__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

ALICIA CHURILLA

THE LIVING CITY

THE LIVING CITY NEW YORK CITY

ALICIA CHURILLA ALICIA CHURILLA

THE LIVING CITY BERLIN


book chapter goes here

ECLECTIC · CRIME · CREATIVE

SPONTANEOUS · HUSTLE

ECLECTIC · CRIME · CREATIVE

EVOLVING · INCLUSIVE

DIRTY · COSMOPOLITAN

EVOLVING · INCLUSIVE

SPONTANEOUS · HUSTLE

NEW YORK CITY

SPONTANEOUS · HUSTLE

DIRTY · COSMOPOLITAN

ECLECTIC · CRIME · CREATIVE

EVOLVING · INCLUSIVE

SPONTANEOUS · HUSTLE

DIRTY · COSMOPOLITAN

ECLECTIC · CRIME · CREATIVE

EVOLVING · INCLUSIVE

DIRTY · COSMOPOLITAN 1


1

CREDITS

Behind the noise, color, flash and bustle, how is this area of Manhattan important beyond the stereotypes?

Midtown 26

Contradicted by the very different and changing identities of each neighborhood, how does upper Manhattan contribute to the modern cultrue of the city?

Uptown 03

TABLE OF CONTENTS


1

CREDITS

Why does lower Manhattan remain so popular, and how are these neighborhoods evolving?

Downtown 75

What happens outside the centre of New York City and how do said neighborhoods influence the overall cultural ethos?

Outer Boroughs 67

What is the draw of this gentrified borough of New York City, and why is everyone moving there?

Brooklyn 41


THE

LIVING

CITY

A Comparative Analysis of Identity and Dress in the Modern Metropolis

How does the identity of a post-modern city affect the manner its inhabitants (or society) self identify through dress? Through a comparative analysis between Berlin and New York City, this book looks at the relationship between the ethos of a city, and how it’s inhabitants self-identify through dress within that city. The idea to study the relationship between a specific geographic area and dress came from my personal experiences living abroad and being immersed in multiple, but very different, cultural societies. Through my own observations living and traveling in Europe specifically, I recognized the differences between cities: the energy, the procedures, the people. I also noticed specifically how different people dressed, despite the fact that European cities and cultures are incredibly interconnected. Upon return, I even observed my own life in Ontario, Canada; I now could see there were differences between other cities within driving distance [to me]. These cultural observations pushed me to explore the concept of the ethos of a city, known as the characteristic spirit, identity, energy‌ that indescribable quality experienced in a change of atmosphere. How does the ethos of a city effect the people who live in it? How do the people in a city build the ethos? How does the ethos of a city effect one’s dress? Through the format of a comparative analysis, this book features interviews of 22 individuals, photography editorials, illustrations, and more. This double sided coffee table book explains exactly what that relationship is between dress and geography, fashion and ethos, city and identity specific to New York City and Berlin.

01


Introduction

NEW YORK CITY

N

ew York is the most ethnically diverse, religiously varied, commercially driven, famously congested, and, in the eyes of many, the most attractive urban centre in the country. No other city has contributed more images to the collective consciousness of Americans: Wall Street means finance, Broadway is synonymous with theatre, Fifth Avenue is automatically paired with shopping, Madison Avenue means the advertising industry, Greenwich Village connotes bohemian lifestyles, Seventh Avenue signifies fashion, Tammany Hall defines machine politics, and Harlem evokes images of the Jazz Age, African American aspirations, and slums. The word tenement brings to mind both the miseries of urban life and the upward mobility of striving immigrant masses. New York has more Jews than Tel Aviv, more Irish than Dublin, more Italians than Naples, and more Puerto Ricans than San Juan. Its symbol is the Statue of Liberty, but the metropolis is itself an icon, the arena in which Emma Lazarus’s “tempest—tost” people of every nation are transformed into Americans—and if they remain in the city, they become New Yorkers. For the past two centuries, New York has been the largest and wealthiest American city. More than half the people and goods that ever entered the United States came through its port, and that stream of commerce has made change a constant presence in city life. New York always meant possibility, for it was an urban centre on its way to something better, a metropolis too busy to be solicitous of those who stood in the way of progress. New York—while the most American of all the country’s cities—thus also achieved a reputation as both foreign and fearsome, a place where turmoil, arrogance, incivility, and cruelty tested the stamina of everyone who entered it. The city was inhabited by strangers, but they were, as James Fenimore Cooper explained, “essentially national in interest, position, pursuits. No one thinks of the place as belonging to a particular state but to the United States.” Once the capital of both its state and the country, New York surpassed such status to become a world city in both commerce and outlook, with the most famous skyline on earth. It also became a target for international terrorism—most notably the destruction in 2001 of the World Trade Center, which for three decades had been the most prominent symbol of the city’s global prowess. However, New York remains for its residents a conglomeration of local neighbourhoods that provide them with familiar cuisines, languages, and experiences. A city of stark contrasts and deep contradictions, New York is perhaps the most fitting representative of a diverse and powerful nation.

02


A Day at the MET


MODEL: BIBI BREDY

Uptown

Known as the largest museum within the United States, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is the 5th most visited museum in the world. While museums are a cultural entity in themselves, there is a culture that surrounds the practice of attending and observing museums... Especially in New York City. The exhibits shown in a city often reflect the cultural values and aspirations of the ethos. While there are classic and well—known museums such as the MET that have come to define New York City on the global scale, there are many exhibits devoted to niche interests particular to the culture of the city. The evolving roster of unique cultural experience is part of the international draw, allowing New York City to evolve with the global culture.

04


GUTTER CREDITS

The Living City

1


The Upper East Side is sleek, chic, and classic NYC. Door attendants receive your visitors and marble foyers open into grand ballrooms in this sophisticated neighbourhood. As the height of luxurious living, the Upper East Side’s immaculate brownstones are located around the corner from some of the city’s finest designer boutiques. Paces away from Central Park and easily accessed by three subway lines, the Upper East Side’s convenient location only adds to its upper-crust reputation.


The Living City

Age: 20 Class: middle class Identifying Gender: male Neighborhood in NYC: Upper-West Side Ethnicity/Background: latino/african Sexuality: gay Educational Background: BFA/MIT Occupation: student Political views/spectrum: democratic, no violence, equality for all Religion: Christian Relational Roles: son Abilities: able-bodied Hobbies: photography, jewelry making, music Originating City/Nationality: NYC (Bronx) Ultimate Dream/Ambition: To create a movement through art that talks about social issues and is a discussion piece not just something to bandwagon

07

Michael

Challenging Society Through Self-Expression


Where do you live? I live the Upper West Side, because you don’t get a lot of elitist attitudes. You have a lot of people talking about the West and East Side. East Side is the rich folk of New York; the West side is more chilled people. I just find the West Side much better. I have all my friends on the West Side—in the Harlem or in the Lower West Side [in the Village]. It’s really nice to be in an environment of creatives. Why have you stayed here in New York City? I actually went to college in Baltimore for a year and I came back. So I’m on a leave from school right now trying to figure out what I want to major in. I went in thinking I was a sculptor, came out doing photography. But New York is an art hub. Everyone here is just so creative and you find a bunch of different personalities, which I love because no one is really the same. Whereas, in a lot of other places, I find people are just very unmotivated. People here just want to do something; they have all these resources and they have the city. This is New York. It’s hard to motivate yourself but it’s so amazing to be here. It’s so fun to just have a bunch of creative people around you. How would you say that living in New York has changed you? I think the different people I’ve grown up with, who have come in and out of my life have really shaped who I am. I’m much different than when I was in high school, which was only two years ago, but it’s such a [big] change. I was a very closeted kid in high school, and I didn’t really speak to anyone. Being a person of colour, and being a gay person of colour in the city, you don’t really have a lot of people to talk to… or I didn’t going to a private school. [Attending] a whitewashed private school, it was hard to speak your mind—the school didn’t allow it. I think getting out of that [environment] and having my first year at college, it was like I closed a book and opened a different one. I was tired of not living as my authentic self and I’ve just accepted myself as who I am. I have been receiving nothing but love by people [in my life]. I think it’s mainly the people [in my life] though. The city has definitely affected me—I’m definitely a New York kid, but I always can adapt. I think that’s one cool thing about New York kids… that they can adapt easily as long as they have a core group of friends. It’s really about the people you meet. Friends are equally as important as my family… they are my family. What was it like leaving New York for a year? Was it a culture shock? What was the dif-ference of living in these two different cities? I left New York to go to Baltimore, Maryland. I moved there six years after the uprising of the whole Baltimore movement… Black Lives Matter started there. I really went into an area of just wanting to learn more. And leaving the city, I left a very fast—paced, industrial city to go to a more suburban yet still city—esque area. I was really immersed into black culture more than anything here. Black culture in the city is what runs Baltimore; it’s really sad to see all the stuff that’s still going on, because walking five minutes in any direction from my university there and it’s just blocks of rundown houses bordered up (because of a lack of funding). I think it was just a really big shock when I was leaving the city (New York City), having all things accessible, having public transportation at your will and leaving the sense of safety. [In New York] I always knew that there was something bad happening, like right in the train at 3:00 AM it was bad but walking around at night at 3:00 AM in Baltimore something completely different. It’s still a big city, so it has an essence of home, but it’s very different… and you adjust to it. How did moving away from the city affect the way that you saw New York when you came back? How did you feel about New York after leaving it and coming back? I kind of came back having more of an open mindset towards things. Coming from such an artistic school where everyone’s open to debate, you’re talking about things you never thought you’d talk about. Then you come back to the city and you have people who just don’t really understand what you’re talking about or what you’ve learnt. It’s kind of a change because I’m having to educate people more on what they don’t really know, and deal with them not really caring. I would say I was more “woke” to what was happening [in the world]. I decided it wasn’t that good to have an I don’t care attitude because you really should care what’s going on around you. I noticed that when I came back that there was such a divide in my friend group that I had heard through people who were openly gay and people who were openly racist/homophobic. Because they thought now was the time where it was okay for them to do that.

“The city is still changing… it’s always changing. But you still have those historical pieces of New York that will always bring people back time and time again.”

Uptown

08


The Living City

And the city allows that to happen. There are new people coming into my life always, new experiences. I just want to continue to do as much as I can and learn. Any type of class I can take, anything I can read, I want to do it all and find out more and more. Are there certain places that you’re always returning to in New York that just really appeal to you, that really inspire you? Washington Square Park actually. You just find a lot of characters down there and you never know who you’re going to see. Once it gets dark out and you go to Washington Square Park, it’s a circus. There are businessmen, college students, cyber Goth kids… and you have weird people singing about fruit. I find it to be the equivalent of a watering hole kind of because there’s a huge fountain in there with all these different people. Seeing all the people walk by, you realize New York really is a melting pot. How would you describe the attitudes of the people who live in New York? Me, I’ve seen mostly happy people… people really wanting to try and help. I’ve also seen the occasional asshole on the street who’s yelling at you, or the person on the subway who’s demanding a seat. But for the most part, I’ve mainly seen people coming together now more than ever. I don’t know if I’ve just been in the right place at the right time. Why do you think people are attracted to the city of New York? Because we’re fabulous [Laughter]. There’s just a lot the city has to offer. People always talk about New York; they want to come to New York. You have the arts, you have Broadway, you have all these monuments that have happened in the city. You have the Dakota where John Lennon was shot. Through the‘70s to the ‘90s, big news was coming through the city… everything that was big happened, leading to a booming, changing city. The city is still changing… it’s always changing. But you still have those historical pieces of New York that will always bring people back time and time again.

How would you describe New York or New York culture? Changing, always changing. Catholic, I would say. Not in the sense of religion, but it’s kind of worldwide. I think it’s universally known. I feel like New York is an epicenter for knowing things that are changing in the world. I also feel like there are a lot of trends that either start somewhere else but become really big in the city because of it’s brand. It is weird… but it’s a good weird. Do you think you’ll stay in New York? I don’t think I will. I want to get out of the country, actually. I’m really trying to go to Amsterdam. Just the art scene, and people, the cleanliness. Everything about it is just so inviting and I just want to go so bad. I went once and I was like, “I just want to stay.” So amazing. I think there I started falling in love with architecture moreover, it was just seeing the right museums and everything. And it was so beautiful. How does New York inspire you? I think in the sense that it’s always changing, I will never be fine staying stagnant. I just want to continue to keep moving, keep changing, doing whatever I want.

