Category Archives: Lindsay

A Sweet Charity

Sweet Charity Invitation

“This was a great event to hold just in general, but especially because the holidays are right around the corner. It’s time to do something sweet,” said red carpet hostess Erika Wasser, chuckling at her own pun, as the name of the event was “Sweet Charity.”

Comfort Zone Cooking, a service who gives back to the community by organizing charitable food events, put on this latest event, held on Sunday evening in Tribeca and aptly named after the party’s central theme – a pastry tasting. A team of media personalities, performing artists, and renowned chefs together hosted the event and brought the entertainment. Kyle Kupiszewski from reality show “Chef Academy” and DJ Mastermind were among the entertainers.

The bar at the event, which was marketed on the invitation as an open bar, served wine – and wine that was maybe not worth the $25 non-negotiable admission fee. The gourmet pasties on the other hand looked like inedible presents rather than tasty finger foods. Needless to say, they were the most popular hors d’oeuvres.

The food tables were surrounded by the chefs who contributed to the pastry creations, such as Chef Michael M, owner of Comfort Zone Cooking. “Since 2006 we’ve been committed to ‘giving back’ by organizing charitable food events,” said Michael in a press release promoting the event. In the same press release it is said that Michael believes this to be “the most sustainable, tangible, and substantial red carpet event that has immediate impact on our community.”

Chef Kyle "Kup" Kupiszewski

Also, amid the pastry-covered tables were jewelry designers selling their crafts to donate proceeds to the charity. “It almost feels even better knowing that my work is not only going out into the world, but it’s serving a deeper purpose in a way,” said Nicole Kluft, a local jewelry designer selling her pieces.

The money – raised through admission fees, jewelry sales, and supporters’ donations – all goes directly to the Food Bank for New York City. Food Bank is a charity that works to end hunger in New York City. The organization’s main objective is to raise money to feed the 1.3 million New Yorkers who rely on food pantries and soup kitchens to meet their daily nutritional needs. This is achieved through a comprehensive group of programs that combat hunger and its causes. And of course, through various fundraisers and investors.

Red Carpet Hostess Erika Wasser Entertaining the Guests

Sweet Charity was by and large a success, if for nothing more than to get people to participate in a good cause. “The turnout was a bit smaller than we expected,” said hostess Erika Wasser later in an email. Approximately 100 people were in the room at one time. “But as far as we’re concerned, we made some money that night, and if that feeds a small percentage of the targeted group who suffer from hunger, then we did our job.”

We Return to the High Line

Taken from highline.org

“Everyone in New York likes a park,” said Richard Levy, a fan and frequent walker of the High Line, a park located on the west side of Manhattan. And everyone especially likes one that’s elevated 30 feet in the air. “It’s nice to get away from the noise, even if just a little, you kind of feel like you’re above the chaos of the city,” Levy added.

“We saw in the High Line a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reclaim a piece of industrial infrastructure, and turn it into a truly unique public space,” said Katie Lorah in an email. Lorah serves as the deputy director of communications for Friends of the High Line – a group of residents in the Chelsea neighborhood who began an advocacy group in 1999 to preserve the park.  “It had the potential to connect neighborhoods, to be a functional landscape, and to offer a new perspective on the surrounding built environment,” Lorah added.

The High Line pre-renovation. Photo taken from highline.org

The High Line was originally built in the 1930s as part of a massive infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement to lift freight traffic that was too dangerous for the streets of Manhattan.

In June 2009, Friends of the High Line got what they wanted.Section 1 of the High Line – Gansevoort St to 20th St – was opened to the public for all to enjoy between the hours of 7:00 am and 8:00 pm. These hours will last through the winter. Section 2 – 20th St to 30th St – is being worked on now and is set to open in 2010.

The High Line now serves as a park, a garden, an open forum for strolling and sipping coffee (a coffee stand is located at the half-way point), and oddly enough, a space in which artists can display their work.

The High Line runs through Chelsea – one of the world’s greatest art districts. The arts have been important to the restoration project since day one. Many residents in the area are artists or art dealers who have felt connected to the High Line project since the beginning.

