This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.
30 Cliff Street today. The metal bar “Iron Horse” located in background.
At dusk, bearded men dressed in suits take hurried strides towards 30 Cliff Street, a nondescript building on a relatively quiet strip between busy Fulton and John Streets. Through metal and glass doors reminiscent of a hospital, men file into the prayer room and prostrate in unison on a floor covered in cheap knock-offs of Persian rugs, the mosque’s only pretension to traditional Islamic grandeur. Very little about Masjid Manhattansays mosque the way the word is understood in Istanbul, Tehran or Lahore: no grand domes and minarets, no call to prayer over a loudspeaker; it’s almost as if the place doesn’t want to call too much attention to itself, and it isn’t hard to understand why.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been protested with street art, gallery shows, and even a piñata pummeling, but yesterday brought an unprecedented scene as an eclectic crowd of New Yorkers gathered outside the Republican candidate’s own Trump Tower, wielding signs calling to “END RACISM” and “WELCOME REFUGEES.”
East Village pacifist David McReynolds has been arrested at least 15 times in pursuit of his varied causes, once for organizing and leading a 1967 sit-in during the Vietnam war at the downtown Whitehall Military induction center. Arrested with him were leftwing luminaries like Allen Ginsberg, Grace Paley and Dr. Benjamin Spock.
McReynolds, who was on the editorial board of the now defunct Liberation magazine, was arrested two years earlier for burning his draft card in Union Square. Along the way, he visited Hanoi before the fall of Saigon to the communist North Vietnamese — or, as he would put it, “the liberation of Saigon” that occurred just before May Day 40 years ago. More →
All subjects you can contemplate at this week’s thrilling selection of readings and talks.
Friday, September 5
We, The Outsiders Opening Reception We, The Outsiders is an art exhibition that explores several perplexing questions: “Can it be said that art has a consciousness of its own? And if such a consciousness were independent of us, where would it place us in relation to itself?” I have no idea what that means, but I do know that the exhibition revolves around a gigantic egg—which probes, like the classic chicken-and-the-egg conundrum (I prosaically assume), where consciousness begins and ends when it comes to art. More →
Zakia Salime is a scholar of sociology and women and gender studies, whose work focuses on the fascinating intersection of feminist and Islamist politics. Her bookBetween Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco (2011) examines the interplay between global concepts of human rights and localised alternatives. In so doing, the study reveals how these complex negotiations have led to the feminization of the Islamist movement one the one hand, and the Islamization of the feminist movement on the other. If you’re sick of reading simplistic arguments about the subjugation or otherwise of Muslim women, Salime is a breath of fresh air. Her work forgoes the common conception of Islam and feminism as inherently antagonistic doctrines, and reframes Muslim women as agents negotiating global policies and building alternative understandings of rights.