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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #55: Next NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, NYC Supreme Court Building

Posted by Billyjam, November 6, 2013 09:17am | Post a Comment

New York County Supreme Court building at 60 Centre Street, Downtown Manhattan


The talk in New York City today is all about the result of yesterday's mayoral election in which, for the first time in 20 years, there will be a Democrat in the mayor's office with the landslide victory of Bill de Blasio. With the odds stacked in his favor (68% to 23%) de Blasio squarely beat Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota - making him the first Democrat mayor in the Big Apple following a combined five consecutive terms for Republicans (three for Michael Bloomberg and two for Rudy Guiliani) . Surrounded by his family and supporters at a victory party in Park Slope, Brooklyn last night de Blasio said "Make no mistake: The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together.” 

De Blasio's win is seen as a clear cry for change from the citizens of a city that are tired and frustrated with such things as the ever growing division between the rich and the poor of New York, the NYPD's over the top aggressive policing tactics (namely the controversial, racial profiling "Stop and Frisk" policy), and the increasingly large lack of affordable housing for most working New Yorkers. In short de Blasio firmly positioned himself as the mayor who would make a clean break from the Bloomberg/Giuliani years in which the city was seen as cozying up with big business at the expense of the little guy/the average New Yorker and his election win is a loud rejection to the tough, business-minded style that ruled City Hall since 1990. During that time NYC was seen as becoming "Disneyfied" or "the Mall of America" or a playground for the 1%. De Blasio, who famously as a young liberal supported the Sandinistas and more recently (albeit during the mayoral campaign) supported the staff and patients at the Long Island College Hospital that faced closure and, during that July protest, got arrested along with other protesters. This and his outspoken disapproval of the NYPD's frisking policies struck a nerve with New Yorkers who overwhelmingly voted him into office. Once he takes office he promises to effect a sweeping liberal agenda that will include among other big changes a substantial tax increase on top earners to pay for universal pre-kindergarten and improved police-community relations. Essentially de Blasio and his administration will try and turn back the clock on NYC and undo much of what the previous two mayors did. Can he do this without sacrificing too many positives remains to be to seen. And what happens over the next four years in New York City will be interesting to witness unfold. Stay tuned.

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #54: New Yorker Lou Reed, Halloween Parade, Monsters Of Rap, Clocktower Gallery + more

Posted by Billyjam, October 30, 2013 11:12am | Post a Comment
      

New York City is still in mourning over the loss of one of its most beloved, longtime citizens: Lou Reed who sadly passed on Sunday at age 71. The Velvet Underground co-founder represented New York City more than most artists ever did and referenced it repeatedly in his work over the years. Sure New York City changed a lot since Reed sang about "waiting for my man" and walking "on the wild side" but so too did Reed himself who in more recent years would be seen with his wife Laurie Anderson walking their small dog on the gentrified streets of lower Manhattan. In the interview clip above, from the 1990's documentary Blue In The Face, the influential singer/songwriter/guitarist talks about his affinity for the New York City and what it meant to him in comparison to other cities. Right is an impromptu piece of graffiti dedicated to the late artist, pictured in the East Village, that appeared within hours of the news of Reed's passing on Sunday.

For the past four decades Halloween in New York City has been a most distinctive, memorable annual event thanks the mega scale annual Halloween Parade in the Village that attracts hundreds of thousands of revelers every October 31st for the parade that anyone and everyone (provided they are in costume) can join in and travel uptown from Sixth Avenue and Spring in the Village at 7pm (that is when it starts but get there earlier).  This year’s Parade will be extra special and will include a total of 53 bands playing a myriad of musical styles, hundreds of puppets, dozens of dancers of various styles, and incredible floats and costumes and art creations. The weather forecast for tomorrow, Halloween night, is mild with a chance of showers, but compared to this time last year that is no big deal.  As you may recall last year the Parade had to be suffered an unprecedented last minute cancellation following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. As a result Last year the Parade was the first event cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Hence this year's Parade is a celebratory return Parade - one that will be honoring "NYC's superheroes" that the Parade organizers called: "the REAL ones — those folks who stepped up to help the city out of that disaster and the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center Transplant Team and Jeff Bratcher—longtime Parade volunteer—who donated a kidney to the Parade Director’s son;  and all those who have volunteered to marshal and animate giant puppets throughout the Parade’s long history and kept this humble arts organization going!" Enter the line-up of the Parade on 6th Ave. from the East and South between Canal and Spring. See Parade map above and for more parade info click here.
Among the many concerts happening Halloween night is the Monsters Of Rap showcase at the Hammerstein Ballroom with Jadakiss, French Montana, Juelz Santana and many more including the late great Jam Master Jay's young son DJ Get Live who will be doing a special turntable tribute to his late great legendary father. The Hammerstein is located at 311 West 34th Street between 8th and 9th Aves. Tickets are $65 and available at TicketMaster

