Warm (if not particularly dry) weather is finally here, blessing New Yorkers with lots of time for beach trips and outdoor sports. Warm weather also offers up the opportunity to combine those two activities, and thanks to the city’s long list of available watersports, you have quite a few aquatic choices in the summer months, from kayaking to sailing, to surfing in the Rockaways. Ahead, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites.
Their neighbor to the west Greenwich Village may be more well known as a nexus for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, but the East Village and Noho are chock full of LGBT culture as well, from the site of one the very first LGBT demonstrations to the homes of some of the greatest openly-LGBT artists and writers of the 20th century to the birthplace of New York’s largest drag festival. Ahead, we round up 23 examples, from Walt Whitman’s favorite watering hole to Allen Ginsberg’s many local residences to Keith Haring’s studio.
There’s no better way to enjoy the warm weather and see all New York has to offer than by taking a walking tour. Not just for tourists anymore, you can learn more about city history, find a new favorite spot to eat, and even discover some Instagram-worthy views. Ahead, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most fun and information tours in NYC, from superheroes and ghosts to swing dance and pork buns.
Ramon, Streit’s Mazo; © Joseph O. Holmes
6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Joseph O. Holmes shares his photo series of Streit’s Matzo Factory, the now-shuttered LES institution. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
In 2015, after nearly 90 years in operation, Streit’s Matzo Factory on the Lower East Side closed its doors. But before the property’s new owners demolished the site to make way for luxury condos, the Streit family let photographer Joseph O. Holmes tour the space. Through photos of the four-building factory, its old-school machinery, and its workers, Joseph captured the final days of this neighborhood icon. “If I hadn’t shot it, most of it would be forgotten,” Joseph told 6sqft.
Although Streit’s closed more than four years ago and condo building 150 Rivington has since risen in its place, Joseph’s poignant photos were given new life this month. The developer purchased some of the photos to hang permanently in the lobby of 150 Rivington as an ode to the building’s industrial roots. Ahead, hear from Joseph about what it was like to photograph the maze-like factory and why he finds old machines so beautiful.
“GAA and Vito Russo marching in 1st Christopher St Liberation Day Parade,” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1970.
Decades ago, New York City’s Pride Parade was controversial because it focused on LGBTQ rights. And while there’s always more work to be done, five decades later, the LGBTQ community has gained legal recognition and acceptance. And in sharp contrast to the first Pride March, the annual event now seems to attract as many politicians and corporate sponsors as it does activists. But one controversy persists—the Pride Parade route itself.
Photo via PxHere
For avid runners and beginners alike, New York City offers a wide range of places to hit the pavement, from it’s iconic bridges to green trails nestled in the city’s parks. The scenic routes provide unbeatable views of the river and skyline that can keep you motivated to keep going when you’re ready to give up. Ahead, we round up the 10 most iconic spots to go for a run in the city, fit for regular marathoners, treadmill-devotees looking for a change of scenery, and total newbies.
Photo of Gwen and “Girl Party Wallpaper” series, courtesy of Gwen Shockey
After 49 people were killed in a mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016, New York City artist Gwen Shockey gathered with queer people at the Cubbyhole and Stonewall Inn to mourn. The tragedy made Gwen think about the importance of lesbian bars and safe spaces for this community. She began talking with her friends, interviewing them about coming out and navigating NYC’s queer community. This laid the groundwork for Gwen’s 2017 “Addresses” project, a digital map marking more than 200 current and former queer and lesbian bars across the five boroughs. Using information from interviews she’s conducted and from police records and newspapers, Gwen found each location and photographed what sits there now.
“It felt like a secret pilgrimage, going to each location and looking for a site that was more or less invisible to everyone else around me,” she told us. And with just three lesbian bars remaining in NYC today, the need to preserve the memories of these places seems more apparent than ever. Through her project, which is ongoing, Gwen realized that although the number of lesbian bars in the city is dropping, there are “huge shifts occurring in the queer community toward inclusion not based on identity categories but based on who needs safe space now and who needs space to dance, to express their authenticity, and to be intimate.” Gwen shared with 6sqft the process of tracking the lesbian bars of NYC’s past and lessons she’s learned about the city’s LGBTQ history along the way.
Map of the Western Canadian Fur Trade, ca. 1750-1759. The North American Fur Trade Began with French Merchants in Canada. Via NYPL Digital Collections
The fur trade has such deep roots in New York City that the official seal of the City of New York features not one but two beavers. Fur was not only one of the first commodities to flow through the port of New York, helping to shape that port into one of the most dynamic gateways the world has ever known, but also, the industry had a hand in building the cityscape as we know it. John Jacob Astor, the real estate tycoon whose New York holdings made him the richest man in America, began as an immigrant fur trader. Later, as millions of other immigrants made the city home, many would find their way into the fur trade, once a bustling part of New York’s sprawling garment industry. Today, as the nation’s fashion capital, New York City is the largest market for furs in the United States.
A new bill sponsored by Council Speaker Corey Johnson could change that. Aimed at protecting animals from cruelty, the bill would ban the sale of new fur garments and accessories, but allow for the sale of used fur and new items made out of older repurposed furs. The measure has drawn impassioned criticism from a diverse set of opponents, particularly African American pastors who point out the cultural importance of furs within the black community, and Hasidic rabbis, who worry that wearing traditional fur hats would make Hassidic men vulnerable to hate crimes. And those in the fur industry fear the loss of livelihoods and skilled labor. After prompt pushback, Johnson said he plans to rework the bill to make it more fair to furriers. But given New York’s current debate around fur, we thought we’d take a look at the long history of the city’s fur trade.
My 450sqft: Stamp artist and Rivington School rebel Ed Higgins shows us his LES apartment of 40 years, Wed, June 5, 2019
Our series “My sqft” checks out the homes of New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to artist Ed Higgins‘ Lower East Side apartment. Want to see your home featured here? Get in touch!
In 1976, with a recently earned art degree, E.F. Higgins III moved from Colorado to the Lower East Side. A small advertisement in the Village Voice led him to a rent-stabilized place on Ludlow Street for just $100 per month. Forty-three years later, Ed has never lived anywhere else. As expected, his rent has risen over the last four decades. He now pays “$500 and change” for his one-bedroom.
Upon arriving in Manhattan, the Midwestern-born artist became part of an art scene that was antithetical to what was happening anywhere else. Ed was a founding member of the Rivington School, a group of anti-commercial artists who took the city’s open land as their own, creating make-shift gallery spaces and performance centers in basements and on vacant lots. A painter and printmaker by trade, Ed is a part of the mail art movement, which involves sending art through the mail via postcards, decorated objects, and original stamps. 6sqft recently toured Ed’s apartment, which is full of his own Doo Da Post stamps, mail art that was sent to him, paintings, hand-written notes, and so many tchotchkes it’s hard to discern one room from the next.
Nestled in one of the busiest harbors in the world, New York City is home to many lighthouses which, over the years, have guided countless ships. Though many are now obsolete and out of use, the further you look into the histories of each lighthouse the more you realize that, beyond their architectural and historic significance, each lighthouse has at its core a deeply human story: tales of bravery, feats of engineering, and even a ghost story or two. Below, we round up ten of the most prominent lighthouses around the city.