109

What would you say is your typical dress? Anything vintage or thrifted. And pants. I’m always in pants and I like to layer a lot. Fall is prime time for me because I can just layer and layer and it’s still nice out, whereas winter you have to close everything. I think it would be pants, a long—sleeve t—shirt under a short—sleeve and an oversized coat. I don’t really know how to classify my style. People have described it as, “Vintage street,” or, “Garbage sheet, grungy.” I’ll accept whatever [description] it is because I don’t really know what it is… I think it’s more of a grab—and—go style. But I do plan it out. I base everything off of one article of clothing and it’s usually the shirt or the jacket. What do you look for when you buy clothing? The price. As long as it is in my price range. I like patterns. I’m now very into colour. I used to dress very monochromatic, just grey and blacks. I don’t shop at any big stores anymore. I just really only shop at like Salvation Army, Goodwill, thrift stores because I can get a bunch of stuff for very cheap. I’m not sectioned to one side like men’s section; I’ll go to the women’s section too. I like materials as well, polyester stuff. And anything that looks like velvet, I’ll gravitate towards it. I rarely ever get pants in stores. I’ll just have pants for years on end because my weight fluctuates. I like to wear graphic vintage clothing. I like name brands when they’re out of style, like vintage clothing where it’s not so flashy nowadays. I like things that you can just kind of build upon solid colours or stripes that have multiple colours.

GUTTER CREDITS

New York City is moving constantly. Baltimore was moving in a way that was teaching me so much more about the political climate, the social climate, and everything else that’s going on in the economy. I came back with an open mind and fresh view on what was happening in the city.


Uptown

“I have done so much throughout my life where I’ve just had to abide by certain rules; now I just don’t really care what’s going on. I’m going to do what I want to do for myself.” What do you wear to feel confident? I started wearing makeup. I mainly just do my eye makeup. It is such a step for you to decide, “I’m going to wear makeup. I’m a male and I’m going to wear makeup.” And it’s one thing for me to dress as I am; I already get enough stares for that. But then there is a pop of bright purple on your face and it’s like, “Wow.” I like surprising people but also having people think in their head, “What is going on with this kid?” To me it’s the ultimate boost of confidence. Are you talking about me? That’s what I wanted because this is me, and I’m out here. You can talk about me if you want. How do you use dress to send a message? I don’t know if a lot of people look up to me but I would say I just dress in a sense that is a really, “I don’t give a fuck,” kind of attitude. You want to love yourself as you are, and do whatever you want. I have done so much throughout my life where I’ve just had to abide by certain rules; now I just don’t really care what’s going on. I’m going to do what I want to do for myself. And if I want to show off my stretch marks then I’m going to do that. If I want my rolls to show, I’m going to do that. I think everyone should feel one with their body and at peace with themselves, not worrying about what other people think. Just think about when people are saying, “Yes, you look amazing.” Only take positivity from people. If it’s negative just walk the other way. Strut the other way. Do you dress differently around your family than you do your friends? I dress differently around my grandma because she’s very old—fashioned. I don’t wear any makeup. I also don’t wear my crazy outfits but that’s when dress shirts come into play. [I’ll wear] a dress shirt cardigan [ensemble] and then a jacket will be the flashy thing. But I take it off and then I talk to my grandma. My septum ring gets flipped up so she doesn’t see it, and tattoos are covered. So she’s an old English lady who does not really see the appeal of everything. My cousin had a beard and she said to him Christmas Eve, “Are you ever going to shave that thing?” She saw my beard and said, “You actually look fine with it. You can keep it.” “Thank you so much.” Do you have any specific friend groups that you dress differently for? I’d say my really, really close friends; I can wear whatever I want. I remember I wore a fishnet bodysuit one time with shorts and a crop top. And I knew if I wore that with anyone else around, they would ask, “What is going on? Are you okay? Do you need to be checked in somewhere?” Those few friends I have would just understand me no doubt. Whereas everyone else, I kind of just dress as my day-to-day. It’s only those few friends; if I’m going out somewhere I’ll really show out and want to do the most. Have you ever judged someone based on what they’re wearing? Yes. I have. But it’s mainly on TV. It’s usually Project Runway. And I feel like you have a green card to do that. It’s all right for you to do that because they’re judging it anyway. There are times on the train but it’s usually like 3:00 AM, and someone has cheetah print all over with purple, looking like a Barney—cheetah mix. But mainly I don’t really care what people wear. If I see something that’s really strange I’ll be like, “Okay, pull it off. Do what you want.” How do you think others perceive your style of dress? A lot of people have said I’m very stylish. I don’t really know if I am. They see that I don’t really care about what other people think, and that’s I think what they mainly get out of it. “Cool, Michael, you don’t really care what everyone thinks.” Usually people get at me for wearing so many layers, and I always complain about being hot and they say, “take it off.” “No, then it ruins the outfit.” How does other people’s dress inspire you? I’m always looking at other people’s style because anything they wear that’s cool, I want to incorporate it into my style. I just love seeing what everyone’s wearing different seasons. I’m not the person who seeks out fashion magazines but we have Instagram now and you see what everyone’s wearing, which I think is a really good thing to be influenced by. Just seeing everyone’s photos and seeing their fashion sense. So I’ve really built my style on that, seeing ‘90s,‘70s fashion trends, and ‘50s and ‘40s fashion trends. You’d be very surprised at the stuff people wear and they pull it off so well; you question whether or not you can do it [also]. You can rock it and then someone else might be inspired by it and they’ll want to do it. So I think it’s mainly what I get from it, is people are wearing this and I’m inspired to just wear more of it and try and make it my own. Not kind of copy them, just make it my own. Just have this inspire, power me, motivate me to seek out new clothing or new patterns and new colours. That’s really what’s really fun and what’s really exciting about seeing I guess fashion magazines. Also advertisements, people, and social media as well.

10


The Upper West Side is filled with beautifully maintained brownstones and portrait-above-the-mantle worthy families. Its impeccable appearance comes at a cost, and this neighborhood’s high price tags may dissuade some from taking a closer look. Suspend disbelief about the number of zeroes on your bill and you'll be glad you did—the Upper West Side's Central Park proximity and surprisingly relaxed brunch spots merit more than a second glance.


Uptown book chapter goes here From its inception, Harlem has kept a cadence like no other. Best known for its role in creating the 1920s cultural movement, the Harlem Renaissance, the neighbourhood still celebrates its African American roots and vibrant culture. From the galleries of its iconic theatres to the dusky insides of its monumental jazz clubs, Harlem’s influential rhythm permeates the perservering neighbourhood. Having reinvented itself many times over, its inimitable beat continues to attract attention.

12


Shirley/Phil Exploring Gender Through Drag and Performance 13

Age: 31 Class: middle class Identifying Gender: fluid Neighborhood in NYC: Harlem Ethnicity/Background: white Sexuality: gay/queer Educational Background: 4 year college Occupation: actor/entertainer Political Views/Spectrum: democrat Religion: agnostic Relational Social Roles: two brothers, widowed mother Abilities: able bodied, diagnosed ADD Hobbies: writing, drawing, music composition Originating City/Nationality: Ohio Ultimate Dream/Ambition: Broadway

PHOTOGRAPHER: MARC HARRIS MILLER

The Living City


Why did you move to New York? Let me see if I can back up, because this story kind of ties it all together. I originally got my degree in music education and my teacher’s certificate from The College of Wooster; I didn’t get into the grad schools that I wanted to at the time. So I started over in Washington DC and tried to make some teaching work. I found some work but I didn’t find much public school work; I wasn’t finding the jobs that I was built for. In order to fill my time, I did what I always do—which is performing. I have a strong performance background. I kept on moving houses and continued to perform more, and I finally said to myself, “Whoa. Why am I not doing this? Why am I still trying to make it work as a teacher? I’m having much more fun this way.” It made more sense to me to finally full-force pursue performing; I decided to make it a full leave and move to New York… which is some place that I had always dreamed about. I moved to New York to build a performance career, and I stumbled onto drag. I had done cabaret and done some very academic drag, and then little things here and there. Done a competition in dress or whatever. But it wasn’t until I moved to New York that I really took a profound interest in it and kind of found a vehicle for it. What is it about drag that interested you to begin with? I think it was the glamour. I did some back-up dancing for a drag queen in DC and I got to see a bunch of the girls back there. When I moved to New York and I started working in the bars, I started flipping through magazines and seen all these girls living these very fabulous lives, doing everything that I wanted to do. The beauty of drag is that it’s a synthesis of a lot of my skills. You have to be your own makeup artist, hair stylist, costume designer. You have to do it all. I think what was really alluring was the fact that the drag queens that I was watching, these beautiful, gorgeous women in gowns that no one had ever thought of making before, did it all themselves. How do you feel like New York provided a vehicle for you to pursue drag or take interest in [drag] to begin with? I think it’s the notion that in New York you are allowed to just go ahead and create. One of the reasons I moved from DC and one of the things that I saw as a profound difference in the two cities is that DC is business-first, art and pleasure later… whereas in New York, it’s the other way around. New York gives me a reason by existing to do everything I want to do. I felt like there was no reason for me not to give it a trial; [performance] was something that was so interesting to me. In New York you create. The best way you can go about something is to do it—I’ve always loved that mentality. I admire plenty of drag legends and other celebrities who save the world and made something of themselves; I didn’t know how to do it but I wanted to do it. Coming from DC and then joining this community in New York, how did you find your drag community here? I guess I would owe it to going to different bars and going to see some different shows. I remember the days when I first saw Tara Hyman; I saw her perform. I also shared a front-desk attendant job with Sutton Lee Seymour before she got big. Seeing her be herself was something that was very endearing to me. Mostly it was by traipsing through bars, meeting girls, and going to different competitions. I finally did do more competitions just a couple of months after I had started doing drag. I didn’t win my week but I met someone who was doing drag with one of the contestants that I was competing against. They said, “We love what you’re doing. Come do a show for us.” And I guess, it’s a roundabout way of saying I got to get in the community by just getting out there and meeting everybody. Going out to where it all happens. Going to see shows at bars and meeting people afterwards, and finding that they were drag queens that were doing what I was doing or wanted to do what I was doing in terms of very theatrical drag, and I found people to learn from. Is there a specific geographic area that’s deemed an area for the drag community in New York City? Nowadays you can find drag in just about every bar that’s open. It used to be West Village was the place for drag, but a lot of that has started to

“New York is about making it happen. New York culture is, Don’t dream it. Be it.”

Uptown

14


The Living City

spread outward. I mean, even Boots and Saddle used to be a leather bar back in the day. And as time went on they just morphed into a drag bar. I think that there are many pockets of places where you can find a couple drag shows or they’re very drag-centric or they have a heavy line-up. But they really are all over the place. There are some places that are starting to pop-up in Harlem here that hosts some drag. There are a lot of bars that popped up in the East Village in the last like 6 to 10 years. There are a lot of people that are starting to capitalize on drag, even hosting brunch gigs on 46th Street next to midtown … I never thought I would see that happen. How would you say that living in New York has changed you or influenced you? I think New York has influenced me to go for the biggest things that I want. There’s no way that you can live in New York and be static. I mean, it’s kind of an awful way to do things but we are always judged by our last project. So New York has taught me that if you want to be something you can’t sit around and talk about it. You have every resource available to you. I think New York really forced me to appreciate all the things that I am in the same regard. I spent time in DC puttering around not knowing where exactly I wanted to be or if I wanted to teach again. When I realized what I wanted to do, I went to the place where I knew that it would force me to make something… whatever that is. It’s about trying to put out everything in the universe that you talk about. How would you describe New York or New York culture in just a few words? Play first, think about the money later. New York is about making it happen. New York culture is, “Don’t dream it. Be it.” How does New York inspire you? New York is remarkably spontaneous and a never-ending surprise. I always say, “In New York a day can go by and you can either do absolutely nothing or you will do everything in the world before you go to bed.” And the fact that you can walk out your door and no two days are alike whatsoever I think is what inspires me most because I believe in that kind of philosophy. I had a voice teacher that once said, “The greatest thing about tomorrow is that it can be completely different from today.” It’s all about the choices and that’s how New York inspires me, is that it is itself different every single day. Are there certain places in New York that you find yourself returning to that just inspire you? Marie’s Crisis, The Honky Tonk Broadway bar. I think that place is always a place that inspires me that I keep returning to that shows me it’s all about the fun that we’re having. And I always return to Central Park because I can absolutely get myself lost anywhere in that park. Sit down by a tree and enjoy where I am. There are bars that feel like home and there are trees that feel like anything can happen. How would you describe the attitudes of the people who live in New York? I would say the attitudes are very focused. It’s funny because a lot of people I talked to are surprised that New Yorkers are so nice. We are focused people and I think that we wouldn’t be in this city if we weren’t focused on something. But you stop any New Yorker on the street and they will happily tell you which direction to go to, what building, anywhere. But we also believe in having our eyes on the prize.

