Pier 54: A Neglected Bit of New York History

August 10, 2017 in Culture and History | Comments (0)

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Arrival of the “ship of sorrow” at New York. Drawing by L.F. Grant (Boston Globe artist)

A sad bit of New York history awaits visitors who would like to see the place where the survivors of the Titanic finally disembarked at the end of their tragic journey from Europe to the United States.

The Titanic, if it had made it until the end of its maiden voyage without sinking in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg, would have docked at Pier 59 on the Hudson River. Instead, the survivors were rescued by the Carpathia and brought back to New York to disembark at Pier 54 just a few blocks south of Pier 59. About 40,000 people were waiting at the dock to great the survivors, or to hear the terrible news that a friend or loved one had not made it home alive.

A mere three years later, in 1915, a ship called the Lusitania departed from the very same Pier 54. It was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland, sinking only 20 minutes later with almost the all 2000 of its passengers and crew on board.

Today the pier is part of Hudson River Park. There are several plans to restore the pier to how it looked in the early 20th century, but so far none have come to anything. Visitors today will find an empty strip of metal and concrete reaching out into the waters of the Hudson River, a dark reminder of the sad history written there.

The story of the Titanic seems to have only grown over the years, but interest in the pier seems to be fading instead.


Summer in the City is Sensational

July 18, 2017 in Entertainment | Comments (0)

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PJ Harvey @ Coachella 2011. Photo courtesy of PJ Harvey.

Free this evening? There are all sorts of events and parties to choose from, every night of the week. Here is what’s going on just this coming Wednesday, July 19, 2017.

  • Cruising has never been so convenient and easy. The fun starts at 6:30pm from Pier 15 at 78 South Street, Pavillion 2, at Fletcher. For a mere $20 you will sail up the great Hudson River on Hornblower’s Sensation. You will get to dance your heart out to live DJ’s music on all of the boats three decks. Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection wines will also be on hand, as will some light snacks and a temporary tatoo bar called Tatty’s.
  • The Hudson River will also be the backdrop for a just-like-the-old-days outdoor movie. Come to Pier 1 at Riverside Park at 7pm for a free showing of the Barbra Streisand comedy “What’s Up, Doc?” Released in 1972, you will probably laugh until you cry while you watch Barbra, Ryan O’Neil and Madeline Kahn go screwy all over the big screen.
  • Do you have some money left in your entertainment budget? The why not spend a mere $49.50 on a ticket to see PJ Harvey in Central Park. This alt-rock icon will be giving a benefit performance at the Rumsey Playfield at 8:30pm in the wake of her recent release of “The Hope Six Demolition Project.”

Choe Completes Latest Mural on Lower East Side Wall

June 8, 2017 in Art | Comments (0)

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Art by David Choe in Facebook HQ main lobby. Photo courtesy of Kelly DeLay

Come down to Bowery and Houston on the Lower East Side and see the latest offering from expert mural artist David Choe, which he completed at 4am on Sunday morning, June 4th.

This wall has been the showcase for a long and impressive cast of artists, beginning in the ‘70s when Keith Haring painted his noteworthy mural there. This particular urban canvas is so intertwined with inner-city that it has become known as the Houston Bowery Graffiti Wall.

Before Choe put up his work a piece by artist duo PichiAvo adorned the wall, which is owned by Goldman Properties.

Choe’s work on this wall began on March 28, taking a bit more than a month to complete. He just finished another artwork in Miami of a similar nature. He is one of the most famous mural artist to work on this wall, getting his start painting murals for Facebook in Silicon Valley in 2005.

The artist is almost more famous for his business acumen than his artwork. When he was hired by Facebook in 2005 he was given the choice of being paid $60,000 for his work, or taking stock in the then-start-up company. Several years later Facebook went public and Choe found himself a millionaire with Facebook stock worth about $200 million. Since his brilliant business decision, he has become a highly sought-after graffiti artist.

Goldman Properties says the mural will be visible until the end of October.


A Look Back at What Artists Were Doing When They Were Just Kids

April 27, 2017 in Art | Comments (0)

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In an interesting and different kind of retrospective, ProjectArt put together 23 pieces from children between the ages of 5 and 17 who later went on to become actual, important artists.

The showing is for one day only, will include a children’s art workshop, and is the inaugural benefit exhibition for ProjectArt. On display will be the childhood works of artists Urs Fischer, Cecily Brown, Katherine Bernhardt, and Raashaad Newsome.

Young visitors to the showing will read statements from the artist themselves, such as “I’ve never liked drawing exactly what I see,” said by Kiki Valdes, who will lead the drip-in drawing and collage workshop between 1 and 3pm.

