Lower East Side

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Popular Skate Spot at Columbus Park in Limbo Due to Renovation

An empty recreational facility at Columbus Park (Photos: Tara Yarlagadda)

At the intersection of Baxter and Worth Streets, adjacent Columbus Park’s basketball courts, some olive-green workout equipment and a fire-engine red jungle gym sit unused. Plastic sheets cover the workout equipment and the jungle gym lays barren, practically begging buff dudes in muscle tees to do some pull-ups. A sign on the cordoned-off fence surrounding the site reads “Work in Progress.” But during a recent visit there were no workers or construction materials in sight.

This closure also comes as the latest offense for frequent skateboarders of the park who feared “grave consequences” when a fence was erected between the fitness units and an adjacent basketball court earlier this summer, thus limiting skaters’ ability to crisscross the park. Previously, skateboarders would skate up or down a two block ledge between the fitness area and the basketball courts, making for some gnarly video footage. Since the late 1990s, Columbus Park been known as a sweet unauthorized spot for skaters to hang without getting booted by the Parks Department. Though that may all change post-renovation.

An empty recreational facility at Columbus Park (Photos: Tara Yarlagadda)

The outdoor recreational facility has been closed down as part of a multi-site renovation effort, which also includes Chelsea Playground, in Staten Island, and the handball courts at Booker T. Washington Playground, on the Upper West Side. Unfortunately, due to unexpected conditions found at Columbus Park, the reconstruction project has been delayed and a revised layout issued to handle problems with measuring the site.

Barring any further impediments, the Columbus Park fitness units will be re-opened at the end of the summer, but it’s a bummer for Lower East Side skateboarders who often frequent the park. According to Quartersnacks.com, local skateboarding legend Robert “Bobby” Puleo put the spot on the map when he nailed a manual going down a kinked ledge at a much-more downtrodden Columbus Park circa 2000. Its hallowed reputation only grew in the mid-late 2000s. If you were any sort of halfway decent New York skater, you were expected to pay your respects with a session at Columbus Park rail.

In any case, for the time being, may we recommend Slappy Sundays at Boca LES instead?

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Performance Picks: Drag Competition, Comedy (Divine Or Otherwise)

WEDNESDAY

(image via House of Yes / Facebook)

Hot Mess: Drag Competition
Wednesday, July 11 at House of Yes, 10 pm: FREE

When you think of a drag competition, surely one certain television show comes to mind. But, as RuPaul’s Drag Race has made clear, not every type of drag performer is allowed to partake. But at Madame Vivien V’s live drag competition Hot Mess, there are no such limitations. “All drag is equal so whatever form you take, [whether] you are a seasoned professional or a baby darling, if you’ve got something to say, we want to give you the stage,” the event page articulates, noting that the show will include queens, kings, “queerdos,” and whomever else may want to strut their stuff. The winner will receive the coveted title of Mx. Hot Mess, as well as $100 cash. Plus, unlike a lot of events at the glitzy House of Yes, it’s free. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Pleas For Peace, New Sculptors, Motherhood

(image courtesy of The Untitled Space)

Defining Form
Opening Wednesday, July 11 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through August 1.

When one thinks of sculpture, it’s likely the old masters of yore come to mind: Donatello, Michelangelo, Bernini, even more modern creators like Duchamp and Calder. Something else these artists have in common, in addition to their acclaim and skill, is their gender. Surprise surprise, like most art historical figures, they’re all men. New group show Defining Form seeks to introduce the public to a new, more diverse generation of sculptors. Over 50 artists are participating in the exhibition, which features common motifs of feminism, unconventional materials, and technologically-advanced ways of creating art, such as 3-D printing. So, come and have your notions of what it means to be a sculptor expanded. Keep Reading »

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Drag Brunch, Radical Latinxs, And More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

Awilda Rodríguez Lora. Performance of La Mujer Maravilla: INDIA$ m.e. at the Brooklyn Museum, 2016. (Photo: Daryl E. Tillman) (image via Brooklyn Museum / Facebook)

Cuerpxs Radicales: Radical Bodies In Performance
Thursday, July 5 (plus July 12 and 19) at Brooklyn Museum, 7 pm: FREE with museum admission ($10-16)

While the bulk of the buzz surrounding the Brooklyn Museum lately has surrounded the acclaimed and ever-popular exhibit David Bowie Is, that’s not the only thing that’s happening at the art space. Another exhibition currently on view is Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985. In addition to the exhibition, there’s been a consistent array of programming to accompany it. This Thursday marks the beginning of a weekly showcase spotlighting contemporary female and gender non-conforming Latinx artists and performers working in any discipline from performance and music to literature and visual art and more. This week features Ela and Alina Troyano, Awilda Rodríguez Lora, Sonia Guiñansaca, and STEFA*. Keep Reading »

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Strawberry Moon Rituals, Post-Pride Shame, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Talk Hole / Facebook)

Shame.
Wednesday, June 27 at Asia Roma, 8 pm: FREE

Talk Hole, the only local comedy show series I’m aware of that has ever received a trendy spread in Dazed, returns to the basement of the Chinatown bar/karaoke spot Asia Roma for another evening of oddities and laughter. Though it’s still technically Pride month, the big weekend of parades has passed, and the folks at Talk Hole are very aware of that. To them, the Pride has come to a close, which means it’s time for Shame to rear its greasy little head. Assisting hosts Eric Schwartau and Steven Phillips-Horst in their quest to “support shame throughout the year” will be Jacqueline Novak, Max Wittert, Karen Chee, Jon Wan, and Lena Einbinder. Keep Reading »

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Summer Is (Officially) Here and It’s Time to Party

This Thursday marks the the summer solstice (aka the longest day of the year), and we are so ready to celebrate. Kick off summer in the city with these eight festive events.