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #53: Public Art, StoryCorps, Ennio Morricone, and more

Posted by Billyjam, October 23, 2013 03:20pm | Post a Comment

Even one full year later, repair work on the Superstorm Sandy damaged R train line in NYC continues. In fact, as the sign posted a couple of months ago (see below) at the 34th Street/ Herald Square stop indicates, the work will continue for another full year through October 2014 - another reminder of the intensity of that storm that walloped New York City this time last year and, consequently will be on peoples' minds a lot in the coming week - especially on October 29th when the brunt of Sandy hit the East Coast.

For this installment in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog, along with news on the upcoming anticipated Ennio Morricone concert, as well as the photo left I present a series of photos taken over the past several weeks around New York City - mostly Manhattan. These include the above photo of the fountain at Park Plaza at top of Fifth Ave. at Central Park South, and the ones below (scroll down) that include some street art, NYPD on horses, some parks and sights including the StoryCorps building - all the way downtown - where for a decade of collaborating with hundreds of organizations throughout NYC they've been collecting the stories of thousands of voices in NYC in an attempt to record and preserve the "diverse and extraordinary stories" of New Yorkers' lives. To see location of individual photos simply drag cursor over each photo below.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #52: Sheep in NYC?, 5 Pointz R.I.P., CMJ Music Marathon, WFMU's RadioVision 2013

Posted by Billyjam, October 16, 2013 03:20pm | Post a Comment

I must admit I had to do a serious double take upon when, a few weeks ago, I first walked by the gas station on 10th Avenue at 24th Street in Manhattan's Chelsea District that I always walk by (see photos above and below) following been away from NYC for a just few weeks to witness sheep roaming in the hilly grass of where not long ago drivers pulled in to fill up their tanks with Unleaded. Damn! I thought to myself - How long have I actually been gone for this to unfold? Am I in some weird parallel science fiction universe? WTF!  Like a twisted futuristic scene from some post-apocalyptic New York City set, Sci Fi movie (think Will Smith and his dog roaming the deserted Manhattan streets in the 2007 film I Am Legend - sans the virus and the horror stuff) I immediately conjured up what the city that never sleeps might look like if humans deserted the island of Manhattan. This type of imagery is likely what the people behind this wonderful short-term art installation, whose all too short six-week run ends this Sunday October 20th, had hoped to trigger. 

The exhibit, which includes a total of 25  ‘Moutons’ made from epoxy stone and bronze, includes works by the artist from the years 1979 to 1996 and is described by curators as 
"Set in a surrealist landscape amidst the existing industrial gas station architecture, the sheep symbolize Lalanne’s mission to demystify art and capture its joie de vivre. ‘Moutons’ have become Lalanne’s most iconic work, embodying his very approach to art while commenting on the nature of art itself." Sheep Station is open through Sunday October 20th. It is free public space event located at 239 10th Ave., at 24th St. More information.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #51: Free Times Square Concert/CBGB Fest, John Lennon Art Exhibit, Banksy Whitewashed

Posted by Billyjam, October 9, 2013 01:01pm | Post a Comment

A lot of really good stuff happening in New York City this week (where the autumn weather has finally arrived) including the big annual CBGB Music and Film Festival that kicked off last night and runs through Sunday (October 8-13) with the highlight being the big (free) concert in Times Square all day Saturday (10am to 7pm, Oct 12th) on three different stages will be performances from such artists as My Morning Jacket, Grizzly Bear, and the Wallflowers. The week long Festival, that just began last year, gives the long-running annual CMJ conference (coming up next week in New York) a run for its money. The six day event includes a wide variety of seminars and workshops, concerts and showcases by hundreds of new and established musical acts of all genres, plus a hundred film screenings including, most fittingly, a premiere screening of the brand new film about and titled CBGB, that Amoeba Music recently gave away Hollywood premiere screening tickets to, starring Alan Rickman and featuring a killer soundtrack that includes Dead Boys, MC5, Television, New York Dolls, Talking Heads, and Wayne County & The Electric Chairswas released yesterday and is directly available from Amoeba.

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