15

Why do you think people are attracted to the city of New York? You know, I think this city really is magical. I think there really is something attractive in the fact that there’s a rhythm, there’s a calling, there’s an undercurrent – an energy in this city. And it is truly a place where anything is possible and anything can happen at any given moment. Some of the greatest stories, some of the greatest songs are written about New York, and I think it’s because there really is an undercurrent of magic that drives the city. What would you say is your typical dress? Well, in terms of my everyday wear, I’m very gender fluid. I tend to waffle between what is considered masculine and what is feminine. I like to dress up in some brighter colours and I might throw some eye shadow on sometimes or I might throw on a pair of heels. These days I’m leaning a lot into the androgyny—especially in my drag. When I started and still in some regards, I tend to be very ‘40s, ‘50s pin-up kind of girl with a little bit of a dirty twist or a rocker twist. But I’ve been leaning hard into the androgyny lately because I think there’s a lot to be had and just being fabulous regardless of what gender you are. I’ve been listening to some David Bowie and some eurhythmics… very gender—neutral rockers; they’ve really influencing what I’m doing. It seems very much the time for that. The fashions are challenging gender norms and skirts and pants, putting on different genders and putting them on in different iterations that challenge what we know about gender and society. In regards to your drag identity versus your everyday identity, how do you create those two identities? What is their relationship with each other? I think that my drag has over time influenced a lot of my everyday wear. It has helped inject some variations on a theme. What used to be more T-shirts and jeans and button-down shirts is turning into some tighter pants or a skirt, or might turn into something long, flowing and frilly or adds a different feminine touch. I think that my drag has spilled over a lot into my everyday wear, and I like that. A lot of who I am as Shirley really steeps in to whom I am when I’m not on the stage. Being able to walk down the street as Phil and realize that I am just as fabulous, and powerful, and talented as I am in a dress has helped influence that—has brought more overlap and has pushed both of those boundaries into each other to influence one another. What do you look for when buying clothes? Well, I’m looking for a couple of different things. First of all, I’m looking for something that hasn’t been in my closet before. There are plenty of things that I already have that serve different purposes already, and I always strive to have as varied of a closet as I possibly can in both regards. I’ve always felt that at least growing up, I was shown a world of men’s clothes that were far more boring than women’s clothes. I look for ways to break out of that, to not be everybody else. I look for something that’s offbeat and different, or something that’s a different colour than I’ve ever worn, or perhaps something asymmetrical… something to shake up my own world at least. It doesn’t necessarily have to shake up anybody else’s world. It has to shake up mine. And especially, when I’m in drag I look for— well,


Uptown

it’s kind of funny because in drag there’s almost a hint of it being the other way around. I want fabulous everything but knowing that there has to be some form of versatility to combine with a lot of other things in my closet. I try to be as thrifty as possible. So if I can find something that really does mix with a lot of other stuff but also allows me the freedom to be a little fashionable, be a little chic or challenge some fashion ideas. I think that’s a lot of what I look for, to try and enhance without having to overpower the rest of the closet.

What do you wear to feel confident? Well, that’s an interesting question. Because a lot of times when I feel most confident I’m really letting some of me shine through little bit. I consider myself a gender fluid person. And so the times when I feel most confident are when I’ll throw something glittery or shiny on, or I have some really awesome shoes that fit just perfectly, or when I get to let little bits of me extend into my wardrobe. I can never just put on pants and a t-shirt. There has to be something shiny or something that feels like me, whatever that is. How do you use dress to send a message? I definitely think that when you dress you do say something. Usually the message that I’m sending is that, “It doesn’t matter if I’m in a dress or not, I’m still amazing.” Or I can show off something wonderful that’s pretty and flashy and shiny even though I’m a guy. Have you ever judged someone based on what they’re wearing? Oh absolutely. I hate to admit it but I have. But I know that I shouldn’t. I’ve done more in the past couple of years to not do that. To judge less based on what someone is wearing, and to really appreciate [them] because at the same time no one gets to tell me what I’m wearing is wrong. So there’s no reason for me to judge somebody because I’m just at everyone’s mercy as well. Do you dress differently around your family than you do with your friends or in public? I would say I do—or at least I did. I’m trying not to dress differently. That’s another one that I’m trying not to dress differently anymore. My family accepts me very much for who I am, and I’ve been afraid for sometime to completely let all of that out and to show every facet of me. They know I do drag. They know I do all of that. But over time I’ve been trying to show them more sides of me. How do you think others perceive your style of dress? I’d say colourful. I try to use a lot more bright colours even in just everyday wear. I love bright blues, and pinks, and purples. I don’t like trying to— I don’t like wearing a lot of muted colours usually. I want to break out and show off so I think colourful is probably the best way to put it. How does other people’s dress inspire you? I think the innovative ways that people do different fashions or try different things. Like I said, I want to do things that are different and things that people have never seen. I don’t like being like everybody else; it’s a crime to be everybody else because everybody else is already taken. So watching people try different colour schemes or different shapes, different ways to wear something. Ways that make me raise my eyebrows and go, “Oh, I never thought of doing that before,” inspires me to think about my wardrobe differently and to make bold choices and big decisions to try and break out of my own shell. To continually be different and continually work to challenge what I’ve done before. Has New York City allowed your wardrobe to evolve? Or are there other driving forces? I think it’s probably my identity. Last year, the androgyny followed after a big break-up and so I was forced to take a big look at my life and really address some hurt emotions. It was the androgyny that kind of helped propel all of that—to make me look at some different things. Drag is everything of who I am, and when I change something it’s because I feel a different way. I never know how I feel from dayto-day but waking up that morning, looking in the closet and knowing how I feel makes me choose.

“Drag is everything of who I am.”

Do you kind of overlap garments from each wardrobe or are they two separate wardrobes completely? How does that clothing relationship work? They used to be very separate. When I started I made very specific spots for things that were boy clothes and things that were drag clothes. But just like the androgyny over time, I find myself grabbing a crop-top from my own closet and wearing it out in drag or taking some of my favourite heels off the shelf and throwing them on my jeans and T-shirt. There’s a lot that’s starting to spillover from one another, and I like that. I like that there’s some extra versatility because I think that drag really does challenge that notion... like when Madonna wore suits for Vogue. There’s a challenge that has to come with it.

16


Harlem Renaissance Man


MODEL: DANTAE_VILLAREAL

Uptown

The Harlem Renaissance was a time of cultural and intellectual revolution for African American’s in the early 20th century. Since then, the geographic area of Harlem has birthed cultural innovation supporting the black community and Pan-Africanism. Home to many significant innovators such as Maya Angelou, Louis Armstrong, Tupac Shakur, Dapper Dan, Harlem’s historical significance has made New York City the open space it is today. Currently, Harlem is going through a period of gentrification, with many cultural changes afoot, alike many large cities. None the less, the history of the changes created by this geographic space can never be diminished. Harlem still remains full of character and cultural significance to the modern New York City.

18


The Living City

Edmund A New York Native in the Theatre Industry

19

Age: 55 Class: lower-middle class Identifying Gender: male Neighborhood in NYC: Bronx Ethnicity/Background: white new yorker (of irish/german heritage) Sexuality: heterosexual Educational Background: Bronx H.S. of Science - BA & MA from ESC (Suny) Occupation: actor/teacher/writer (poet & world traveler) Political Views/Spectrum: left of center politics Religion: raised catholic (non-practicing), but spiritually open-minded Relational Roles: single (never married) with large extended family Abilities: able-bodied Hobbies: Reading, Writing, Travel, Arts Originating City/Nationality: NYC (for several generations) Ultimate Dream/Ambition: world peace, spiritual balance


How would you say that living in New York City has changed you or influenced you? Well, I grew up in a violent neighbourhood. It was like an Irish ghetto. And it certainly doesn’t get any easier downtown either. So it’s made me tough to a certain degree. And extraordinarily openminded because it’s so diverse. How does New York City inspire you? I could tell you the opposite, almost easier. It reminds me that it’s a very big world and it prohibits me from thinking in a narrow way. Are there any specific places in the city that you find yourself always returning to, because you really connect with them or they really inspire you as an artist? Well, Times Square. Theatre district. East Village. Lower East Side. And my favourite place in New York is where I just came from which is 10th Street Russian Baths. That’s been there since 1894 and it’s a bathhouse in a tenement. And you’re not wearing any clothes basically so everybody’s kind of equal. And you hear different languages. How would you describe the attitudes of the people who live in New York? Ruthless. I mean there are people like native New Yorkers and then there are people who moved here, and then in about five years or so they consider themselves New Yorkers. And then, there are people with wealth and people without wealth. So there are all different kinds of New Yorkers. Why do you think people are attracted to the city of New York? Well, different reasons. Capital finance in North America anyway. It’s an art capital. And at least in the United States anyway, people would say under—represented lifestyles or whatever. Someone would probably have a hard time being gay in Iowa and might have an easier time here. So people come [here] to be more themselves. What is it about the city that allows one’s freedom or ability to be themselves? It goes back to the word cosmopolitan or where people who have so much broader interests, they don’t have to worry about little things… like how you dress, or how you express yourself, who you sleep with, or anything like that. They’re thinking about bigger things and have less time to think about little things. Like there’s a saying that smallminded people talk about themselves, and then other people talk about other people, but the larger people talk about ideas.

CREDITS

How did you get into theatre and the creative industry? My family built a house down the Jersey shore when I was young. And at age 10 I started working in summer theatre down there. At age 11 I started working in the city or around the city here [in the theatre district of NYC]. I always kept going back to the summer stock. But I went on, and I became a child actor both in New York and in New Jersey. And then, I stopped when I was 16 because I was going to high school in the Bronx and it wasn’t cool anymore. And then I went back to it as an adult. Why did you put on that outfit today? Well, first of all it was cold and rainy. I have to wear shoes that are comfortable, that would be comfortable having a fight in. Where I come from, some people might not care but these are good fighting shoes. I would never come downtown wearing flip—flops… and even if I wear sneakers usually they would be [sturdy] fighting sneakers. I have a suit coat and Calvin Klein corduroys and they’re clean so I pass in this as an adult. Other parts of my attire can have more sense of humour or artistic flair. Leather hat. I have the bandanna on under the hat because I just came from the baths and I’m trying to keep my hair flat; I’m going to the theatre later.

“Small-minded people talk about themselves, and then other people talk about other people, but the larger people talk about ideas.”

Downtown Uptown

20


The Living City

What’s your typical dress? Well, half and half. Generally, if I don’t have to wear a suit to a special occasion, I wear something adult like a nice blazer and a nice shirt but then I’ll offset it with jeans… splitting the difference. Adult but not too adult. Does your wardrobe differ from each kind of pastime/job, day-today versus nighttime? Only maybe if I’m teaching, I probably won’t wear short pants or anything. It depends on whether I’m going to the theatre or something like that, because I still have a certain amount of respect for places of art. I don’t want to go there sloppy. Where do you typically buy your clothing? My favourite place to get clothing and maybe where a good portion of my clothing comes from, like consignment shops downtown where things were worn on the fashion runway once… like this Hugo Boss jacket, and it’s probably about 600 or 700 dollar jacket but I got it for $90. I’ve gotten a lot of my suits in the same place. The store I go to regularly is run by Japanese people... People that work in the fashion industry bring stuff that they’ve collected, or stolen and sell it to them at their store. What do you look for when you’re buying clothing? I don’t like all black because that seems like somebody who’s only lived in New York for a little while. There was a television show where the woman said, “New Yorkers, we’re wearing black until we discover something darker.” But that’s a cliché. It goes back to the being tough. They have all kinds of like sneakers these days and all kinds of different clothing like gym clothing that’s like neon colours, and that’s just not a New York thing to me, I certainly wouldn’t wear anything like that. I have nothing against having some flair but it has to be a colour that occurs in nature for me. And ladies have more [clothing options] but that’s another thing. Androgyny is just fine for younger people. Once you get to a certain age I think somebody ought to

make a decision, and so being male, straight white male, I won’t go along those lines. I have very few standards but certain things… like if you’re wearing dark shoes you can’t wear white socks. The only time I ever heard my father use a racial slur is I was wearing white socks and some dark shoes to my aunt’s funeral. And he goes, “Go in there and put on some dark socks, you look like a n*gger just come up from Georgia.” So he wanted me to be a little more sophisticated. And the other thing is, if a man has pants that has belt loops he has to have a belt in them. What do you wear to feel confident? Shoes that I can fight in. Men’s attire, like a blazer, I mean I don’t have to have a jacket and tie but at least some men’s accoutrements. How do you use dress to send a message? I don’t want to attract attention or particularly the attention of people who would prey on someone else. So the message I care to send is, “Don’t fuck with me,” basically. How would you say that your dress has evolved just as you lived life? Like I said, when you’re younger a little bit of androgyny doesn’t hurt. I used to have very long hair, yeah ponytail. Big hoop earrings, two of them before people wore two. But I don’t think that would fit me right now. How do you think others perceive your dress? None of my business.