Joe’s Pub Block Party – Voices of Immigrant America – Thursday, June 21, 1:00-7:00 p.m.

(Photo: Joe’s Pub)

Joe’s Pub Block Party returns to Astor Place this Thursday afternoon. It touts a pretty incredible lineup of immigrants and performers of color, featuring the mambo and North African beats of the Yemen Blues Duo and the classically-trained voice of Treya Lam, among others.  This event is part of Make Music New York, which “energizes the shared social spaces that make NYC a cultural capital” through city-wide music festivals on the summer solstice, per their website. More details on this year’s block party here.

Location: Astor Place
Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Disasters, Morir Soñando, a Different Dia:Beacon

(image via Fridman Gallery / Facebook)

Edge of Eden
Opening Wednesday, June 20 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through July 20.

Maybe all your friends have been to Dia:Beacon, that trendy hub of Minimalist art just a hop, skip, and a jump upstate, but you haven’t made it yet. Fret not—there’s a way to experience it without figuring out how to convince your friend’s roommate to let you use their car. The art and the scenery will be rendered in paint as part of German painter Alina Grasmann’s solo exhibition at Fridman Gallery, Edge of Eden. The show has two components: large paintings of Dia:Beacon’s scenery and art with components of other notable paintings added in, and 40 small oil paintings of Agloe, a fictional New York town dreamt up to prevent map copyright that became real for a spell and then dissipated once more. Combined, the two painting series conjure a New York that’s outside the city and maybe even our reality. Keep Reading »

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‘He’s One of the Good Guys’: Lower East Siders Recall Filming With Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain and Danny Fields (Photo via @anthonybourdain on Instagram)

Back in April, Anthony Bourdain visited some of his old stomping grounds (and new ones) in the East Village and Lower East Side for an episode of Parts Unknown, chatting with numerous local characters along the way. It’s unclear what will happen with this and other episodes Bourdain was filming prior to his unexpected death last week, so we spoke with some of the featured artists and business owners about their experiences with a reporter and raconteur who was known for keeping it real.

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Female Candidates, Global Wealth Inequality, and More Exhibitions Open This Week

art by Laurel Garcia Colvin (image via Robert Mann Gallery / Facebook)

In Her Hands
Opening Thursday, June 14 at Robert Mann Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through August 17.

It seems more women than ever are running for office, from the two Staceys who recently faced off for Georgia governor to local Congressional challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Latina from the Bronx whose recent campaign ad gathered buzz for being legitimately compelling. Robert Mann Gallery’s newest group exhibition, curated by Orly Cogan and Julie Peppito, showcases a series of portraits of women who are running in the 2018 elections. Adding an additional layer of femininity to the whole affair is the fact that these portraits are made predominantly using craft methods and materials, utilizing a medium historically tied with women and domesticity (and often downplayed in importance due to both of these associations). You’ll see anyone from big-name candidates to unfamiliar face immortalized through quilting, embroidery, and more. Keep Reading »

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Cutting-Edge Cacti, Once More in the Lower East Side

(Photo: Kate Glicksberg)

It’s been said that adding plants to your living space is a great way to improve both the appearance of a room and your own personal well-being. But what if you’re really bad at keeping plants alive? Well, in that case, maybe a cactus will be good. They don’t need to be watered very much. Plus, if you happen to be passing through the Lower East Side, you can browse a variety of Southern California cacti, now that The Cactus Store pop-up has returned to spend another summer near Seward Park. Keep Reading »

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Local Boylesque Revue Wins ‘Large’ At Vegas Burlesque Pageant

(photo: MC Newman)

If you’re already gearing up for the Mermaid Parade, you might feel the rush of sweat and glamour pouring back into town from one of the biggest glitter gatherings of the year: The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender in Las Vegas. Bringing home more than a yearning to eat a vegetable this year is the local performing group Boys’ Nightwho won the pageant’s award for Best Large Group. I caught up with the boys via email while they were still dazed (and likely oxygen-starved—the secondhand smoke at the Orleans Casino is notorious) from the win and the weekend. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: War, Globalism, and Multiple Realities

Richard Mosse, Love Is The Drug, 2012 (image via apexart)

Light In Wartime
Opening Wednesday, June 6 at apexart, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through July 28.

War has been a near-constant in most people’s lives, whether they intimately know it or not. This exhibition, curated by Rola Khayyat, explores “the gap between understanding wars as historical happenings, and their fictionalized representations in the entertainment world, political realm, and collective consciousness.” Seeking to combine traditional documentary photographs with artistic metaphor and experimental development processes, the work in Light In Wartime predominantly depicts imagery that shows the aftermath of war, from sniper holes to newspaper articles. In viewing these new creations, we may start to form new thoughts about the information related to war we’ve been given for most of our lives. Keep Reading »