Animal Haven Animal Shelter Celebrates 50 Years with Brand New Facility

Fifty years ago, a small group of women from Hollis, Queens, got together to rescue cats, and from that ambition Animal Haven was born. Later on the shelter moved to Flushing, and operated out of a small house for many years. Finally, the shelter arrived in Manhattan, where it was located at 251 Centre Street until the organization lost its lease in 2015.

Searching everywhere, Animal Haven got lucky and found a location only two blocks north, at 200 Centre Street. They hired architecture firm ARQ, the same group that designed New York’s ASPCA adoption center, as well as San Francisco’s SPCA and Chicago’s PAWS. ARQ created a beautiful, state-of-the-art adoption center, but it took a full year to build, and in the meantime Animal Haven was no longer able to stay at their old location.

Now the center for homeless animals was itself homeless, but they were able to rise to the occasion. The group put up 80 animals in foster care and rented office space right across the street. Then the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals pitched in, lending Animal Haven their adoption van. During the week, the shelter held adoption events right outside the new facility’s construction site.

Now the shelter is open and running, and business is booming. More workers were hired to handle the increased work load. Director Tiffany Lacey described the new space:

“It’s very light and bright with lots of windows” Lacey said, “and the public that walks by can see them, like window shopping, but for adoption.”

 

New York Restaurants Support “A Day Without Women”

Women’s March on Washington picture from Wikipedia.

On March 8, International Women’s Day, organizers of the Women’s March on Washington called for “A Day Without Women.” The march on Washington drew about 470,000 participants in DC and more than 4 million people globally. This month’s agenda calls for women to not work, either at home or at their paid jobs, to not shop, unless it is at stores owned by minorities or by women, or small shops, and to wear red. There was also a rally held at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.

The “Day Without Women” modeled itself after February’s “Day Without Immigrants,” in which immigrant workers tried to stay home from work and find other ways to demonstrate the importance of immigrants to the overall economy.

The following local eateries joined in the day of remembering the crucial role women play in our economy in particular and society in general.

  • The Wren: This restaurant located at 344 Bowery gave their women workers the day off to go to the rally in Washington Square Park. Male staff member wore red to show their support.
  • Casellula: located in Hell’s Kitchen at 401 West 52nd Street, this wine and cheese café brought in guest servers to fill in for the women taking the day off. The guest servers have promised to donate their tips to Shining Hope For Communities, an NGO that fights gender inequality and overwhelming poverty in Kenya by supporting free education for girls.
  • Annisa: Anita Lo’s Village eatery locate at 13 Barrow Street pledged to donate a percentage of the day’s earnings to “Off the Sidelines, and organization founded by Senator Kirsten Gillebrand to help get more women into public office.

Bowery Homeless Call Whole Foods Home

An external shot of the Whole Foods Market. Photo courtesy David Shankbone.

As the rain and cold bombard the Bowery along with the rest of New York, the city’s homeless population is forced indoors. Many of the record numbers of homeless have found shelter in Manhattan’s largest supermarket, The Bowery Whole Foods.

While shoppers are loading their carts with craft beers, artisanal breads and gourmet cheeses, the less fortunate among us are upstairs taking advantage of the dry, sunny café area to spend the day dry and warm. One observer visiting the café saw a man sleeping on the floor in the fetal position, another barely conscious in what appeared to be a drug-induced haze, and others who seemed drunk or mentally ill.

The vagrants found a haven in the Whole Foods Café where there is a microwave and Wi-Fi they can use for free, clean bathrooms available for the cost of a cup of coffee, and if not quite a welcoming, but at least a tolerant attitude towards their presence.

The giant, up-scale supermarket opened in 2007. At 71,000 square-feet Whole Foods is the largest market in Manhattan. It takes up an entire city block between Chrystie and Bowery, and has 600 employees on the payroll. Built to be an accompaniment to the neighborhood’s gentrification, the appearance of the modern-day “Bowery Bums” is perhaps challenging the ability to complete the transition from “home of the downtrodden” to “hipster village.”

“No one wants to have lunch next to a foul-smelling bum, or a drunk or a junkie nodding out next to you. It’s not very appetizing. At the same time, Whole Foods displaced these people. These were the original Bowery denizens,” said Sean Sweeney, head of the Soho Alliance. “Gentrification took place and displaced them. Where are they supposed to go? The de Blasio administration has not done enough to find shelter for these unfortunate people.”

