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.
See inside and meet Joseph
6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Aaron Bernstein shares his “Manhattan Meltdown” photo series of famous NYC foods, frozen. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Photographer Aaron Bernstein was overwhelmed when he first moved to New York City for his career in fashion. One way to adjust to his new home was through different food experiences. “Food was this daily thing that I could measure small successes with,” Aaron told us. “If I was able to cook for myself or buy myself a meal, I saw it as a tiny victory.” And now as an Adobe Creative Resident, Aaron is exploring the intersection of food and art through the “digital guise” of “Hungry Boy,” an online platform that shows off his colorful, food-centric photos.
Aaron recently shared with 6sqft his “Manhattan Meltdown” series, which features beloved food seen as synonymous with the city’s culture– from Anthora coffee cups to black and white cookies from William Greenberg Desserts, all encased in ice. While the photos are fun and playful, they also represent a bigger truth about the disappearance of beloved Manhattan mom-and-pop shops due to skyrocketing rents and the growing popularity of big businesses. Ahead, get a taste of Aaron’s work and hear what the photographer has planned next.
Meet Aaron and see his tasty work
Photo by Diana Davies, Gay Liberation Front marches on Times Square, New York, 1970. Courtesy of New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division
Beginning in the season so many associate with love, the New York Public Library is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots through a major exhibition, a series of programs, book recommendations, and more. “Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50” chronicles the emergence of LGBTQ activism with over 150 photographs and ephemera. An opening celebration will kick off both the exhibition and the Library After Hours series on Friday, February 15 from 7-10 P.M.
‘Tis the season
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!
See this year’s insane Christmas light extravaganza
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.”
See the spirited photos
Christmas shoppers on 6th Avenue (1910) via Library of Congress
Black Friday marks the start of frantic holiday shopping, the day when retailers offer their best deals of the season to lure in eager shoppers. While some gift-givers now choose to digitally add items to shopping carts from the comfort of bed instead, many still line up outside of stores at the crack of dawn in search of major discounts. This is not a modern phenomenon, as these photographs from the Library of Congress of 20th century New York City reveal. Like today, New Yorkers of the early 1900s were drawn to the magical window shops and displays. Ahead, explore vintage photos of shoppers browsing New York City stores looking for the perfect presents, postcards and more.
See the photos here
“Bird’s-eye View of the Southern End of New York and Brooklyn, Showing the Projected Suspension–bridge over the East River from the Western Terminus in Printing-House Square,” drawn by Theodore Russell Davis (1870)
If you want to go on a visual journey that begins with Manhattan’s first European settlement, way back in the seventeenth century, up through the skyscrapers and urban planning of the late twentieth century, look no further than New York Rising: An Illustrated History from the Durst Collection. The book, set to come out on November 13th, originates from the sprawling Durst Collection at Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. Incredible photography captures the most definitive parts of New York history, accompanied by the thoughts of ten scholars who were asked to reflect on the images. Their writing ranges from the emergence of public transit to the “race for height” to affordable housing.
6sqft spoke with Thomas Mellins, who edited the book with Kate Ascher, on their efforts delving into the Durst Collection — which has its own unique history — to come up with this comprehensive visual history. See a selection of photos from the book, along with thoughts from Mellins, after the jump.
All photos © Jeff Rothstein
6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Jeff Rothstein shares a collection of 1970s street photos. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Brooklyn native Jeff Rothstein bought his first 35 mm camera in 1969, hoping to get some good shots at the Yankees and Mets game he frequently attended. But what he found was a love for NYC that turned him into an avid street photographer for the rest of his life. Jeff recently compiled a selection of these black-and-white images in his book “Today’s Special: New York City Images 1969-2006,” and he shared a subset of 1970s photos with 6sqft. From John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Muhammad Ali to protests shows at the Filmore East, and candid shots of everyday New Yorkers, Jeff’s work captures a bygone NYC with a delicate intimacy.
Hear from Jeff and travel back to 1970s NYC with him
, Fri, September 14, 2018
© Brian Rose
6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Brian Rose shares his past and present Meatpacking streetscapes. 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 native of Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg, photographer Brian Rose moved to New York City in 1977 and captured some of the most fleeting, bankrupted moments of the Meatpacking District in one January of 1985. In 2013, he returned to the neighborhood – impossibly changed – and once again photographed it. He then presented both sets of photos in his 2014 book “Metamorphosis: Meatpacking District 1985 + 2013.” Read on for an interview with Rose on old-school NYC, 9/11, and the city’s unknowable future.
See the before-and-afters
© New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
Before iPads and air-conditioning, New Yorkers of all ages sought entertainment outside. And since backyards and open space in the city are practically non-existent, games took place outside of apartment buildings, spilling out onto the streets and sidewalks. Twentieth-century New Yorkers improvised games in streets and parks, including classics like kick the can, off the wall and stickball. Preserved and documented from an NYC Parks archivist, photos from this era will make you wistful for the simplicity of urban street games.