Photo by Marc Hermann, courtesy of the New York Transit Museum
Concetta Anne Bencivenga wants you to visit the New York Transit Museum. After coming on as the museum’s director early last year — following Gabrielle Shubert’s impressive 24-year run — she’s become “cheerleader in chief,” in her own words, excited to promote the museum’s exhibits and programming to a wide range of New Yorkers.
With 6sqft she discusses how her diverse background brought her to the Transit Museum and what the past of New York’s public transportation can teach us about moving forward. She also talks about the revamp of an existing exhibit, the introduction of new ones, and her goals moving forward as director. Do you know why the MTA subway system is featured so prominently in early comic books? Keep reading, as Concetta shares the reasons why public transit is so crucial to New Yorkers lives — in both the obvious and more surprising ways.
, Wed, September 26, 2018
As a media sponsor of Archtober–NYC’s annual month-long architecture and design festival of tours, lectures, films, and exhibitions–6sqft has teamed up with the Center for Architecture to feature some of their 70+ partner organizations as part of our Where I Work series.
“Nothing replaces the first-hand experience of a great building or city,” says Gregory Wessner, the Executive Director of Open House New York. And from October 12-14, New Yorkers will be able to experience stepping into building such as 3 World Trade Center and the Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn, along with public spaces like Domino Park and Hunter’s Point South–all as part of this year’s OHNY Weekend.
Wessner joined the organization five years ago, during which time the Weekend has exploded in popularity. Ahead of the big event, he gave us the low-down on what it’s like to plan tour and talks with more than 250 buildings and projects across the five boroughs, his favorite buildings in NYC, and what we can expect from OHNY in the future.
Read the interview
, Mon, September 10, 2018
Immediately after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, sporting events across the country were suspended as the nation grieved, with stadiums used for prayer services and relief efforts instead of games. After a few weeks, commissioners and government officials decided to recommence games, with one of the first at Shea Stadium between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. When former Mets catcher Mike Piazza hit a home run, tens of thousands in the crowd, and even more watching on television at home, truly cheered and celebrated for the first time since 9/11. From then on, sports became something that was okay to enjoy again.
“Comeback Season: Sports After 9/11,” a new year-long exhibit at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, examines the role of sports in helping New York City and the entire nation heal after the attacks. Designed by C&G Partners, the show uses the emotion of the crowd to inspire and guide the narrative, with broadcasts and sports memorabilia from that time. The exhibition chronologically follows what happened in sports in the aftermath of 9/11 with nine sections that look at significant sports moments. 6sqft spoke with Jonathan Alger, the co-founder of C&G Partners, about the strategy behind “Comeback Season,” the importance of the color green throughout the show and the capacity of sports to do actual good.
Learn about the exhibit and hear from Jonathan
Park image via Elliot Scott on Flickr; image of Silver via NYC Parks
Mitchell J. Silver, the commissioner of New York City Parks Department, tells us he’s 58 years old. But with his vibrant enthusiasm and energy for parks, fitness and life in general, it’s hard to believe. Only as he details a list of his achievements and accolades over the years does his age show. Silver, who oversees the management and operations of nearly 30,000 acres of city parks, calls himself the “commissioner of fun,” a title he strives to live up to every day. This summer, Silver launched “Cool Pools,” an initiative to renovate public pools, celebrated making Central Park car-free, and increased accessibility to parks for all New Yorkers. If you want to feel good, follow his Instagram and see him sliding, swinging, running, jumping, swimming, kayaking and more.
Silver is training for his first marathon this November (with his best friend from college) after completing four half marathons. 6sqft jogged beside the commissioner and got his running commentary on the biggest challenges facing NYC parks, what he attributes his success to, what we can expect for the future and where he buys his running gear.
Photos courtesy of Mary French
In a city as tight as New York, it’s no surprise we’ve long struggled to figure out what to do with our dead, from acres-wide cemeteries to those wedged into forgotten slivers of city blocks. The city now boasts 140 cemetery sites, and Mary French has visited them all. Mary is the author of the New York City Cemetery Project, a chronicler of “the graveyards of this great city.” Though cemeteries may come with dark connotations, Mary sees them as prime opportunities to understand the history of New York. As she explains on her website, “For those with a passion for culture and history and a curiosity about the unknown, cemeteries are tantalizing spots that provide a wellspring of information about individual lives, communities, religions, and historic events.”
On NYC Cemetery Project you can read the histories of existing and long-gone cemeteries and the interesting New Yorkers living six feet under, alongside a trove of historic photos and maps. It’s a labor of love (and intense research) for Mary, who has a background in anthropology and library science. With 6sqft, Mary explains what first attracted her to the cemeteries of New York and what it’s like delving into their past. She also explains why she thinks many might be lost to the pressures of development in New York.
Read the interview
Brandon Doughan (left) and Brian Polen (right). Photo © Molly Tavoletti for Brooklyn Kura
6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and businesses of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we’re touring Industry City’s Brooklyn Kura, New York’s first sake brewery. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!
