Robert Moses is all the rage these days, for better or worse starting with the new exhibit “In the Shadow of the Highway: Robert Moses’ Expressway and the Battle for Downtown” at the NYC Municipal Archives and now with A Marvelous Order, an upcoming opera about Moses and Jane Jacobs. Last night at National Sawdust in Williamsburg, we caught a preview of the opera which is still in the works.
Urbanists will be familiar with the debate over whether Moses and Jacobs were as adversarial as commonly or conveniently played out in city narratives, but The Marvelous Order sidesteps that by placing the two protagonists in a love triangle, vying “for the affections of the City.” The multi-dimensional work features not only opera, but also dance, animation, and poetry.
Like Greenwich Village, Soho, and the East Village before it, Williamsburg is in that apocalyptic stage where New Yorkers begin to lament its loss of artsiness, grittiness, and awesomeness. As one of the most expensive neighborhood for rent in New York City, Williamsburg saw the inklings of this transformation already in the late 2000s, later highlighted by the closings of iconic DIY music venues like Monster Island, Glasslands, and Death by Audio in the post-2010 era. The neighborhood’s “lameness” was highlighted in pop culture last year in Broad City, in a scene where three preppy lookalike dudes on a yacht simultaneously exclaimed about their move from Murray Hill to Williamsburg.
But not all is lost, and one particular place is fighting back valiantly. The Spectacle Theater on South 3rd, located in a former bodega, came to life as the neighborhood was in full transition. They play $5 movies and the organization is a non-profit, collective run endeavor. If you’re looking for cutting edge, offbeat, unique films, this is the place to hang out at. Spectacle Theatre believes so much in remaining in Williamsburg that they just signed a 10-year, more pricey lease, and are now asking for help via Kickstarter.
When people think of the New York City underground, they usually think of the vast subway system, or maybe the sewers, and water tunnels buried deep in the bedrock. Far lesser known are the obscure tunnels – often running from building to building, or through lesser documented parts of the city. Here’s a very unique look at 7 such locations that will make you question where else there might be hidden in subterranean passageways.
MOFAD Lab exhibiting “Flavor: Making It & Faking It” opens October 28 in Williamsburg. Photo via MOFAD.org
Ever wonder how cereal is made? David Arnold would like to tell you. Mr. Arnold, who is known for creating and directing the Department of Culinary Technology at the International Culinary Center and for his blog Cooking Issues, is now also the founder of the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD), the first of its kind.
Arnold’s mission is to change the way people think about food, and to inspire people to think about what they’re eating every day. Visitors will learn about the culture, history, science, production and commerce of food and drink through exhibits and programming. They won’t just see the exhibits, they will also touch, smell and taste them. The museum is slated to open in 2019 and will have no “big food” sponsorships for programming. While there is no formal marketing campaign, you can bet MOFAD will be in the news. The MOFAD project began as a Kickstarter in 2013 and from October 28th to February 29th, the MOFAD Lab on Bayard Street in Brooklyn will open its doors for the first time for the installation “Flavor: Making it & Faking It.”
Photo via The Wythe Hotel
Summer, and therefore “roof season” has blasted past, and although the weather remains great long past Labor Day weekend, just when it cools off enough to really enjoy the evenings, many of the rooftop bars close. But many don’t! So while you may not have exhausted our list of best off-the-beaten path rooftops for summer yet, we recently asked Leslie Adatto, author of the book Roof Explorer’s Guide: 101 New York City Rooftops, the first-ever guide to public access rooftops, to share with us her top 10 for fall.
Brooklyn Crab, photo via Brit & Co.
Brooklyn Crab has great views and great food, and when it’s a bit cooler out, they just roll down the clear plastic “windows.” You can take the Ikea ferry over there so it’s a fabulous day out.
In an ever-evolving city like New York, it is often dangerous to get too attached to the history around you. The struggling century old pub that still serves $3 bottles will inevitably become your neighborhood’s third Dunkin Donuts. The pre-war walkup that just priced its residents out will be razed and replaced by some sky scraping architectural marvel. Even the brand new salad spot down the street will be swapped for a brand newer salad spot in a matter of months. That’s just New York.
Occasionally, however, something else happens. Defying all odds, small bits of our city’s history get preserved. Rarer still, they get preserved in such a way that the public can still experience them. Ever since we first caught wind of The Knitting Factory’s plans to restore and convert a 20th century carriage house on Metropolitan into a restaurant extension of the venue, we’ve been waiting anxiously for the reveal. Last week, we finally got the chance to stop by and drink in the space. Brooklyn, meet The Federal Bar.