04/01/14 2:00pm

Amar Steward Notorious BIG and Tupac paintings NYC Untapped Cities

British artist Amar Stewart is the man behind the amazing paintings of NYC’s most important MC’s in the guise of 17th century Dutch royals and noblemen. Hailing from London, Stewart came to NYC to do a month-long residency at Cotton Candy Machine in Williamsburg. We met up with Stewart in Bushwick to chat about his inspiration, the New York vs. London art scene, and his upcoming show in San Francisco.

Can you tell us about your inspiration, first of all? We’ve obviously read that you’re inspired by Frans Hals’ portraits in the Met, but are there other artists or art forms that inspire you?

Yeah, definitely ‘cause I only discovered Frans Hals about two years ago, and it was my fiancée that introduced me to his work. I’d heard of it, I’d probably seen a little bit of it, but I never really paid much attention to it. I think because for so many years I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my art, so I was looking at graffiti artists, illustrators, designers, all sorts of creative people in different genres, which I don’t think was a bad thing. I was looking at them all, and I guess because of that I was inspired by so many people. A lot of the works were different mediums, even, like digital or illustrations to chalk works, to aerosol, murals and whatnot.  (more…)

03/18/14 10:00am

In honor of the warm weather (hopefully) dawning on the city soon, we thought we’d share a list of New York’s most notable swimming pools–from historically significant ones now in ruins to a floating public pool to ones crowning five star hotels. What follows is a list of notable pools around the city.

1. Woolworth Building Pool

The Woolworth Building‘s Pompeii inspired pool (photo via New-York Historical Society)

In the depths of the the Woolworth Building, one of New York’s most iconic buildings, rests the remnants of a Pompeii inspired pool . Covered extensively in our The New York City That Never Was column, the pool was designed by Woolworth architect Cass Gilbert and used until 1999 as part of the Jack Lalane health club. Today it sits awaiting possible renovation as the Woolworth Building gets partially converted into condos. Note our upcoming tour of the building!


02/28/14 2:00pm

Jay Z-Shawn Carter-Cotton Candy Machine-Williamsburg-NYC-Untapped Cities-Amar StewartJigga with a Feather Hat by Amar Stewart (Instagram photo via Cotton Candy Machine)

Tomorrow night, Cotton Candy Machine, an art boutique in Williamsburg run by Sean Leonard and artist Tara McPherson, hosts an opening of oil paintings by their first artist in residence, Amar Stewart. The Brooklyn-based artist, originally from London, England, has had his work shown before in NYC and in other major cities like LA, Hong Kong and Melbourne.

The theme of his latest collection of oil painting takes inspiration from Dutch Golden Age painter Frans Hal and Hip Hop culture, with most of his paintings featuring legendary NYC MC’s along with ones who have made their mark on the culture over the past few years. (more…)

02/22/14 3:00pm

Untapped Cities-Christopher Inoa-NYC-Brooklyn-Outdoor Gallery NYC-Royce Bannon-Bishop-El Sol 25-Yoav Lithim

Yoav Litvin, a New York City photographer and writer, has documented the competitive and thriving street art scene here in the city for the last couple of years. Going further than just documentation, he also meets with the artists who have made New York City one of the premier cities for street art. 

The book Outdoor Gallery – NYC features over 40 artists both native to New York City and from around the world, who have become part of the NYC street art scene. Some of these artists include Royce Bannon, Gilf!, Bishop 203, ASVP, Elle Deadsez, Enzo & Nio, Jilly Ballistic, ND’A, LNY, Shiro, The Yok, Sofia Maldonado, Chris RWK, Veng RWK, El Sol 25 and many more. The photos featured in the book come with minimal or no commentary from the author, who choose to  let the art and the artists featured speak for themselves.


02/13/14 1:00pm

Brooklyn Bowl London-Interior-O2-England

Even though it’s less than five years old, the Brooklyn Bowl has become something of an institution and it has now gone international. In January, the London outpost of the Bowl opened. According to owner Peter Shapiro, London was the first place the Bowl could go. ‘The only city close to New York is London. With culture, food, drinking, and nightlife, if you look at they’re kind of brother and sister.”


02/12/14 1:00pm

We’ve been noticing a trend lately of places that double as coffee shops and some other kind of shop. It got us wondering, is a good old cuppa joe not enough anymore? Are people so busy that they need to get their coffee and their floral arrangements in the same place? Or are shop owners just so ambitious that they can’t satisfy themselves by only focusing on one thing?

Whatever the answer, we have to admit that these shops are doing something right, and presenting us with some fun and quirky new ways to caffeinate ourselves. From a surf shop/coffee shop to an art gallery/coffee shop, here are 8 of the most interesting examples in NYC. If you know one that isn’t on this list, leave us a comment!

1. Surf Shop/Coffee Shop: Saturdays Surf NYC


If you happen to need a surfboard along with your espresso, Saturdays Surf NYC in Soho is the place to go. Their coffee counter is right next to a display of surfboards. The shop also sells men’s clothes, surf gear, accessories and books. In the warmer months, grab a macchiato and head out back to sit in the courtyard. Saturdays also made our list of the Top 10 Coffee Shops in Manhattan (for Design Buffs). They’ve got a West Village location too.  (more…)