The International Center of Photography Coming to the Bowery

Moving Day Coming to the ICP

Moving Day Coming to the ICP

Last March artnet News reported that the lease on the space in which the International Center of Photography was expiring.  Ever since we have been waiting to hear to where the ICP would make their move.

We need wait no more. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the board of the ICP gave the go-ahead for the purchase of a building on the Bowery. The premises is close to the New Museum, and the announcement said that the new space will be up and running by mid-2015.

The old lease held by the ICP on a space in midtown, which is up in January 2015, has been in effect as a practically rent-free agreement since the 1980s. Mark Lubell, executive director of the ICP, did not say how much the new building will cost, or its exact location, due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing negotiations. Lubell did explain why he picked the Bowery over some other prime spots in New York for the ICP.

“There’s openness to experimentation and ideas in that part of town,” Lubell is quoted in the Times. “Chelsea is a wonderful place, but it’s already done and established. We’d be following, and I don’t want to follow.”

The ICP has a collection with more than 100,000 photographs. There are major holdings of such photographers as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Lisette Model, and Garry Winogrand, and others. The collection will be moving from the Midtown site into the Mana Contemporary, a storage and exhibition space for fine art collections in Jersey City. ICP will open a media lab there which will provide access to the photos.

Parking Signage of the People and for the People

Have you ever had trouble figuring out when you can park on certain streets? You are not alone. For the past two years the city has been slowly introducing new signage designed in such a way to help simplify the message and communicate the parking rules in a clearer manner.

The Lower East Side has been getting new signs over the past approximately six months, but some residents are not convinced that the message is any better presented than the old signs.

Nicole Sylianteng has been raising awareness on a grassroots level for the possibility of a brand new look for our parking signs. Since January she has been placing laminated, bar-graph representations of the parking rules, inviting comments from users. Under each sign is a place to comment about the clarity and usefulness of the sign, with a permanent marker hanging right there to make it easy for users to give their opinions.

Norfolk Street Sign Waiting for Your Response

Norfolk Street Sign Waiting for Your Response

“The feedback has been pretty great to say the least,” Sylianteng wrote in an email. “It seems to hit on something people feel very strongly about.”

Will the DOT take Sylianteng’s efforts seriously? We hope so.

The Bowery Begins Major Traffic Face Lift

Traffic on Bowery about to improve

Traffic on Bowery about to improve

The Department of Transportation is bearing down on the stubborn traffic problems faced by motorists trying to negotiate their way through the famed bottleneck at Spring Street and the Bowery. Monday began the upgrade with the tearing up of the median there. Unfortunately, to the worry of residents, a fire hydrant was collateral damage on Thursday, leaking water all over the place. Although the damage has not been remedied yet, at least the water is being held in check.

Traffic improvements to the intersection will be dealt with in the following phased plan:

  • The southbound on Bowery left turn lane will be moved over to make way for an additional through lane. Two dedicated receiving lanes will help reduce congestion.
  • A new “signal phase” will introduce a light system which will have a flashing yellow arrow signaling to drivers to yield to pedestrians. This system is now undergoing testing around town.
  • The island at Delancey will be reshaped for easier turning. The new median will include trees to help make the neighborhood lovelier.

Several other changes are in the plans, including giving northbound pedestrians an 11 second head start to cross Delancey. During those crucial 11 seconds cars turning left from Bowery will be halted, so pedestrians can cross without fear of being crushed by turning cars.

Enjoy Free Scoop Day in Moderation, Says NY Nutritionist Todd Meister

coneCertainly, almost everyone loves ice cream. And they love free ice cream even more. So, when April rolls around each year, it’s time to perk up and to pay attention the free cone days coming your way. However, as nutritionist Todd Meister will remind us New Yorkers, we should eat everything in moderation.

As Todd Meister explains, “There’s nothing wrong with getting a free scoop today on Free Cone Day, but why not get that scoop and take a walk through the Park? Or park your car far away and walk an extra mile while you eat your scoop. Everything in moderation is fine.

