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Thread: Tribeca

  1. #16

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    Terrific, Zippy. Looking forward to my Tribeca visit Labor Day.

  2. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    White St, 1809. One of the oldest buildings in lower Manhattan. Formerly the Liquor Store Bar. An argument developed between landlord and tenant, but the place was quickly leased. The new tenant applied for an outdoor seating permit, but there was flack from some residents. Nothing since.
    Yo! Ablarc, there's a really good Mexican(ish) restaurant very close to this (can't recall the name this instant) very worth a visit and across from it there is a champagne bar that is also definitely worth a visit. they even do a 'taster' menu.

    Half a block yonder: a great tea/coffe shop.

    To me, this corner of Tribeca is what 'downtown' is all about.

  3. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    across from it there is a champagne bar that is also definitely worth a visit. they even do a 'taster' menu.

    To me, this corner of Tribeca is what 'downtown' is all about.


    Nice to get validation from across the Pond on a long-standing debate I've had with a friend over the heart of the neighborhood. Conventional wisdom places it at the historic Duane Park triangle, but I've always felt it was the Tribeca Park triangle. There was energy here before the neighborhood had a name.

    At the site of the improperly-named Soho Pharmacy was a bar-restaurant called Magoos (best French Onion soup in Lower Manhattan). The clientele was an eclectic mix of artists, telecom workers, two-fisted produce workers, and to keep everything somewhat orderly, off-duty cops from the 01 Precinct.

    Searching for the heart of Downtown

    By Nicole Davis

    “Life before cell phones, answering machines, iPods, or DVDs. No video rentals or Walkmans. No MTV. In other words, less interference.” So begins multi-talent Ann Magnuson’s essay in “The Downtown Book,” the literary companion to the current “Downtown Show” at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery that chronicles downtown New York’s booming art scene between 1974 and 1984. At the opening last month, there was no question those static-free times were long gone when a baseball-capped kid walked through the packed gallery, scanning the art on the walls and talking into his BlackBerry phone simultaneously.

    “It’s a zoo and it’s dumb,” he reported back to some anonymous caller. For someone who probably wasn’t alive during the decade the exhibit covers, the art must have seemed outdated. Along with photos, paintings, videos, and remnants of that era, like Basquiat’s jacket, the show also features ephemera like ID cards for the now-defunct Mudd Club and handmade flyers – evidence of a period defined not so much by what could be sold in galleries, but rather what could happen when you put a few hundred people in 20 by 20 block radius of one another like some fantastic Petri dish experiment in creativity. The book is almost better representative of the period, if only because the artists who were a part of it had space to explain what it was like then.

    “It was the beginning of post-modernism,” says Martha Wilson, who started the bookstore and performance space Franklin Furnace out of her Tribeca loft in 1976. “Except we didn’t have the term for it then. [It was more like] ‘Why does high art and low art have to be separate? Why can’t we play together?”

    Clearly, the legacy of those Downtown artists was to make sure, as Wilson says, “that anything goes,” blurring the boundaries between mediums, even creating mediums, like performance art, that hadn’t existed before. But what has changed about the Downtown art scene since that period—if can you even locate it Downtown, when so many artists have moved to the outer boroughs, or even outside of New York?

    “Downtown isn’t so much connected with a specific location anymore,” says Dean Daderko, a thirtysomething independent curator who is part of a panel called “No Alternative” scheduled to talk about the impact of the Downtown art scene at the Grey Gallery March 2. “Downtown now includes everywhere from Williamsburg to the Bronx; there’s not one epicenter.” At least not any more. One thing the “Downtown Book” points out is that between 1974 and 1984, there were more art school graduates in the country than any other period in American history. New York was still the heart of the art world, and Downtown was still dirt cheap: a 2,000 square foot loft in Soho cost $200 a month in 1974. The low rent attracted artists to the still-industrial section of the city like settlers to the Wild West. In a place with few resources they created their own, like a pay-what-you-wish restaurant called Food founded by Gordon Matta-Clark and Tina Girouard and other artists, or a bar called Magoo’s that allowed you to pay for food and drinks with art.

