The urban lens

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Features, holidays, Murray Hill, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, award-winning photographers James and Karla Murray return with a look inside Rolf’s German Restaurant, known for its over-the-top Christmas decorations. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Beginning the last week of September, a six-man team starts the process of adorning Rolf’s German Restaurant with 15,000 Christmas ornaments, 10,000 lights, and thousands of icicles. By the first of November, the process of turning this historic Murray Hill restaurant into a holiday wonderland is complete, attracting both locals and tourists who are eager to see the one-of-a-kind display of Victorian-style decorations.

We recently paid a visit to Rolf’s, capturing everything from dolls found in New England antique shops to 19th century German ball ornaments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. And we’ve shared an interview with owner Bob Maisano where he talks about the building’s past life as a speakeasy during Prohibition, German history in NYC, and what makes Rolf’s a unique holiday destination.

All the photos and the interview with Bob

Featured Story

Bushwick, Features, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Meryl Meisler captures the artists and performers of Bushwick’s bar and event space Bizarre. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

When he moved to NYC, French filmmaker Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire squatted in a boarded up Bushwick building until he eventually owned it. Along with friend Gregory Baubeau, he decided to turn the building into a bar, performance space, and gallery inspired by the wild stories of Greenwich Village’s underground, avant-garde Café Bizarre. Their own BIZARRE opened in 2013, and shortly thereafter they exhibited photographer Meryl Meisler’s iconic shots of the neighborhood in the glam/gritty ’70s and ’80s.

Now, Meisler has come together with Sauvaire and Baubeau for a new exhibition that showcases the “assorted madness and the unexpected” of present day BIZARRE. They’ve shared their energetic photos with 6sqft, capturing all those who make the venue special–the acrobats, artists, burlesque, circus, drag kings and queens, fire spinners, magicians, musicians, poets, patrons and more–and Meisler has given us the inside scoop on this unique scene.

See the collection here

Featured Story

Chinatown, Features, photography, The urban lens

Chinatown photography, Chaz Langley

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Chaz Langley explores the people and establishments breathe life into Chinatown. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Nashville native Chaz Langley moved to New York to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter/actor/model, but along the way began snapping iPhone photos of his adopted city as another creative outlet, finding the process therapeutic. Through his Instagram account, he tells the stories of the people, places, and things that inspire him, using his other skill set of graphic design as a way to curate his collections. In “A Stroll in Chinatown” he captures the unique cultural establishments of Chinatown and the everyday comings and goings of the neighborhood’s residents.

See all the photos here

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East Village, Features, History, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Ira Fox takes us back in time to the East Village of the ’90s. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Ira Fox is best known for his use of black-and-white photography and cinematic approach, credited to his background in theater. He focuses on urban New York scenes and portraits, one example of which is his series “Wigstock at the Palladium.” Wigstock was the annual Labor Day drag music festival in the East Village that was co-founded by Lady Bunny and hosted the likes of Crystal Waters, RuPaul, and Leigh Bowery in the ’80s and ’90s. In his shots, which were taken outside the famed Palladium nightclub, Ira captures the diverse characters who partook in the jubilant event during the ’90s.

See all the photos here and find out about a special promotional offer for 6sqft readers

Featured Story

Features, Greenwich Village, holidays, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, award-winning photographers James and Karla Murray return with a series of snapshots from last year’s debaucherous Village Halloween Parade. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Started by Greenwich Village mask maker and puppeteer Ralph Lee in 1973, the Village Halloween Parade began as a “wandering neighborhood puppet show.” The event was a walk from house to house in Lee’s neighborhood, created for his children and their friends to enjoy. In the three years that followed, the parade took on new shapes and sizes, propelled first by George Bartenieff and Crystal Field of the Theater for the New City, who staged the production in its second year as part of their City in the Streets program; and then two years later when the parade became a non-profit with its own resources to put on a major show. By 1985, the parade morphed into an extravaganza that marched down Sixth Avenue, attracting 250,000 participants and onlookers. Today, the Village Halloween Parade is the largest celebration of its kind, considered by Festivals International to be “The Best Event in the World” for October 31st.