For those of you who want that free scoop, here are the details. On April 8, Ben & Jerry will have its 35th annual Free Cone Day around the world. They will also use this day to roll out some new and exciting flavors including Salted Caramel Blondie, ‘Hazed & Confused,’ made with hazelnut and chocolate ice creams and fudge chips, and Cotton Candy.

If that’s not enough, then from April 22 to 24th, Baskin-Robbins will have a Scoop Fest throughout the United States. They will sell every single scoop of ice cream for $1, a double scoop for $2 and a triple for $3.

New Bowery Wall Mural Ready for Viewing

Maya Hayuk Adds Color to the Bowery Wall

Maya Hayuk Adds Color to the Bowery Wall

Despite bad weather and freezing temperatures, Maya Hayuk preserved and finished her artistic contribution to the Bowery Wall, a brightly colored mural, which replaces Swoon’s work which depicted and remembered Hurricane Sandy.

Hayuk is a Brooklyn-based mural artist who is famous for her geometrical designs using fluorescent colors. Her creation for the Bowery Wall, located on Houston Street, is no exception. Hayuk is the third female artist whose work has been commissioned for the Bowery Wall after Swoon and Aiko Nakagawa in 2012.

Bearing a distinct resemblance to her other works of art, this mural uses shocking pink, bold blue, bright yellow and more to create an almost psychedelic, hypnotic, geometric effect which also blends in well with the down-home grittiness of the surrounding neighborhood.

Two Dangerous Intersections Slated for Rehab on Bowery

Intersections improvementsTwo especially dangerous intersections along The Bowery are on the Department of Transportation’s to-do list to improve safety, visibility and congestion. At Delancey Street a seemingly eternal line of cars push into the lanes which lead to the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges, but the few seconds needed to get to the other side of the intersection are often gobbled up when drivers refuse to yield, despite the law which says they must yield. Drivers turning right off of Delancey onto Bowery are also confronted with poor visibility.

At Spring Street pedestrians must curl in and out of cars which are illegally idling in the crosswalks.

In the five years from 2008 to 2012 27 people were hurt at the Spring Street intersection. The danger at Delancey is even worse, with 87 people injured; 14 pedestrians and 10 on bicycles. There was also one fatal accident at this intersection during that time period.

Delancey is well known as a thrilling street enjoyed only by those who partake in extreme sports and other risky behaviors. Since 2012, however, after the DOT made some improvements at some of the intersections along the street, the statistics have improved for pedestrians and drivers.

The plan the DOT proposes includes the installation of two full time receiving lanes and a bus/rush hour lane along the street. They also will be moving the turn lane at Bowery and Delancey.

Both intersections will get better islands for pedestrians, including some greenery. There will be an 11 second head start for crossers to get to the other side of Delancey and Bowery.  Visibility for drivers at these two intersections will also be improved for drivers turning right onto Bowery.

NYC Transit Considering Urine Detectors to Deter Public Urination

New York is not alone in the world when it comes to the use of public spaces such as subway elevators and stairways used as urinals, creating a stench made even worse in the hot summer months or in warmer southern climates. New Yorkers would like to see an end to this public nuisance, but stopping the crime before it’s committed, or discovering the culprit after the fact, has been a problem whose solution has historically eluded law enforcement- until now.

New York officials are considering a program which under consideration already Atlanta. MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority has developed a plan to end public peeing utilizing better lighting, cameras and sensors which detect the splash of urine and notify policy immediately. If the officer is fast enough the hope is he will be able to arrive at the scene of the crime in time to arrest the pisher.

Atlanta hopes to install this system in 111 subway elevators where the problem is especially acute, at a cost of approximately $1 million. Keith Parker, CEO of Marta explained to a group at a “State of MARTA” event held in December how a trial of the sensors in one elevator fared.

Public urination might become more difficult to get away with in the future

Public urination might become more difficult to get away with in the future

Parker said that in one successful instance of the use of the sensor apparatus the police were able to catch the culprit “quite literally, with his pants down.”

Unfortunately, however, that one arrest was sui generis during the month-long trial. Hopefully, on the other hand, there was only one arrest because the frequency of violations went way down due to all the warning signs which go hand in hand with the detectors.

