Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Late summer in NYC

A couple of people I know are both heading out to New York City this coming weekend. I was suggesting a few places for them to check out this week and I thought I'd post some of them here...

I would start off by visiting the New Museum, a contemporary art museum located on Bowery between Soho and the Lower East Side. Even if you don't go inside, the building itself is worth checking out. It was designed by Japanese architecture firm SANAA and basically looks like a lopsided pile of grey boxes. The picture I shot on the left only shows the bottom four (out of seven) floors. It also includes the "HELL YES!" piece by Ugo Rondinone they have mounted on the outside.

One of their current shows is a retrospective of work by Emory Douglas, who was the chief artist and graphic designer for the Black Panthers in the 1970's. The New Museum is free on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9pm.

One of my all-time favorite galleries in New York is Deitch Projects. Now consisting of three locations in Manhattan and Queens, their shows are guaranteed to impress. They've had numerous amazing shows by people like director Michel Gondry, TWIST/Barry McGee, ESPO/Stephen Powers, Clare Rojas, Margaret Kilgallen, Keith Haring, and more. They have two new shows opening up next week but in the meantime there's this awesome mural by the Brazilian artists Os Gemeos up on Houston St.

Presented by Deitch Projects, this huge wall showcases the amount of detail these two brothers put into their work.

A few places I like to check out in the Lower East Side for shoes, t-shirts, and zines include The Reed Space, the two Alife Rivington Club stores on Rivington, and S.S.U.R., which is nearby at 7 Spring St.

In Soho there's Pearl River, the biggest source for Chinese themed items I've ever seen. You can get everything from paper lantern sets and kid sized chopsticks to full sized Chinese lions for your very own Chinese New Year's celebration. I picked up this Monk mask there.

You can see how Prada transformed a vintage building into a slick showroom on Broadway that's really interesting to walk through. Plus it's fun to play, "Guess the price" when you pick up random shoes on the shelves downstairs. Soho is also home to an Apple store (for quick internet and bathroom breaks), Camper shoes, the flagship Kid Robot store (all three on Prince St), the A Bathing Ape store, and the Billionaire Boys Club shop (it smells like ice cream cones!) on West Broadway.

Soho is also home to the aforementioned Deitch Projects as well as the Drawing Center up the street from them on Wooster.

Chinatown is just south of Soho beginning on Canal St. It's fun to walk amongst the huge crowds there during the day. It's also home to the 4-story Pearl Art Supply. I suggest taking the tiny elevator (hidden in the back) to the top floor and then working your way down.

Creative Time's massive collection of art installations is up on Governor's Island. Open weekends this summer through September 20th. You can take a free ferry boat ride to get there. More info here.

Going north from the Lower East Side, I like the bar Max Fish, there's Toy Tokyo for all your Godzilla and urban vinyl toy needs. In the East Village I like to check out Upper Playground, Giant Robot (which has great art shows as well as books and clothing), Autumn skate shop (across from Upper Playground & Giant Robot), and Turntable Lab. There's also an outpost of Two Boots Pizza, which are my favorite slices in New York.

Heading back west a little, there's the Strand Bookstore on 12th and Broadway, which has a massive selection of both used and remaindered (newish books that have been dropped in price) books, Washington Square Park (where you can relive your KIDS movie-related skateboard smackdown memories), and Other Music (which carries a great selection of cd's and vinyl). I also like the burgers and shakes at the Silver Spurs diner.

Going north there's Union Square, which is great for people watching, and the country's busiest Whole Foods (for snacking). Union Square is also where a whole bunch of train lines converge so it's a good meeting or transfer point.

Friday nights are free at the Museum of Modern Art as well as the American Folk Art Museum next door. The folk art museum has a great Henry Darger exhibit up for a couple more weeks. He's the Chicago outsider artist whose art wasn't discovered until after he died.

I'll post a few more places tomorrow...

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