Image © Laia Abril/Institute
New York is a very diverse city, so it should be no surprise that within the city’s midst are witches—and we’re not talking the kind starring on Broadway’s “Wicked.” Witches is one term for women and men who practice the religion Wicca. (Of note, not everyone who practices Wicca refers to themselves as a witch—but more on this ahead).
Starr RavenHawk is a witch and the founder of The New York City Wiccan Family Temple. On October 31st, Starr and fellow witches/Wiccans will celebrate Samhain, a holiday that marks their new year. While this happens to be on the same day as Halloween, Samhain is not about sweets, scaring people or merriment. Rather, the new year is a time to honor those who have passed away. As Starr explains, this is a very personal holiday and how one celebrates it will vary.
This week 6sqft spoke with Starr to debunk some myths about witches and Wicca and to learn more about The New York City Wiccan Family Temple and Samhain.
Everything you need to know this way
Frankie Stein transforms people for a living. At her aptly named costume shop Frankie Steinz, she turns New Yorkers into Marie Antoinette, Luke Skywalker, Mad Hatter, or whoever they desire to become. Available by appointment only, Frankie has a reputation as a costume maker extraordinaire. She’s designed attire for a myriad of clients including television giants Nickelodeon and HBO ans corporations like American Express, as well as for non-profit organizations’ charity galas. Her work can even be seen in major films like “One True Thing” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” In her Tribeca studio she keeps a large inventory of rentals in every character imaginable, but if something is not in her collection she’ll make it.
With Halloween quickly approaching and New Yorkers dutifully searching for their perfect ensemble, we recently spoke with Frankie about her work, the costume requests she’s been receiving this year, and why getting into character makes people so happy.
Read our interview with Frankie here
Pumpkin everything may be the hot foodie topic of the moment, but for serious gourmands and winos, it’s all about the year’s biggest culinary event. From October 15-18th, the eighth annual Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) presented by Food & Wine will bring together sommeliers with wine aficionados and chefs with foodies for four days of libation and food appreciation.
Lee Schrager, a vice president at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, is the founder, director, and visionary behind NYCWFF; he launched the event in 2008 following the success of its sister festival, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Fast forward seven years, and the NYC festival’s dinners, master classes, and wine tastings are some of the hottest tickets in town. We recently spoke with Lee to find out why he brought NYCWFF to New York, how he approaches each year’s programming, and what types of wining and dining New Yorkers can look forward to next week.
Read our interview here
On the corner of 83rd Street and Lexington Avenue sits a luncheonette with a lot of history. Lexington Candy Shop was opened in 1925 by third-generation owner John Philis’ grandfather, and for nine decades the shop has served American classics to Upper East Siders. In a city that was once full of luncheonettes, this is believed to be the only one left in Manhattan. Perhaps it’s because John is carrying on two traditions–keeping a family business alive and preserving a piece of American culture. He takes great pride in Lexington Candy Shop’s rich personal and national histories, especially since 2015 marked the shop’s 90th year in business. We recently spoke with John to learn about the shop’s history and find out how the local gem mixes the past and present in every milkshake.
Get John’s story this way
, Fri, September 25, 2015
Corey and the Loew’s Valencia Theatre
When New Yorkers think about going on an adventure, they might envision heading west, abroad, or at least outside the city. In New York, the only adventure they’re likely to take is navigating the grid (or lack thereof in certain neighborhoods) during rush hour. But Corey William Schneider is on a mission to turn the five boroughs into a land of exploration for city residents. As the founder of New York Adventure Club, Corey helps New Yorkers get in touch with their inner explorers through unique walking tours and events. His goal is to awaken city dwellers’ curiosity by offering them the chance to uncover, experience, and engage with the city and tri-state area’s numerous hidden treasures.
We recently spoke with Corey to find out why New Yorkers are secretly longing for adventure and how his club is helping them broaden their local horizons.