New York Transit Authority officials will be watching the Atlanta experiment closely to see if such a program can help the City fight this small crime which has big consequences. Atlanta is hoping that if public urination was controlled more people would use public transit there.

Certainly in New York reducing that pungent odor found in public spaces will lift the experience of living in New York out of the subway tunnels and into the light.

Martha’s Vineyard Pop Up Shop Comes to the Bowery

fish and roseMost of us have heard of the pop up clothing shop – but a pop up restaurant is certainly in a class by itself. That’s what Chris Fischer and the Beach Plum restaurant crew have just taken on in New York City.  They arrived at their Kenmare Street location on December 9th in the morning and were tasked with having the place, Fish and Rose, ready for their first customer by evening. This site near the Bowery will only be there until December 30th, and will only be open for dinner.

The group only committed one month ahead of time to the project. Chris said that the biggest hurdle was that the NYC location is 300 miles from home and there were communications and transportation issues at times. Their location, on Martha’s Vineyard, means that they are going to be shipping food south for the duration of their stay in NY.

As Kathryn Arffa, who was in charge of logistics, said “We know that if we put our minds to something, we will get it done.”

Another hurdle is that the 10 Kenmare space doesn’t have gas, so there is no cooking range. Certainly, coming to the pop up restaurant will be quite an experience!




Gemma Restaurant Re-opens After Recovering from Small Fire

Gemma Restaurant Back Up and Running

Gemma Restaurant Back Up and Running

After forcing an evacuation of the restaurant last Tuesday due to a small kitchen fire the Gemma restaurant at the Bowery Hotel has reopened for business.

The fire broke out at about 11am on Tuesday in the restaurant’s kitchen, forcing patrons out of the restaurant. Luckily the fire was not out of control and the rest of the building did not need to be evacuated.

New York City FireDepartment Deputy Chief Jim Hodgens explained the situation:

“We evacuated some of the building. It was just contained to that duct work in the kitchen that extended up to the upper floors, but we didn’t evacuate the whole building.”

Thankfully no one was hurt in the fire.

Frank’s Bike Shop Gets Reprieve from Citi Bikes

Frank Arroyo of Frank's Bike Shop

Frank Arroyo of Frank’s Bike Shop

Soon after the New York Post ran its story on the danger Citi Banks poses to small business owner Frank Arroyo and his bike shop, the bike station was removed.

Arroyo has owned and operated Frank’s Bike Shop for over 37 years, on third of his income coming from bike rentals. The shop, located at 533 Grand Street on the Lower East Side, Citi Bikes suddenly installed a bike rental station a mere 150 feet from his store’s location. At $10 for a 24-hour pass with Citi Bikes, Arroyo believes he cannot compete successfully, charging $30 day for the rental of his bikes.

“My biggest question is how did they come about to choose the areas where they put these bikes. Did they study the areas? Did they look at the businesses around them?” asked a shocked Frank Arroyo.

Arroyo also fixes bikes and sells Schwinn-brand bikes, but he says one-third of his income comes from rental fees. He says that the city never asked him what he would think of having the Citi Bike station so close to his shop. Right before the bike kiosk was installed Arroyo was considering expanding his rental business.

“It has become more and more of a year-round business,” Arroyo said. “You got tourists that come, and Europeans especially are used to using bikes year-round. It’s a growing business.”

But now it is time to change gears.

“I’m going to have to concentrate on where I can make more income to make up for the potential loss,” he said.

One solution Arroyo sees is to join forces with Citi Bike rather than being in opposition.

“It would’ve been nice if [Citi Bike] would’ve had a program teaching young people how to fix bikes,” he added.

After the article in the Post was published on May 27 a petition drive was begun. Over 1,000 signatures were collected, all agreeing that the city should relocate the Citi Bike station. On the other hand, the were others who said that the location for the Citi Bike station was a good one, since there are no easily accessible bus or subway lines. Frank Arroyo himself said he is not so sure the bulk of his problem comes from the station at the intersection of Grand and Henry streets. He fears more the Citi Bike stations close to hotels, the source of most of his bike rental customers.

The Department of Transportation says that the Citi Bike station was removed to make way for some utility construction work, and not as a response to the petition. Eventually the station will be re-installed in the same location.