The West 4th Street Courts are some of the most fearsome in New York City; their reputation for physical play and cutthroat competition is the stuff of documentaries. They’re known as “The Cage,” which helps describe the four towering walls of chain-link fence that surround them, along with the openly hostile territory inside. It’s said that none other than NBA legend Julius Erving used to play here in his heyday. I, on the other hand, was cut from my high school basketball team (in Canada, no less). So, when I rolled up to The Cage with a freshly bought basketball, I had more confidence than actual talent.
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Robert Sikoryak, a Jersey-born comic book illustrator, is seated at a desk in his one-bedroom apartment in Stuyvesant Town, his work spread neatly in front of him. The 52-year-old shares an office with his wife, Kriota Willberg, and their work spaces are separated by a tall cluttered bookshelf.
Maybe it’s too close to Halloween and I’m paranoid about hidden needles, but I don’t want to eat some random apple or the cheddar-flavored Skinny Pop. Instead, I’ve brought along a breakfast burrito from a local bodega. I can sense my seatmate, a German named Andreas who works for German Public Radio, is a bit jealous.
The metal-wire Ai Weiwei installation that will reside underneath the Washington Square Arch from October 12 to Feb. 11 isn’t completed yet, but it’s already garnering mixed reviews from people in the neighborhood.
The project, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” is part of a larger exhibition by the Public Art Fund in celebration of its 40th anniversary, and the tall fence-like structure is just one of more than 300 installations that will be scattered across the five boroughs. Another Ai Weiwei installation is going up at Cooper Union.
The Christmas tree that usually resides underneath the Washington Square Arch during the holiday season will be displaced by the work of an internationally acclaimed artist, and it’s got some people in a Grinch-like mood.