrazano Bridge Under ConstructionImage via MCNY

Here’s our roundup of the top NYC events for this week, including a speakeasy dedicated to local cheese, a talk on the Verrazano Bridge at 50 years old, and a discussion on the evolution of Times Square.

Monday, November 17th

Learn about what Bushwick was like in the 1970s, before the trendy cafes and yoga studios came in. The Brooklyn Historical Society will be hosting a discussion called Brooklyn’s On Fire: Bushwick is Burning, with photographer Meryl Meisler, a tenant lawyer, an FDNY fire marshal, a Community Board manager, and a displaced resident.

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I don’t know very much about the finer points of aging gracefully, but am pretty sure it involves limited color palettes and houndstooth. At least, that’s what the chic older ladies of New York have led me to believe. The Upper East Side isn’t one of my usual haunts, but any self-respecting people-watcher knows that every once in a while you have to visit unfamiliar places to refresh your eyes and see what life looks like with a view of the East River. Also, a lot of museums are up there, which was the reason for my sojourn into that part of town. (There’s an Egon Schiele exhibit at the Neue Galerie right now.)

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While you probably maintain a black and white image of dirty young intellectuals huddled around a table in a dark room building a device for destruction, anarchy in 20th century New York developed as a social, political, and humanitarian movement in reaction to the ideologies of oppressive governments at the time. However, the movement quickly became violent, and its legacy today holds negative connotation. Its conspirators didn’t just gather in grimy tenements on the East Side of Manhattan. Members of anarchist groups met anywhere from the Upper East Side to East Williamsburg, targeting influential New Yorkers as important as John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan and left their mark on places from Wall Street to Union Square.

1. Union Square, 1908

Anarchist Bombing-Union Square-NYCImage via Library of Congress

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It has been a little over 12 months since Banksy’s NYC residency came to an end last Halloween with his final act of vandalism: his name in big, shiny, silver bubble letters (quite literally) hanging from a wall in Queens, two months before the infamous white-washing of 5Pointz. The bubble letters were taken by the NYPD, who took them from two amateur thieves (who could have taken a lesson or two from Thomas Crown). Shouts from a crowd of onlookers were first aimed at the thieves and later, to the police; some of them (including Brooklyn Street Art’s Jamie Rojo) were arrested. The entire maddening scene was recorded on video and put on YouTube, Instagram, Vine etc. It was an outlandish ending to one of the most bizarre and polarizing art events to ever happen in NYC.

What Banksy personally accomplished with his Better Out Than In project is unknown to us (or anyone who isn’t Banksy. But the artist, whose message is as illusory as his identity, may not have anticipated the fury of the social media firestorm, so much so that someone would want to document the madness and have it shown on HBO.

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"Harlem Light Shuffle" Photo Vicki DaSilva

“Harlem Light Shuffle”
Photo Vicki DaSilva

In an effort to raise global awareness of the importance of light-based technologies, the United Nations has declared 2015 as the International Year of Light.  Through coordinated activities, with more than 100 partners from over 85 countries, they will highlight the importance of light and optical technologies in our society and in our future. As a kick-off to next years global education and festivities, New Yorkers will get a preview this Sunday, November 16th. TEDxCUNY has put together Access: Art, a full-day of free programming ranging from 3D printing demonstrations to interactive gaming workshops, art installations and guest speakers.

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