The closest thing I can think of to telling a story in 10 minutes is a Saturday Night Live skit, I tell Ross DeGraw and Sayra Player. They’re the artistic directors for The Collective NY, a theater company co-founded by Amy Schumer, and they’ve been working tirelessly to produce C:10, a series of 14 brand new, 10-minute plays.
Kudret Yakup, born in the desert town of Kashgar in China, is on a mission to make kebab conquer the world. The 36-year-old restaurateur is the founder of Kebab Empire, a 24-hour Uyghur cuisine eatery in Hell’s Kitchen.
With its effortlessly cool vibe, Superfine restaurant has been a DUMBO staple for nearly two decades. Owned by three women–a chef, an interior designer and a fine artist– the space is designed to enhance art in the community once almost entirely populated by artists. Tanya Rynd and Cara Lee Sparry curate the 30-foot wall adjacent the bar months in advance to highlight different artists every month. This is their second time showcasing Joe Gallagher, in what’s said to be his largest show to date.
The concrete jungle is getting some added green this month, all thanks to the famous (or infamous, if they affect walking home at rush hour) Christmas tree and wreath vendors that line the city’s sidewalks.
“Compared to the free love ethos of the hippies or the body-centric hedonism of Disco, Punk was not really about sex”, write the curators of the thoughtful and often thrilling Punk Lust exhibition that opened last night at the Museum of Sex. “Rather,” they continue, “Punk worked the psychosexual dynamics of sexuality as a matter of politics and provocation. If it had had a motto it would not have been ‘let’s fuck’, but ‘fuck you’ or ‘fuck off.’”
“I’m not going to look at you while we talk,” says Kelindah Schuster, settling down at a brightly backlit vanity, brush in hand. “I hope that’s not weird.” I sit a few feet behind the fully-equipped makeup station in Schuster’s small bedroom, in Bed-Stuy. Everywhere, amid the amber glass bottles of essential oils and the purple yoga mat on the floor, there are signs of the theatricality that bursts from this room on a near-nightly basis: mannequin heads in colorful wigs; jars of brushes, every size; bottles of cosmetics I can’t identify; a standing rack of platform heels at the foot of the bed. We talk through the mirror, our eyes meeting only occasionally. I watch, transfixed, as the makeup gets painted on in thick swaths: red brushstroke-brows, panels of gold on the lids, contoured cheekbones and matte black lips.
Suddenly, people you haven’t seen in years are asking to squeeze an air mattress into your apartment’s shared living space (hallway), and include you in their crazed plans to join the crush around Rockefeller Center to look at an average-sized Norway spruce. The tree lighting is tomorrow, by the way; the Department of Transportation has declared Wednesday a “gridlock alert day,” one of 16 during the holiday season, when driving through Midtown takes twice as long as normal.
The Gotham Awards arrive at a critical moment in awards season. Predating and presaging all of the major awards, they give us a clue into which indies are on everyone’s radar. But more importantly, the ceremony highlights a slew of worthy titles that have less of a chance of making it into the Academy race. While the biggest news from last night’s ceremony came at the end — the surprise Best Feature winner — the ceremony included many newsworthy nuggets. Here are a few of the best moments.
Rooftop bars tend to be a complete and total shitshow, so it’s delightful to discover an uncontacted one. On the Lower East Side right now, that virginal Shangri-la is cloudM, the 21st-floor bar of the new citizenM hotel on the Bowery. It’s been quietly open for a little over a month now, but during my two visits there—once on a Thursday and then again on a Friday night, when the Bowery is also invariably a shitshow— it was so blessedly underpopulated that it felt almost like we had rented Airbnb’s poshest penthouse.
Alec Baldwin was in court this morning defending himself against allegations that he attempted to assault a guy over a parking space–an impulse that is no doubt familiar to the nearly half of New York households that own cars. A data collection firm found that nearly a third of US drivers surveyed had been in a fight over a parking space in the previous year. It’s hard to imagine that figure isn’t higher in New York City, home to some of the country’s most aggressive drivers, and the third-most congested city in the world.
A major target of city driver ire is the daily dance known as alternate side parking, which forces drivers without the benefit of a driveway or expensive parking-garage spot to move their cars in the middle of the day as they await a zamboni.
Re-parking is incredibly time-consuming, leading many people to just double park on the other side of the street–or sometimes, if there’s a bike lane, in the middle of the street. And car ownership is on the rise in the city–up 9% in the past four years–possibly due to new rideshare drivers.
We talked to some brave souls occupying their double-parked cars in the East Village on street cleaning day to find out what they think about during their two-hour purgatory.
Failing to move during street cleaning is a $65 fine in most of Manhattan, and it’s $115 for double parking–but head down any Village side street during its alternate-side parking hours and you’ll see a solid row of unattended, double-parked cars.
“It’s a whole day’s salary for some people,” said Fabrizio Duque, who was waiting in a friend’s car that he borrowed for the day. “So I understand why it’s frustrating.”
Alternate side parking is such a city institution that the novelist Jonathan Safran Foer once described it to Natalie Portman (and Times readers) in mind-numbing detail, and David Foster Wallace chose it as the occasion for grisly murder in his novel Infinite Jest. For over 20 years, New Yorkers would find their unmoved cars affixed with “stickers of shame,” until City Council voted to end a practice they considered “not reasonable behavior in the 21st century.”
Brigitte Landou has a strategy for parking her 18-year-old beater car, which is covered in the work of the painter Kenny Scharf, a staple of the 1980s East Village art scene. When she can’t find a spot on her usual street, which is partly blocked with construction right now, she parks on the block of the nearby police precinct, which is exempt from the alternate side parking hours.
But Landou rarely has to resort to the NYPD’s block, she said, because she’s good at finding spots. She credits her cool-headed driving to her mother, who learned to drive at 18 to flee the Nazi occupation of France and, she says, ended up receiving an award as the “best driver in France” for going 67 years without a single accident.
Still, things can get dicey on the streets. “Sometimes you’re ready to park and someone–from New Jersey, probably–comes and tries to take your spot,” Landou said.
Stephen Singer, an actor, studies scripts during street cleaning. He’s lived in the city since 1971, but just got a car two years ago, which he uses for occasional trips out of town. Singer hopes the City finds a better parking solution soon; the last time someone stopped to talk to him during ASP day, they gave him a survey from an app developer for an algorithm to find open parking spaces. There are at least five such apps already–and more on the way
Once, Singer said, he got hit by a street cleaner. It was on the zamboni’s second pass on the street, after it had hit another car and flattened the tire.
Annie Dumke, who uses her car to visit her mother in Westchester, reads during street cleaning; a recent pick was the book Car Trouble by Robert Rorke. Dumke and her husband are staying in a friend’s East Village apartment while they find a place in the city, where they’re returning after a stint in the suburbs.
“I’m not so sure it’s worth having a car in New York City,” Dumke said. “My friends in the city don’t have cars, and maybe there’s a reason for that.”
One of her kids lives in Brooklyn, Dumke said. “Maybe it’s more humane there.”
It won’t end the city’s street cleaning ritual any time soon, but some drivers hope that if the proposed congestion pricing goes through next year, our parking woes might be ever-so-slightly alleviated.
“The less cars, the better,” Dumke said.
Landou, on the other hand, is totally against congestion pricing, which she said will be difficult for older Manhattanites on fixed incomes who need a car for running errands and going to appointments.
Despite the difficulties, Landou said, having her car is worth it: “My car is my freedom.”