    “It was abandoned, it was empty, there was nothing going on,” says Wilson, who now operates Franklin Furnace from downtown Brooklyn as an online archive and broker, pairing artists with money and venues. “There wasn’t even a place to do laundry; I would have to take it on the subway to West 4th Street.

    “There were [also] fewer places to gather, so you pretty much saw everyone you knew at Franklin Furnace, or the Mudd Club or the Clocktower” — alternative spaces and watering holes that demarcated this physically smaller universe, and cultivated an instant audience for every impromptu performance and event. “The same 300 people were all looking at each other’s work and reacting to it and playing off of it.”

    That tiny community, which sprang up in Soho in the 70s and spread to the East Village in the 80s, ultimately dispersed as the AIDS crisis hit, art became more commercialized, and rents reached staggering heights.

    “What’s different between then and now? The rent for sure. It’s like a purging of creativity,” says Clayton Patterson, who has run a storefront gallery on Essex Street since 1985. “To come here and pay $3000 a month in rent means you’re running around, working 60 hours a week just to pay the bills.

    “And because it’s so expensive, what you get is the grind” — and not just in the working life. Even the nightlife has changed.

    “If you go to Mo’s to see a show, you might go from 9:30 to 10:45 [before another act comes on]. In the past at a club, you used to be able to hang out all night.”

    The significance of all that hanging out, he says, was the bonds it developed. “A scene gets created. A scene makes a movement, and thus something happens.”

    “Lifestyle was as much a creative practice [then] as putting time in the studio,” says pop culture critic and curator Carlo McCormick, the guest curator of the Downtown Show. Opening a café, playing in a band, scouring dumpsters for a flamboyant outfit to wear at Danceteria, all these creative acts weren’t “tangibly fine art practices, but they could bring together in one room a bunch of cool, creative people, and a certain amount of hybridity would come of that.” So writers hanging out with musicians started bands, or artists starred in movies or did performance art. “Now, when you go to see performance art, it’s sort of ghettoized again,” says McCormick, which could be a function of time as much as economics. With such low rent, people simply didn’t have to work as long or as hard to maintain their lifestyle, leaving them an open schedule to experiment.

    The low rent = more creativity equation seems to work when you apply it to cheap places to live right now like Portland, Oregon, where it’s possible to support yourself on a few bartending shifts a week. “We have a really good life—there’s no way I could pull it off anywhere else,” says Tamar Monhait, a printmaker, photographer and musician who lives in a 2,000-square-foot loft she rents with her boyfriend for $850 a month. “A lot of people I know have left and moved to places like New York, but they come back because of the affordability and because they have the time and space to do what they want.” The trade off is that there’s less diversity, say Monhait. “I also don’t feel like there’s a cohesive scene,” she says.

    That desire for a physical community a la 70s and 80s Downtown New York could just be symptomatic of the rampant globalization and virtual connectivity that define the 21st century. “There’s a huge difference in technology,” says Alanna Heiss, founder and director of PS1 Contemporary Art Center. “We now have the ability to produce using digital technology. In the 1970s, artists would meet at a bar to discuss ideas and then go to a print shop to create the work. Now you can just sit at your desk and send a message out to thousands of people. The physical socialized structure is not as evident today,” she says.

    Art fairs like Art Basel Miami Beach and biennials elsewhere have also made the art community more global in nature. Unlike the 70s and early 80s, when “you had to be in New York to have a career during that period, it’s no longer necessary to live here,” says Suzanne Anker, chair of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts. “It’s not uncommon now to see a group show with names from all over the world.”

    Or even from all over New York. In fact, if there’s any barometer for how spread out the New York art world has become, it’s PS1’s “Greater New York Show,” which culls emerging artists from all five boroughs and even towns in (gasp) New Jersey. But can too much diffusion be a bad thing?

    “I think the art and music scene in New York at this time is struggling primarily because it seems spread extremely thin between many different subcultures and miniature communities,” says JD Samson, a visual artist, choreographer, and member of the punk band Le Tigre who will also be part of the Grey Gallery panel in March.

