Month: February, 2007

Floodwall

Friday, February 9th, 2007 | All Things, Arts

Floodwall, an exhibit by New Orleans artist and YA/YA (Young Aspirations/Young Artists), Inc. founder Jana Napoli was on display on the Liberty Street Bridge from January 4 through February 9, courtesy of the World Financial Center and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Floodwall

The installation consisted of just over half of the 610 drawers the artist salvaged from flooded streets in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Returning to New Orleans a month afterwards, Napoli searched for drawers that had been dumped on the curb, sometimes collecting as many as 50 a day after removing their sodden personal contents.  All that remained was the pastered-on detritus: a piece of an address book here, rubber bands and paperclips there.  The address where each of the drawers was collected was written on the back. Napoli set out alone in her van each morning for months, randomly traversing every neighborhood in the city to collect her pieces.

In this exhibit the drawers sat upright along a platform, spanning the length of the pedestrian bridge as the words of some of their former owners scroll in red across electronic screens.

Floodwall

Floodwall

The idea of bringing Floodwall to the trade center site came from David Lackey of Whirlwind Creative, a company that plans and designs museum exhibits. Before 9/11, the Liberty Street Bridge connected the World Trade Center to the World Financial Center. Today it offers a direct view over Ground Zero, and all the construction currently taking place. This afternoon, it offered an eerie juxtaposition of two studies in loss and absence.

Floodwall

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New Green Bo

Thursday, February 8th, 2007 | All Things, Eats

I miss the soup dumplings at the now-closed Joe’s Ginger on Mott (though the Pell Street branch remains.)

Soup dumplings, the Shanghainese onion-shaped pouches of crab, ground pork and broth, seemed to multiply across the city about ten years ago, with Joe’s Shanghai at the epicenter of the explosion. There were owner Joe Si’s sanctioned spinoffs and a huge resurgent interest in Shanghai cuisine overall, which benefited such restaurants as Goody’s (co-owned by Si’s sister, Susan Chan), Evergreen Shanghai Restaurant, and today’s lunchtime venue: New Green Bo on Bayard Street. Though the culinary fad may have cooled a bit since its turn-of-the-century heydey, the dumplings still inspire a diehard following, and debate continues to this day about the city’s best. (Tang Pavilion, really?)

Among their fans is Calvin Trillin, though perhaps for liability reasons, the scalding hot broth-filled dumplings are not a feature of Bud’s “Come Hungry” gastronomic walking tour of downtown, which for the past six years has been one of the most in-demand events of the annual New Yorker Festival.

The New York Times offers this bit of advice:

The safest way is to gently lift the dumpling with chopsticks, clasping it at the pleated area, the strongest part of the dough. Place it on a soupspoon, and carefully nibble a hole in the dumpling wrapper. The soup will flow out into the spoon. Then, use the chopsticks to pop the dumpling into your mouth, and drink the soup from the spoon.

New Green Bo’s dumplings were voted the food most “Worth the Risk of Injury” in the inaugural Independent Food Awards in 2005. And their much-heralded scallion pancakes aren’t bad either.

Scallion Pancake

Soup Dumplings

NGB’s workers, assembling stacked, cabbage-lined steamer trays of their authentically delicate-skinned dumplings for the dinner rush:

NGB Dumpling Makers

NGB Dumpling Makers

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Scenes from the City

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Books, Film, NYC History

Filmmaking in New York was the topic at this book talk, slide show and discussion at the Museum of the City of New York.

Scenes from the City

Commissioner Katherine Oliver of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting began the presentation, offering an overview of the 40-year history of the MOFTB. Last year, New York City hosted the highest number of film, television, commercial and music video shoots ever: 34,718 shooting days, up from 31,570 in 2005, and 23,321 shooting days in 2004. The city’s movie industry now employs 100,000 New Yorkers, and by the office’s calculations, brings in about $5 billion to the city’s economy every year.

Up next, a slide show presentation by James Sanders, architect and co-writer of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series New York: A Documentary Film (the DVD set of which I received for my birthday last year, compliments of J & J), its companion volume, New York: An Illustrated History, as well as Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies (another present, this one from DH. Do my friends and family know me, or what?) Sanders’s new book Scenes from the City: Filmmaking in New York traces the evolution of filming in the city over four decades, contrasting the pristine New York of the Hollywood studio (Rear Window) with the gritty (Mean Streets, Do the Right Thing) and glittering (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, When Harry Met Sally, and so many others) New York of location shooting.

Some fantastic photographs, taken from movie sets, behind the scenes, or on the streets during shooting. Like Celluloid Skyline, there were rare and unusual production stills, taken from studio archives and private collections around the country.

Afterwards, a talk with Rob Striem (on left, below), location manger on several recent “Made in NY” films, the MOFTB program which awards filmmakers a 15% tax break — 5% from the city and another 10% from the state — for projects where at least 75% of the overall production was made in New York City. Streim is currently co-location manager for Warner Brothers Pictures’s I Am Legend, a big budget, sci-fi thriller starring Will Smith, which famously took over the Brooklyn Bridge late last month.

Striem and Sanders

Upstairs, a glimpse of the MCNY galleries.

Black Style Now

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