The Lower East Side was transformed into 1900 NYC. Photo by Mary Cybulski/Cinemax
When Steven Soderbergh retired from directing movies last year he announced that “movies don’t matter anymore.” Fans of the director’s work were stunned. Since 1989 with his first independent feature Sex, Lies and Videotape; Soderbergh has been one of the few directors in cinema who has truly kept audiences guessing his next move. Almost two years into his “retirement” there is no word of Soderbergh returning to the cinema. To some, that might be viewed as a bad sign; Soderbergh, however, has not been laying dormant. On the contrary, since “retiring” he has been working constantly. He became very active on Twitter, in the most Soderbergh-y way possible, making a novella titled GLUE; he has spliced together both versions of Psycho, and, even more bizarrely awesome, he re-edited Spielberg’s Raiders of The Lost Ark, transforming it into a black and white silent film.
He has done all of this, including directing an off-Broadway play, getting into the liquor business and once again finding himself in the director’s chair. Soderbergh’s return to the set was not for a feature, or even for a TV film. Perhaps inspired by the work of Cary Fukunaga on True Detective, Soderbergh decided to do something similar and direct every episode of a project he come across called The Knick. Soderbergh directs (as well as edits under his pseudonym Mary Anne Bernard ) every episode of the series first season, which follows the life and exploits of Dr. John Tackery, head surgeon of The Knickerbocker Hospital and its staff in 1900 New York City.
Walking the hallways of an abandoned hospital would give anyone shivers. But what if throughout the tour, apparitions from times past unexpectedly appeared in the adjoining rooms, windows, and staircases? We visited the South Side hospital complex on Ellis Island, the site of Unframed, an installation by Parisian street artist JR that opened on October 1st.
Artist JR is known for his large scale photographs in places accessible to the public view, like New York City’s Times Square, the Pantheon in Paris, and the favelas of Brazil. The hospital site has been off-limits to the public, apart from special visits like our coverage for the 2012 Partners in Preservation campaign. For a short time, it will only be accessible through a guided “hard-hat” tour. The tours are capped at 10 people and tickets are sold out thorough November, but tickets are still available into April 2015. So why would JR choose such an exclusive site that requires a hard-won reservation to visit?
Proposal for The Queensway
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Did you know that New York City has over 1,900 parks? And 1/5 of the city’s land is devoted to green space. But with parks under so many different jurisdictions, ranging from city, state, national to private, it can be tricky figuring out what park is the right one for your particular adventure, especially if you’re not headed to one of the big dogs like Central Park or Prospect Park. One of the grand prize winners of this year’s NYC BigApps competition is Explore NYC Parks, an app and website developed by a 26-year old developer to solve just that.
The Ansonia about 1904, image via Library of Congress
If there is one building that epitomizes the Upper West Side’s bohemian origins, it just might be The Ansonia with its rather scandalous and off-beat reputation. The Ansonia has been home to such a wide range of characters–from Babe Ruth to Igor Stravinsky to Natalie Portman–that it’s not surprising what an illustrious backstory it has. We decided to take a look back at a wonderful feature from New York Magazine in 2005 that revisits the ups and downs of the historic building (which had 1,400 rooms and 320 suites!) and share with you some of the most wild facts about the building.
Bitcoin ATM at The Yard in Williamsburg. Image by Alban Denoyel of Sketchfab
We have a history of reporting on fun ATMs, from the Gold ATM on 57th Street, the Cupcake ATM from Sprinkles, and even some for bike parts. Yesterday, the CEO of Sketchfab, a platform for 3D models based in New York City, showed us the latest Bitcoin ATM he came across at The Yard in Williamsburg, a co-working space. There are now at least three Bitcoin ATMs in New York City, with the first at Flat 128 in Greenwich Village and at Bitcoin retailer, Coin Cafe on Nassau Avenue in Greenpoint which has it in an old-fashioned phone booth.