    New York artists today also contend with a highly competitive, commercial art scene. “The scene here is so market driven,” says Daderko, who explains that New York’s myriad galleries haven’t so much fostered a community as stunted it. “You walk in, look at the art, and walk out. It’s not so much a social scene, even though what is going on is very social,” he says. “New York sadly lacks a dialogue about work [right now]”— which is party why Daderko goes out of his way to create one. For five years, he ran a gallery in the living room of his loft in Williamsburg, a space that actually encouraged conversation about the work on view — until the rent increased and he had to move out. Still, he finds ways to curate shows that fall outside of gallery walls, like a series of free performances that ran last fall at the Chelsea Hotel, or the Talent Show he recently put together at the Tribeca bar M1-5 with friend K8 [Kate] Hardy. “We basically put out a flyer”—a crappily made flyer, he points out — “with these provocations, like, will ‘Hanna Liden come as JT Leroy?’” (Liden, a Swedish-born photographer, did.) In all, about 300 people turned out for the inaugural, monthly event Daderko says he created because there hadn’t been a performance party in New York for some time. “A good dance party with performance art — it’s been a while since the city’s done something like that.”

    It’s events like these — non-commercial, ephemeral, “hybrid”inal — that suggest that artists coming of age today aren’t so concerned with making art just so they can sell it in a gallery. As Jen DeNike, a video artist featured in PS1’s Greater New York 2005 puts it, “A lot of people are more interested in creating a dialogue amongst ourselves in our art practice that involves more than just engaging in the gallery system, through curating events, programs, and collaborating on projects where we often find or create our own venues.” The types of time-based, collaborative projects she describes—creating a Mandala out of breakfast cereal, taking over a hotel where artists show work in the rooms they’re staying in—are reminiscent of the art represented in the Downtown Show in that they sometimes take place in alternative spaces and aren’t necessarily about commerce. But the glaring difference today is that a number of these artist-curated events occur thousand of miles from Downtown Manhattan, from Art Basel Miami Beach to Slow Burn, a group show in Geneva.

    “It is almost as though...the art has prevailed rather than the specific bar or club or art space,” says Samson of the nomadic art scene today. “We move together, and we will go anywhere. And that is what is so incredible about now.”


    The Villager is published by
    Community Media LLC.

  4. #19

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    Church st. betwen Walker St and White St?

    Happened on it completely serendipitously, walking down White St from Broadway looking at the cast iron beauties.

    I suppose 'lofts' there are completely stratospheric price-wise now? How much per sq. ft, say?

  5. #20

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    Wow..
    Amazing pictures and information!
    I'll definitely take a visit to Tribeca on my trip to NYC in late November.
    Thanks Zippy.

    /Matte__86

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    116 Hudson St. They got this one right.
    They certainly did.

    Thanks for the show, Zippy.

    In my mind Tribeca is like Baltimore or Los Angeles. Persons I respect sing its praises, so I keep going back hoping I'll like the place. I find a place that's changed, maybe even improved, but I still don't like it.

    I'll have another run at it in a little while. My next visit in a few weeks will find me staying at the Cosmopolitan, Chambers and West Broadway. Maybe hanging around for a week or so will warm me to it.

    Don't get me wrong, I can see its virtues. It just hasn't been my cup of tea.

    Maybe it would help if the fat, clunky look of those former factories were less resolutely reinforced by new construction. I know it flies in the face of prevailing wisdom, but I think a few slender sliver buildings would help here. Vertical punctuation, a little grace, a bit of contrast, the ol' horizontal versus vertical.

    It also seems somewhat barren. Even more trees would help.

    Maybe this next visit I'll get to like it.

  7. #22

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    Architecturally, this is such a handsome corner!!

    At the same time it seems desolate and forbidding.

    The modern building is textbook contextualism. Not slavishly imitative, willing to use a modernist vocabulary, and well-proportioned and detailed. Tasteful as all get-out.

    But it has a *@#%* bank on the ground floor!

    And the older buildings around it aren’t really better in how they greet the passerby. Unfriendly storefronts at best.

