Articles by

Gabrielle Sierra

07/30/15 1:20pm
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The Down Hill Struggles | Photo: Down Hill Strugglers via Facebook

A few weeks ago we took a look at current exhibits in museums and other cultural institutions in and around New York, and suggested that whiling the day away gazing at art while soaking up free air conditioning just might be one the best ways to tough out a heat wave. Well, the heat wave is here, and we want to amend that list and add one more exhibit that we left off the first time around, now, with musical guest.

Folk City: New York and the Folk Music Revival at the Museum of the City of New York traces the deeply personal experiences of the musicians who were writing music and performing during the 1950s-1960s folk revival in New York. A large part of the exhibit pays homage to New York itself and how the city nourished the musical and political movement. (more…)

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07/09/15 9:00am

Summer is usually more about beach trips and ball games than say, Abstract Expressionism. But considering museums in New York are all air-conditioned, perhaps you should rethink your escape plan from the muggy, garbage-scented New York City streets with these cool-as-a-cucumber cultural excursions.

Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960–1988). Untitled (Crown), 1982. Acrylic, ink, and paper collage on paper, 20 x 29 in. (50.8 x 73.66 cm). Private collection, courtesy of Lio Malca. Copyright © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, all rights reserved. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo: Mark-Woods.com

Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960–1988). Untitled (Crown), 1982. Acrylic, ink, and paper collage on paper, 20 x 29 in. (50.8 x 73.66 cm). Private collection, courtesy of Lio Malca. Copyright © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, all rights reserved. Licensed by Artestar, New York. Photo: Mark-Woods.com

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks at the Brooklyn Museum If 160 pages of doodles and musings is too deep down the Basquiat rabbit hole for you, there are several other excellent collections at The Brooklyn Museum right now including Zanele Muholi: Isibonelo/Evidence, a collection of portraits documenting the lives of gay and transgender women in South Africa. The Basquiat exhibit showcases previously unseen notebooks filled with sketches, poetry and random personal observations by the late Brooklyn-based artist, and the books are accompanied by several large-scale works. For the train ride there, we recommend listening to the This American Life segment about the insane collection of ephemera that the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh is has been in the process of cataloging.  Through Aug. 23

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05/15/15 9:00am
Mauricio Lorence has lived in Clinton Hill more than half his life. Photo: Gabrielle Sierra

Mauricio Lorence has lived in Clinton Hill more than half his life. Photo: Gabrielle Sierra

Though we’re fans (and publishers) of neighborhood guides and lists of where to eat right now, we also recognize that they tend to follow trends and overlook neighborhood gems. To that end, we’ve started a new series called Neighborhood Expert in which we chat with a longtime local for the scoop on their favorite spots and their take on how the area has changed.

Name: Mauricio Lorence

Neighborhood: Clinton Hill

How long have you been in Clinton Hill?
It is going to be 41 years—it has been a long time. When my family first immigrated to New York from Panama, we lived in Bed-Stuy for two years. And I spent about 20 years in Park Slope. But I moved to Clinton Hill when I was about 29–30 years old. My mother, brother, sister-in-law—we bought a brownstone.

For how much?
Oh, about $40,000. You could have gotten two houses for $20,000 at that time depending on the block; people were giving them away. Now people come by the house or call us up, ask if we are selling. I tell them, if you want it give me $90 million. But the thing is, black and Hispanics in the neighborhood have been encouraged to say no. Otherwise we would all be getting pushed out of the neighborhood. But of course, when we first moved in, it was different times. I remember Myrtle Avenue when no one wanted to walk on it.

Do you think people feel safer now?
They do. The thing is, they feel safer because of the renovations, the changes that have taken place, the fact that there is security around. But the neighborhood declined because people had moved to the suburbs to live. There wasn’t a variety of restaurants and things like that, that you have now around Clinton Hill and Fort Greene.

It has always been a family place though, very family oriented. Before I moved here, I used to come because I had a friend here. We used to go party, it was the 1960s, we would cross over the park and party. There was a church, St. Edwards, and they had dances, and we used to go dancing. I used to walk a lot on Fulton Street, check everything out. I had a job as a proof reader at one point, and we had the late shift which ended at 2am, and when people were leaving, everyone was trying to get taxis back home because there was nothing going on in Clinton Hill and no way to get home.

What about the subway system?
The train stop was there, but it would close. When John Lindsay was mayor the subway stations remained open. But after that they started closing them earlier, and the Clinton/Washington stop would close at about 10–11pm. Everyone knew it was about the neighborhood around the stations. It wasn’t a trendy place so the MTA would do it, close the gates. But once the area started coming back up the subway exits would be open. I remember when the G was not a good train, coming from Queens, that was a bad train.

Do you ever see tension between the old residents and the new? (more…)

03/26/15 9:00am
Reggie Roc

Brooklyn choreographer Reggie Gray is hoping his new Park Avenue Armory show, FLEXN, will introduce a new audience to street dancing and serve as a platform for social reform. Photos: Maria J. Hackett

When you think of street dance, Park Avenue is not usually the street that comes to mind. But choreographer Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray and director Peter Sellars are making the posh Upper East Side artery the place to see one of the city’s most exciting displays of physical expression with their new show, FLEXN, which opened at the Park Avenue Armory yesterday. For the next 10 days they will attempt to add a different type of cred to a street style phenomenon that up to now has had to rely on venues like subway cars and the steps of Union Square Park in order to attract an audience.