“I don’t like all black because that seems like somebody who’s only lived in New York for a little while. There was a television show where the woman said, “New Yorkers, we’re wearing black until we discover something darker.” But that’s a cliché.” 21

How does other people’s dress inspire you? I love intelligence and beauty but probably as far as fashion is concerned the intelligence is this thing that strikes me. I saw a kid leaning against the wall on Lower East side one day and he had this great androgynous look. I don’t know if you’re familiar with a New York band from the early 1970’s called the New York Dolls. But take a look at them. They were straight New York guys but wore various amounts of women’s clothing in their act and everything. And it was real rock and roll and it had a sense of humour. So I saw a kid not too long ago that had a New York Dolls kind of look but he’d done it so well and it worked. I thought he was brilliant. So anything that’s clean, clever and represents them. I mean, I think if you want to seem intelligent fashion—wise you should wear what you can get away with or something that fits you. And this kid fit that androgynous look and he was 19 years old, so I thought it was great. But yes, [I don’t like] sloppy or lazy [dress]. If I see people that have slip-on shoes with elastic in them, I know that they’re too lazy to tie their shoes. And usually, if you look further up you can tell maybe the rest of their clothes are not welllaundered or anything like that.


Uptown

The message I care to send is, “Don’t fuck with me,”. New York City is represented in a specific way on the global spectrum/ media. From your experiences do you think it’s a correct representation? I’ve got no complaints. But I will say something—because I’ve been to a lot of different countries. I’ve travelled a lot of the world, and New Yorkers in general are smarter fashion-wise, more sophisticated than Europeans and then other countries are absolutely clueless. I mean, if you go to an Eastern European country like Romania, you’re going to see some shit like you haven’t seen since the 1970s in this country. It was a pretty unsophisticated time in our fashion history. There are very few people—European men insist on wearing tiny little bathing suits, and it’s very few people that it’s actually very flattering. I like clothes that separate the men from the boys and the boys from the women and stuff like that. Because it just shows people know themselves. And I think it’s too mixed-up in Europe. Do you ever still experiment with clothing? Not too much. I don’t think in the last 5 or 10 years I’ve worn anything that was struck out in a new direction. The only thing I change regularly is the hat. But I know with hats I can wear almost anything because I’m of age. There was a theory a similar black man that says, “You got to grow into the size of the brim,” like when you’re younger you should have a kind of a stingy brim as a head and you can’t be 19 year old wearing a big, pimped-out fedora. But I’ve grown into and because I’ve a rough face I can get away with wearing a leather hat. I can get away with wearing a gangster hat. And I’ve a couple of nice beaver Pork Pie hats, and fedoras, and stuff like that. So yeah, I think I’ve got a face that can fit them out. And I’m old enough to fit them out. Do you have any staple pieces in your wardrobe that you wear all the time? I can say blazers. I also wear vests or what they call waistcoat. Especially, when I’m teaching, I’m not going to wear a vest necessarily but I need something to put my glasses in sometimes, and blue and black jeans and some other kind of pants. In show business, do people dress similar to you? Do they experiment or is there still a standard of what you should wear? Clean and neat is the main thing because you have to be responsible. Nobody wants to hire you if you’re going to lose their money, because it’s all about money. Acting students, young people have some of the most chaotic and far-fetched fashion choices but that’s a time of life to do that kind of thing.

22


The Living City

How Hip-Hop Fashion Went From The Streets To High Fashion by Max Berlinger

F

or his fall 2017 women’s fashion show, designer Marc Jacobs sent models down a stripped—down runway at New York’s Park Avenue Armory last February, wearing tracksuits topped with thick gold chains, retro-style coats and eccentric headwear, a hat tip to hip-hop’s early days in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Jacobs’ collection was inspired, he said, by two things: the 2016 Netflix documentary “Hip-Hop Evolution,” which chronicles the music genre’s rise from the ’70s through the 1990s, as well as memories from his own New York childhood. “This collection is my representation of the well-studied dressing up of casual sportswear,” the designer explained in a statement at the time. “It is an acknowledgment and gesture of my respect for the polish and consideration applied to fashion from a generation that will forever be the foundation of youth culture street style.” That’s just one example of how hip-hop and high fashion have become deeply intertwined since the 1970s. In the 1980s and ’90s, hip-hop stars Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa and others put their personal style on display. And today, no one bats an eye at rap star Kanye West’s much-hyped Yeezy line of apocalypticthemed apparel and accessories for Adidas or clutches their pearls when rapper ASAP Rocky stars in advertisements for Dior Homme or Calvin Klein. While the hip-hop community has long been enamored with the fashion world, the appreciation has been reciprocated in recent years as luxury labels including Balmain and Saint Laurent embrace hip-hop artists and mimic some of their aesthetics. The same can be said for luxury Italian brand Gucci’s partnership with Dapper Dan, the underground Harlem designer who made flashy clothing featuring the recognizable logos of Gucci, Louis Vuitton and other labels cult hits despite (or perhaps, because of) his wares’ dubious origins as knockoffs. With Gucci’s support—and after the Italian label sent a jacket down the runway similar to one of Dapper Dan’s original creations and called it an homage—the so-called knockoff king late last year reopened his boutique, which had closed in 1992. Together, Gucci and Dapper Dan have plans to release a capsule collection this year. In recent seasons, an onslaught of hip-hop fashion styles—baggy pants and nostalgic ’90s athleticwear—have populated high-end European and American runways, another sign of how hip-hop and fashion influence each other. (For example, Jay-Z wrote the song “Tom Ford,” a nod to the fashion designer, for his 2013 “Magna Carta Holy Grail” album. Ford returned the shout-out by sitting Jay-Z and his wife, Beyoncé, front row at his fall 2015 runway show in Los Angeles.)

23


Uptown

“When you don’t have much ownership over where you can land in society, your financial situation... The one thing you can control is the way you look.” — Sacha Jenkins, “Fresh Dressed” film director

However, it wasn’t long ago that hip-hop was warily looked at as an insurgent movement tinged with danger, particularly with the rise of Compton’s N.W.A and the East Coast/West Coast rap rivalry, thus making the genre a hard sell for any overlap with luxury brands. During those early years, hip-hop artists weren’t necessarily seeking a place in the luxury fashion world. But image, how one displays himself or herself through style choices, has carried a certain level of social capital in the black community. “Fashion has always been an important part of the hip-hop identity because fashion has always been an important part of black identity in America,” says producer and filmmaker Sacha Jenkins, director of the 2015 hip-hop fashion documentary “Fresh Dressed.” “Because when you don’t have much ownership over where you can land in society, your financial situation, your educational situation, the one thing you can control is the way you look.” Plus, there’s a celebratory aspect to looking good, one that mirrors hip-hop’s ability to find a thread of joyful rebellion embedded in life in disenfranchisement. “Having great fashion was a way to express yourself and to show off,” says Elena Romero, an adjunct assistant professor at the City College of New York and the author of “Free Stylin’: How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry,” adding there was a deeper hidden message. “Fashion was a way to showcase your aspirations or your abilities to make it or make it out.” Stylist Matthew Henson agrees. “Our culture has aspects that are rooted in looking good despite having little to nothing to work with and making the best of it, and this comes from the church experience,” says Henson, who works with artists including A$AP Rocky. “You wear your best. That transcends to now—being proud of your appearance. Not only be good at what you do, but you have to look the part to be seen as an equal.” While the final sartorial result might appear spontaneous, looks were planned and executed with startling precision—a mirror to hip-hop’s prolix rhymes delivered with casual ease. Possessing good taste, in certain pockets of L.A. or New York, could be viewed as transformative to a community that was systemically overlooked. Innate style was something that money couldn’t necessarily dictate. Hip-hop’s initial outsider status allowed the genre a certain freedom and playfulness that has since gone from exception to

rule. Today, streetwear dominates; track pants and hoodies are the new suit and tie, and slim silhouettes have given way to a looser, slouchy one. Sneaker culture, often tied to hip-hop culture, has also exploded, with websites dedicated solely to chronicling the minutia of casual footwear. Hip-hop artists presented this relaxed fashion reflecting life on the streets to the masses, first through television (MTV videos and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” starring rapperturned-actor Will Smith, were touchstones) and, years later, through the internet and social media. Today, just look at brands such as Valentino with its spring 2018 ready-to-wear collection filled with louche tracksuits and Balenciaga’s sporty four-figure windbreakers as being examples of hiphip’s trickle-up effect. More important, all of this is the foundation for a new generation of fashion labels including Public School and Los Angeles-based John Elliott, led by fashion entrepreneurs who aren’t just adopting hip-hop postures as a trend but using them because they embody the milieu in which they grew up. Perhaps most crucially, it’s hip-hop’s use of reinvention that was most prescient of today’s style of dress. The idea of remix culture has been a core tenet of hip-hop music, taking existing musical motifs and mixing them together to forge a new sound. That ideology has extended to the genre’s visual presentation as well. In hip-hop, it’s common to wear high-end or preppy clothes mixed with oversized sportswear items. That ethos of anything goes—mixing high and low, ironic and serious— is now industry standard and, in many ways, it reflects a world defined by the cut-and-paste randomness of life in the internet age. “I think people of color, poor people in America are masters of the remix,” Jenkins says. “Like Dapper Dan who reimagined these luxury brands that weren’t necessarily tailored for us. He re-imagined them in a way that spoke to our identity and the way we wore clothes.”

241


The Age of Hip-Hop From the streets to cultural dominance The 2018 Grammy nominations are overdue acknowledgment that hip-hop has shaped music and culture worldwide for decades. In this ongoing series, we track its rise and future. While mass culture has leaned toward hip-hop culture, it didn’t start this way. “In so many ways, hip-hop is a reflection of society and environment, wherein folks who are denizens of the culture, do not see themselves, do not see themselves in mainstream culture,” Jenkins says. “So they say, ‘How can we see ourselves in our own terms while borrowing the things we appreciate—even if these brands don’t appreciate us?’” That defiant attitude and desire to reinterpret styles serves as a foundational principle of hip-hop fashion that has crossed into the mainstream. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons hip-hop has taught the fashion world has been every man is a brand. Hip-hop artists have learned quickly that making music is just one small part of their cultural imprint. Consider hip-hop’s early days when Adidas struck a $1 million deal with Run-DMC after the group performed the song “My Adidas”—it’s considered to be rap’s first endorsement deal—or Sean Combs’ savvy move from music to apparel with the 1998 launch of his label Sean John or Kendrick Lamar’s collaboration with Nike. Others including Karl Kani, Carl Jones of Cross Colours and the team behind FUBU (led by “Shark Tank” judge Daymond John) have made clothes expressly designed for hip-hop audiences. Viewed cynically, it’s an artist selling out, but in the hip-hop community, where “making it” has long been the goal for many artists, these hangups don’t exist. (As Jay-Z once rapped, “I’m not a businessman / I’m a business, man.”) Few would deny there’s almost nothing more American than financially capitalizing on a moment. As for the luxury industry, it would be remiss to not capitalize on hip-hop’s built-in cultural cachet, especially when brands such as Christian Louboutin and Givenchy are often name-dropped in songs. But it should take care, as Henson says, to not exploit it. “There is often outrage and disgust,” the stylist says when fashion refers to hip-hop in “a stereotypical way.” “When people are speaking out about cultural appropriation it is because fashion has a huge platform,” says Henson, “and it forces people to live through that interpretation which is to say the least, difficult and exhausting.” Henson adds that he recognizes the dual—sided nature of hip-hop’s commercial ascent, which brands are flocking toward. “Brands are changing their messaging. They are starting to include people of color, and more minorities because the minority dollar is strong,” the stylist says. “That has a good side and a bad side. It can be predatory, but there is a little bit of a leveling of the playing field and that has to do with hip-hop artists and their power and influence and what their voices can do.” To be involved with the hip-hop community is to participate in the defining mood of the zeitgeist. Luckily, fashion and hip-hop aren’t stagnant ideas. They’re constantly in flux, evolving in ways bold and barely perceptible—but always aiming to be in line with that ineffable quality of being cool. “You can’t really put your finger on it, but you know what hip-hop is when you hear it,” Romero says. “That’s a good way to describe hip-hop style. You can’t pigeonhole it anymore. It wasn’t meant to be that. What was once considered different is now everyday. And hopefully that is a reflection of society.”

