Friday, October 19, 2018


Over 300 Artists’ Studios Will Participate in This Year’s Gowanus Open Studios (Hyperallergic)
Gowanus Open Studios will take place Saturday and Sunday, October 20-21, noon to 6 pm. The weekend event is open and free to the public.

Community Workshop for Public Place
The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development invites you to a Community Workshop for Public Place on Thursday, November 1, 6:00 – 8:00 pm at P.S. 32, located at 317 Hoyt St. and Union St.
Public Place is a six acre city-owned site located at the corner of Smith St and 5th St. next to the Gowanus Canal. In 2008, a development team of the Hudson Companies, Jonathan Rose, Fifth Avenue Committee, and the Bluestone Organization was selected to develop the site for affordable housing, community facilities, retail, and open space. The Gowanus Canal was designated as an EPA Superfund site in 2010, and all development on Public Place was paused for clean up and remediation.

Last Stop Coney Island is an independent feature documentary about the life & and work of the American photographer Harold Feinstein. (DOC NYC)
Harold Feinstein was born in Coney Island in 1931. When he passed away in 2015 the New York Times declared him: “One of the most accomplished recorders of the American experience.”
He began his photography career in 1946 at age 15. Within four short years, Edward Steichen, an early supporter, had purchased his work for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
He joined the Photo League at 17 and became a prominent figure of the early New York City street photography scene and one of the original inhabitants of the legendary “jazz loft”.
(Harold Feinstein)
Wed Nov 14, 2018, 7:30 PM | Cinepolis Chelsea

When Brooklyn was Queer, by Hugh Ryan
Coming out March 5th, 2019 from St. Martin’s Press
When Brooklyn Was Queer is a groundbreaking exploration of the  LGBT history of Brooklyn, from the early days of Walt Whitman in the  1850s up through the women who worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during  World War II, and beyond. No other book, movie, or exhibition has ever told this sweeping story. Not only has Brooklyn always lived in the  shadow of queer Manhattan neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and  Harlem, but there has also been a systematic erasure of its queer  history―a great forgetting.

Kavanaugh Dresses for Success (Hyperallergic)
El Greco painted this portrait of recent Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in one of his prior archetypal incarnations in the year 1600: Fernando Niño de Guevara, who was appointed Grand Inquisitor of Spain. According to Wikipedia, “During his tenure as Grand Inquisitor, the Spanish Inquisition burned 240 heretics, plus 96 in effigy. 1,628 other individuals were found guilty and subjected to lesser penalties.”
While Cardinal de Guevara was probably more interested in forcibly converting Jews to Catholicism and molesting altar boys than practicing rape techniques on unsuspecting teenage girls, the themes of punishment, entitlement, and preserving the right of the religious to do anything they want under cover of “textual” sanction, remains a constant.

Stream 50 tracks compiled by Paul Gilroy that chart the development of black music in Britain over the last 70 years, from calypso to grime (Wire)

British-Nigerian filmmaker Adeyemi Michael: All immigrants are conquerors
British-Nigerian Filmmaker Adeyemi Michael tells BBC Africa about the inspiration behind his short film, Entitled, which he describes as a "fantasy documentary" re-imagining the first-generation immigrant experience.
The film has attracted attention for its traffic-stopping sequence featuring Adeyemi's own mother, dressed in full Yoruba finery, riding a stallion along a South London high street. 

See below, but better view here.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Open House NYC (2)

Examining votive objects—often created to fulfill a vow or as a pledge and placed at a sacred space or site of communal memory—Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place looks at the things humans choose to offer in their votive transactions and strives to uncover the most intimate moments in the lives of humans, revealing how our dreams and hopes, as well as our fears and anxieties, find form in votive offerings. 
                        Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place - Bard Graduate Center Gallery

Left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Dear Ed,

It's taken 22 years to get the courage but I finally made it.  There hasn't been one day in those 22 years that I haven't thought about you - talked to you, loved and missed you! 

I've seen pictures of the wall and all the things people were leaving - letters - medals - pictures - etc,. just about anything you could think of.  I wanted to bring something so I brought "Worry".  I remember how you laughed when you saw me making that rag-tag doll out of an old sock.  I also remember how you finally helped me finish it, and how it became our mascot.  I always put it on my pillow after I made-up my bunk each morning.  I even remember the night I threw it at you as you were leaving one night after we had a spat and how you laughed.  "Worry" was baptized with a thousand gallons of tears the day you went down.  When Art came by and told me you had "augured in" I went fucking crazy.  I remember waking up the next morning clutching "Worry" to my chest like a kid clutching it's security blanket.

