news

No Comments

LES Galleries Band Together During an Especially Slow Summer

“Companion Species (Speech bubble)” by Marie Watt

Foot traffic to Lower East Side art galleries is usually stagnant during the summer months, and it has been even more so during the pandemic. Marc Straus, owner of the Marc Straus gallery on Grand Street, decided to do something about that. He partnered with other galleries in the neighborhood and last Thursday, more than 45 of them opened in the evening to showcase their exhibitions.  More →

No Comments

A Food Pantry That Weathered the Height of the Pandemic Is Bracing For a Second Wave

A volunteer at the check-in desk in front of Church of the Village. (Photos: Trish Rooney)

On a gloomy Saturday afternoon, The Church of the Village’s sanctuary is a beehive of activity. Fifteen volunteers in masks, hairnets, and aprons unpack boxes, bag food, and move bins the size of bathtubs through the room and down the line, onto a conveyor belt to the volunteers at the entrance. It’s the last stop before the food is passed to patrons waiting patiently on the sidewalk. There’s a shelf of Gatorade, jumbo boxes of raisins, bags and bags of bagels. The food shelves stretch from the bottom of the steps by the altar, down the length of the nave, right to the door. More →

No Comments

‘We Don’t Have a Lot of Hope’: Williamsburg Artists Grapple With the Pandemic

Class on the roof of the Ace Hotel. (Photo: Effy Grey from We Are Nature)

Nicole von Arx was one of many Williamsburg artists and merchants whose lives were completely disrupted when the pandemic hit in March. In the span of a few days, all of the choreographer’s shows and residencies were canceled and she had to close NVA & Guests, her contemporary dance studio. George Flanagan, general manager of Williamsburg’s notoriously cool Rough Trade record store, was forced to shut the shop and furlough the entire staff. Javier Hernandez-Miyares, founder of 17 Frost Gallery, a celebrated Williamsburg recording studio and exhibition space, canceled all exhibitions for the foreseeable future.

More →
No Comments

We’re All Morbid Now: Brooklyn’s Death Educators Are Doing Lively Business

Divya Anantharaman, who gave a pheasant taxidermy lecture in July.

A projection of a blinking skeleton grows larger and larger. To a viewer today it looks like a cheap trick at a haunted house. But for audiences in the 19th century, this image was terrifying. Before cinema, people had never encountered moving images, so a specter on the wall seemed like a real ghost approaching. More →

No Comments

As Pandemic Fractures the City, Mosaic Man Stays on the Trail

The East Village is one of the most visually distinct neighborhoods in New York City, and for the past 35 years, James “Jim” Power’s famous Mosaic Trail has twisted through the middle of it like a colorful ribbon made of tile. His efforts have made him a beloved neighborhood character, more mascot than fixture, and at age 73 — with wispy white hair tucked beneath a Vietnam Veteran cap, a slight but hardy frame, and faded red scooter he uses to navigate the street — he feels no desire to slow down. But he feared the coronavirus pandemic would force the issue. More →

1 Comment

“It’s Just Not Cool to Stick Up For Us’: Hasidim Feel Villainized as City Cracks Down

(Photo: Bonnie Natko/Flickr)

After months of media attention surrounding Hasidic resistance to social distancing guidelines, Brooklyn’s Hasidim fell under state-mandated lockdown orders that have sparked physical confrontations. Earlier this month, demonstrators in Borough Park shouted “Jewish Lives Matter” at a bonfire kindled with masks; the next night, a mob assaulted and spit on journalist Jacob Kornbluh, beating him to unconsciousness. The violence marks a turning point in long-building tensions between the Hasidim and the rest of the city, which have drastically escalated in intensity over the last few months. More →

No Comments

Stand-Up Tara Cannistraci On Outdoor Comedy, and Why Indoor Shows Make Her Feel Like Bronx Barbie

(Photo courtesy of Tara Cannistraci)

From the cold, slightly damp ground in Prospect Park, mild laughter dissolved into the Friday evening air in late September. Comedians stepped up onto the “stage” (a small hill) and competed for attention. If it wasn’t the music from the Zumba class 50 feet away that was stealing it, it was the child’s birthday party marked by large mylar balloons. Usually the most disruptive thing in a comedy club is the drunk heckler, but a heckler probably wouldn’t be heard here by anyone other than the family next to him with the baby on a picnic blanket.. The show was hosted by Tara Cannistraci, a comedian from the Bronx. “I have a show tonight because laughing is essential,” she tells people. “I’m basically a nurse.” More →

No Comments

A Look Back at the Street Fight for a Complete Census Count in Central Queens

Christian Cassagnol. (Photo: Raphael Helfand)

The census ended yesterday, Oct. 15, after a Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday. The decision, which stayed an order from a lower court that would have allowed the count to continue until the end of the month, marks the end of a long fight for a complete count across the country. In Queens Community Board District 4, which presides over Elmhurst, Corona and Corona Heights, the stakes were especially high. CB4 district manager Christian Cassagnol and board member Kristen Gonzalez have pushed hard for outreach all year. The immigrant populations they represent have always been undercounted, leading to a lack of resources in their communities.

More →