25

“To be involved with the hip-hop community is to participate in the defining mood of the zeitgeist. Luckily, fashion and hip-hop aren’t stagnant ideas. They’re constantly in flux, evolving in ways bold and barely perceptible—but always aiming to be in line with that ineffable quality of being cool.”

The Living City


book chapter goes here Midtown’s one-of-a-kind sites make braving its crammed streets and dodging its honking taxis worth it. Home to the island’s central business district, Midtown boasts the majority of Manhattan’s skyscrapers, including the Empire State building and the Chrysler Building. This on-the-go neighbourhood is renowned for more than its famous architecture—it’s also home to an abundance of hotspots and niche destinations like Koreatown.

CREDITS

Bursting with energy and devilish charisma, Hell’s Kitchen continues to evolve as high-rises move in and crooked characters move out. This classic New York City neighbourhood is near it all—theaters on Broadway, green lawns in Central Park, and revered mom-and-pop culinary mainstays. As a storied NYC haunt, Hell’s Kitchen lives up to its unmistakable mystique.

1

1


book title goes here

Hiding in the Jane Hotel 27


MODEL: DEANNE STEWART

Midtown

Tourism is a large culture of New York City’s ethos, bringing travellers from all over the world and sharing it’s history. What makes NYC so special, drawing in these global citizens? The details in design, architecture, history... The details of life that exists within the skyscrapers. Many are drawn to New York because of it’s uniqueness. The Jane Hotel is just an example of how the hotels and tourism industry are meticulously designed and crafted to create an experience in every crevice. Here, in the rest room of all places, guests have a colourful experience cohesively designed - as the rest of the hotel and tourism experience is. Everyone in New York is competing for their guests, trying to one-up each other in hospitality and individuality.

28


GUTTER CREDITS

The Living City

1


book chapter goes here

GUTTER CREDITS

These neighborhoods exude a laid-back attitude in a fast-paced environment. Flatiron, named after its famously triangular Flatiron Building, is a veritable spectacle of big-city life. Suits and ties share the sidewalks with skateboarders, protesters, and peddlers, while droves of people-watchers take in the day in Madison Square Park. A fine example of New York City’s unmatched diversity, Union Square brings together poets, professionals, protesters, and everyone in between. Anchored by its central plaza, Union Square extends into surrounding streets filled with a mix of corporate giants and neighbourhood staples. Farmer’s markets and street performers add to Union Square’s cultural significance and popular appeal.

1


The Living City

Behind the Bushes: The Gay History of the High Line by Friends Of The High Line

I

n a lovely elegy for the “queer building” of 2 Columbus Circle, former New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp wrote about the role gay audiences play in historic preservation and reuse, and in the collective memory of a city: The gay audience, excluded by society, has an organic relationship to artifacts that have been rejected by society’s taste-makers. Pluck a discarded ornament out of the town dump, take it home, polish it up and put it on a pedestal: It’s a way of refusing to abide by rules designed to shut you out. Somebody once loved that old lamp, that old building, that old street, that old neighborhood, that city that progress left behind.

We love that quote—because it describes the High Line exactly. If the High Line is a landmark today, much of the credit goes to the LGBTQ+ community, who encountered the structure during the 70s, 80s, and 90s, when it was hidden in plain sight. In those decades of disuse, the High Line was often the backdrop (and sometimes the stage) for gay countercultural social life, and the birth of the LGBTQ+ activist movement, in New York City. That’s why Friends of the High Line wants to celebrate Pride Month with a look at “The Gay History of the High Line”—the history that helped save and shape the park.

The 70s and 80s To most New Yorkers, coming upon the High Line before it was transformed into a park was a surprise—but to many LGBTQ+ people, it was known for decades, says our Cofounder and Executive Director, Robert Hammond. That’s because it was next to clubs like the Tunnel, the Roxy, and Sound Factory, which were staples on the West Side of Manhattan. Hammond likes to joke about how many people say they discovered the High Line on their way to art galleries when they were really headed to gay clubs. Hammond tells the story of one supporter: “When I asked him when he realized the High Line was even there, he said, When I leaned on it to vomit, coming out of the Roxy.” From south to north, the High Line follows the path that the shifting hubs of gay social life in New York followed, starting in the West Village. In the 1970s, gay men priced out of that neighborhood started moving into Chelsea, where many opened shops along Eighth Avenue. Michael Shernoff, writing in LGNY, called these residents “pivotal in helping Chelsea become the vibrant and exciting neighborhood it is today.” Farther west, a different kind of neighborhood vibrancy and excitement quickly developed—a zone of gay sex clubs, offering sanctuary spaces and sexual freedom to gay men and transgender people. The High Line was a kind of informal gateway to this neighborhood, writes Friends of the High Line Cofounder Joshua David: “To cross beneath it was to cross a line from the genteel blocks of the Chelsea Historic District to the raunchy, rough, industrial blocks of the Spike, the Eagle, Zone DK, the Mineshaft, and the Anvil.” These shrouded establishments were notoriously illicit; the Mineshaft, for example, located at 835 Washington Street (near the current Friends of the High Line office), was one of the most extreme. New York magazine published an eye-opening oral history of the club, and longtime gay nightlife chronicler Michael Musto described the scene in Paper magazine: “The ‘private membership club’… encouraged all manner of nudity and wild sex acts. I went once and remember that as you walked, the carpet squished.” In this raunchy neighborhood, the High Line was itself a kind of secret club—an even more illicit and lawless space, where people often snuck up to have sex or do drugs.

31


Midtown

“In this raunchy neighborhood, the High Line was itself a kind of secret club—an even more illicit and lawless space, where people often snuck up to have sex or do drugs.”

Neighborhood Activists Despite these social and sexual sanctuaries, the neighborhood itself was not a safe space for gay men, transgender people, and others considered on the fringes of society, who were regularly targeted because of their orientation and attacked on their way to and from the clubs. As part of the burgeoning community organizing movement offering services, support, advocacy, and fellowship for LGBTQ+ people, a group of activists set out to protect people on their way to and from the Meatpacking District parties. These included SMASH, the Society to Make America Safe for Homosexuals, which according to Shernoff organized “homopatrols” and confronted gangs of teenagers that targeted gay men. These and other activists helped shape our city today. And our streets and landmarks carry some of their names (although not yet enough!)—like Sylvia Rivera Way, a street named for an often under-recognized leader of the gay rights movement. Rivera was part of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 and was an early and powerful activist for transgender people, especially homeless youth. Because so much of the neighborhood from those days is gone— the Christopher Street Piers long demolished, the Mineshaft and the Eagle replaced in a changed neighborhood (psst: you can still find the Eagle on West 28th)—the preservation of the memory is important. It’s even more vital because of the people we’ve lost: More than 100,000 New Yorkers have died of AIDS, a disproportionate amount from the LGBTQ+ community; the New York City AIDS Memorial, recently opened on 12th St. and Greenwich Ave., is a new pillar of memory for our collective loss. The memorial marks the old site of St. Vincent’s Hospital, deemed “ground zero” for the city’s AIDS crisis for its role in the early days of the epidemic. The memorial calls us to remember the far-reaching impacts of the disease, compounded by stigma and the lack of legal rights for gay couples, many of whom were denied survivor benefits by the government, as well as families of victims. The new memorial is an important reminder of everything our city has lost—artists, activists, and loved ones—so that we don’t forget how New York has changed, in ways we often take for granted.

Queer Life and Historic Preservation In the work of inscribing our history onto our city, LGBTQ+ people have long played a vital role—that work Muschamp described in the Times of plucking “a discarded ornament out of the town dump” and putting it on a pedestal. One of the early High Line supporters who most embodied this spirit was Florent Morellet. A pillar of the Meatpacking District, he ran his restaurant on Gansevoort St., Florent, for decades as a sanctuary for gay and transgender people. Opened in 1985, Florent was an exercise in preservation and love. Hammond described the restaurant: “You stepped through the meat scraps and fatty slime on the sidewalk to this 1940s diner that Florent had lovingly restored, with Formica tables, a red leather banquette that ran the length of the room, and framed maps of cities… It was democratic and welcoming—a great New York City scene.” Morellet was a key figure in the High Line’s preservation, introducing Hammond and David to fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and other early supporters of Friends of the High Line. Morellet also hosted fundraisers, including one where he dressed in a drag costume that was both Marie Antoinette—his long-running traditional anniversary outfit—and the High Line. Morellet was fully committed to preservation; he was also cofounder, with Jo Hamilton, of Save Gansevoort Market, which won a historic landmark designation in 2003. So many pillars of gay history in New York City helped shape the High Line. City Councilmember Christine Quinn represented our district and was an early champion; watching her become the city’s first openly gay Council Speaker was a joyful moment. “I was so proud of Christine and so proud to live in New York City,” David remembers. Our current council member, Corey Johnson, is equally supportive, along with the LGBTQ Caucus of the City Council, of which he’s a member. Other gay government leaders who have played or continue to play roles in helping the High Line include former New York State Senator Tom Duane and current New York State Senator Brad Hoylman. But Pride Month isn’t just about the luminaries of history—it’s about all of us who make and shape our city every day. Many of the most influential activists and representatives of the gay rights movement have worked behind the scenes, and we too rarely recognize the work of those who start from difficult places. As the High Line continues our work as not just a landmark but a living part of a changing city, we hope to serve as a safe, open, and welcoming public space where everyone can see themselves reflected. This Pride weekend, look for Friends of the High Line staff marching with Councilmember Corey Johnson and his team in the Heritage of Pride March in New York City. They’ll be wearing shirts featuring a rainbow-colored outline of the High Line and the phrase, “Not quite straight since 1934”—the year the High Line first opened to trains. And stop by the High Line any time this month to experience a welcoming park that has been both on the fringes and at the forefront of New York gay life for decades.

32


Up on the Highline

33

MODEL: ANDREA STINSON; MUA: JOSHUA BARRY; STYLIST: TRINA BROWN

The Living City


CREDITS

book chapter goes here

1


CREDITS

The Living City

1


Midtown

New York City is world renowned for its spectacular skyline. Over the years there have been both voluntary and involuntary changes to the view that it presents. Despite these changes, New York never falters in its ability to leave tourists from around the world in awe of its majesty. While it is made up of numerous skyscrapers and structures, there are some that, without a doubt, stand out as exceptional and apart from the rest. Many of these have become landmarks and are true testaments to the spirit and architectural ingenuity of the city. Here, on the Chelsea Highline, one can see and experience the towering bearings of NYC’s architecture.

36


CREDITS

book title goes here

1


Uptown affluence and downtown style come together in Chelsea. Cutting-edge art galleries and gay-friendly bars mingle with soughtafter high-rises and converted ware-houses in this ultra-fashionable, and ultra busy, neighbourhood. Chelsea’s world-class architecture, fine dining establishments, and hip nightlife scene contribute to its first-rate reputation. Cobblestone streets and converted brick buildings lend the Meatpacking District an otherworldly ambiance at night, when this neighbourhood really comes alive. Short skirts mingle with heavily cologned shirts behind bouncers and velvet ropes to dance and drink until sunrise. By day, Meatpacking District’s myriad boutiques, galleries, and cafes merit exploration. It’s up to you whether or not they merit their price tags!


The Living City

A Tour Of New York's Music Landmarks

N

by Dana deLaski

YC is full of monuments, landmarks, and museums for anything and everything. No matter what you’re interested in, it probably has history in New York, and music is no different. Nearly every famous musician has come through here, and it’s the city where many of them actually got their start. And while there’s plenty to learn about music in New York through museums or historical sites, one of the more unique things about NYC’s music history is that, if you know where to look, you can see it on the street. From cafes to building facades to perhaps your very hotel room, our guide will help you find some of NYC’s best music landmarks that you might have otherwise overlooked.