Somehow I feel "Worry" will be closer to you here than packed away in my trunk of Viet Nam memories.  So here it is, tear soaked, red Viet Nam dirt and all.  I'm keeping your coffee mug and flight suit (Zips) as we use to call them.  It still smells like you I have never washed them.  Everything turned to shit when you went down.  Rainwater and John De Bock augured in, everyone was spooked.  I asked for and got a transfer up north in October, couldn't stand the memories any longer ...

Votive Painting of a Woman's Successful Operation - San Vincenzo alla Sanita, Naples, Italy (Rudolf Kriss Collection, Munich)

One of a collection of retablos votive paintings made by Mexican migrants to the United States (Durand-Arias Collection)

Six years ago, I saw an exhibition on votives & charms at the Wellcome Collection in London.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Work Left Undone

I was cleaning under the stove when I found the fortune.  It must have been there years.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Open House NYC (1)

I finally got to visit the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, on West 44th Street.  The Society has been at this address since 1899, when it acquired the recently built, Renaissance Revival building.  The building was subsequently redesigned in 1903 to integrate Beaux Arts design features. It hasn't changed much since then.

The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York, was founded on November 17, 1785, by 22 men who gathered in Walter Heyer's public-house on Pine Street in Lower Manhattan. The aims of the General Society were to provide cultural, educational and social services to families of skilled craftsmen. The General Society during this early period celebrated the mutuality and centrality of the craft community. (Wikipedia)

Early in the nineteenth century the Society opened one of the city's first free schools, and in 1858 the Mechanics Institute began offering free vocational training in a variety of trades.  It still operates today, providing free training in plumbing, HVAC Systems, Electrical Tech, Construction Project Management & AutoCAD.  Andrew Dykes of local lumber yard Dykes studied here.

The Society library, founded in 1820, is the second oldest in the city.  It started out as the Apprentices' Library, and while it continues to provide vocational resources it also has an eclectic collection of general reading.  It holds fiction & non-fiction books - some surprisingly up-to-date material here -  and older, more arcane reading.  Its archives date back to the eighteenth-century.  The library, which might have one of the grandest reading rooms in the city, still has its old wooden card-file cabinets, though they serve only a historical function now.  It's open to the public, and a general $50 membership (less for students & seniors) offers borrowing privileges, archive access and various program discounts.  The layout of the library books is something of a mystery, with no signs indicating subject matter.  You need to be an old hand to figure it out, or a seasoned browser whose reading pleasures are fueled by chance as much as purpose.

The Society also has a lock collection, and runs a lecture series throughout the year.  Tuesday, October 30th: Why Unions Still Matter.

If you're in Midtown with time on your hands, drop in.  It's a beautiful building. There's definitely an institutional, preserved-in-aspic kind of feeling as you enter the building.  As you dust off a book that might last have been read a century ago. Nothing's simple though. Look at a picture of the graduating class, - a wonderfully diverse group, with a growing number of women in the class - & you see the present too.

By Hammer and Hand all Arts do Stand

(Open House New York)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Theme of the Week

I met more sewer men in the last ten days that I could ever have previously imagined. I asked them a lot of naive questions. I gained a great respect for the grueling work that sewer men perform. I got to look into the bowels of the street and see the infrastructure we take for granted.  I like that sort of thing. The infrastructure's perilously old.  I watched a camera travel down a sewer line; it creeps you out a bit, is far too like a colonoscopy for comfort.  I'm thinking more on what & how much of the what goes down the drain.  (The colonoscopy thing again, and the sheer waste.) Too many people asked us too often if we'd taken out utility insurance.  Reader, we did not. You should.

Monday, October 8, 2018


Fugitive’s plunge into toxic Gowanus Canal was a terrible decision (Post)
Once in Brooklyn, Stuart’s accused of robbing Bay Ridge shop Mist Tobacco while brandishing a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol on Oct. 1.
He allegedly made off with $50 cash and Newport cigarettes, and was spotted by a security guard at the Gowanus-area Whole Foods.
Cops found Stuart “sitting on a park bench” staring out over the oily waters, and approached.
But the spooked Stuart ran for the tainted channel, and was apprehended “in the canal,” court papers say.

