Where else can you see 25-foot toy soldiers, a two-story Santa, or a house decked out with 30,000 lights other than Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. The suburban neighborhood, historically a quiet, Italian-American enclave, has been putting on its legendary holiday spectacle since 1986, when Lucy Spata moved to the area. Her over-the-top Christmas displays started as a way to honor her mother’s memory (she also loved holiday decorations) and quickly her neighbors followed suit. Today, Lucy is known around town as “Mrs. Claus” and the Dyker Heights lights attract up to 150,000 visitors each season. 6sqft’s resident photographers, James and Karla Murray, recently visited Dyker Heights and captured the outrageous lights and decorations in all their glory. And they were even lucky enough to meet Lucy herself!
All photos included in this post were taken at Co-op City in the early 1970s and are courtesy of Co-op City
When Governor Rockefeller, Robert Moses, Jacob Potofsky of the United Housing Foundation, and Abraham Kazan, known as “the father of US cooperative housing,” broke ground on Co-op City in the Baychester section of the Bronx on May 14, 1966, they were doing something truly groundbreaking. In fact, Rockefeller called it a “completely sound investment in a better society.”
Co-op City is the world’s largest co-operative housing development. Built on 320 acres just north of Freedomland, the sprawling, self-contained development provides homes for over 15,000 families across 35 buildings, and supports its own schools, weekly newspaper, power plant, and planetarium. Originally built by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and the United Housing Foundation as cooperative, affordable, middle-income workers’ housing, Co-op city has remained dedicated to open membership, democratic control, distribution of surplus, and diversity for half a century.
Photo of the former St. Denis Hotel courtesy of MCNY
Straddling Greenwich Village and the East Village, the neighborhood south of Union Square between Fifth and Third Avenues was once a center of groundbreaking commercial innovations, radical leftist politics, and the artistic avant-garde. With the city’s recent decision to allow an upzoning for a “Tech Hub” on the neighborhood’s doorstep on 14th Street, there are concerns that the resilient and architecturally intact neighborhood may face irreversible change. While they’re still here, take a tour of some of the many sites of remarkable cultural history, nestled in this compact neighborhood just south of one of our city’s busiest hubs.
6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, NYC-based photographer Betsy Pinover Schiff shares photos from her new book, “‘Tis the Season New York.” Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Two years ago while attending for the first time the Winter’s Eve Festival, billed as the largest holiday festival in New York City, photographer Betsy Pinover Schiff had an ah-ha Christmas moment. If she, a native New Yorker, just recently learned about this huge annual celebration that draws thousands to Lincoln Square, what other Christmas celebrations was she missing? In a quest to find out, Betsy ended up taking hundreds of photos and attending hundreds of events across the city, all within a six-week period.
Her curiosity grew to become the basis of her latest book, “‘Tis the Season New York,” which was released this fall. Her book takes us on a tour of NYC during its most festive time of the year, from photos of the holiday windows at Saks Fifth Avenue to the elaborately decorated homes of Dyker Heights. Plus, 15 different New Yorkers, ranging from philanthropist Agnes Gund to Betsy’s postman, provided their own NYC experiences for the book. Ahead, Betsy shares with 6sqft some of her sparkling photos and tells us how New York during Christmastime becomes a place for “fun, fantasy, and endless heartwarming moments.”
Whether you need just a few more items to check off your holiday shopping list or you haven’t even started thinking about it yet, follow our guide to make this year’s gift-giving totally stressfree. We’ve rounded up the 40 best presents that are uniquely New York for every type of Big Apple dweller, from the transit nerd and the foodie to the architecture buff and bookworm. Priced between $10 and $295, recommended gifts include everything from a cheese class with Murray’s Cheese to a walking tour of Flushing, Queens.
The city’s most important residential projects include a glittering showcase of superlatives that continue to eclipse all that came before, with claims that include tallest (Central Park Tower), skinniest (111 West 57th Street ), most expensive (a $250 million penthouse at 220 Central Park South) and loftiest outdoor lounge (Fifteen Hudson Yards) and pool (Brooklyn Point) almost being a requirement for selling the fabulously luxurious apartments and amenities that lie within. Though some of this year’s contenders appeared on previous years’ lists, their sales launches and toppings-out in 2018 proved that their arrivals on the city’s skyline–and among its residential options–are no less impactful than the anticipation that preceded them.
We’ve narrowed our picks down to a list of 12 headline-stealing residential structures for the year. Which do you think deserves 6sqft’s title of 2018 Building of the Year? To have your say, polls for our fourth annual competition will be open up until midnight on Wednesday, December 12th and we will announce the winner on the 13th.
Our ongoing series “My sqft” checks out the homes of New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to Laurence and Antoine’s 19th-century Hamilton Heights townhouse. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!
France natives Laurence and Antoine moved to NYC in 2006, after spending 12 years in Frankfurt, Germany. Antoine’s career as a software developer brought the family of six across the pond, where they landed in Turtle Bay. But once they got acclimated, they knew they wanted a neighborhood with more character. So eight years ago, they bought a historic brownstone in Hamilton Heights. When asked if they miss anything about living in Midtown they quickly say “no,” as they’ve fallen in love with Hamilton Heights’ charm, convenience, and friendly neighborhood feel.
But take away what’s outside, and Laurence and Antoine’s home alone would be enough to make any New Yorker fall in love. Built in 1890, the 21-foot-wide brownstone retains almost all of its original details, such as elaborately carved moldings and fireplaces (five, to be exact), cozy window seats, and jaw-dropping foliated screens in the master bedroom. However, with their children now out of the house, the couple is ready to downsize and has put their home on the market. But before they depart, Laurence and Antoine invited us in for a personal tour.
William Wegman stands with one of his newly unveiled murals © 6sqft
After four months of renovations, the 23rd Street F/M Subway reopened last week. In addition to platform repairs and tech upgrades, the station now features a series of 11 charming murals of artist William Wegman‘s infamous Weimaraners, Flo and Topper. Set against bright, colorful backgrounds, the dogs look out onto the platform as if they were waiting for the train themselves, echoing some of the emotions felt by straphangers and bringing a bit of humor and life to the subway.
Ever the New Yorker, Santa catches the trolly to Bloomingdales! Via the NYPL
Saint Nicholas arrived in New York with the Dutch and became the Patron Saint of New York City in the early 19th century, but Santa as we know him is a hometown boy. New York’s writers and artists were the first to depict the modern Santa Claus, transforming the figure of Dutch lore into a cheerful holiday hero. The illustrious Claus gained his sleigh in Chelsea and his red suit on Franklin Square. With a little help from the likes of Washington Irving, Clement Clarke Moore, and Thomas Nast, jolly old St. Nick became the merriest man in Manhattan.
Henry Street Nurses, courtesy of The Henry Street Settlement
In 1893, the 26-year-old nurse Lillian Wald founded the Lower East Side’s Henry Street Settlement, and what would become the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Two years of nursing school had given her the “inspiration to be of use some way or somehow,” and she identified “four branches of usefulness” where she could be of service. Those four branches, “visiting nursing, social work, country work and civic work,” helped guide the Settlement’s programming, and turned Wald’s home at 265 Henry Street into a center of progressive advocacy, and community support, that attracted neighbors from around the corner, and reformers from around the world.