The number of homeless seeking space in the city’s shelters hit an all-time high last year. Those that don’t bother with shelters find warmth in places like Penn Station, other transit hubs, and accommodating locations like Whole Foods.

One employee working upstairs at the barbecue stand said, “The homeless problem gets worse in the winter, but nothing can be done about it.”

Christmas Trees Losing Christmas Spirit?

Tree in Bethlehem. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

Tree in Bethlehem. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

As the true meaning of Christmas continues to be lost in the relentless onslaught of media messages to buy, buy, buy, another tradition has come up for re-evaluation: the Christmas tree.

In at least one place in Manhattan a tree can set an individual or family back about $1,000, including delivery. For the same $1,000 the same family or individual could feed at least 600 homeless people at the Bowery Mission.

Trees in Greenwich Village are commanding the steep price of $77 per foot if the buyer needs help getting it home and installing it. One seller explained the price breakdown: a 13-foot white fir is not a traditional tree, so its harder to get and therefore more expensive, at $750 for the tree; the stand costs $200; delivery and set up is $25; and the three or four men needed to do the legwork charge $20 each.

Not everyone has been sucked into the need to have the tallest, rarest or most “amazing” tree. Many Christmas tree buyers stuck with smaller trees saying things like, “A tree is a tree, and there is no difference.”

This man bought his 6-footer for a more reasonable, affordable, $80. Another couple could be seen dragging their 5-foot tree home themselves, which they acquired for $100, including the stand.

Another shopper noted that back where he is from in Connecticut a tree this size only costs $20.

Logan Hicks Completes “The Story of My Life” on a SoHo Wall

It has already been a few weeks since Logan Hicks’ mural was completed at Houston Street and the Bowery, but the crowd is still there.

Process shot from the mural Logan Hicks did in Hollywood Florida during Basel. Photo courtesy of Logan Hicks.

Process shot from the mural Logan Hicks did in Hollywood Florida during Basel. Photo courtesy of Logan Hicks.

That’s because the crowd is the mural. This must-see painting depicts a large, realistic looking crowd of people converging on nearby Spring and Greene Streets, all in a bluish hue. Hicks called the piece “Story of My Life,” and it is. The painting explores the “past, present and future here in New York City, telling the story of his life through the people who have touched him.” The artist photographed dozens of his friends and acquaintances on the SoHo corner, and then used those photographs to reconstruct the amazing city scene beautifully rendered on a wall on Houston Street.

Earlier this summer, at the end of July, the painting already suffered erasure after the artist spent three days putting the painting up on the wall. Due to the poor condition of the enclosure, combined with extreme heat and lots of rain, a layer of black paint ended up covering the painting.

The mural was created via the amazing technique of stenciling, which Hicks has mastered way beyond any ordinary ability.

Unfortunately, and despite the employ of a 24/7 security guard by building owner Goldman Properties, the mural has been “tagged,” or more accurately, defaced twice already, but quickly scrubbed clean.

We hope this masterpiece can remain intact and available for the enjoyment of New Yorkers.

ICP Moves to New Downtown Quarters

International Center for Photogrpahy

International Center for Photography

New York’s esteemed International Center of Photography is partnering with downtown’s New Museum as it evacuates it former home in midtown.

Not only is the museum in new digs, but its entire image has been transformed. Not only is it just a few steps from the New Museum, it is in the midst of some of the photography world’s best galleries; over 125 of them on the Lower East Side alone.

“There’s a much more creative community that’s walking around that lends to the energy,” said ICP’s executive director Mark Lubell.

The ICP was founded in 1974 by Cornell Capa. Since that time there has been a game-changing shift in photography, which is a feature of the museum’s first exhibit: “Public, Private, Secret.” The show explores the issues of privacy, surveillance and the effect of an image on self-identity, going back to the time of Sojourner Truth and her intimate 19th century prints.

“We’re getting to now live our lives through image-making and perceiving images, with everything from politics to climate issues to our own self-identity,” Lubell explained.

VK Nagrani Coming to the Bowery with a Men’s Lodge, Boutique, and Bar

Men's Brown Lace-Up Shoes

Men’s Brown Lace-Up Shoes

Rent hikes were the most likely cause of the demise of two Bowery business back in January 2015. Bowery Coffee and antique shop B4 It Was Cool,Since closed because, as one employee said, “it was no longer economically feasible” to stay in business. Since then the spaces have been empty, but action has been noticed recently at 87 East Houston, the former home of Bowery Coffee.