Our chat with Corey
, Fri, September 18, 2015
Brooklyn is no longer the only borough making a name for itself in the local craft beer industry. Thanks to the Bronx Brewery, the northernmost borough is staking a claim in the market with a fun spot dedicated to making pale ales. Founded in 2011 by co-presidents Chris Gallant and Damian Brown, the Bronx Brewery is located in Port Morris, a mixed-use neighborhood near the Major Deegan Expressway. While still young, the brewery in the Boogie Down is certainly finding a following with its impressive lineup of year-round and seasonal beers that can be found on tap and in stores throughout the tri-state area. With a tasting room, tours, and a backyard to sit back and relax in, it’s quickly becoming a popular spot for both locals and Manhattanites looking for a day trip.
We recently spoke with Chris to learn how the Bronx Brewery came to be and how the company has evolved and grown over the last few years.
Our convo with Chris right this way
, Fri, September 11, 2015
New Yorkers are known for spending their free time taking leisurely strolls through the city’s numerous neighborhoods. They even use their feet as a means to learn by going on weekend walking tours to discover the history, the mystery, as well as the evolution of their favorite places—and there are certainly plenty of tours out there to serve all sorts of curiosities. But when William Helmreich decided he wanted to learn more about New York on foot, he took walking tours to another level. In fact, he decided to walk the entire city.
William is a sociology professor at The City College of New York and also teaches at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Over the course of four years, he has walked just about every block in New York City. It was an adventure William was primed for as a lifelong New Yorker who possesses a research interest in urban studies; his background allowed him to be at ease while speaking with city residents in the five boroughs, and he had the eagerness necessary to uncover hidden gems in the lesser known nooks and crannies of our metropolis. The culmination of William’s journey is his book, “The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in New York City,” which was published in 2013 and released last month in paperback.
We recently spoke with William about his long walk, and to find out what it taught him about New York.
Meet William here
Ira with a camel and a local in the desert of Morocco, © Connor Dugan
When Ira Block leaves his New York City apartment for work, he might find himself on the way to Bhutan or Mongolia. As a photojournalist who has covered more than 30 stories for National Geographic magazine and National Geographic Traveler, Ira travels the world photographing some of its greatest marvels. He’s captured everything from far-off landscapes to people and animals to discoveries made at archaeology sites.
In between trips to Asia, Ira spends time photographing baseball in Cuba. The project has afforded him the opportunity to catch the country on the cusp of change. His first images showing Cuba’s passion for the sport, mixed in with its beautiful but complex landscape, are on display at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers.
We recently spoke with Ira about traveling the globe for work and how his career and passion have shaped his relationship with New York.
Our interview with Ira right this way
With the U.S. Open starting on Monday, tennis fever is once again sweeping across the city. Over the next two weeks, thousands of New Yorkers will hop on the 7 train or the Long Island Rail Road to watch the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams play in Flushing Meadows at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. However, prior to 1978, tennis players and fans found themselves playing and cheering at a different venue: The West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills.
The West Side Tennis Club was the former home of the U.S. Open. Founded in 1892 in Manhattan, the club moved to Forest Hills in 1913, where it played host to many great moments in tennis history. Following the U.S. Open’s relocation, The West Side Tennis Club faced a number of challenges and retreated from the spotlight. But after years under the radar, the club’s president Roland Meier and tennis director Bob Ingersole are helping The West Side Tennis Club re-emerge as a major player on the tennis scene.
We recently spoke with Roland and Bob to learn how history and modernity mix in Forest Hills.
Read our interview with the pair here
Natalie Raben spends her days thinking about closing time, specifically the gates businesses roll down when they lock up for the night. For Natalie, these metal gates represent blank canvases waiting to tell stories. And over the last several months, she has been focusing on turning them into works of art as she oversees and manages the 100 GATES Project.
Natalie spends much of her time connecting interested businesses with artists to support a collaboration that creates a sense of community each evening. With a mixture of well-known artists like Buff Monster and up-and-comers making their debut, these once-bland metallic gates are livening up the area, engaging residents visually as well as inspiring conversations around the works themselves. So far over 40 gates have been completed and more will be finished later this month.
We recently spoke with Natalie to learn more about this unique project and how the neighborhood is responding to it.
Read our interview with Natalie here