Last year’s Musical Chairs competition in Bryant Park
Remember what it felt like to be a kid playing musical chairs at your friend’s birthday party? The suspense. The drive to win. The frantic scramble for a seat when the music stopped. The annual Musical Chairs event in Bryant Park is an opportunity for adults to feel like kids again—to light their competitive fires while enjoying an evening of music and comedy on the grass. This year’s competition, on June 3rd at 7 p.m., will be hosted by comedian Sara Barron and DJ Stewey Decimal. The winner will go home with 2 Southwest Airline tickets and one of the park’s iconic green bistro chairs.
This week in the Untapped Cities mailbag, an Untapped reader asked, via Twitter, after reading Ben Huff’s post The Brooklyn Navy Yard & Commandant’s House: Who lived in the Commandant’s House?
The Commandant’s House, or Quarters A as it was formally known, is the oldest surviving structure in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. it is possible that John Thorn, the first officer in charge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard lived there, but there is litle concrete evidence of who its earliest inhabitants were. According to Brownstoner, beginning with Comodore Matthew Perry, who was fundamental in opening up Japan to trade with the West, the Commandant’s House was occupied by all subsequent Commandant’s of the Navy Yard. In, 1964 when the house was sold to a private individual (though who that person is remains a mystery) and was landmarked shorly thereafter.
Commandant’s House, 1935. Credit: Brooklyn Public Library.
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The name “Ideas City” sounds just vague enough that it could be either a booth in a science fair or an aisle in FAO Schwarz, which both sound like a lot of fun. In reality it’s a collaborative of arts, education, and community organizations brought together by the New Museum, and tasked with the lofty goal of rethinking our cities. Began in 2011, Ideas City happens biennially in New York, with global conferences rotating annually. It will be in São Paulo this October.
This year’s festival was titled “Untapped Capital,” and focused on rethinking those New York resources that are underutilized or unrecognized. Last Friday was the event “Pitching the City,” which was sponsored by the Municipal Art Society and Architizer. The evening, aimed at opening up a venue for five firms to pitch some big ideas for New York, was held at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. Every pew in the church was taken up by the almost six hundred attendees, and, in place of the usual priest, was a giant media screen. It was a stimulating night of presentations that spoke to a wide range of the “unrecognized”: an unused subway cavern, the East River, Brooklyn Navy Yard, ageing phone booths, and an IRT powerhouse station.
Stained-glass windows at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral
Image courtesy of Lori Zimmer, Art Nerd New York
ICY (born 1985) and SOT (born 1991) are stencil artists from Tabriz, Iran. Their works are about peace, war, love, hate, hope, despair, children, human rights and Iranian culture. The two brothers have held numerous exhibitions and unofficial street works in Iran and foreign countries. You can view more of what they have been up to in the states recently in their latest East middle west tour / San Francisco/Los Angeles/Houston/Chicago facebook album.
A new show at (Art) Amalgamated in Chelsea strives to test the boundaries of communication and connection in the 21st century. Some Fifty Miles of Concrete Pavement is a collaboration between the artists David Birkin and Jeremy Hutchison. The two kept correspondence from their respective home bases at the time, Birkin in Southern California, and Hutchison in London. The show is a testament to the two artists attempting to bridge the gap between their locales, connecting through each other’s work, ideologies, as well as the similarities and differences between their respective environments.
Mermaid Parade 2011. Source: Flickr.
This year, the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade is in trouble. The Coney Island Museum and performance space, the parade’s main sources of funding, were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and now the parade needs $100,000–well outside its budget–or else the tradition may go extinct. The annual Mermaid Parade is the largest free art parade in America. Every summer, for the past 30 years, the Mermaid Parade has served as a celebration of art and creativity in New York. It is an occasion for artists and “weirdos” to express themselves through costumes and floats inspired by mythology and “honky-tonk” seaside rituals, marching together down Surf Avenue, Mermaid Avenue and Neptune Avenue for all to see.