Strawberry Fields A memorial to John Lennon in Central Park, Strawberry Fields is a 2.5—acre space directly adjacent to the Dakota Apartments where John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, once lived. It was just outside his apartment that John Lennon was shot and killed in December of 1980, and in 1981 city council member Henry Stern designated this area of the park ‘Strawberry Fields’ after The Beatles’ song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. Central Park West Between 71st and 74h Streets, New York, NY, USA

Joe Strummer Memorial Born in 1952, Joe Strummer was the lead singer of iconic British punk band The Clash. The band was known for its rebellious attitude, politically charged lyrics, and fearlessness. The Clash influenced the alternative rock scene in countless ways, and in 2003 both The Clash and Joe Strummer were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Strummer died in 2002, and in 2003 a mural in his memory was painted in the East Village. Though it was temporarily defaced due to construction in 2013, it has since been fully restored. 132 E 7th Street New York, NY, USA

Cafe Wha? Though you’d never know it from the outside, Cafe Wha? was an essential venue in Greenwich Village during the 1960s’ days of art, music, and revolution. It helped launch the careers of Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan (to name only a few). Bob Dylan even played his very first NYC show here in 1961. Though it’s changed over the years, Cafe Wha? is still a great place to hear music, or simply to feel the energy of its musical history. 115 MacDougal Street, New York, NY, USA

39


Midtown

Physical Graffiti While NYC has been the backdrop for countless music videos and photoshoots, it’s also the backdrop for the cover of Led Zeppelin’s album Physical Graffiti. There isn’t much to do at this site other than recognize it, but if you’re a Led Zeppelin fan it’s pretty cool to see. The rumor is that Led Zeppelin and the album cover designer spent weeks wandering NYC in search of the perfect backdrop, and they settled on 96—98 St Marks Place. 96—98 St Marks Place, New York, NY, USA

Jones Street and West 4th Street Another iconic album cover is The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, released in 1963. It was his second album, and the romantic photograph of him and his girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, was taken at the corner of Jones Street and West 4th Street in Greenwich Village. The site is close to where the couple lived at the time, and the photograph is said to have influenced cover art to come with its casual and unposed look. Jones Street at West 4th Street, New York, NY, USA

Hotel Chelsea Also called the Chelsea Hotels or just ‘Chelsea’, Hotel Chelsea is famous for its past celebrity guests. Since the 1950s, writers, musicians, and other artists have stayed here, from Patti Smith to Jimi Hendrix and more. It’s been mentioned in many classic songs, such as Leonard Cohen’s ‘Chelsea Hotel’, Bob Dylan was known to have stayed up all night in room – number 211 – writing ‘Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’, and it’s even where Sid Vicious’s girlfriend was found murdered. 222 W 23rd St, New York, NY, USA

Memory Motel Out in Montauk on Long Island is the Memory Motel, a small, nondescript 13—room motel made famous by The Rolling Stones. The band members were regulars here and were known to hang out at the bar listening to the jukebox. The hotel still exists, and so does the jukebox, so if you happen to stop by the bar be sure to put on a Rolling Stones song. 692 Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY, USA

40


The Living City Brunch and bike away the day and lounge and drink away the night in this infinitely hip warehouseturned-loft Brooklyn neighbourhood. Williamsburg is a food, drink, and music lover’s paradise with alternative-looking street art and two-story murals.

GUTTER CREDITS

All kinds of creative types have been filing into Bushwick and a considerable amount of trendiness is trickling in from its ultra-hip neighbour to the west, Williamsburg. Bushwick is a hard-working, unfiltered neighbourhood that tells a story though rich immigrant history, art, and bodgeas.

1


book chapter goes here Bedford-Stuyvesant, popularly known as Bed-Stuy, is located in central Brooklyn. A historic neighbourhood that boasts both pristine brownstones and unkempt storefronts, generationsold Bed-Stuy residents share their streets with newcomers and hip kids. Although Bed-Stuy bears an unsavoury reputation, its tight-knit community's dedication to their neighbourhood continues to support improvements as renovating bars and cafes increasingly join its cadre of locally-owned businesses.

GUTTER CREDITS

One of Brooklyn’s unsung hot spots, Crown Heights offers easy access to some of the borough’s preeminent institutions. Known for its populations of Hasidic Jews and Caribbean immigrants, the neighborhood features a mix of cultures— and some very tasty restaurants.

1


The Living City

Abby A Fashion Student Exploring NYC

Why did you choose to move to NYC? If you want to study art this is the place to be. There is so much inspiration everywhere. Have you always wanted to live in New York? I don’t know. I grew up in DC and I’m really attached to the city. I also took a gap year in Shanghai. I was there for a year studying there and I absolutely loved it. I think it’s not New York City specifically but just a cosmopolitan city, in general. And New York was the best choice for what I want to do. How would you say that living in New York has changed you? I think Shanghai got me ready for this just because it’s such a creative city also. Just really being able to be influenced by the people around me—by the subcultures going on around me. Really wearing what I want to wear, because I went to this private school in DC, very stuck-up, everyone wore Uggs and leggings. Anytime I wore something that was considered different, people would react, “Oh my God, you’re such a hipster.” Not that it wasn’t accepting, but people definitely had all eyes on you. I love DC so much and it’s definitely getting more creative, but it’s still not at the point where New York and Shanghai are. You can definitely 100% express yourself, dressing as crazy as you want on the street, and no one’s going to be like, “Oh, what’s this person doing?” I think that since being in these two cities I definitely feel a lot freer to do that. How would you describe New York and New York culture? It’s pretty dirty, grimy [laughter]… the people, the streets, the subway. But that’s what gives it so much character. The fact that it’s as gross as it can be but everyone just loves it any ways. Despite the rats and all of that, it is just a very artistic place. Everywhere I go, whether it’s street art or just watching what people are wearing down the street, I’m always like, “Oh, I love this.” This is like a safe haven for so many people, especially artistically. Depends on where in New York but definitely in Brooklyn it feels very homey, just because some parts really remind me of where I’m from in DC. It just feels like a huge melting pot of culture, which I really appreciate. Earlier you mentioned subcultures. Would you say that New York has subcultures? What are they? I think that there are subcultures. Depends on what you’re into. People that I hang out with are very much sound-cloud rappers. And that’s a whole niche. I definitely want you to talk to some of these guys because black rap hip-hop culture has always been super huge in the fashion scene—especially in NYC. Where all the trends stem from. If you see ASAP Rocky, who’s from Harlem, influence all of these new sound-cloud rappers and they’re trying to create their own style now. And there are subgenres of that too: the Goth-girl movement happening underneath the rap subculture. And I definitely do think that there are more sub-cultures. That’s what I’m familiar with though.

Age: 20 Class: lower class Identifying Gender: female Neighborhood in NYC: Ethnicity/Background: black/Latina Sexuality: heterosexual Educational Background: Fashion Design at Pratt Occupation: student Abilities: able-bodied Hobbies: knitting, reading Originating City/Nationality: Washington DC Ultimate Dream/Ambition: leave this country

43

How does New York inspire you? Are there any specific places in New York that inspire you? My school is the number one. During orientation week when I first got there, I was so impressed. I was really intimidated coming into it because there were all of these amazing artists. I’m not good at drawing but I knew that I’d have to take drawing my first year… that was one of my biggest insecurities. I was worried, “All these people are going to be so cool. What if I’m too basic for them?” Everyone that I met during orientation week was so incredibly talented, and it was the first time that I was around so many creative people. So we have lots of galleries on campus and we have critiques during studio classes where everyone pins up their work. I 100% benefit from that, and being in this super creative environment where everyone is trying to get better and everyone’s learning from each other. I love that I just live in the middle of that, and that’s my life every single day. Walking on the main lawn, which has a sculpture garden, and having professors that are very successful in their fields. Because it’s difficult as an artist, everyone thinks that you’re


Brooklyn

going to be a starving artist for the rest of your life; I get that from family too so it’s pretty hard. But seeing how amazing my professors and how they’re low-key pretty famous. It’s definitely inspirational for me. How would you describe the attitudes of the people who live in New York? People are a little bit feistier. Like you said, everyone is busy. For me, there are two sides of New York. Manhattan—where most people come from other cities, and then Brooklyn (at least in around my neighborhood and apart from Pratt campus)—the actual people that are from New York… they’re a lot friendlier for sure. But everyone here is busy. No one has time for you. If you want to ask a few questions on the street, people will not even pay attention to you, that’s pretty scary. But at the same time, that’s something else that gives New York the character, that’s what New York is about … the fast-paced city. Why do you think people are attracted to New York? Definitely the way that it has been portrayed in pop culture. Tall buildings, all the lights, Times Square especially. I think that’s the number one thing I hear from other people, from my friends who don’t live here. When they’re asking me about New York, they ask, “Oh my God. Do you get to go on top of the Empire State building?” All of those touristy things. The flashiness, the high-life… I think is what people are so attracted to. For me, it was the city life but also being such a creative hub. Everyone can do what they want here. That’s what attracted me. New York is divided into so many sub-cities. Are there certain characteristics of geography or the people who live in each area? For sure. Harlem is so much fun to just walk around. It’s so separated: it’s in Manhattan, but it’s also separated from all of the touristy stuff. You’re walking downtown Harlem, especially in the summer, it’s all hair salons doing braiding and loud music playing, and the old men playing dominoes out in the front. It’s the same in Queens, to be honest… where the black and the Latino community really come out and live; it’s so much fun to experience that. The Bronx, Queens, Harlem, some parts of Brooklyn are all kind of the same in that manner. Definitely when you’re in Upper Manhattan, you feel very uppity. When you’re on that side of Central Park, it’s a very clear difference too. It does feel very Gossip Girl-esque. I’ve only been up there a few times for brunch. I definitely feel like I need to be all the way dressed up. Walking to brunch on a Sunday morning, all these ladies were wearing their huge, long fur coats, very expensive. Then Lower Manhattan, definitely the East Village, NYU area, and SOHO are all very youthful. Of course, NYU’s there and lots of Pratt kids stay over there also. Being very youthful, it’s a lot more go-with-the-flow.

Would you say that the stereotypes that you heard about certain areas ring true from your own experiences? Yeah. Parts of Brooklyn are super gentrified, and that’s something that you hear about a lot. And moving here I definitely have seen that. It’s very hipsteroriented; I don’t even know if hipsters really exist anymore. It’s just the more of the trendy side of Brooklyn that I’ve seen. Like when I was in the Bronx, all the stereotypes, and the Cardi B stuff, that’s all up there. Even parts of Brooklyn, when I’m walking through, I know I’m really in Brooklyn. Why did you put on that outfit today? My roommate gave me this top yesterday, and I wanted to wear it for the first time. I also have a dinner with parents after this, so I wanted to dress nicely but also not too flashy. I really based it off the top in this outfit. I usually try to focus on bottoms but this top is just such a show-stopper for me. You said you thrift. Do you typically shop at thrift stores or where do you typically shop? Most of my stuff was from my mom’s closet. We did not have exactly the same body shape but lots of our stuff fit each other and my mom is a huge fashion inspiration for me. She is the reason why I have the style that I have today. What would you say is your typical dress? People always catch me wearing a black turtleneck. I have like five different variations of a black turtleneck! I try not to wear jeans too much unless they’re really special because I get bored of jeans. But then, even if I do wear jeans, I’ll accessorize, and then add a pair of Doc Martens. I have so many Docs. Just boots in general, I love boots. Do you find that you dress differently for school? I go all out—even for class. Depending on the time too, I’ll do a full face [of makeup]. This is what I like about Pratt too, is that I’m able to do that, and without people accusing, “Oh my God, you’re so extra. You’re being so flashy.” I mean, obviously, if it’s a two—hour class at 9:00 am and that’s it for the day, I’ll just be in sweatpants. But other than that, I have lots of six—hour studio classes. What do you wear to feel confident? I definitely feel most confident when it’s me and a group of girls, and we’re going out to a party or something. In the group chat we’ll ask, “Okay, are we going all out tonight?” I’m like, “Yes, we are. We’re going to be bad bitches tonight.” I don’t feel I dress up for other people as much as I do for myself, in general. Whenever I feel comfortable with an outfit, or if it’s my first

44


The Living City

“I would say, if you’re going to a party, even if it’s like an apartment, people do expect you to show us what you’ve got. It’s New York.”

time wearing something, that already makes me feel confident. I feel really good whenever I can wear heels too and am able to actually walk in them… definitely those girls’ nights out. “We all look good. We’re these super cool girls out in the city just having a good time, being as expressive as we can with our clothes.”