see more here

Featured Story

Architecture, Features, photography, The urban lens, Urban Design

trel brock, Sixth Avenue near 50th Street

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Trel Brock redefines the city through double exposures in medium format. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Trel Brock moved to New York City nearly four decades ago and he’s been photographing every angle of it since. While much of Trel’s work today centers on high-end interiors (he’s currently working on his third book with Rizzoli), in the past he spent his days assisting photography’s upper echelon—including Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber and Eric Boman, to name a few—shooting world-famous rockstars and supermodels. But beyond the borders of high-fashion and high-society, Trel also dabbles in fine art photography. In the series he’s curated for 6sqft ahead, he uses the city’s landscape as a vehicle for an abstract visual exercise akin to Rorschach’s famous inkblots.

more photos here

Featured Story

Bushwick, Features, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment photographer Meryl Meisler documents the current artists and creatives of Bushwick. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Earlier this year, TIME included Meryl Meisler on their list of “the greatest unsung female photographers of the past century,” not surprising considering the great success she’s had with her first monograph, “Disco Era Bushwick: A Tale of Two Cities,” which documents the glam/gritty 1970s and ‘80s (more on that here). Now, after more than 40 years, she realized that Bushwick won’t always be the artistic hub she’s come to know and love, and therefore needed documentation. In her new exhibition “Bushwick Chronicle” (on view at Stout Projects until October 30th) she returns to her analog roots of printing in the dark room to display photos of “the artists, gallerists, journalists, and organizers of Bushwick.” These images are paired with her illustrative painted photographs of Bushwick from the 1980s, as well as writer and art critic James Panero‘s musings on the area.

Get an inside look at Bushwick Chronicle

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City Living, Features, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment Brooklyn resident Attis Clopton offers us a look at his stunning portraits. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

If you ask Attis Clopton what his day job is, he’d quickly respond “musician.” However, the drummer, who’s travelled the world recording and performing, would be remiss not to mention his impressive photography skills. Though not formally trained, Attis has developed an eye and the ability to capture subjects in a way that many professional photographers struggle with throughout their career. But what may set Attis apart from his contemporaries is his openness, his curiosity and his unpretentious disposition, all of which help him lock into the moment and keep his photos from looking overthought or overdone. Ahead he shares some of his recent favorites with 6sqft.

more this way

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Features, Lower East Side, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, photographer Bob Estremera documents the historic buildings and businesses of the Lower East Side. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

When Bob lived briefly on the Lower East Side in 2011, he loved “walking its crumbling sidewalks and admiring it’s equally crumbling architecture.” But the neighborhood’s gentrification was already underway: “Tucked away among the little stores, restaurants, apartments and barber shops, upscale boutique restaurants were making themselves felt with prices and menus that could only be supported from clientele outside the neighborhood,” he describes. So he decided to return to the LES and capture what he feels is the area’s essence. In this resulting black-and-white series, he turns our attention to vestiges of the early days, “the decayed store fronts and once proud architecture and businesses that have vanished and others still clinging barely to life.”

Hear more from Bob and see all the photos

Featured Story

City Living, Events, Features, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, award-winning authors and photographers James and Karla Murray introduce us to the faces and food vendors that make up the 2016 Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

2016 marks the 90th anniversary of the Feast of San Gennaro, which is held in the “Little Italy” neighborhood of lower Manhattan from Thursday, September 15 through Sunday, September 25th. The Feast is an 11-day salute to the Patron Saint of Naples, Saint Januaries, and it is the longest and most popular street fair in New York City (anticipated to bring in one million tourists and New Yorkers this year).

Little Italy was once known for its large population of Italian immigrants and is now centered on Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal Streets. Italians first began to settle in the area during the 1850s, but by the 1960s, wealthy Italians began to move out and Chinese merchants for the first time began to move north of Canal Street—the traditional boundary between Chinatown and Little Italy. Observing the changes in the neighborhood, Italian merchants and restaurateurs formed an association dedicated to maintaining Mulberry Street north of Canal as an all-Italian enclave, which it still largely remains.

Ahead we document some of the longtime New Yorkers, tourists, and decades-old Italian vendors who’ve added their own flavor to this year’s festivities.

our account and more photos here

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