“It was my first ‘oh, my God’ sake which was made in the U.S.A.” said Japanese-born sake sommelier Chizuko Niikawa-Helton when he tasted the product of Brooklyn Kura, NYC’s first sake brewery and one of only 15 in the nation. And this is exactly what co-founders Brian Polen and Brandon Doughan strive for. They’re committed to respecting the thousands-year-old Japanese sake brewing traditions, but they also hope to inspire a new interest in this ancient beverage by using unique American ingredients and engaging New Yorkers in the process at their Sunset Park brewery and tap room.
After meeting at a mutual friend’s wedding in Japan and developing a passion for sake, Brian and Brandon teamed up and got to work on their 2,500-square-foot space in Industry City, which combines the functionality of traditional Japanese breweries with a contemporary Brooklyn design aesthetic. 6sqft recently paid them a visit and had a drink in the tap room (yes, we agree with Niikawa-Helton that the sakes are “so soft, so gentle”), got a look at the sake making process, and chatted with Brian and Brandon about their journey, life at Industry City, and how they’re turning New Yorkers into sake lovers.
Read our interview with Brian and Brandon and see inside Brooklyn Kura
Headshot of Glen Coben via Tommy Campbell, Brothers & Company
New York City architect Glen Coben’s An Architect’s Cookbook: A Culinary Journey Through Design is part journal, part cookbook. The book shares Coben’s experience over the last 18+ years working with some of the world’s greatest chefs to create magical culinary experiences: Empellon/Alex Stupak, Del Posto/Mario Batali, Gabriel Kreuther, Carbone, The Marrow and Romera.
Each chapter includes: the narrative between Glen and Chef – their story together throughout the process, sketches and renderings, followed by the final photos of the restaurant and recipes contributed by each chef. Coben loves what he does and it shows. To him, working with chefs to design their dreams means “there is another creative partner at the table.” 6sqft recently spoke with Coben and learned how it all started, about his restaurant inspirations and what the architectural equivalent of adding that special spice to meatballs is to make us all sigh in delight, ahhhhh.
Dive to learn more about Glen
6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we’re touring the Flatiron office of architecture firm FXCollaborative. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!
To mark their 40th anniversary, architecture firm FXCollaborative recently debuted their new name (formerly FXFOWLE), along with a slew of big-name projects such as the Statue of Liberty Museum, a nearly 1,000-unit affordable housing development in the Bronx, and Downtown Brooklyn’s One Willoughby Square, which will be the borough’s tallest office building as well as the firm’s new home. Ahead of their big move when the tower is completed in a few years, 6sqft paid a visit to FXCollaborative’s current Flatiron office space to see how these prolific architects make their magic happen, thanks to a behind-the-scenes tour and talk with senior partner Dan Kaplan. From sustainable architecture and office design to equality in architecture and the importance of collaboration, learn how FXCollaborative remains one of NYC’s top firms after four decades.
Take the tour and hear Dan’s thoughts
Aurora at 277 Fifth Avenue, courtesy of Victor Group and Lendlease
Joel Fitzpatrick is a master of many trades. He has a diverse background in theater, fashion, interior design, and dance but the one common element through everything he does is light. Fitzpatrick started as a sculptor but yearned for more collaboration and found that through lighting. In his most recent work, a dynamic, multicolored light show called “Aurora” for Rafael Viñoly’s 277 Fifth Avenue, his career has come full circle.
After feeling the cosmos pulsate with the northern lights, there was no turning back. Now Fitzpatrick dreams of building an outdoor light show to permanently shine on the Manhattan skyline. 6sqft recently talked to Fitzpatrick, who shines a light on how his past informed his present and what to expect from him in the future. Read more
Photographer Berenice Abbott has long captured the imagination of New Yorkers. Her storied career began after fleeing Ohio for Greenwich Village in 1918 and included a stint in Paris taking portraits of 1920s heavyweights. But she is best known for her searing images of New York buildings and street life–her photograph “Nightview, New York,” taken from an upper-floor window of the Empire State Building in 1932, remains one of the most recognized images of the city. Well known is her exchange with a male supervisor, who informed Abbott that “nice girls” don’t go to the Bowery. Her reply: “Buddy, I’m not a nice girl. I’m a photographer… I go anywhere.”
Despite Abbott’s prolific career and fascinating life, there’s never been a biography to capture it all. Until now, with Julia Van Haaften’s work, “Berenice Abbott: A Life in Photography.” Van Haaften is the founding curator of the New York Public Library’s photography collection. She also befriended Abbott, as the photographer approached 90, while curating a retrospective exhibition of her work in the late 1980s. (Abbott passed away in 1991 at the age of 93.)
With 6sqft, Van Haaften shares what it was like translating Abbott’s wide-ranging work and life into a biography, and the help she received from Abbott herself. From her favorite stories to her favorite photographs, Van Haaften shows why Abbott’s work has remained such a powerful lens capturing New York City to this day.