45

Is there a certain dress code for when you go out in NYC? Depending on what group of friends I’m hanging out with. If you aren’t the craziest looking person there, then you’re basic… lots of pressure. This party I was just at, I was thinking, “These are super cool Brooklyn people. What am I going to wear?” Everyone expects that you’re going to come out, to show out whether it’s glitter or it’s really cool makeup. It’s just very flashy pieces; if you’re going to a party, even if it’s like an apartment, people do expect you to show us what you’ve got. It’s New York. Have you ever judged someone based on what they’re wearing? I really try not to. One of my close friends brought this up to me, but I know that everyone has their different styles. But for example, in high school, that was a different case for me because as I told you, it was all girls wearing Uggs and leggings… so I kind of judged then, more so just because they were not creative at all. They didn’t have a sense of self-style,” is what I mean. That’s when I judge—when it’s very obvious that someone isn’t dressed because they actually have a sense of who they are but rather because it’s a trend. Do you dress differently around your family? Depends on what family. My dad’s a photographer and my mom’s a painter, so I was always allowed to wear what I wanted around them. My grandparents will definitely make a comment if I’m wearing something that they don’t like. If it’s something a little too revealing then I won’t wear that around them. I also have tattoos and so when I’m around some of my family I cover up. But I’m lucky enough to have had parents who are always encouraging, like I would wear my mom’s clothes too. We had very similar tastes so I was really fine at home. Within that same frame of question, when you go home do you dress differently just because you’re in DC? Yeah. I’ve only been back to DC twice since being in China. I went to go visit my high school to see my teachers and I definitely felt a need to tone it down—to not wear my cheetah print leggings. There’s definitely that feeling, not that I care if people don’t like what I’m wearing. It’s more that I don’t want to be stared down on the streets, because that’s what happens in DC. It is a bit more conservative in that sense. People don’t expect to walk down the street and have someone wearing something really flashy. How does other people’s dress inspire you? All the time. Especially my roommate. Her major is fashion design, so I’m super inspired by her also. We actually went to Harlem a few months ago because there was an African market; all of the tribal patterns and the jewelry, that’s what inspires me. Even when I make my own clothes, I really like to keep to those kinds of textiles. And depending on my mood or the season, I definitely have different colour palettes that I try to stick to. Also, when I was in China, I would change my hair colour all the time. In China also, I was super inspired by everything that other people were wearing. I was really into the underground hip—hop scene there, which is actually pretty big in Shanghai. You wouldn’t think that but it was really unique street style, unique to Shanghai. The night life in Shanghai really affected the way that I changed my style too, or not even changed my style but it affected my style. Also, the travels that I’ve done, I’ve bought so much stuff in Thailand too that I wear to this day. And this was my second time studying in China and I have a bunch of pieces from there, I have a bunch of pieces from Venezuela where my family’s from. I think that’s the number one influencer for me is mixing. I don’t want to say that it’s appropriating a culture because it’s an appreciation and a mixture. For me, it’s getting these pieces from different places that I’ve been to, and incorporating it into my wardrobe and making it something that’s my style. Even in New York, everyone dress is very different but I’m really inspired by specific cultures.


book chapter goes here

CREDITS

Park Slope is an idyllic Brooklyn neighbourhood complete with immaculately maintained brownstones and wellbehaved children. The families and professionals that share Park Slope are savvy and eco-friendly big-city dwellers with a refined neighbourly sensibility. Easily accessible and self-sufficient, Park Slope’s main avenues are filled with boutiques, restaurants, and bars serving a crowd that expects nothing less than the crème de la crème. Prospect Heights is Brooklyn’s answer to Manhattan’s Museum Mile—this burgeoning neighbourhood boasts the Brooklyn Museum, the Botanic Gardens, and the enormous central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Known as Park Slope’s pretention-less neighbour, Prospect Heights casually matches its counterpart when it comes to entertaining. The neighbourhood is home to myriad restaurants, bars, cafes, and boutiques that evince a distinctly “come as you are” Brooklyn vibe.

1


The Living City

Why did you decide to stay here in NYC? Because New York is kind of fun. I actually really didn’t like New York when I first got here. But it’s like that Oscar Wilde quote, “Once you make New York your own you can never leave.” And that definitely resonates for me, and I think I’ll be here for a while. How would you say that living in New York has changed you? I think I’m jaded [laughter]. I think I’m slowly becoming an asshole. Even with slow walkers I catch myself being like, “Move,” which is really bad. There’s so much hustle because everyone’s moving so quickly; things like that [slow walkers] kind of annoy you. But overall, I think there is a lot more independence. How did the move from New York to Brooklyn affect you? Is there a difference? I feel like Brooklyn’s definitely slower than Manhattan. I still do various things [downtown] because I’m always in the city and it’s only 15 minutes to get in. Is there one area of New York that really resonates with you? I find myself in the East Village a lot, and each neighbourhood has its own different feeling, different culture. I like the East Village a lot because it’s younger, it’s people our age.

Aisha

From Dubai to NYC

Age: 23 Class: middle-class Identifying Gender: female Neighborhood in NYC: Park Slope Ethnicity/Background: Asian Educational Background: NYU Occupation: marketing at Vox Media Abilities: able-bodied Relational Roles: daughter Hobbies: happy hour, music, brunch, museums Originating City/Nationality: Dubai, Filipino Ultimate Dream/Ambition: success

47

How does New York inspire you? I think to work hard, because there’s definitely a “work hard play hard” mentality. Just like college as an example, I interned every semester and that was the norm—versus like a lot of other schools in the US everyone is freaking out about their internship at like senior year. That made it easier for me to get full—time job at a great company. That just comes down to just the way the city is. Are there any places in New York that inspire you? I’m always at Washington Square Park. I used to live a block away from it. And when I was fun—employed for a few months, I would go there everyday and sit there for hours, just watching people. It’s the best thing to do because there’s always weird shit happening. I joined this drum circle one time. My neighbour who lived upstairs was a fortune—teller at Washington Square Park and he wore this crazy tinfoil hat. But he bought his apartment when it was super, super cheap, like 40, 50 years ago… so now he just tells peoples’ fortunes, which is kind of cool. Why do you think people are attracted to this city? I think primarily money. There’s a lot of money here, but it’s also very expensive so you’re not really making that much. Also there is always something to do; I’m very rarely bored in New York. For example, last night I was bored at midnight, so I left at like 1 am to go somewhere in Williamsburg.


Brooklyn

What geographic identities are there within the city? This area is very family-oriented. East Village like I mentioned, has lots of college-kids, because NYU is close by. West Village is just a few blocks towards the west and that tends to be more expensive: it’s more well-off and older people—not a lot of college kids. Even though it borders NYU, it’s a very different atmosphere. When I went to NYU, I wasn’t in West village as much as East village, just because all the college bars or younger crowds were in East village. Brooklyn is definitely as a whole very different than Manhattan, just the pace and things are cheaper. Just even going out to bars or clubs, sometimes in Manhattan, they’ll say, “you can’t come in because you have rips in your jeans.” Mainly for guys. Clubs in the Meatpacking District can be really annoying about the way you look and very uptight about it. They force you to get a table if you’re a guy versus here, they really don’t give a shit… it’s more of a relaxed kind of vibe. More “hipster” if that’s still a thing. Going back, I’m really curious about the party culture. What is a typical thing that you wear out to go out? Black. Heels. If you’re a guy and you’re not wearing the right shoes or the right shirt, they definitely won’t let you in. But it’s more lax with girls. Jeans and a T-shirt—but still stylish. Not suburbia casual. Although I have worn sweatpants to clubs—this was the peak of my existence. What is your typical dress? Depends on where I’m going, how I’m feeling. I don’t have a dress code at work. But sometimes I feel like dressing up, so I’ll wear a nicer top and sometimes I wear heels to work. And then the next day I can wear sweatpants and a ratty shirt and no one says anything. I want to say I subscribe to the hype beastesque aesthetic but not super hard core. I don’t shop at Supreme or any of that. Do people look at you if you’re too over made-up? Are you expected to wear makeup? I wore makeup on Friday and I never wear makeup. I just had more time in the morning. Everyone’s reaction was, “You look weird,” but in a nice way. But, I don’t think there’s an expectation to wear it—unless you go out. What do you look for when you’re buying clothes? Price is a thing. Definitely comfort. I don’t know really. I shop at these same stores usually. Zara, Uniqulo… Trendy but cheap. But not Forever21 cheap. There’s a line. I like getting stuff when I travel. Clothes in the Philippines are so cheap; this jacket that I got was like 10 bucks. What do you wear to work? You already said you don’t have a dress code. Is that a normal thing in New York, not to have a dress code? No, that’s not normal. Just more in media or start-up companies. A lot of my friends work in banking and in finance. So when I meet them out for Happy Hour, which is a huge culture, they’re always in suits. And I show up in sweatpants.

“I’ve realized in New York you can get away with doing your shit; as long as you do things confidently, it doesn’t matter.” What is the primary motivation for the way you dress? Comfort. But then in a more stylized way. So I wear sweatpants a lot, but not shitty sweatpants, more so street wear sweatpants. I’ve realized in New York you can get away with doing your shit, as long as you do things confidently, it doesn’t matter. So aside from fashion, sometimes I sing in public because I don’t give a shit. Not out loud, busking, but as in listening to music, and I’m low-key bopping along to the song. And it’s like no one gives a shit and no one really cares, as long you own it. Do you find you can dress how you truly feel in this city because of the limitations or lack there of? I mean there’s a lack of limitation here versus Dubai. In Dubai, even to go to a mall you get dressed up. You don’t really know why. And it’s just a very, very different style. I’d wear ballet flats and skinny jeans. But just a very different look, and then now here I started wearing similar clothing from Dubai when I first got here… it was a gradual transition. I wore a lot more colour before. Now I’ve subscribed to the monochrome look. As far as expression, I don’t think I’m very expressive with clothing in comparison to some people. I’m sure you’ve seen crazy outfits. But yeah, there’s definitely more freedom in what I wear. But also, there’s still an expectation with that freedom. I guess, while you can wear anything and everything, it still comes down to whom you’re hanging out with or where you are. How do you think others perceive your style of dress? I know my friends know I don’t put a lot of effort into my clothing; they know I get dressed really quickly. When we go out I’m ready in literally five minutes. I’ve noticed that I gravitate towards more people who dress similarly to me. But I don’t know if that’s because of the way they dress or their age. There are a few hype—beast kids at work and we talk about shoes sometimes. It’s not like I’m a sneakerhead, but I do appreciate nice sneakers and nice fancy designer bags. I just can’t afford it. How would you say other peoples’ dress inspires you? I think my boss’s. The way she dresses inspires me because she’s pretty young. She’s like 33, but she runs all marketing and helped the company reach that billion—dollar evaluation last year. And I think the way she dresses definitely commands confidence and power within a room. Sometimes I aspire to be like that, but I know me as a person, and I don’t put enough effort into how I dress. Inspirational, but not really applicable. I really dig the look that’s very comfortable. It looks very comfortable but it’s still put together. I think that’s what I aspire to be like.

