Our curated events picks for this week: Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers at MCNY, The Listening fundraiser for the Rockaways, 16mm cartoon screening with The Obscura Society.
MONDAY, JANUARY 21: When World War II broke out, New York was a cosmopolitan, heavily immigrant city, whose people had real stakes in the war and strongly held opinions. Join curator Marci Reaven for a tour of the new exhibition WWII & NYC as she explains the impact of the war on the city, which played a critical role in the national war effort, and how the city was forever changed. 11am at the New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (between 76th & 77th). $18 members; $30 general public. Buy tickets here.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 22: The Kitchen L.A.B. with Jacob Kassay, Ralph Lemon, Tristan Perich, Lynne Tillman, Eric Dyer and Maggie Hoffman. The Kitchen L.A.B. is a new program devoted to presenting, discussing, and developing interdisciplinary works revolving around themes of common interest to artists in different fields””and, more specifically, considering the meaning and uses of specific words in contemporary art. 7pm at The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street. FREE. RSVP on Facebook.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23: Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers showcases innovative design solutions to better accommodate New York City’s changing, and sometimes surprising, demographics, including a rising number of single people, and will feature a full-sized, flexibly furnished micro-studio apartment of just 325 square feet — a size prohibited in most areas of the city. Visitors to the exhibition will see models and drawings of housing designs by architectural teams commissioned in 2011 by Citizens Housing & Planning Council, in partnership with the Architectural League of New York. The exhibition also presents winning designs from the Bloomberg administration’s recently launched pilot competition to test new housing models, as well as examples set by other cities in the United States and around the world, including Seattle, Providence, Montreal, San Diego, and Tokyo. Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Ave. Suggested admission: $10 adults; $6 students/seniors.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 24: The Vanderbilt Republic and Untapped New York proudly present THE LISTENING: Vol. II. A Listening Session & Fundraiser for the Far Rockaway Redevelopment Fund. Arin Maya 8pm, Artist Talk 8.30pm, Helioscope 9pm, Batala NYC 9.30pm. Featuring an installation by Athena Azevedo, Vanessa Gonzalez-Bunster & TJ Volonis, Curated by George Del Barrio. Doors 7pm at Gowanus Loft, 61 9th Street, Brooklyn. $20 advance / pay as you can at the door. Buy tickets here.
Also on Thursday: Paolo Ventura’s luminous and haunting photographs function as architectural relics of the imagination, portraying characters and scenarios that are magical, poignant and strangely familiar. Referencing history, art and the subconscious, Ventura’s “invented worlds,” as he calls them, tell stories — some of which he was told as a child by his father, an author of children’s books, and others imagined by the artist himself. Ventura creates his otherworldly photographs by constructing intricate miniature sets and then photographing them, first with a Polaroid for reference and finally with a Pentax 6 x 7 camera. 6-8pm at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue. FREE. RSVP here.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25: Join archivist and projectionist, Tom Stathes, for a special screening celebrating the seasons with The Obscura Society. As Winter 2013 draws on, Tom Stathes has curated animated cartoons from the 1920s-1930s for every season of the year. Searching his vast stacks of 16mm animation rarities and Tom has hand-selected a wide array of gems: frolicking Springtime fun and hot Summer calamities for those with a warmer temperament, and breezy, cool Autumn shenanigans as well as snowy Winter escapades for those who relish the cold months. For a glimpse into past visions of the seasons as depicted by the merry-makers of early film animation, come enjoy the latest screening—shown in real 16mm film, with a real projector—a unique experience you’ll be sure to enjoy! 7:30pm at The Observatory, 543 Union Street, Brooklyn. $12. Buy tickets here.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 26: 100 years ago, in 1913, Grand Central Terminal opened its doors to the public and on August 2, 1967, NYC’s recently established Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Terminal as an official NYC landmark. Join LANDMARK WEST! and The Museum of the City of New York as we celebrate the centennial and discover why this impressive structure is so very worthy of that designation. A Landmark designation is not to be taken for granted: if it was not for fierce and unwavering preservation advocacy, NYers and citizens of the world would be deprived of this building’s splendor today. 1-3pm inside the Atrium of 120 Park Avenue (opposite Grand Central). $20 members; $25 non-members. RSVP to email@example.com, or call 212-496-8110.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 27: During its six-month run, Frej was an unlikely phenomenon: a seventeen-seat New Nordic pop-up serving a $45 tasting menu Monday through Wednesday in a Williamsburg design studio. Aska, its newly expanded replacement, has gained two extra nights of service (Sunday and Thursday), an additional twelve-seat dining room, and a new partner, general manager Eamon Rockey, whose cocktails share a Scandinavian-inspired, herbal sensibility with chef Fredrik Berselius’s cuisine. The prix fixe menu, now $65 for six to eight small-plate courses, integrates plants like yarrow, lichen, and seaweed, focusing on vegetables and often treating protein as a garnish. 6-10pm at Kinfolk Studios, 90 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn. $65. RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org
I remember the sense of wonder that accompanied my first discovery of Far Rockaway. It was the summer of 2009, and I was in love. She was new to New York, and my wanderings improved for it.