ProjectArt is a nonprofit organization which offers children’s workshops around the country, in cities such as Detroit, Miami and New York. It is the country’s largest free art school, but does not own even one building.

The exhibit takes place at Red Bull Arts New York at 220 West 18th Street on Saturday, April 29th, from 10am to 7pm. It is free and open to the public.


Klarman Warns Investors to Be Cautious

March 7, 2017 in Business | Comments (0)

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Seth Klarman, Baupost Group Owner. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A private letter written two weeks by Seth A. Klarman to his Baupost Group investors has become one of the most popular reading items on Wall Street in recent memory.

This is not that big of a surprise considering that Klarman, called by The Economist magazine as “The Oracle of Boston,” is most likely the most successful and influential investor that you probably never heard of.

Well known in Wall Street circles, Klarman tends to keep a low profile outside the rarefied environment of finance. One of the few hedge fund managers to earn the praise of Warren Buffet, Klarman declared in his letter the need to come down from the unreasonably high expectations President Donald Trump’s promises has buoyed the investment community with.

Describing the stock market’s response to the election of Trump as a collection of “perilously high valuations.”

“Exuberant investors have focused on the potential benefits of stimulative tax cuts, while mostly ignoring the risks from America-first protectionism and the erection of new trade barriers,” he wrote.

“President Trump may be able to temporarily hold off the sweep of automation and globalization by cajoling companies to keep jobs at home, but bolstering inefficient and uncompetitive enterprises is likely to only temporarily stave off market forces,” he continued. “While they might be popular, the reason the U.S. long ago abandoned protectionist trade policies is because they not only don’t work, they actually leave society worse off.”

Specifically, Klarman fears that investors have become blinded by all the Trump pro-growth policies without giving much thought to the full consequences of such policies. Klarman is nervous about Trump’s stimulus activities actually proving to be “quite inflationary, which would shock investors.”

He is also worried about the expanding national debt that Klarman thinks will undermine long term growth of the economy.

“The Trump tax cuts could drive government deficits considerably higher,” Mr. Klarman wrote. “The large 2001 Bush tax cuts, for example, fueled income inequality while triggering huge federal budget deficits. Rising interest rates alone would balloon the federal deficit, because interest payments on the massive outstanding government debt would skyrocket from today’s artificially low levels.”


Stabilis Capital and TRB Advisors: Working Together

February 9, 2017 in Business | Comments (0)

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TRB Advisors has been the largest investor to Stabilis Capital of New York funds since its establishment.  For example, the Stabilis Fund IV, launched in 2015, received the majority of its investment from that firm, headed by Timothy Barakett, who acts as Stabilis Capital’s non-executive Chairman.

Barakett has so far been “impressed” with the performance of Stabilis Capital and believes the privately-held investment management firm has “an exciting investment pipeline.”  Stabilis’ focus is on asset-oriented distressed debt as well as other distinct situations, mainly in America.

Looking at the firm’s asset under management, since its launch six years ago, Stabilis has successfully raised more than $1.2 billion via different investments.  In addition, it has built up secure relationships with investors such as Barakett, which has resulted in the development of a “deep and scalable capital base.”

 


Get Thee to a Monastery: Manhattan’s Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park

January 30, 2017 in Museums | Comments (0)

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The Cloisters, Manhattan, NYC. Photo courtesy of Urban.

On the northern fringes of Manhattan there exists an almost mystical park that is resoundingly deserving of a visit. Known as the Cloisters, or more correctly, Fort Tryon Park, this unique site is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Fort Tryon Park is perched on a hill overlooking the meandering Hudson River, far from the hustle and bustle of the usual Manhattan atmosphere.  The Cloisters occupies four of the parks 67 acres, and is dedicated to showcasing the incredible artwork, architecture and gardens of the medieval period in Europe.

Architect Charles Collens was asked to design the museum in the early 1930s to house John D. Rockefeller’s famous collection of medieval art which he has acquired from American sculptor and collector George Gray Bernard in 1925 and promptly donated to the Met. Collens was not only inspired by medieval architecture, but several original cloisters from French monasteries where shipped to the US and, stone by stone, were incorporated into Collens’ design.

Today the museum features many aspects of medieval European monastic architecture, including stained-glass windows, sculptures, column capitals, medieval portals, and exquisite gardens which were planted according to information kept in manuscripts from that era.

The museum houses over 2,000 incredible works of art, and between the gardens, the architecture and the view, it is a joy to visit.