    You have to be an architecture freak to enjoy an environment like this. And there aren’t enough of us to populate a street. (I know, I know…it was Sunday morning.)

    Too much sunshine, not enough trees, perpetually under construction.

    I’d also lose the freshly-repainted pipe-fitting sign, unless Grabler is still on premises. If not, it’s self-conscious and hokey, and should be allowed to fade.

  8. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luca View Post
    Yo! Ablarc, there's a really good Mexican(ish) restaurant very close to this (can't recall the name this instant) very worth a visit and across from it there is a champagne bar that is also definitely worth a visit. they even do a 'taster' menu.

    Half a block yonder: a great tea/coffe shop.
    Seems you got around in Tribeca. I'd be grateful for further and specific recommendations; I'm going to have a little time to kill.

  9. #24
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Agree with your points about this ^^ corner -- especially the newly-arrived fugly bank.

    But you should be aware that at the right side of that photo are the exit lanes from the Holland Tunnel and the entire block front to the right (out of the picture) used to have big London Planes that were torn out while work on the "3rd Water Tunnel" proceeds (an access point has been drilled down from there and consequently the surrounding area has been completely ripped up). It will be re-planted once the water tunnel work is complete.

    Over the past few years there has been much discussion regarding the planting of trees in both Tribeca and SoHo -- where the argument has been made that trees are not historically correct in these former warehouse districts. That argument seems to be losing steam and more trees -- happily -- are working their way into the sidewalks of SoHo and Tribeca.

    At the same time trees are being chopped down because they block illegal advertising on scaffolding!! An owner of a building in Chelsea just received a $10,000 fine such a dastardly deed: http://www.nypost.com/news/regionaln...ie_gaskell.htm

  10. #25

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    ^ "Trimmed," sez the man who didn't know anything was being done.

    So were they trimmed or cut down?

  11. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    I’d also lose the freshly-repainted pipe-fitting sign, unless Grabler is still on premises. If not, it’s self-conscious and hokey, and should be allowed to fade.
    It's now the Grabler Building Condominiums (38 Laight Street). Does that count?

  12. #27
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post

    So were they trimmed or cut down?
    The word "trunkectomy" is being bandied about ...


    According to the NY TIMES:
    ... on July 16, less than a week after the billboard went up, the tops of all four trees were mysteriously lopped off.
    Some neighbors were appalled. Fred Bracken, a 48-year-old marketing analyst who lives one block away, complained that “pruning was bypassed for a simpler ‘trunkectomy.’ ” Mr. Bracken said: “I hate to see them chop down those four trees. Obviously, the only reason they’re doing it is because they block those ads.”

  13. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManhattanKnight View Post
    It's now the Grabler Building Condominiums (38 Laight Street). Does that count?
    Do they fit pipes?

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    Obviously, the only reason they’re doing it is because they block those ads.”
    I think you could make the case that advertising at New York construction sites has gotten out of hand. Might be time to ban it altogether.

  15. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Seems you got around in Tribeca. I'd be grateful for further and specific recommendations; I'm going to have a little time to kill.
    That was one evening Turning 40 doesn't mean you have to stop partying!

    I would agree that tribeca is a mixed bag, soem bits seem very desolate/so-so, but that specific area is very nice/lively and with great cast iron buildings going towards Broadway.

    I also liked the very bottom of Soho, transitioning from Tirbeca. The Soho Grand was a bit boring on the evening I went (90% couples/dates and I was there with a friend so a bit sedate... nice loos tho). there's a very nice place beteween Wooster and Greene, on grand street that does everything from French pastries to evening cocktails -- looks super. Unfortunately, I'm awful about remembering names (but verrgood with maps ) Anyhow it's a short block.

    I didn't dspend much tiem there, but the area around/south of 23rd (west) lseemd quite itnerestign and a bit less 'scene'. Taht wa actually one of teh highlights of my visit: a sort of improv-theatrical comedy routine in a virtually 'reclaime' space - very funny and very 'New York'. I enjoyed that tremedously.

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