We toyed with Coney Island to escape the hot concrete of New York’s summertime, but finally found the experience to be too crowded by kitsch and commercialism. The idea to explore the end of the blue line was probably hers; the good ideas that summer generally were.
My son was a baby then. And as raw as my emotions were around the divorce that had just finalized, I was likewise new. As a man, father, and artist, my world was changing focus. To anchor myself to those closest to me, I would look for reference points to the life I’d known with them.
One thing I knew about my quiet, beautiful, impossibly sweet child was that he was fascinated by trains. So when the A emerged from the tunnel on that first ride out, cleared the big bend at Rockaway Boulevard & skimmed the sparkling waves of Jamaica Bay, I started to count the days til I could make the trip happen for my boy.
Through regular pilgrimage, I came to favor the left side of the train both coming and going: in the morning we’d watch JFK’s air traffic, and at day’s end, sun-tired and sandy, my child would stretch out across our laps as the setting sun refracted on the bay.
Over the years, the funky beach town at 116th street became a refuge, a place of friendship to connect with nature, peace, and boardwalk beers over Mets games, paradise”¦ I even made a hobby of fantasizing about moving to Far Rockaway full-time: to be in New York, fully connected to mass transit, but next to the beach? Very nice dream. And just so, time’s passage introduced me to many all-year residents, the Queens-leaning strain of irie in them always unmistakable.
I want to be more like that, I’d say to myself.
Today, a visit to Far Rockaway means the hum of generators, mountains of rubble, impossible visions of defaced and listing structures (contents spilling out like drunken vomit), lamposts angled crazily, city streets impassable, deserted”¦ As though our neighbors were targeted by unstoppable forces and lost the war.
BUT THEN YOU REALIZE: the human loss (though very real) was far less than what the epic calamity would suggest. Piles of mattresses, not corpses, big difference. High five, government!
Which also says: the spirit that I fell in love with remains.
And alongside that happy observation came a fascinating notion, or better yet, recognition ”” the peninsula is miles of canvas, opportunity on an incredible scale.
This post is my personal hello to something new and just a little bit scary to me: The Far Rockaway Redevelopment Fund. The Fund will commission artists to create site-specific responses throughout the peninsula (and if fundraising goes well, I’ll also direct support to brilliant ideas).
My hope is to refocus minds on the potential exposed by this devastation ”” I feel a responsibility to my city and son to make the most of this, to try to make things right. And the lure of a beachside art walk would invite New Yorkers to explore a patch of land that I now regard as the most important in all the city: this is what the future looks like if we don’t change course. Maybe there’s even a local economy boost in there? I honestly don’t know. But I know that I can’t not try.
We need to rethink the way we live in this world. Art conjures our greatness, and we’ll have to rise above everything we’ve ever known to move forward. I know this.
The Fund launches this Thursday, at Gowanus Loft, with a show I personally can’t wait to attend: The Listening, an acoustic listening party & fundraiser. We’ll have great art, food, drink, and performance in an epic space: ideal circumstances to come together in awareness of the moment we’re in.
