BLOCKS (full name: City Blocks Culture Collective) explores and celebrates the architecture of city neighborhoods, introducing stories of how historic landmarks have evolved and how they fit into the city’s cultural landscape. The organization’s Toronto-based founder Rafi Ghanaghounian’s love for music was sparked by a visit to Greenwich Village as a teen, when he experienced the music vibe, history, colorful street life and architecture of the city.
BLOCKS NYC is a way to share this passion for music, art and New York City, from the 1940s jazz scene to the beat generation in the ’50s, the folk scene of the ’60s, and Ramones-era punk in the ’70s. The group’s latest project explores the neighborhood via a super-chill coloring book featuring album covers shot on Village streets in the ’60s and ’70s to celebrate the rich musical history of that era’s folk and rock scene.
Blocks NYC navigates the off-the-grid Village streets using a nostalgic eye, with coloring book drawings of coffeehouses, music venues and photos of album covers from the likes of Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and The Ramones. The book’s artist David Setrakian illustrates pages by hand, using photos and the city sites themselves as inspiration.
The BLOCKS NYC coloring book includes illustrated pull-out coloring pages representing album covers that played a critical role in the ’60’s folk and rock scene and its iconic buildings, studios and other haunts. Also included are blank personal sketch and journal pages and a map insert showing the location of each drawing. On the back of each page is a story about the neighborhood. The book is packaged in a “record sleeve” case resembling a 9-by-9-inch box set.
The project’s creators invite you to use the book as a self-guided tour by following the map to visit each site; they’re throwing in a photo challenge: Take a snap of the building itself next to the drawing, and they’ll add it to a forthcoming digital map so different versions from around the world can be on display.
The support they receive on Kickstarter will go toward creating the NYC coloring book; the project’s launch will be held in the Village in October, when they’ll hold their annual “urban photography safari” with a launch party to follow at the revered folk-era venue Bitter End.
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Neighborhoods : Greenwich Village