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.
© Jim Bachor
Update 10:15am on 7/20/18: Jim Bachor tells us that the NYC Department of Transportation has already pulled up the cockroach, bouquet, Trump, and pigeon mosaics.
If you recently saw a construction worker filling potholes around Manhattan and Brooklyn with mosaics and thought it was a bit off, you were right. This was Chicago-based artist Jim Bachor in disguise for his latest public art piece, “Vermin of New York.” For the past five years, Jim has been filling potholes in Chicago with mosaics of everything from flowers to trash, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, he recently brought his work to NYC. The series includes a cockroach, a rat, a pigeon, and Donald Trump (yes, you can drive over his face). 6sqft was able to talk with Jim about how he got into such a unique form of “guerilla” art and what the meaning is behind his latest series.
Read on for more from Jim
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 oldest pharmacy in the United States, C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries in Greenwich Village, and talking with owner Ian Ginsberg. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!
C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries was established in 1838. It is the oldest apothecary in America. It was originally called the Village Apothecary Shop and was opened by the Vermont physician, Galen Hunter. It was renamed C.O. Bigelow Apothecary when it was purchased by an employee, Clarence Otis Bigelow in 1880. The apothecary is in fact so old that it once sold leeches and opium as remedies. According to legend, the chemists at Bigelow even created a salve for Thomas Edison to treat his burned fingers when he was first developing the light bulb.
In 1922, the apothecary was sold to the pharmacist, Mr. Bluestone, employed by Bigelow, thereby continuing the unique legacy of passing ownership from employer to employee. Bluestone sold the pharmacy to yet another pharmacist employee, William B. Ginsberg in 1939. And since 1939, three generations of Ginsberg’s have owned and operated the shop, passing down from father to son to most recently grandson, Ian Ginsberg, who 6sqft spoke with at this historic pharmacy in Greenwich Village at 414 Sixth Avenue.
6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Bill Hayes shares photos from his book “How New York Breaks Your Heart“. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
A writer, Guggenheim Fellow, photographer and, since 2009, a New Yorker, Bill Hayes is quite familiar with the beautiful and painful ways New York City can play with the human heart. He recently published a book of his many portraits of the city’s inhabitants, “How New York Breaks Your Heart,” showing in black and white and living color some of the city’s many faces, all very real and alive and core to this city’s aura. We spoke with Hayes, a West Village resident, about the book, the, ity and its people.
Meet Bill and see his photos
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.
Restuarant photo credit: Nicole Franzen; Portrait credit: Kathryn Sheldon
Earlier this month, Nolita restaurant De Maria won the coveted James Beard Award for best restaurant design or renovation in North America. The designers at The MP Shift replicated an artist’s studio, with Soho in the ‘70s and the Bauhaus movement in mind. But it’s not just the space that’s beautiful; Venezuelan-born chef Adriana Urbina‘s dishes, composed heavily of veggies and seafood, look like they were made for Instagram.
Outside of the visuals, however, what sets De Maria apart is Urbina’s socially conscious approach. Not only does she mix her South American heritage with her fine dining background (she started her career as an apprentice at Michelin 3-star restaurant in Spain, Martín Berasategui and was a 2017 winner of Food Network’s “Chopped”), but she’s committed to empowering female chefs and business owners, as well as using food as a way to connect people and raise awareness about what’s going on in the world. 6sqft recently enjoyed an insanely delicious meal at De Maria and chatted with Adriana about her journey, the restaurant scene in NYC, and why this Nolita restaurant is the perfect place to see out her dreams.
Meet Adriana and get hungry!
6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Hannah La Follette Ryan shares photos from her “Subway Hands” Instagram account. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
While many street photographers have been inspired by straphangers over the years, Massachusetts- born Hannah La Follette Ryan has taken a very different approach to subway photography: focusing on riders’ hands. Her viral Instagram account, “Subway Hands,” is closing in on 20,000 followers and features nearly 1,000 photos, all shot on her iPhone, of the impossibly varied things people do with their hands on the NYC subway.
Do you spot your hands in any of the photos?
An 1870 newspaper illustration of Elizabeth Blackwell giving an anatomy lecture alongside a corpse at the Woman’s Medical College of New York Infirmary. Courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress.
One of the most radical and influential women of the 19th century changed the course of public health history while living and working in Greenwich Village and the East Village. Elizabeth Blackwell, America’s first female doctor, established cutting-edge care facilities and practices throughout these neighborhoods, the imprint of which can still be felt to this day in surviving institutions and buildings. In fact, one recently received a historic plaque to mark this ground-breaking but often overlooked piece of our history.
Take a tour of Elizabeth Blackwell’s NYC
Jay Maisel is best known for the incredibly expressive stories he tells through his beautiful photography. But in recent years, he’s become perhaps just as well known for his New York City real estate story where he made the deal of the century when he sold his home, the Germania Bank Building at 190 Bowery. What he’s not at all known for, though, are the stories he tells through the hundreds of thousands of memories that fill his home and studio.
Maisel, who may appear gruff on the exterior (at 87 years-old, he still likes to shock), is actually incredibly kind and sentimental. He misses his home and all his toys that once filled the 35,000-square-foot building. Although he was initially intimidated by the size and upkeep costs of 190 Bowery, Maisel grew to love the home and raise his family there for 50 years. In 2015, he sold the building for $55 million and purchased a stately townhouse on Pacific Street in Cobble Hill for $15.5 million. (At the time, it was the most expensive townhouse sale in Brooklyn.) 6sqft sat down with Maisel and discussed his real estate coup, his move to Brooklyn (which is not “the city” in his view) and his most recent New York City photography series, entitled “Jaywalking.”
Hear from Jay and get an inside look at his life and work
6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Dutch-Argentinean photographer Richard Koek gave up his profession as a tax lawyer to pursue his passion for photography in New York City. He now splits his time between NYC and Amsterdam, and Lannoo Publishers just released a beautiful photographic tour of the city in his book, “New York New York: A Visual Hymn.”
Koek loves to walk and believes it is the only way to truly get to know a city. And flipping through the pages of his book truly feels like you’re walking alongside Koek (so much so that your feet may get sore by the end!). As photographer Alice Rose George says in the preface, “New York can be frightening just by its size and number of people, or it can be exhilarating for the same reasons… You can see bits and pieces from inside a taxi or the swollen streets as you enter a theater or restaurant, everything at a distance. Or you can dive into its complexity.” 6sqft got Koek to sit down and stop walking for a brief moment to talk about this complexity, his process, and his inspirations for the book.
Hear from Koek and see a selection of his beautiful photos