Recent Posts in NYC

July 22, 2015

James Murphy Subway Symphony

While he's been busy with his Four Horseman wine bar/restaurant, James Murphy hasn't given up on his dream to change the sounds subway turnstiles make into something more symphonic. He's even got backing for it now: Heineken, who are producing videos about the "Subway Symphony" project, and they are apparently developing prototype turnstiles.

But what they don't have, is any support whatsoever from the MTA. The Transit Authority's spokesman Adam Lisberg told Gothamist, "I am familiar with James Murphy's proposal, and while I would never refer to him as 'just a musician,' I can say confidently that it is as creative as it is unworkable" and said that when the MTA gave Murphy permission to film one of his promotional videos in the Subway, the agreement included the following language:

Licensee and Agent hereby acknowledge that the MTA has informed the individual depicted in the advertisement that the concept presented in the advertisement involving the turnstiles of the New York City subway system cannot be implemented.
Murhpy, however, told Gothamist that Lisberg is "not a policy maker, he's the press guy, so I wouldn't expect him to know what our project is." Lisberg responded, saying the contract's language "seems pretty black and white."

Even if Heineken or some other benefactor was willing to pay for "Subway Symphony" to be fully implemented, the tones actually serve a specific purpose beyond annoying straphangers like Murphy:

"The tones are an ADA element for the visually impaired, and we won't mess with them--much less take turnstiles out of service and risk disabling them for an art project. (It would be a very cool project, don't get me wrong, but we can't mess with turnstiles that handle 6 million customers a day for it.)"
Murphy remains politely tenacious, with a new promotional video being released this week which you can watch below.

Continue reading "James Murphy still working on 'Subway Symphony,' has backing from Heineken but MTA still says it'll never happen"

July 16, 2015

The L Magazine RIP
The L Magazine RIP

The L Magazine, the free weekly magazine that started in 2003, has ceased publishing its print edition. This week's issue was its last as the editors wrote:

Weird news you may have heard already: As of today, July 15th, The L Magazine will no longer be published as a print magazine. This is neither tragic nor particularly sad nor further proof that everything is fucked. It is rather-and we realize this may seem like a line of bullshit-a decision we've made so that we can focus on and grow our sister publication, Brooklyn Magazine, which, starting in September, will go from being a quarterly publication to a monthly one. This is very exciting.

It's become common to sentimentalize the Brooklyn of the very recent past; it doesn't take much encouragement before people begin to wax nostalgic about the way things used to be before the condos went up, or this bar closed, or that chain store opened, or these people moved out, or these other people moved in. It's an understandable tendency, this need to reflect upon a now-broken past; we do it in order to better understand our present, and to make sense of the decisions we'll need to make to build our future.

The L, which continues as a website goes through each of its years of existence in print, highlighting notable events, albums, books, openings, and average asking price of an apartment in various neighborhoods. Northside Media Group continues to publish Brooklyn Magazine in print and run the Northside Festival, among other things. RIP, L Magazine print edition.

Already filling that void is Time Out NY, which turns 20 this year and which became a free weekly back in April.

July 9, 2015

"GOODY GOT IT!"
Sam Goody Got It Commercial
sam goody

Rough Trade Brooklyn's transformation into an old Sam Goody record store yesterday got us feeling nostalgic for the chain which got its start in NYC when Sam Goody himself opened a shop on 9th Avenue in Manhattan. So naturally, we took to YouTube where we were not disappointed. Watch some classic Sam Goody commercials and other fun stuff below...

Continue reading "watch these classic Sam Goody record store commercials, footage from Metallica's "Metallistore" & more"

July 8, 2015

by Bill Pearis

outside Rough Trade on N. 9th today...
Martin Scorsese Rock N Roll HBO MIck Jagger

The new HBO drama created by Martin Scoresese, Terrence Winter and Mick Jagger, set in the world of the 1970s NYC music industry, is in production and filming in Williamsburg. Today they were filming outside of Rough Trade, where they transformed the store into a mid-'70s Sam Goody. The block of N. 9th St between Wythe and Kent also had half a dozen vintage cars, some old phone booths and a newstand, and there were dozens of extras in Me Decade polyester fashion (surely they were hot in today's near-'90s and very humid weather).

