Cover of The New York Times Magazine (photo via Jake Silverstein)
French street artist JR, whose work has previously been shown in Times Square, Fordham University and inside abandoned hospitals on Ellis Island, always seems to outdo himself when he comes to New York City. Last week, The New York Times Magazine released the April issue, titled “Walking New York.” The cover is an aerial photo of the very large and very real piece by JR at Flatiron Plaza, with information that there were many more placed throughout the five boroughs. There could be no better cue for us at Untapped Cities to go traipsing around the city this weekend.
All 14 of the other pieces were also photographs of recent immigrants, taken by JR on the streets of Nolita earlier this month. The goal is to encourage people to walk all over the city to find the pieces. Below are all 14 pieces of JR’s “Walking New York” project:
Economy Candy, NYC’s Oldest Candy Store
From its blue colored sign to its trademark image of a kid surrounded by morsels of sugary sweets, one might think Economy Candy store was erected from the remnants of a Willy Wonka movie. In truth, its origins are much older. At 78 years old, Economy Candy is actually the oldest candy store in New York City. The Lower East Side shop was founded by Morris “Moishe” Cohen, who passed away in February at the age if 97, in 1937 during the later years of the Great Depression. Despite its name, Economy Candy was originally a shoe store that sold candy to its patrons. As the economic downturn persisted, with families scrimping on uneccessary fashion purchases, Cohen found that candy continued to be that little guilty purchase. Today, staying true to its diversified roots, Economy Candy offers more than just candy, selling childhood mementos and memorabilia.
Armory Hall at Fordham University. Image via Fordham.edu
New York City’s historic armories can be seen all around the city, and are currently used for all kinds of purposes in addition to some that retain their original function. They were built between the 18th and 20th centuries for New York State volunteer militia, serving as storage of arms and housing. These monumental fortresses were meant to remind the public of the military’s might and ability to maintain domestic law. Thankfully for us, the militia took great care in designing their fortresses and we have been left with remarkable armories that remind us of an important time in our city’s history. Some still function as National Guard posts, but many have been repurposed since the mid 20th century.
Here is a list of the remaining armories in the five boroughs of New York City.
The food desert that characterized the Upper West Side restaurant scene for much of its history has been replanted over the last few years with with an amazing array of options. These days you can find most any cuisine and at almost any price level. One result is that restaurants are often packed—on a beautiful evening it’s possible to walk the length of Amsterdam Avenue, for example, coming back up Broadway or Columbus Avenue while spotting nary a single empty table.
We lay out a few of our favorites here, even as we mourn the many that have closed since the last time we did this, with our guide to Eating Well on the Upper West Side of Manhattan: 10 Moderately Priced Restaurants. But know that there are many more. If you get turned away from one, just head next door. We start at the northern fringe at Manhattanville, head through Morningside Heights and down to Columbus Circle, taking an expansive definition of the Upper West Side.
At 10am on July 27th, a sundial in Battery Park will pay tribute to the veterans of the Korean War. The Korean War Veterans Memorial, also a sundial, commemorates the official ceasefire declared at that exact time and date in 1953. A functioning sundial, the piece is filled as the sun shines straight down the center of “The Universal Soldier,” illuminating the plaque located at the foot of the statue.
Designed by Welsh artist, Mac Adams, the memorial sits slightly north-west of Fritz Koenig’s “Sphere“, a tribute to 9/11. The 15-foot obelisk of black granite contains a cutout in the shape of a Korean War soldier lit up by the sun and offering views of both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
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).