Canal Street ranks as one of the busiest of New York’s thoroughfares. It connects Manhattan to both Brooklyn and New Jersey, via the Manhattan Bridge on the east and the Hudson Tunnel on the west, respectively. One of the city’s functionally named streets, the area was originally occupied by (you guessed it), a canal which was built in the early 19th century to replace Collect Pond as the central sewage system. Today the street bustles with outdoor vendors, knock-off designer watches and handbags, jewelry stores and traffic jams as it runs from the Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown, SoHo and Tribeca.
Yet tucked right in the middle of Canal, Laight and Varick streets, and sandwiched between Chinatown and the Hudson Tunnel, is an oasis of calm and peace (well, for Canal anyway).
Case Maclaim & Pixel Pancho (Halopigg via Instagram)
We are more than halfway done with 2014, sounds insane doesn’t it? Seems like only yesterday we were dealing with polar vortexes, cat cafes and disappointing Knicks basketball. We still mourn the demise of 5 Pointz, which is set for complete demolition by October. While we may have lost our graffiti and street art monument, other parts of the city have stepped their game up and have given the NYC street art community walls to make their mark. After countless hours looking through photos, and praying that street artists will not go after us for making last minute cuts to the list, we present the 10 best NYC street art murals of the year so far.
Not surprisingly, a lot has changed since the 70s — it’s hard to believe that “back in the day” there were certain streets people would never cross because of the imminent danger. Then again, New York in the 70s has a horrific reputation — was it really that bad? To emphasize just how much the city has changed, we took a field trip to lower Manhattan and re-shot some of the locations featured on “Dirty Old 1970′s New York City” as they look today.
If you are a junky for anything related to the gritty and long-departed New York City of yore, then you are probably already a fan of the phenomenal “Dirty Old 1970′s New York City” page on Facebook. For those who are not familiar, this is a page run by an anonymous administrator who collects photographs of NYC during the 1970′s (and occasionally the late 1960′s and early 1980′s) from around the internet. (more…)
New York City’s tallest Buddha sits rather inconspicuously for its 16-foot size. You can find it by wandering into the back room of the very red and very authentic Mahayana Buddhist Temple at 133 Canal Street — just make sure you’re dressed appropriately.
This Buddha sits atop a giant lotus flower, and has an ethereal blue halo around its head. Photos of the Buddha’s life accompany the statue on surrounding walls, and the tables surrounding are meant for families to provide offerings to deceased relatives.
This location wasn’t always so holy, though. Prior to the temple’s opening in 1997, this space was the “Rosemary Theater” which frequently showed adult films.
Fit for its large Buddha, the Mahayana temple is also the largest Buddhist temple in New York City. This temple is the “City Campus” of the larger church organization, “Eastern States Buddhist Temple of America.” Founding co-chairpeople Annie Ying and her husband, James Ying, founded this temple along with other branches on 64 Mott Street, and a more secluded “retreat” location in the forests of Cairo, New York.
Public services, which include all formalities such as drums, bells, and a gong, are held on weekends. For a dollar, you could also have your fortune read in the temple.
For more on Buddhism, check out the Buddha’s Tooth Relic Museum in Singapore. Also, for another interesting statue, check out this statue in NYC which survived the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.
Get in touch with the author @Arentyousokool
Cortlandt Alley in Chinatown. Photo via Flickr by zokuga
If you’re looking for a glimpse of old New York City, look no further than Cortlandt Alley in Chinatown. The building facades are heavily rusted and appear to be in a state of disrepair. Remnants of the areas industrial past, such as loading docks and fire escapes, line the walls and remain intact.
Urban explorers have taken a fascination in the street, which seems to hold many mysteries. When Scouting NY took a trip to the street four years ago, he discovered a subterranean Ping Pong facility in a space he expected would house criminal activity–it did indeed have iron bar clad windows and he often heard screaming from within. There’s also a fascinating museum built into a freight elevator, a curiosity we covered early last year.
Pulqueria—the hidden Mexican restaurant and speakeasy in the heart of Chinatown—was inspired by ancient Aztec culture and Mexico City’s street markets. It was the first bar in NYC to serve pulque, an alcoholic beverage made from agave leaves. You’ll find Pulqueria’s unmarked entrance in the winding, one-way inner alleys of Chinatown, if you don’t get lost first. Descend the unremarkable steps to the subterranean spot, and you’ll emerge in a dimly lit, atmospheric lounge. (more…)