While the show is still untitled, filming signs stapled to street poles simply read "Rock And Roll." I didn't see any famous folk, but the show stars Olivia Wilde, Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, Juno Temple, Ken Marino, and more, and also features Saint Rich's Christian Peslak as the New York Dolls' David Johansen and Connor Hanwick (formerly of The Drums) plays Lou Reed. A premiere date has not been set. A few more pictures from the shoot are below.

UPDATE: The show now has a title, VINYL, and will premiere sometime in 2016.

It wasn't that long ago that Rough Trade was turned into Empire Records.

Continue reading "Brooklyn's Rough Trade transformed into a '70s Sam Goody for Martin Scorsese & Mick Jagger's new HBO series 'VINYL'"

July 1, 2015

"Confession" by Andrew Savage, 2015 26 X 30″ silkscreen on paper
Andrew Savage Confession

Parquet Courts frontman and Dull Tools label co-head Andrew Savage is also an artist and will have his first exhibition this summer. Titled "Color Studies," it features silkscreens on paper and will be open at Brooklyn's new-ish venue/bar/motorcycle garage The Shop from July 10 - September 1. Says Savage:

I called the show Color Studies because I wanted to focus on colors that don't appear in my palette often; you'll find a lot of salmon pink and pastel colors -- basically stuff I've been afraid to use because I wasn't quite sure how. I like images that are familiar and ordinary, but hinged on an unsettling emotion.
There's an opening reception on July 10 with refreshments provided by Duvel & Ommegang. Check out a few more of Savage's pieces below.

In other news, Parquet Courts recently posted pictures from the studio. New music soon? Stay tuned.

Continue reading "Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage announces 'Color Studies' art exhibition in Brooklyn"

Will Socolov at Brooklyn Vinyl Works
Brooklyn Vinyl Works

Brooklyn Vinyl Works is a new record pressing plant that's run by Will Socolov, who founded Sleeping Bag Records with Arthur Russell and, more recently, ran pressing plant EKS Manufacturing. They've got a building but launched a Kickstarter to raise funds to refurbish record presses for the plant. Says Socolov:

When a part breaks on a record press, you can't run down to the Vinyl Machinery Superstore. Instead, you need the skill and knowledge to fabricate it yourself. The folks at Brooklyn Vinyl Works have years and years of expertise in the art of making records and are adept in the art of repairing and maintaining these old machines.

All funds raised from our campaign will first go towards obtaining and upgrading a number of our factory's most vital components: a new boiler, a shrinkwrap machine, grinders and hydraulics equipment. After that infrastructure is complete, additional funds raised will go towards purchasing more presses. These presses are expensive and difficult to find, but with your support, we can obtain and restore them to their original glory.

Their Kickstarter is a little over a quarter of the way towards its $100,000 goal with 11 days to go. There are a wide variety of contributor rewards, including totes and t-shirts, special color runs of DIIV, Mac DeMarco and Widowspeak records, tours of the facility, and having things pressed on vinyl. With demand for vinyl at a 20-year high, there is certainly need for new pressing plants. We wish them the best of luck.

Barclays Center's roof Atlantic Yards Webcam
Barclays Center

The 135,000-square-foot area is in the process of being covered with a layer of sedum, a genus of flowering plants that store water in their leaves. The idea is to capture rainwater, reduce noise output, and provide a more pleasing view for both passers-by and future residents of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park highrises being built around it.

The Architect's Newspaper recently got an exclusive tour of the roof in construction, and the photos give the otherworldly impression of a park floating above the streets of Brooklyn.

The green roof plan was raised from the dead thanks to a joint venture between Forest City Ratner and Greenland Holdings Group, a real estate development company out of Shanghai. A new roof structure had to be built on the existing roof to support the sedum, which is shipped in from Connecticut and hoisted onto the roof by crane. - [Brownstoner]

Brooklyn's Barclays Center just hosted David Byrne's "Contemporary Color" and now the outside of the venue is getting some color of its own -- a green roof -- which should give the rust-colored exterior more of a woodlands feel. That should be a nice selling point for real estate agents looking to move the first condos on the market at Pacific Park Brooklyn, the $4.9 billion project formerly known as The Atlantic Yards.

In other news, Barclays is getting ready for hockey -- the venue will host the Islanders starting this fall, after the team's 43 years at Nassau Coliseum. The first game will be October 9.

