Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #58: Startups + Studio Backlots, NYC Rich vs Poor, 5Pointz' Blue Period, NYC Circa 1940, + more

Posted by Billyjam, December 4, 2013 12:12pm | Post a Comment
            Overlooking United Nations (UN) Headquarters - view from the end of East 40th Street

Greetings from New York City which seems to be stealing some of the West Coast's thunder of late (namely Silicon Valley and Hollywood) by not only becoming a booming location for tech startups, but also this week adding a big new large-scale (one square block in scale) outdoor film production studio backlot. This brand new 35,000 square feet lot is on the sprawling Kaufman Astoria Studios campus in Queens - just across the river from Manhattan that is home to the excellent Museum of The Moving Image - where it will provide film production companies a desired controlled environment for filming and safely utilizing special effects unlike busy NYC streets where most filming takes place such as the Michael J Fox TV Show being filmed on East 33rd Street today (12/4) or the forthcoming movie 1:30 Train, starring Chris Evans about woman chasing through the streets of New York amidst a series of obstacles in an attempt  to catch the 1:30 train to Boston, that will be filmed this Saturday (12/7) way downtown on the East Side at Jackson and Cherry Streets near the FDR Drive and East River Park (see production notice below).


Another West Coast like recent development in New York, that has drawn comparisons to Amoeba Music by several reporters, is the just opened cavernous Rough Trade record store and concert space down near the waterfront in the hip and pricey Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. But as the Gizmodo website reported in their review of the new space that opened last week, when comparing it with Amoeba, "Aisles upon aisles of CDs and vinyl records for sale. Not as many as you'd see in a music mega mart like a Virgin Megastore or in legendary independent chain Amoeba Music, but a respectable amount." I have still to make it over to check out firsthand this new Rough Trade space but once I do will do a full report here on the Amoeblog.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #57: 5 Pointz Whitewashed Over, WFMU Record Fair, CitiBike Update

Posted by Billyjam, November 20, 2013 12:38pm | Post a Comment


Despite the fact that it was clear that the battle to save 5 Pointz was lost and that the demolition of the NYC graffiti mecca in Long Island City, Queens was inevitable - expected to begin early 2014 - New Yorkers and graffiti fans alike were in utter shock yesterday morning to awaken and discover that the beloved aerosol art soaked building had been quietly whitewashed over in its entirety overnight as in photo left.

On Friday last a Brooklyn judge announced to lawyers fighting for the building's preservation that he could not and would not grant an injunction to prevent demolition of the graffiti-covered factory building as soon as late December. For years owner Jerry Wolkoff had allowed, under the curation of Jonathan "MERES One" Cohen, the factory building to be completely adorned in aerosol art but now wanted to knock down the famous building and in its place build two big high-rise luxury condos.  But, despite the fact that Wolkoff and his son David (who is also on the title of the building) had graciously allowed aerosol artists to use the building as their collective canvas for many years, Wolkoff had become art enemy number one since announcing his plans to demolish what had become an internationally recognized art mecca. Obviously he knew he would continue to face strong opposition by artists and art lovers and hence why, I am assuming, the rush to whitewash the building with no pre-announcement late Monday.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #56: 1970's New York City On Film

Posted by Billyjam, November 13, 2013 01:00pm | Post a Comment

Over the past week since the election win of distinctly left leaning liberal Democrat Bill de Blasio as New York City's next mayor with a landslide win of 73% of the vote, following 20 years / five consecutive terms of conservative Republican mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani who brought sweeping changes to the Big Apple including sharp drop in crime statistics, there has been much talk of what actually lies ahead for the city of New York under the new liberal mayor elect whose "progress" themed campaign platform was run on the promise of bringing sweeping changes (particularly in areas of inequality, most notably the racial profiling of NYPD's 'stop and frisk' policies) to the citizens of New York City. 

One thing that both supporters and detractors of de Blasio seem to share is their uncertainty as to what exactly lies ahead for New York City once the new mayor of "change" takes office on January 1st. All agree that there will be sweeping changes to the running of NYC on a day to day basis particularly in that of the NYPD - but as to what those changes will ultimately mean for New York City is up for debate. Both sides seem to agree that de Blasio will return NYC to an earlier time, but just how much earlier is up for debate. Some have suggested that New York might return to how it was in the 1970's - a time of economic upheaval when Gotham was a dingy, disheveled, crime-ridden metropolis - albeit one romanticized by many in retrospect.

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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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