“Our relationship with the art world is longstanding and was a natural fit,” said Lorah. Since the park’s opening, programs have been instilled and exhibitions have been displayed to broaden the public’s knowledge of smaller, contemporary artists.

The latest piece currently on view is by Valerie Hegarty, a sculptor whose installation on display is titled “Autumn on the Hudson Valley with Branches.” The piece – a tattered looking landscape on the fence that divides Section I and Section 2 – was installed in early November and is on view indefinitely.

Valerie Hegarty's Artwork

Spencer Finch's pane of glass images

Another artist, Spencer Finch, photographed the Hudson River 700 times from a boat deck, proceeded to mix and match the different images, and put them on an elongated pane of glass. This pane of glass runs in the loading dock located between 15th and 16th Streets, parallel to the Chelsea Market Building.

“It was always an aim to commission site-specific artwork for the park, to keep it a vibrant and ever-changing public space,” said Lorah when asked why these artists were chosen. “We saw something in them, they were artists concerned with the environment, and the city,” she added.

The art featured in the High Line isn’t screaming for attention – you can barely notice the pieces, in fact, unless you’re looking for them. Lorah said she was happy to hear this. Her and her colleagues understand that the space isn’t catering to just one exclusive group of people (not just strollers, coffee sippers, runners, or art lovers). So everything you see along the High Line – gardens, architecture, art – is understated and tasteful, so as not to stray too far from the original project – “1.5 miles of Manhattan that was just waiting to be used for something, and it seemed like it would be a shame to tear it down.” Alas, the High Line.

A Juggernaut’s Vision: RM and the UN

The United Nations Secretariat tower stands tall, well protected, and in isolation from other buildings that would anyhow pale in comparison, both in their appearance and what they represent. The UN headquarters is located on 42nd Street and 1st Ave, in the Turtle Bay area, on the east side of Manhattan, overlooking the East River.

Around 5 pm on a Tuesday, men and women were flowing in and out of the gates that barricaded the building from the general public. In asking at least ten people, of all ages, not a single person knew the name Robert Moses. There wasn’t a flicker of recognition when told that he was the man whose vision helped put the UN building in that very spot. Nor were any of the five guards and policemen familiar with the name.

While not being able to actually enter the headquarters – by fault of arriving a mere seven minutes past closing time, at 4:45 pm – it’s easy to see that the building itself holds much meaning without even straying from its exterior parameters. Even with the flags down for the night.

The building, which sits on 17 acres of land, was constructed in 1949 and 1950. While there were many important real estate and architectural tycoons  – William Zeckendorf, Wallace Harrison – involved in the construction of the complex, Robert Moses had the first and almost final say in the building’s location.

It was Moses who was in large part responsible for the decision to place the building in Manhattan, as opposed to Philadelphia. Many Moses advocates believe he made an important contribution by building an infrastructure that most people had wanted at the time, and one that has endured.

Even though Moses didn’t design the building, he had such a large sphere of influence over city politics, and the men who ran the city itself. Because of this power, he was the main component in the decision making process to determine the building’s position.

Moses was a proponent of New York serving as an international powerhouse, thus the only city in the US fitted to house such an important structure. He decided that the only appropriate place for this building was, in fact, his city, the city in which he had much political clout.

What’s important to note is that nowhere on the site is there a tribute to Robert Moses. He’s the invisible pioneer of the UN headquarters, and yet somehow this proud, rigid, protected, and very powerful structure represents the very legacy Moses left behind.

No Secrets To The Subway

courtesy of google maps

If you’ve been in New York for longer than a day, you’ve been here: standing on the subway platform, watching the rats scurry, wondering how a person’s ONE sock somehow fell beneath the tracks below you. In waiting for the subway, one is left with much time to dwell in the mysteries of the underground, made realities by the New York City Transit Authority.

What happens at the end of the line? How do the trains turn around? For years, I’ve assumed there’s a trick that I’m just not seeing in plain sight – something that happens when I’m not looking or because I’m not paying enough attention. Well, yes and no.

“You clearly don’t live in New York,” said a slightly irritated Charles Seton, a Spokesperson for The New York City Transit Authority, when I reached him on the phone. Evidently,there’s no magic. And there’s really nothing to it either, according to Charles, who has been with the MTA for 18 years. When each train reaches the other end of the track, he explained, the engineer walks to the other end of the train, and it just goes back the other direction. “There’s only one line in the city that turns around, and that happens on a loop track – the 6 and the turn around is at the Brooklyn Bridge stop,” said Charles.