So if you’ve read this far, and live in New York”¦
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12: First Person Plural Harlem reading featuring Phillip Lopate, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and a dance performance by Ashley Byler. Phillip Lopate is a legend of literary nonfiction. Jacqueline Jones LaMon, head of creative writing at Adelphi, has a powerful book of poems about missing black children (“Last Seen”). You may know author Marie Myung-Ok Lee from her contributions to the NYT, Salon.com, and The Atlantic, where she often writes about raising her autistic son. And dancer/choreographer, Ashley Byler, will open the show with a performance that combines Beyonce and a modernist classic. 7-8:30pm at The Shrine, 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. FREE, but accepting donations for Hurricane Sandy relief.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13: R 20th Century is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of new work by David Wiseman, curated by Rodman Primack. The exhibition will be accompanied by a monograph featuring works shown as well as Wiseman’s process and inspiration. David Wiseman captures and preserves the fleeting beauty of natural forms such as a blossoming tree, a spiderweb, or a glacier in his limited edition objects and unique commissions. He imparts this permanence through his expertise with materials and processes. 6-8pm at R Gallery, 82 Franklin Street. FREE.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14: Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation and the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery present No Longer Art: Salvage Art Institute. Salvage art, a term borrowed from the art insurance lexicon, refers to work removed from art circulation due to accidental damage. Founded by artist Elka Krajewska, the Salvage Art Institute provides a refuge for salvaged artwork while offering a platform for confronting the regulation of its financial, aesthetic and social value. Opening and conversation. 6:30pm at Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, Buell Hall, Columbia University. FREE.
Also on Wednesday: The Historic Districts Council’s Fall Film Series is showing Coney Island, an award-winning documentary that delves into the extensive history of this seaside community, from its discovery in the 17th century to its ongoing and sometimes heartbreaking evolution. There will be a discussion following the film. 6pm at the Tribeca Film Center, 375 Greenwich Street. $10 friend/student/senior; $15 non-friend, $20 Coney Island supporter. All proceeds will go to hurricane relief efforts for Coney Island organizations and residents. Buy tickets here.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15: Untapped New York is teaming up with the Vanderbilt Republic to put together a pop-up party to raise money for the Far Rockaway Redevelopment Fund. The Listening is an acoustic listening session and art exhibition featuring Wyatt Gallery’s photos of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy curated by Jo-Anneke Van Der Molen. There will be musical performances by Kendra Ross (8pm), F. Stokes (8:30pm), Zack Orion (9pm), and LÃvio Almeida (9:30pm), a silent auction of Wyatt’s photos, discounted drinks and a la carte pork belly & coconut chicken buns by Bite Size Kitchen. 7pm at Gowanus Loft. $30 advance tickets or contribute what you can at the door. Buy tickets here or rsvp on Facebook. Join us at this party for a worthy cause!
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 16: What Wine With Turkey? A blind tasting by Joios and Plate + Decanter. If you’re always wondering what wine to serve at Thanksgiving Dinner, this tasting is for you. They’ll pair 6 wines with turkey served 3 ways and explore how different cuts interact with different wines. You’ll also enjoy skyline views from a west side rooftop while we debate grapes, and meet fellow wine enthusiasts on this quest. 6:30-8:30pm at Archstone Clinton Clubhouse Level, 515 W 52nd Street. $40. Buy tickets here.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 17: PowerHouse Arena is hosting a day-long #SandyHatesBooks book fair featuring drinks, music, and some of their favorite authors. If you’d like to help them rebuild and restock and can donate a small amount, your assistance will be dearly appreciated, and they will think of something very nice to do in honoring and celebrating your contribution. 12-9pm at powerHouse Arena, 37 Main Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn. FREE.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18: Underground Eats presents Dinner in SIX ACTS. on Saturday the 17th or Sunday the 18th, join artist and architect Cheryl Wong for a six course meal that incorporates elements of architecture and theater. Building a beautiful plate of food is comparable to designing and building an architectural structure. Theater is both spacial and performative, as are the culinary arts. 6-10pm at CD Cucine Showroom, 227 W 17th Street. $100 includes a 6 course dinner + drinks. Buy tickets here.