Image via Flickr by Henk Ven der Eijk
Last June, The Frick Collection announced its plans to build a new six-story addition to its 1913 building that houses the extensive art and sculpture collection of gilded-age robber baron Henry Clay Frick. The addition is in response to the museum’s growing foot traffic, which has increased by 37% over the last 5 years, with approximately 320,000 visitors last year alone.
The original Guss’ Pickles on the Lower East Side. Image via Guss’ Pickles
New Yorkers take food seriously right down to the pickle on their plates. After all, the pickle has history in this town. It started as a peddle-cart finger food back in the 1930s on the Lower East Side. With a plethora of competition, it didn’t take long for the best pickle vendors to emerge successful and among them was Isidor “Izzy” Guss of the famous Guss’ Pickles. His pickles lived on after his death in 1975, creating a sort of pickle war between the family who bought his business and the company who sold him his cucumbers. In the end, the name Guss’ Pickles went with the cucumber supplier. The Baker family, who bought Guss’ pickle business eventually sold to Patricia Fairhurst who renamed her shop Ess-a-Pickle and then, after moving to Brooklyn, Clinton Hill Pickles.
It’s no secret that New York has several mews left over from the horse-and-buggy days, but what’s with the high-rise, 21st century “mews” that apparently have no connection to stables? The term “mews” is perhaps even more abused in real estate jargon than “Gold Coast” these days. First, a definition of “mews,” which comes to us from the Brits. Oxford Dictionary says: “A row or street of houses or apartments that have been converted from stables or built to look like former stables,” or alternatively “A group of stables, typically with rooms above, built around a yard or along an alley.” So without further ado, all the “mews” in NYC that aren’t really mews.
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Trailer for Straight Outta Tompkins (Video via Vimeo)
Their is no shortage of television series and feature films that take place in NYC. Our fair metropolis this year alone has been the setting for Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2; Fox’s Batman prequel Gotham; and Cinemax’s The Knick. While NYC is often a setting for crime dramas, we are noticing something strange about the current depictions of it on screen: it’s a little too polished.
The NYC we remember seeing is the NYC of Scorsese and Spike Lee. Yes, those days are behind us, however even with NYC crime rates reaching record lows, crime does still exist in NYC. It is something we live with and what has inspired some of our most creative and passionate film directors. NYC is not just what is shown on Broad City and 2 Broke Girls. But has NYC has lost its cinematic edge?
Zephyr Benson feels the same way. A recent graduate of NYU’s Tisch School (the same school that gave us Lee and Scorsese), Benson is set to deliver us a harsh, gritty portrayal of life in the East Village and the LES with his debut feature Straight Outta Tompkins.
In Washington Square Park, we ran into Brandon Doman, founder of The Strangers Project, an on-going collection of over 10,000 handwritten journal entries Doman has collected from around the country. The enticing and friendly, “HI THERE!” sign drew our eye and we read some of the fascinating entries while chatting with Doman. He started the idea just on a whim at a coffee shop because he was suddenly curious about all hundreds of people walking by. Using a marker he wrote, “Hi there! Please stop and share your story!” which evolved into the current project.