Sure, it made sense. But I still didn’t quite understand all the nuts and bolts of the process. Take the L train, which Charles says has “thirty cars on the track at one time”: if the cars just go back and forth without turning around, won’t they collide at some point en route? Charles, not-so-patiently, explained that the L train pulls into 8th Avenue on one track. The train operator then goes to the opposite end of the train, pulls out of the station, and switches to another track. A HA. I hadn’t thought about switches before – therein lies the key to my confusion.

Onto my next question: How do the trains get underground to begin with? “I always assumed that the subway cars were built underground somehow,” said Eric, a twenty-something daily subway rider. But Charles had the answer. “Our trains are built in Yonkers and upstate. They access underground through the tracks on the street level. Tractors bring them in to the city and they get lowered down.”

The Spokesman for the MTA also told me “newer cars travel up to 600,000 miles between break downs.” If a subway were to break down or require repair, they are fixed in one of the 15 subway yards scattered throughout the city. Which, of course, brought up a new question – how do those cars get aboveground for repairs? But something in Charles’s tone told me it was time to just hang up.

David Hockney Has Departed

On October 29th, art lovers and spectators gathered for a Thursday night of gallery-hopping and wine-drinking on 25th Street in West Chelsea. At least 1,500 of those onlookers came to the Pace Wildenstein Gallery to see an exhibit by celebrated British artist David Hockney, which opened that night. The 6 pm opening was anticipated by Hockney fans and art lovers, for it was the artist’s first exhibit in over 12 years.

“We’re so fortunate and proud that an artist of Hockney’s stature is showing here,” said Jay Grimm, Director of Pace Wildenstein in Chelsea. “Thursdays are already so crowded in the area, but people are really excited for this show in particular,” he added. Pace Wildenstein, with a location uptown as well, is known as one of the major art galleries in New York City, and represents a select lineup of famous artists including Sol Lewitt and Robert Rauschenberg.

David Hockney’s current exhibit is of particular importance to the gallery though, mainly because this is the first work he has shown to the public since 1996. What’s more is the aesthetic of his new work – bright, bold colors, and this time around, not of human portraits, but of forests and foliage. “I love it. I was nervous to see what he had to give us, but the forest motif combined with the use of outrageous color is perfect,” said Lynn, a 40-something art lover and admirer of the artist. “Hockney is such a stylish man, in and out of his art, so I’m not surprised,” she added.

The expansive walls of the gallery space were plastered with Hockney’s paintings at least 10 feet high and 15 feet wide – the biggest and most ambitious of his career. Hockney, 72, best known for his portraiture work, has departed from his typical style and entered the realm of seasonal landscape art. Each canvas is actually a composite of smaller canvases, making up one large and lush painting.

The paintings, with surrealist undertones, are said to illustrate Hockney’s surroundings near his home – he now resides in a summer seaside resort on the North Sea coast of Bridlington, England.

“The artist is nearly deaf and big crowds with lots of noise is just too much,” said Grimm, when asked if the artist was going to attend his opening.

The show continues to draw crowds three weeks in to the exhibit’s debut. “We anticipate lots of people, but the turn out so far has been incredible. In the 25th Street location alone, we’ve had over 12,000 viewers,” says Lauren Staub, Public Relations Associate for the gallery. The exhibit will be on display to the public until Christmas Eve.

Saving the world one fire at a time

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An emergency call was made from Brooklyn Thursday night at 2 am. Firemen rushed to the scene in 7 fire trucks total, only to find no fire in sight.

CIMG1112

The 19th Street Station houses Engine Co. 3, also known as Ladder Co. 12 or the 7th Batallion of Manhattan.

CIMG1113

Firefighter Matt Powell, 33, says the fire trucks go out on emergency calls at least 15 times a day on average. "More calls are made after 6 pm," says Powell, as a result of more people being in their homes towards the end of the day. Yearly, Powell says "anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 trucks go out on emergency phone calls."

Newsy and Not

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AND/OR….

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