Barclays also recently hosted a couple New York legends: Bette Midler, as well as her former piano man (and Williamsburg native), Barry Manilow. Were you there?

June 30, 2015

photos by David Andrako;words by Sadaaf Mamoon

Paris is Burning - Celebrate Brooklyn
Paris is Burning - Celebrate Brooklyn
Paris is Burning - Celebrate Brooklyn

Celebrate Brooklyn! at Prospect Park was celebrating more than just a borough last weekend (6/26), with a free screening of Paris Is Burning. The 1990 documentary chronicling Harlem's thriving late-century ball culture via the queer and trans people of color community (QTPOC) was specially scheduled in honor of Pride Week 2015, and made all the more relevant by Friday morning's Supreme Court ruling granting marriage equality nationwide.

The event almost didn't happen though, with an early contention between Celebrate Brooklyn promoters and the community for not representing any QTPOC on the lineup. In response to the controversy, Friday night's screening featured an introduction by director Jennie Livingston and documentary subjects Junior LaBeija and Dr. Sol Williams Pendavis. Other cast members Grandfather Hector Xtravaganza and Jose Disla Xtravaganza presented The Houses United Ball: Celebrating Brooklyn, a rowdy, gleeful dance-off of sorts, featuring representatives from historic underground ballroom Houses of LaBeija, Ninja, Mizrahi, Khan, Infinity, Milan, Princess and Xtravaganza, all of which are still alive and well. Vijuan Allure DJ'd to palpable excitement, with event-goers (only slightly more colorful than your average Celebrate Brooklyn crowd) barely able to sit still to watch when the film came along. Pictures from the night are in this post and continue below...

Continue reading "pics: 'Paris is Burning' screening & Houses United Ball in Prospect Park"

June 29, 2015

Where to watch Macy's Fourth of July fireworks 2015

Independence Day is Saturday and Macy's annual fireworks extravaganza remains on the East River for 2015. This year's 25-minute-long display, which should start around 9 PM, will set off more than 50,000 pyrotechnic shells from the Brooklyn Bridge and barges in the water below and further up the river. Anywhere with an unobstructed view of the sky is a good place to watch -- maybe a friend's roof? -- but there are designated public viewing sections on the elevated portions of FDR Drive with the following entry points:

FROM HOUSTON TO MIDTOWN:
HOUSTON STREET
23RD STREET
34TH STREET
42ND STREET

FROM LOWER MANHATTAN:
BROAD STREET GROUND LEVEL
OLD SLIP UPPER LEVEL
PEARL & FRANKFORT

ADA / SPECIAL NEEDS VIEWING AREA:
MANHATTAN: FDR DRIVE SOUTHBOUND LANE AT 16TH STREET & AVENUE C OR 34TH STREET (TOP OF RAMP) AND VIETNAM MEMORIAL PARK

BROOKLYN: BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK AT FURMAN STREET AND OLD FULTON STREET, NEAR PIER #1

QUEENS: CENTER BLVD FROM 48TH AVENUE TO 49TH AVENUE

You can also watch the fireworks live on NBC, as part of a concert event titled "Brave" that features performances by Kelly Clarkson, Flo Rida, Brad Paisley and more.

There are also fireworks at Coney Island.

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Pride March 2015
Pride March 2015
Pride March 2015

"What do we want?"

"Marriage equality!"

"When did we get it?"

"Friday!"

Two days after the United States Supreme Court affirmed same-sex marriage as a right, well-timed pride parades on Sunday in the country's twin hubs of gay activism, New York City and San Francisco, promised a sort of social catharsis -- a bicoastal toast to the nation's rapid shift on gay rights and an extended curtain call for the movement that drove it.

"All 50 states!" the New York crowd roared at one point. It was no longer a plea, but a celebration.

If even a typical pride parade can blur the lines between friend and stranger, the proceedings on Sunday assumed the feel of a large-scale wedding reception, uniting graying activists, fledgling families and party seekers in a historic moment that all seemed keenly aware they occupied. - [NY Times]

With Friday's historic same sex marriage ruling by the Supreme Court, it was a very very special Pride Weekend in NYC, which culminated with Sunday's annual March down 5th Ave. Pictures from the parade are in this post (some are NSFW), with lots more below.

UPDATE: Even more here!

Continue reading "the historic 2015 NYC Gay Pride March in pics"

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