Brooklyn DA indicts 5 in asbestos and false permits scheme (The Real Deal)
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez indicted five New Yorkers on Wednesday in an alleged asbestos removal scheme at a luxury duplex renovation in the Greenwood neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The accused include expediter Scott Schnall, who was previously “banned for life” by the Department of Buildings, after it found Schnall had “regularly used his professional filing privileges to try to circumvent the zoning resolution and construction codes.”
According to the DA, Schnall and four others conspired to conceal the existence of asbestos at 816-817 Fifth Avenue before applying for construction work permits.

Pleasantries in Greenwood Heights (Corcoran)
There’s a palpable sense of community in Greenwood Heights; residents know one another by name and shop owners issue pleasantries at first glance. Once primarily residential, Greenwood Heights has evolved into an even more energetic space. Cute cafés and boutiques dot Sixth Avenue, where even the development of more and more businesses hasn’t quelled the intimate, close-knit community feel.
Greenwood Heights real estate is a burgeoning business due to the plentiful homes and apartments in development. Homebuyers will find that Greenwood Heights condos for sale are quite modern, and even luxurious. Although new, the developments fit in well with the area’s long-standing single and multi-family homes, and wooden-framed row houses. 

'I'm Doing My Workout,' Mayor Tells Homeless Woman Seeking Help (Park Slope Patch)
Mayor Bill de Blasio was stretched out in butterfly position at the Park Slope YMCA when a homeless woman asked him to provide more housing for people like her.
"I'm doing my workout," video shows de Blasio telling the 72-year-old woman before he stands up and walks away. "I can't do this now."

Checking in on NYC’s ambitious homeless shelter overhaul, 18 months later (Curbed)
The mayor promised to “turn the tide” on homelessness—but how successful has the initiative been?

Desire paths: the illicit trails that defy the urban planners (Guardian)
According to some urban planning experts, Broadway was New York City’s earliest desire line, following as it does the Native American-made Wickquasgeck Path, which is thought to have been the shortest route between pre-colonial settlements in Manhattan that avoided swamps and hills. Broadway is the only remaining one path, according to Marini, that “wasn’t wiped out by the European grid being overlaid on it”.

Joginder Singh’s Boy (Spitalfields Life)
Spitalfields Life Books will be publishing A Modest Living, Memoirs of Cockney Sikh by Suresh Singh in October. Here is the fourth instalment and further excerpts will follow over coming weeks.
In this first London Sikh biography, Suresh tells the story of his family who have lived in their house in Princelet St for nearly seventy years, longer I believe than any other family in Spitalfields. In the book, chapters of biography are alternated with a series of Sikh recipes by Jagir Kaur, Suresh’s wife.

William Blake Illustrates Pioneering Feminist and Philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft’s Children’s Book of Moral Education (Brain Pickings)
Four years before she ignited the dawn of feminism with her epoch-making 1792 book Vindication of the Rights of Woman, the pioneering British philosopher and political theorist Mary Wollstonecraft (April 27, 1759–September 10, 1797) set out to change the fabric of society at the loom: She decided to write a children’s book of allegorical stories inviting young readers to contemplate questions of moral philosophy. At the heart of her vision was an insistence on the value of girls’ education as a counterpoint and challenge to Rousseau’s seminal 1762 book Émile, or Treatise on Education, which focused on the education of boys and reflected the era’s dominant ethos that women are to be educated only in order to make desirable wives and good conversation companions for their husbands.

Friday, October 5, 2018

At Abraham & Strauss

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 2, 1901

And at the Knickerbocker Theater, Broadway, October 1900

NYPL Digital Collections

Thursday, October 4, 2018

RIP Ms Colombia


Ms Colombia, a colorful and beloved figure in the Jackson Heights LGBT community, has been found dead, Council Member Daniel Dromm has announced.
Ms Colombia, whose birth name was Osvaldo Gomez, was found dead in the waters off Jacob Riis Park, Dromm’s office said. No foul play is currently suspected, although the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has yet to determine the cause of her death.  (Jackson Heights Post)

There will be a memorial vigil for Ms. Colombia tomorrow at 7 pm at the Jackson Heights Post Office, 37th Avenue & 78th Street