Interviews

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Art, Features, History, Interviews

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.

Meet Gwen

Featured Story

Celebrities, Features, Interviews, People

Genevieve Gorder on the set of “Best Room Wins” with Elle Decor Editor-in-Chief Whitney Robinson. Photo by Nicole Weingart/Bravo.

From getting her first design job at MTV during the station’s height in the ’90s to being selected as one of the original designers on TLC’s “Trading Spaces,” Genevieve Gorder says she feels eternally grateful for her timing. “I hit a lot of those key moments at the right time for when I was born, and I don’t know how I keep doing it, but I’m very grateful I do.” When Genevieve says she’s “grateful,” we know it’s authentic. This is why the interior designer has achieved the success she has, appearing in more than 20 TV shows over her 20-year career. She’s a person everyone feels comfortable around, whether it’s with a family who shares her Midwestern roots or a New York City neighbor.

Her latest endeavor, the design show “Best Room Wins,” aired last week, and once again, it’s Genevieve’s warmth, grace, and exceptional talent that are on full view. 6sqft recently caught up with Genevieve to learn more about her background and time on “Trading Spaces,” why she feels the new show is “smarter, sexier, and more real,” and what her favorite spots in the city are.

Read the interview

Featured Story

Features, Harlem, Interviews

Joe Cruz Jr. (right) at the Jalisco distillery

With Cinco de Mayo on Sunday, New Yorkers most certainly have margaritas on the brain. And while we may typically associate tequila with Mexico, a new label here in NYC is bridging the divide between our southern neighbor and local entrepreneurship. Joe Cruz Jr. grew up in Harlem, spending much of his younger years hanging out in the Bronx. After working in the beverage industry for many years, he decided to take a mere $25,000 and create his own “ultra-smooth” tequila right from Harlem. And so in late 2017, YaVe Tequila was born. Not only has the company garnered culinary headlines (it produces the first-ever mango-flavored tequila), but it’s caught the attention of local stakeholders thanks to Joe’s commitment to working with his neighborhood.

Read on for our interview with Joe

Featured Story

Bronx, Design, Features, Interiors, Interviews, Restaurants, Where I Work

Ice Scream, Asthetíque, Bronx Ice Cream

All photos courtesy of Costas Picadas

Last December, Ice Scream opened at the Mall at Bay Plaza, giving the Bronx its first liquid nitrogen ice cream parlor. In addition to serving up futuristic frozen treats, the shop provides a fun and relaxing rest stop in between shopping. Founded by New Yorker Julien Albertini and Alina Pimkina, from Moscow, interior design firm Asthetíque specializes in luxury hospitality and residential design. Although developing a brand for a family business tailored to children was a totally new concept for Julien and Alina, the duo took on the design for Ice Scream and came up with a concept that “benefits society and makes peoples’ lives and businesses more beautiful and functional,” according to the designers.

Inspired by the 1980s Memphis design movement, Asthetíque has created a space for guests to have “plenty of Instagrammable moments.” From the ceiling’s coordinated light show to the fun mantras written in neon script throughout the 24-seat store (ie: “Ice Scream is better than therapy” and “Count your sprinkles, not your problems”), Ice Scream’s design not only provides a spot for families to make memories, but as a declaration that the “Bronx can contribute to the world of design.” For its innovative and playful ice cream parlor design, Asthetíque was a winner in the 46th annual IIDA Interior Design Competition this year. Ahead, see inside the eye-catching ice cream parlor and hear from Julien and Alina on the brand development process.

Get the scoop on Ice Scream

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City Living, Features, Interviews

Jake Dobkin was born in Park Slope 42 years ago, and over those years he’s never left New York City for longer than 10 weeks. In 2003, he co-founded the website Gothamist with Jen Chung, which emerged as a popular culture and entertainment blog about all things New York. In the summer of 2013, Dobkin decided to channel his native knowledge and newsroom snark with the column Ask a Native New Yorker. The first installment addressed a question to make any New Yorker shudder, “Is It Normal For Roaches To Crawl Through My Hair At Night?” Since then, he’s tackled everything from amusing annoyances of city life to more serious issues like homelessness, gentrification, and who deserves a seat on the subway.

Dobkin ultimately adapted “Ask A Native New Yorker” into a book, which was just released a few weeks ago. Titled Ask A Native New Yorker: Hard-Earned Advice on Surviving and Thriving in the Big City, it contains answers to 48 new questions on New Yorker’s minds including if public transit will be messed up forever and why we complain so much. 6sqft spoke with Dobkin on why he started writing the column, how it’s changed over the years, and what’s ahead with a new book and Gothamist under the new ownership of WNYC. He also shares the best place to find a peaceful spot in the middle of the city.

Read more

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Architecture, Features, Interviews

nancy ruddy of cetra ruddy

Photo courtesy of CetraRuddy

When Nancy Ruddy and her husband John Cetra formed architecture firm CetraRuddy in 1987, they wanted to “create inspirational spaces and buildings based upon the ideas of craft and the human touch.” Thirty-one years later, and the 100-person firm has achieved this goal and then some, marking the skyline with their soaring One Madison tower, transforming Tribeca’s 443 Greenwich Street into the hottest celebrity residence, and adapting historic buildings by prolific architects such as Ralph Walker and Rosario Candela. They’ve also distinguished themselves by combing architecture and design practices, which was most recently showcased at their designs for the new Time Warner Center restaurant Bluebird London.

Ahead, 6sqft talks with Nancy Ruddy about how all of these successes came to be, where she sees the architectural landscape of NYC heading, and what it was like creating a destination dining space overlooking Central Park.

Hear from Nancy

Featured Story

apartment living 101, Features, Interviews

Closet photo via Flickr cc; Photo of Karin and Marie courtesy of Karin Socci

Between her best-selling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” and new Netflix show, “Tidying Up,” over the past five years, Marie Kondo—a diminutive Japanese organizing guru—has changed how people around the world think about decluttering their homes. But Kondo isn’t just another interior designer offering tips on storage. She believes that one’s home has a direct impact on their lives and even their personal relationships. This is why she approaches tidying from the heart and not simply the mind. As she says on her website, “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.”

With so many of us living in homes that are almost as tiny as those in Tokyo where Kondo is based and developed her method, it’s no surprise that New Yorkers have been eagerly embracing Kondo’s advice. It is also likely no coincidence that one of the only certified Master KonMari consultants in North America, Karin Socci, happens to serve the New York City area. 6sqft recently reached out to Socci, founder of The Serene Home, to learn more about the KonMari method and how she helps New Yorkers put it into practice.

Hear from Karin here

Featured Story

Features, Interviews, People, real estate trends

“Integrity, vigorous work ethic, and a strategic business approach,” form the platform that Candice Milano and Malessa Rambarran bring as brokers to the NYC real estate world. But there’s no “broker babble” here. The duo–who recently joined Halstead as the Milano-Rambarran Team–consider themselves the “next generation of real estate,” forming important relationships with their new development clients and growing their luxury resale business. But what sets them apart the most is their mission to bring this knowledge of how to use real estate as a wealth building tool to the public, specifically women. They’ve even created their own platform, Women in Residential Real Estate (WIRRE) to foster this community and connect people through their series of curated events. Ahead, 6sqft chats with Candice and Malessa about how their approach, how they got into real estate, and why it’s so important to support fellow females.

Read the interview

Featured Story

Features, Interviews, Museums, Transportation

Concetta Bencivenga, new york transit museum

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.

Meet Concetta

Archtober, Interviews, Where I Work

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

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