Charitable Spotlights

January 18, 2017 in Charity | Comments (0)

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Last month the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College featured Harlem Children’s Zone – a charitable organization supported by Jeff Feig and his wife Michelle – in their community organization spotlight.  This NPO “provides a comprehensive network of programs around education, culture, social and health services to more than 25,000 children and adults in Central Harlem.”

Located in Manhattan, in 2015 one of its programs – the Healthy Harlem Initiative – assisted over 7,000 students, ensuring they were engaged in daily physical activity as well as nutritional education.  This comprised the “two bite” taste tests (for pre-schoolers) as well as nutritious recipe cook-offs for parents and older students.

To date, over 3,000 adults have benefitted from the programs offered by the Harlem Center Zone, such as: support groups, subsidized farmers market and more.  Ultimately a staggering 1.5 million healthy, nutritious meals were prepared almost completely from scratch.

It is organizations such as Harlem Children’s Zone that successfully “provides comprehensive, critical support to children and families and reweaving the very fabric of community life,” which keeps our communities alive and well.

UPDATE (APRIL 4, 2017): I was doing my regular morning reading today when I came across an article which referenced Harlem Children’s Zone. Apparently, HCZ has had some staggering successes recently with 98% of their 2016 seniors at Promise Academy High School having graduated on time and headed off to college this past fall. Kudos HCZ, and kudos to donors like Jeff Feig for keeping this program running smoothly!


The Queen of New York is Worth a Visit

January 5, 2017 in Museums | Comments (0)

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The Queens Museum. Photo by Schapsis.

The Queens Museum is a hidden gem of amazing exhibits worth a visit. At the moment, there are four temporary exhibitions we think will excite and entertain.

•    Its About Us: A New Yorkers Exhibition- Running for only one month, from December 15 to January 15, this exhibit features the creations of participants of museum workshops during 2016, including Experimental Watercolor, Collective Storytelling, Photobook Storytelling, Drawing Sound, Basic Sculpture, Basic Digital Photography, Drawing Journal, Spanish for Mandarin Speakers, Advanced Silkscreen, and Design Thinking.
•    Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art- From September 18 2016 until February 19, 2017, the QM is showing a retrospective of Ukeles art which explores issues related to the role of women in society, cultures of work and labor, and urban and community resilience.  Perhaps this artist is best know at the official, unsalaried Artist-in-Residence and New York’s Department of Sanitation, a distinction she has had for over 36 years.
•    Nonstop Metropolis: The Remix- From April 10 2016 until January 22, 2017 the QM has created a multi-facete project together with the writer, historian and activist Rebecca Solnit. Solnit has written 15 books which discuss the connections between the environment, landscape, community, art, politics, stories and hope.
•    A Passion for Tiffany Lamps- Journey with Austrian immigrants Dr. Egon and Hildegard Neustadt as they assemble the largest collection of Tiffany Lamps in the world. It all began in 1935, when the newly married couple purchased their first Tiffany lamp in a secondhand shop in Greenwich Village for $12.50. Over the next 50 years the couple acquired over 200 lamps of every kind. The QM has a special fondness for Tiffany lamps because the company’s glass furnace, bronze foundry, and workshops were housed in Corona, Queens, only two miles from the museum.

This is certainly worth a trip to the QM, yes?


Some of New York’s Most Unusual Dining Adventures

December 14, 2016 in Restaurants | Comments (0)

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Does New York really have everything? Well, not literally everything, but it probably has just about everything, or anything, anyone could actually want or imagine they might want. Here are a few more unusual, if not obscure, eating adventures awaiting the bravest among us.

•    The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory: This place is fun! The story goes that ice cream was invented in China several hundreds of years ago, during the Tang Dynasty. Over the intervening years ice cream has continued to get better and better. And where is it at its best? Of course at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory! The store has been around for 30 years, constantly

Photo by Jason Lam.

coming up with unique tastes to attract attention, at the very least. If wasabi, black sesame or peanut butter and jelly flavored ice cream appeals to your tastes, then run on over and start eating.

•    Burger Joint: Like surprises? Head over to the Parker Meridien Hotel, pull open a curtain, and experience something strange and wonderful. This is the most basic of fast food sellers, with a tiny menu, but all tasty. So, go and get yourself a burger and shake behind the curtain, and enjoy.

•    Kenka: Whatever you know about or think about St. Marks Place, Kenka knows and thinks more. This Japanese cuisine restaurant offers so much more than traditional Japanese fare. If you are in the mood for adventure, Kenka leaves the sushi and tempura far, far behind. Strap on your seat belts and get ready for a meal you will not forget.