VK Nagrani, a combination luxury men’s boutique and bar, known as a “lodge,” is taking up the challenge of the $18,000 per month rent. Contractors have been dragging in bar stools and vintage furniture to fill the two-story space and create just the right ‘lodginess’ for the brand.

The Wall Street Journal has described the VK Nagrani Lodge as a “speakeasy retail store where, before arriving, customers are asked what they like to drink and what they like to listen to.”

The brand used to operate out of a gallery on the Upper East Side, but shut down in anticipation of its opening in the Bowery, scheduled for June 1st.

Vivek Nagrani explained the store’s philosophy in an email:

We are creating an experiential men’s boutique featuring luxury men’s clothing, custom clothing, bespoke jeans, handmade shoes and organic men’s grooming products (hangover recovery kits, post flight rejuvenation kits). Everything is made by artisan workshops in Italy, Peru and here in New York. The space is more theatre than traditional retail. The focus is taking the gent through time to an era when luxury was reserved for those who took the effort to discover it.

Mayor de Blasio Co-Names 42 Places Throughout the City

It is a long tradition in New York to honor those beloved residents who are no longer with us. There is Joey Ramone Place, which is part of the Bowery; and there is Jerry Orbach Way on West 53rd Street at Eighth Avenue. Now there are 42 more such places.

"Evacuation day" and Washington's triumphal entry in New York City, Nov. 25th, 1783.

“Evacuation day” and Washington’s triumphal entry in New York City, Nov. 25th, 1783.

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law so that the present names of the existing streets and public places could share their names with an honorable co-name. When the mayor signed the bill he said that the action honors “individuals, cultural icons and entities that made lasting contributions to New York City.”

Manhattan will receive seven of the 42 new names. Here are just three:

  • 1783 Evacuation Day Plaza will be the new co-name of Bowling Green Plaza to honor the lowering of the British flag and raising of the US flag at the end of the American Revolution on November 25, 1783, known as Evacuation Day.
  • Normal Rockwell Place is the new co-name at the intersection of 103rd Street and Broadway.
  • Ms. Aida Perez-Loiza Aldea Lane is the new co-name of the southeast corner of East 105th Street and Lexington Avenue. A native of Puerto Rico, Aida Perez-Loiza Aldea was an activist for Puerto Rican culture.

Fashion Week: Men’s Putting on a Show or Two

Backstage at the Richard Chai Fashion Show for Men's Fashion Week in New York. Photo by Aveda Corporation

Backstage at the Richard Chai Fashion Show for Men’s Fashion Week in New York. Photo by Aveda Corporation

February 1st marks the beginning of New York Fashion Week: Men, so expect to see some male models wondering around town to and from all the exciting events.

The men’s wear company Public School is hosting an event at the Whitney Museum on February 1st at 5pm. The first 50 people in attendance will be given a specialty wristband.

At a more downtown location the men’s fashion designer John Varvatos is asking the question “Rock is Dead?” above his storefront at the former location of CBGB, 315 Bowery. We were made to believe that the bran will be doing some kind of an “installation” of its most recent collection, however, the event is strictly by invitation only.

Iconic Bowery Storefront to Close

After fifty years of trading in some of the most avant-garde garb, Patricia Field is closing down. Throughout the years this store has served one of New York’s most outlandish, creative and iconic subcultures; it was a meeting place for all that is wacky and wonderful about New York.

Shoppers who were either designers or stylists could rely on Patricia Field for unusual furry sweaters and wild costume jewelry, not to mention wigs, Daniel Palillo and leopard print cover-ups with batwings.

Field was also among the first to hire drag queens and transsexuals, way before anyone else was willing to take that step. While clad in sequins the careers of many designers, musicians and artists got their wardrobe boost within these walls.

A few years ago field expanded the premises to two stories, giving her much more room to exhibit her wares. Now the shop is scheduled for closure this coming spring.

“I started my store when I was 24 years old and it has led me onto all the wonderful professional roads I have taken,” said Field.

“My purpose was to begin my own life/career and to answer to no one but myself to be independent. After 50 successful years of being able to do just that, I decided it was time to close this chapter and make more room for all the branches that have sprung directly from that tree; continuing my film and television work, styling, designing, and pursuing brand-new projects that have been offered to me that I have not had time before to develop.”