FLEXN centers around a street dance form called “flexing”—or “flexin” or “flexN”—a style pioneered by Gray that combines rhythmic movement and contortion. The form emerged from Jamaican dance halls and Brooklyn reggae clubs that were popular in the ’90s. Evolving over time, flexing hit the streets and began to gain traction around 2005, finding a home in dance circles all over the world.

“Our hope is to put street dance in a different lane,” says Gray. “To get street dance some different respect because the Armory has such a great reputation for displaying beautiful pieces of work. Flexing will be looked at in a different language and in a different artistic perspective.” (more…)

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03/20/15 9:00am
Neighborhood Native Bay Ridge

Sally Ricottone enjoys a slice at Nino’s Pizza, her go to pizzeria in Bay Ridge. Photo: Gabrielle Sierra

Though we’re fans (and publishers) of neighborhood guides and lists of where to eat right now, we also recognize that they tend to follow trends and overlook neighborhood gems. To that end, we’ve started a new series called Neighborhood Expert in which we chat with a longtime local for the scoop on their favorite spots and their take on how the area has changed.

Name: Sally Ricottone

Neighborhood: Bay Ridge

How long have you lived in Bay Ridge?
I actually grew up close by in Bensonhurst, but we always came to Bay Ridge. It was a fun place to go to when we were younger, especially the bars because we would go dancing—all the clubs had dancing. Not like today where people just stand around or sit around just drinking. Anyway, I officially moved to Bay Ridge in 1984 when I got married. We moved to 72nd Street and 3rd Ave., and then after a while, we had the chance to buy something in the neighborhood, a brownstone on Senator Street, which is now a landmarked block. We moved there in 1992. And then in 1995 we moved to New Jersey, but I kept my practice in Bay Ridge (editor’s note: Sally is a therapist.) and spend a few days each week here. So I partied in Bay Ridge, married and had children in Bay Ridge, raised my family in Bay Ridge, and have now been here 20 years working. Those are all very different relationships with the neighborhood.

What has your time in the area been like?
When my husband and I moved here, I was able to get an apartment, a brownstone, for $525 a month and that was the whole second floor. There was this little room out in the hallway and that is where I started my practice. So I was able to start my married life and my professional life right there on 72nd street. I lived right around the corner from T.J. Bentley’s—it was like a supper club. They had Irish music and all the older people would go for that; they had a dance floor in the middle. Now it’s a Spanish place I think. When we moved to Senator Street, the scene over there was different. The gentrification was already sort of starting up higher in the area, and it was our belief that from 75th Street to Senator Street it was going to continue and the value of the house would go up and the area would improve, but then the housing bust took place and everything stopped in Bay Ridge. You started getting the Dollar Stores; all those things we thought were going to happen didn’t quite happen in that part of the neighborhood. (more…)

02/13/15 1:29pm
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Marie Brown shows off her favorite Carroll Gardens goodies. She was born in the neighborhood and moved back in 2005 after a 25-year hiatus. Photo: Gabriele Sierra

Though we’re fans (and publishers) of neighborhood guides and lists of where to eat right now, we also recognize that they tend to follow trends and overlook neighborhood gems. To that end, we’ve started a new series called Neighborhood Expert in which we chat with a longtime local for the scoop on their favorite spots and their take on how the area has changed. 

Name: Marie Brown

Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill

How long have you lived here? Well I was born in this neighborhood 1951 in Long Island hospital. I left the year I got married which was in 1980; it was too expensive already. When the kids were in college I had a conversation with my husband and said, “Would it ever be possible to come back downtown?” and he said, “Yeah, I think we can do this.” So we started on my quest to find a house in this area. We came back in 2005, so it has been another ten years.

What was it like growing up in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens? When I grew up here we lived in what is now Cobble Hill, but it was not called Cobble Hill or Carroll Gardens–the divisions were by parishes. There was Sacred Heart parish, which is now Carroll Gardens, and I was in Saint Paul’s parish, which is now Cobble Hill. Each area had a different demographic because Saint Paul’s parish was mostly Puerto Rican and Sacred Heart was all Italian. To be honest the Sacred Heart people had a little attitude about Saint Paul’s people–they felt they were purer or more secluded since there were only two kinds of Italian people in this area. (more…)

02/08/15 5:24pm
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Marie Brown shows off her favorite Carroll Gardens goodies. She was born in the neighborhood and moved back in 2005 after a 25-year hiatus. Photo: Gabriele Sierra

Though we’re fans (and publishers) of neighborhood guides and lists of where to eat right now, we also recognize that they tend to follow trends and overlook neighborhood gems. To that end, we’ve started a new series called Neighborhood Expert in which we chat with a longtime local for the scoop on their favorite spots and their take on how the area has changed. 

