6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Ash Thayer shares intimate punk portraits of Lower East Side squatters from the 1990s. The photos are part of her collection “KILL CITY,” which was recently compiled into a book and published under the same name.
These days it’s difficult to think of the Lower East Side as much more than a destination for bar hopping, rapidly rising rents, and general raucousness, but not that long ago the neighborhood was a place pulsating with community, character, and openness to all walks: including squatters. One such squatter who found solace in this once distinct downtown enclave was photographer Ash Thayer who came to the city in the early ’90s to enroll at the School of Visual Arts, but after a series of misfortunes (e.g. a shady landlord who stole her security deposit) found herself homeless.
Thayer, however, had always had an affinity with the counterculture community and it didn’t take long for the kids of NYC’s punk scene to lend her a hand. In 1992, she joined the See Skwat, one of several squats she’d ultimately spend eight years living in and documenting. Ahead, Thayer shares some of her emotional photography from her time at See Skwat, and she speaks to 6sqft about her experience living in what she describes as an “important piece of the unknown history of New York.”
more photos inside the squats and of those who lived in them
6sqft’s new series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this first installment, we’re hitting up MÔTÔ Spirits, a whiskey-distillery-cum-motorcycle-shop located in the heart of Bushwick.
Marrying whiskey and motorcycles seems like a lethal combination, but at MÔTÔ Spirits the pairing is a match made in heaven. Founded by Hagai Yardeny, Marie Estrada, and Tim Harney, MÔTÔ isn’t your average whiskey producer: On top of being the first and only distillery in the U.S. to produce rice-based whiskey and jabuka (an apple-based Croatian liquor), their deliciously potent potions are both inspired by motorcycles and concocted in the back of a motorcycle shop! In our exclusive video, Yardeny, Estrada, and Harney take us on a tour of their space and share how, and why, MÔTÔ Spirits has interlaced two unlikely businesses into one extraordinary endeavor.
take the tour here
Image via Citi Bike
Just a couple weeks ago, San Francisco-based bike-share Spin announced plans to bring 300 dockless bikes to NYC. However, the day before the operator was set to drop off its convoy, the Department of Transportation slapped the company with a cease and desist letter. Although Spin’s dockless entrance into NYC’s market has been thwarted, Citi Bike appears to be stepping up in its place. The Post reports that Citi Bike is now exploring how they can incorporate dockless vehicles into their system. As it stands, the blue bike network includes about 10,000 bicycles across Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, all of which must be returned to designated stations following use.
The temperature is falling, the air is brisk, and the kids are heading back to school. This can only mean one thing: Autumn is upon us. While you may lament the end of days spent sunning beachside, don’t forget that sweater weather brings with it a bounty of fiery colors. If you’re hoping to catch the changing season in all its beauty, there’s no better tool to plan your leaf peeping expedition than SmokeyMountains.com‘s Fall Foliage Map. This handy interactive cartograph will tell you when and where foliage is expected to appear, and more importantly, when it will peak in your area.
try the map out
Image by CityRealty
Just over one year ago, 6sqft reported on the initial climb of 325 Kent Avenue, the first tower of the SHoP-designed Domino Sugar Refinery master plan slated for the Williamsburg waterfront. Now, CityRealty shares that the building is nearly finished with its distinct, upside-down U-formation standing tall. When complete, the 189-foot, 400,000-square-foot building will be the second largest residential structure in the neighborhood (just after 2 North 6th Street), fronted by a spectacular 11-acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations that will open next summer.
see more photos
Image via NYC Parks and Recreation
The effort to turn Fresh Kills Landfill into a verdant and vibrant destination for wildlife and outdoor recreation received a huge boost on Monday (h/t DNA Info) as the city awarded a $22.9 million contract for the construction of the first major section of Freshkills Park. Up until now, the swath of Staten Island land—covering 2,200 acres of former dumping ground that has since undergone nearly two decades of remediation—has remained closed to the public, save for a few times a year when select areas are opened for “Discovery Days” that introduce visitors to the terrain and events that will eventually become mainstays of Freshkills when it is completed in 2036.
more details on what to expect
Image via Spin Bikeshare Facebook
UPDATE 8/13/17: Spin will not debut their bikes in NYC Monday. Gothamist writes that that the company is postponing operations following a cease and desist letter received from the Department of Transportation.
Watch out Citi Bike, some new competition is rolling in on Monday. As the Post first reports, San Francisco-based bike-sharing company Spin has plans to drop off 300 bikes across NYC—150 throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn and another 150 in the Rockaways. Unlike Citi Bike, however, these new rides will be equipped with a self-locking mobile app-based technology, giving riders the option to leave their bikes in any location they please. One of the biggest challenges for Citi Bike has been figuring how to rebalance docking stations for users, particularly around rush hour when docks are either completely full or empty.
Find out more here
Image via The Met
If checking out The Cloisters has long been on your to-do list, there’s no better time to head north than for the museum’s MetFridays. On Friday, August 11th (that’s tomorrow!) and Friday, August 25th, The Met will host two hours of live 1930s jazz at sunset in their stunning medieval gardens. Performances will feature trumpeter Alex Nguyen, winner of the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Competition, and his quartet as they perform the same ditties that topped the charts when the museum was first constructed between 1934 and 1939.
more details here
Image via Google Street View
Starting August 7, qualifying applicants can begin applying for eight newly renovated units at 383 Hewes Street, a six-story, 23-unit brick residence constructed in 1927. The building is located in South Williamsburg along a quiet residential block, which like the rest of the neighborhood, is seeing an increasing number of new developments appear. 383 was recently redeveloped via Los Sures, a community-based, non-profit focused on rehabilitating the south side of Williamsburg for low-income families and individuals. Of the available affordable units, two- and three-bedrooms will be priced between $1,440-$2,198 and $1,664-$2,538 respectively, adjusted for household income.
Find out if you qualify
Image via Radius Displays
Real New Yorkers will do anything they can to avoid the chaos of Times Square, but debuting in less than a week is a technological marvel that might draw even the most Midtown-adverse out of their Uptown or Downtown havens. As CityRealty first reports, Radius Displays, a leading digital sign producer, has plans to introduce a massive 3-D video display in the ad-drenched stretch this month. The billboard, which they are billing as “unlike anything else in Times Square, or indeed the world,” will not only span an impressive 2,600-square-feet but be made up of thousands of individual panels capable of creating mind-boggling Inception-like effects.
more details here