Name: Marie Brown

Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill

How long have you lived here? Well I was born in this neighborhood 1951 in Long Island hospital. I left the year I got married which was in 1980; it was too expensive already. When the kids were in college I had a conversation with my husband and said, “Would it ever be possible to come back downtown?” and he said, “Yeah, I think we can do this.” So we started on my quest to find a house in this area. We came back in 2005, so it has been another ten years.

What was it like growing up in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens? When I grew up here we lived in what is now Cobble Hill, but it was not called Cobble Hill or Carroll Gardens–the divisions were by parishes. There was Sacred Heart parish, which is now Carroll Gardens, and I was in Saint Paul’s parish, which is now Cobble Hill. Each area had a different demographic because Saint Paul’s parish was mostly Puerto Rican and Sacred Heart was all Italian.

The new residents are afraid to get mass quantities; they order one or two cookies. When they order I always think they mean one or two pounds of cookies.

To be honest the Sacred Heart people had a little attitude about Saint Paul’s people–they felt they were purer or more secluded since there were only two kinds of Italian people in this area. I am one of each. My mother is Carini [originally from Carini, Sicily] and my father is Barese [originally from Apulia–the heel of the boot], those are the two types of Italian you still see here. The Barase social club still exists here, they still have the procession of the Barase patron Madonna, and Saint Paul is still an active parish, they still have processions in the street as well. The church was our main connection and social activity; the children went to the church schools. (more…)

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01/23/15 9:49am

It may be cold and uninspiring outside, but think about the work inside New York’s galleries and museums like a roaring fire to warm your winter-dulled mind and spark your creative spirit. From photography to sculpture, famous names to new voices, the current art scene offers a late winter-early spring calendar jam-packed with exciting shows. Here are a few current and soon-to-open exhibits that are worth bundling up to see.

RESPOND_Banner

Respond
Jan. 17- Feb. 22 at Smack Mellon
Created as a response to the grand jury decision not to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, this exhibit in DUMBO showcases pieces from hundreds of artists, each of whom submitted work as part of an open call. Smack Mellon actually received over 600 submissions for this exhibit and had to narrow it down–proof that the chosen theme struck a chord in many people. The show features work in a variety of mediums including sculpture, paintings, textiles, photography and video, as well as a mural created with Groundswell and local teenagers. Throughout Respond’s run, community organizers, artists, and activists will be speaking, meeting, performing and collaborating in the spirit of change and action, and there will be regular events at Smack Mellon, including film screenings, workshops and poetry readings.

Modern Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection, 1909–1949
T
hrough April 19, 2015 at MoMA
Yes, the Matisse cut-out exhibit at MoMA is about to close, but there are still several great reasons to visit the city’s temple to modern art. This collection of more than 300 photographs taken between World War I and II explores the ways in which artists were working with the still relatively new technology of photography at the time. The exhibit includes work by Karl Blossfeldt, Florence Henri, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, and many other famed shutterbugs, and showcases work by lesser-known talents as well. The range of styles, viewpoints and ways in which photographers dared to push the young medium forward is quite remarkable. (more…)

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11/21/14 8:39am
Take control of the turkey--it's the main event after all. Photo: Gabrielle Sierra

Take control of the turkey–it’s the main event after all. Photo: Gabrielle Sierra

Ah, Thanksgiving, a magical holiday that gathers friends and family around a table filled with flowers, candles, food and an obscene amount of wine.

Whether you’re hosting a traditional Thanksgiving, or a Friendsgiving before you head to the family homestead, coordinating a big dinner can be hard work, and unexpected issues can crop up before, in the middle and even after the event.

Over the past few years I’ve become a Friendsgiving pro, hosting a group of pals each year before we all scatter across the country, but these lessons work for any big dinner party. Here are a few tips and tricks that can lighten your workload, streamline your planning, and help make your holiday as easy as pumpkin pie. And as sweet as pumpkin pie. And as delicious as pumpkin pie.

Mmm pumpkin pie.

(more…)

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07/16/14 3:02pm

BushwickNightz-EDIT-500x772Whiskey shots, vegan empanadas, drugs and White Castle all show up in the pages of Bushwick Nightz, a new anthology that aims to map out and freeze-frame what the rapidly changing neighborhood means to its residents. Featuring stories by lifelong inhabitants as well as freshly arrived twenty-somethings, this collection doesn’t shy away from exploring gentrification, putting a wide variety of mostly fictional nights in Bushwick on display.

Published by Bushwick Daily in collaboration with local small press Catopolis, Bushwick Nightz is made up of 12 different stories, each acting as a window into a specific period of time, from a night to a lifetime, spent in Bushwick.

The collection pulls its title from a piece written by Catopolis’ own Dallas Athent. The opening story in the collection grabs the reader with statements that are at once poignant and humorous, interspersed with lines many of us have uttered at 2am. “I lived nightz of endless possibilities at the edge of a quiet desolate street and a train ride away, but always too far because rent’s always on the rise in this town,” says the narrator. “Fuck it I can’t comprehend getting on the L right now.”

Casual sex is a theme throughout, portrayed as something simply used to pass the time or misused in a search to find something deeper. (more…)