481


GUTTER CREDITS

The Living City

1


Brooklyn

Age: 24 Class: middle class Identifying Gender: female Neighborhood in NYC: Bed Stuy Ethnicity/Background: Italian, Irish Sexuality: heterosexual (open-minded) Educational Background: Bachelors in Performing Arts Occupation: dance teacher, actor, dominatrix Political Views/Spectrum: very much in the middle Religion: spiritual, but not into most religious beliefs Relational Roles: girlfriend, sister Abilities: I was diagnosed with PTSD and manic bipolar disorder, but aren’t we all What other areas of New York have you lived in? When I first moved here I lived on the stressed and unhappy at times? Upper East Side; it was a very different experience. When you first move to New York and Hobbies: dancing, writing, drawing, you move to Manhattan, it felt like you got more of the taste of the brutal awakening of exploring, cooking, BDSM moving to a harsher city. I mean, coming from Chicago, it was kind of like, “Okay, city to Originating City/Nationality: Chicago city.” But New York has more of a sense of, “Fuck you.” Ultimate Dream/Ambition: be happy I’ve lived in Bushwick. I’ve lived in Williamsburg. Ooh, I crashed on a couch in the West

Emily

Making NYC Her Playground

Village for a week. And some of the places I’ve lived, I’ve had like 22 different roommates… people from all around the world. I moved originally with people I went to school with and had a really bad falling—out with them. Then, I moved to a tree house/loft thing in Williamsburg. The apartment really shouldn’t have been liveable… but it was so cool because everyone in the building was an artist, and everyone was willing to throw these massive, crazy parties. I had four Australian roommates that were all DJs. Our neighbours had this one—eyed cat named Pirate, and ironically he got his name before he lost his eye, which was hilarious. Poor cat. Then I moved to the Bushwick area before it kind of boomed in gentrification. And it was kind of sketchy. I moved in an apartment with six other girls… learned that I don’t want to ever want to live with six other girls. And then, I moved in with my boyfriend in Bed-Stuy Crown Heights where technically I’m now still. We broke up and he ended up moving out, and I stayed at the place. Now [I live with] my best friend—we turned the living room into a bedroom for her because it’s big enough. We’ve made a wall out of a bookcase. I’m excited to move because it just reminds me of like a college dorm. What made you stay here? I swear—I’ve got a relationship with New York. I always compare New York to the best sex you’ve ever had. You hate it but you love it. It’s fed that dark evil thing. It’s like when somebody likes to be choked. You want it and you want more of it. That’s New York in my eyes. I had such a sense of home since I first came here. And I felt included in something that I hadn’t been apart of before. I felt like I actually fit in for a change when I actually moved here. Because I think that New York has this feeling of no matter who you are, what you do, what you wear, what you say, it’s New York, and no one cares. Everybody here is about the hustle. Everybody here wants to create. Everybody here just wants to live a good life. Everyone’s trying for more, and everybody’s good at what they do. They’re not just good; they’re the best at what they do. If you put yourself on the right setting—you’re constantly around people who want to keep going further. And it pushes you. So I mean, it’s a good atmosphere to be in. It’s very ambitious. It keeps you inspired. You mentioned you have like a few different jobs, but you’re pursuing film right now? Ultimately, I would like to be an actress long term. I don’t know, I’m not into the whole Hollywood thing. It’s a battle back and forth, but I do prefer the stage. I’m trying to pursue that but I have to work 20,000 other jobs to make the ends meet. I teach dance. I’m a freelance makeup artist. Oh man, I don’t know. I’ll just make sure my mother never sees this. I am and I have been a dominatrix for three, four years—it’s completely legal in New York. And I actually love it to be honest; it’s a fun job. It gets a bad name sometimes because people say, “Oh no, it’s straight up adult work. You’re fucking.” No, actually I’m not. I’m wearing a latex suit the entire time, and I feel badass. That’s a bulk of my spending money to be completely honest. Anything you can, that’s New York. It’s really rare when you actually find somebody with just one job that pays enough for them to be comfortable in life as far as I know.

50


The Living City

How would you describe New York and New York culture in a few words? Oh that’s so hard. I feel like I would compare it to a drink to be honest. I would name it the Dirty Martini because it’s strong, and then there’s that weird taste to it of the olive juice and the olive, and not a lot of people like that. It’s a grittier, shitty taste that a lot of people don’t like, and New York has that. But then, also it sounds sexy because it’s a dirty martini. It just sounds good to order it and it comes in a really hot glass. There is a very dark side of New York that is very underground and sexy.

1 51

“I would compare [New York] to a drink. I would name it the Dirty Martini... it’s strong... grittier. There is a very dark side of New York that is very underground and sexy.”

How does New York inspire you? Or are there any specific places that inspire you? Oh, absolutely. I say Brooklyn. Hands down Brooklyn. The Chelsea Gallery area and East Village. The East Village because of so much history that has happened there. I think every time I walk down the streets—specifically East 9th Street. It feels really heavy when you walk down the streets… like you know something important happened there. So it’s a really cool feeling because I know that there were women’s rights marches and the bombings from the ‘70s that happened there. And all this stuff just in that particular neighbourhood. And just Brooklyn… I love parts of Bed—Stuy. There are some really good hidden gems in Bed— Stuy of just like streets where it’s just a bunch of brown stones and a tree—lined block; you feel like you’re walking down a street that’s been in a movie. There is a corner in Bushwick where all these thrift stores are, with really intricately painted and designs all over the wall. And it’s very inspiring because wherever you walk, there’s a pop of colour. I navigate towards those areas because the people are cool, the things there are hip. But it’s just different. It’s colourful, it’s vibrant, and it’s new compared to what you’re usually used to. That and the Lower East Side. The Chelsea gallery area is more of an expensive higher—class area. So it feels almost romantic in a way because the streets are cobblestone. There are black lights that hang over the streets and the water’s really close. And there’s all of these galleries and high—end fashion stores that I would walk in, and they’d say, “Excuse me, can you please leave?” Like the Pretty Woman scene. Those areas are just so different. They represent New York I think perfectly because one area is very high-end, very expensive. One area just is like still the artsy-fartsy, drug area. It has a ton of club scenes in that area. And then there’s another part where it’s the new up—and—coming trendy which I think is very New York, all three of them, if you really think of it that way. I just don’t go past 53rd Street ever; it’s very judgemental when you get past a certain point in New York. It’s very like if you have coloured hair or you want a wear like pink pants you’re going to be looked at in a very odd way. Because you get to a certain level and it’s very business, very political to a certain point in Manhattan.

CREDITS

How would you say that living in New York has changed you if it has? Oh, it’s changed me a lot. There is a pro and a con list to this. Pro: it keeps me on my toes. It also forces me to be more responsible, which I do not (always) like because sometimes I want to be lazy. I’m not a lazy person by fault, but everybody has those moments. I do think it’s made me pay more attention to how I dress though, and helped me identify my fashion sense. I love leather. I love latex. But I also love red lipstick. I love skirts. I love stilettos. So it’s finding that equilibrium. It’s helped me build a thicker skin, that’s for sure. And believe it or not, I think it’s actually helped me pay more attention to the world around me, because it’s very hard to be outside of the bubble you’re in; New York does that so intensely you forget that there’s other parts of the country. New York is in it’s own little world. And while I love to just stay in that realm and that safety zone, I force myself to look out of that. But a con, I have really bad spending habits. I don’t save as much as I would like to because everything goes out towards student loans. New York has given me some pretentious tendencies that I don’t like. For example, I expect there to be things to do when I go somewhere (anywhere). So when I go back home, in the suburbs of Chicago, I’m incredibly bored. You have a higher expectation of things, and I hate that to be honest. New York has helped me grow, but it’s also given me little ticks that aren’t necessarily the most— welcoming and warm things.


Brooklyn

52


“I think that’s why people come though. It’s just because it’s glamorous. The dirtiness of it, there’s something charming about it. It’s just magical. Every time you’re here, there’s so much happening in such a small area.”

The Living City

53

How would you describe the attitudes of people who live in New York? They’re very blunt. You’ll also get all walks of life so I think it varies. But eccentric would be the best way to put it. Because I either meet people who are shy or people who are extreme extroverts. You don’t really meet a lot of people in between. I think everybody kind of comes out of their shell when they come here. I mean, my parents would say, “Oh it’s just liberal. It’s just a bunch of liberals.” Why do you think people are attracted to the city? Oh because there’s no other place like it. I haven’t travelled a lot, but from what I’ve heard… my boyfriend has travelled the world, went to school and university in the UK, lived in Singapore. And he came back to New York and said, “I don’t want to live anywhere else.” That showed me though, there really is no other place like New York. There’s just so much at your fingertips. It’s expensive as hell. I’m going to say this city is not for people who want a calm life. If you want to relax and enjoy life you better have a job that’s paying you banks for you to actually relax and enjoy New York, because most people only get to enjoy on maybe like a Friday night or a Saturday night. It’s really hard to find time to take a couple of days off and afford to live here. I think that’s why people come though. It’s just because it’s glamorous. The dirtiness of it, there’s something charming about it. It’s just magical. Every time you’re here, there’s so much happening in such a small area. And everybody tries to outdo each other as far as hospitality. You have food from all different cultures also. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, every deli now has diet cheese. There is everything here really, except for a lot of nature and non—polluted air. It’s a giant facade. That’s really what New York is, a giant playground. You’ve lived here for six—ish years now. Would you say that the city has changed? Absolutely. When I moved to Bed—Stuy, we were one of the first people to gentrify the area. And I felt like a dick for doing it to be completely honest with you. Because at first, I didn’t see both sides of the story first. I kind of only saw one side is we were kind of ruining their neighbourhood. But somebody in a coffee shop once told me, “No I actually like it because we didn’t have coffee shops in our area before and we didn’t have health food stores. Now I feel a little bit actually safer sending my kid to go get a milk or to go get a cup of coffee with some avocado toast.” But I also see the other side where it’s I would hate to be pushed out of a neighbourhood I lived in my whole life. I remember reading in Teen Vogue when I lived in Williamsburg, before it became a thing, “Coolest place to live. Williamsburg, Brooklyn.” And then literally within the next year, there were all new apartment buildings right and left. As soon as you see a coffee shop you know that the area’s fucked and everybody just knows that. Everybody suddenly had tattoos. Everybody was getting their septum pierced. Everybody was wearing chunky heels. It was like the ‘90s came back, and that happened all within six months. Manhattan itself kind of always stays the same to be completely honest which I’m happy about. But Brooklyn has just changed immensely. I’m noticing, the more changes [that happen], the more politics come into play. It’s what’s happening in the country now… the more you see it divide. The graffiti words such as, “White power’s taking over”—you see stuff like that all over the place now. And it’s really frustrating because where I grew up, everyone was equal no matter what. There is a lot more— the culture of coffee booms actually I think, and 2012 really when I first came here, suddenly baristas became barista art and barista competitions. The fashion has definitely changed, but each neighbourhood has it’s own tastes and style. I would say money—wise, it’s probably changed the most. It’s gotten 10 times more expensive. Why did you put on that outfit today? Honestly, because I wanted to wear face earrings and pink pants. I do have a pair of walking shoes with me that are cheetah-printed and they’re hilarious. And a change of my yoga gear in my bag. I’m also a person that tries to have different themes for each day. I think my theme today was, “how do I be the more expensive looking version of myself?” I’m also going to go see an apartment and I need to look like I make a lot of money. I need to disguise this starving artist look. Nah, I’m not really a starving artist. I make enough. I’ve unfortunately fallen into society’s trap of consistently wanting to make more. What would you say is your typical dress? Unfortunately right now because of the yoga and dance teaching I do, a lot of it is workout gear because I do a lot of jobs where I need to be wearing yoga pants and a sports bra. But if I were to wear what I want to dress up, it’s always heels. I love wearing heels because I’m actually deceivingly short. So always heels. Most of the time I have all the earrings in my ears, I’ve got usually like two or three necklaces on, and I’ve a ring on almost every other finger, and a bunch of bracelets. Jewellery and heels—who needs to wear anything else?


Brooklyn

Do you dress differently around your family? Oh my God, yes. My sister was in fashion, and she had a very different taste than I do. She’s a lot more conservative, and I’m much more of the person that needs to be wearing something more out there. I try to dress a little bit less eccentric, a little bit more covered up and conservative—just try to dress it down a little bit more so for the family. My family are the best people to try out new makeup looks on though. How do others perceive your style of dress? My roommate consistently says, “You look like a call-girl,” and I’m like, “That’s what I was going for. Nailed it.” I think [my dress] gives off a different vibe depending on who I’m with and the situation [I’m in]. Because if I’m working out, obviously I’m going to look awful. But in a more fancy situation, my friends have also described me as very put together – that I know what I’m doing in life.

Where do you typically buy your clothing? I love thrift stores here. They’re amazing. I’ve gotten a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes here from a thrift store. I probably spent like $48 on those, but they were totally worth it. They were like these cherry—red, pointy—toed— oh my God, I’m in love with them. Ooh. Just speaking about them makes me hot and heavy.

How does other people’s dress inspire you? In a lot of ways. When I see a girl walking down the street and she’s totally rocking something really unique, I will always try and do my own twist on that. I remember seeing this girl wearing a leather skirt, and really fun socks with her stilettos. And I tried that—I put these cool, different coloured socks with my outfit and I got a lot of compliments that day. But you know, the closer I get to my 30s unfortunately, part of me is trying to discover a more sophisticated way to dress. How I can be a little bit revealing without being immature? I think that every woman likes to feel confident in a mature, sexy way. So my style is ever changing.

What do you look for when you’re buying clothes or accessories? Uniqueness. I’m a person that gets very picky. I don’t like wearing things that other people have. I like standing out. I don’t necessarily like being the centre of attention with clothing but I like if somebody were to look at me and be like, “How’d she put that together? I’m surprised that that works.” I like that, and I also like edginess. I don’t necessarily like very conservative. So I will definitely wear a white t-shirt with absolutely nothing underneath and just really don’t give a fuck how see-through it is. I’ve got tattoos on my rib cage and everything. What do you wear to feel confident? Oh man. It has nothing to do with clothing you would ever wear outside, but I have a very intense love for lingerie. I think that lingerie is something that every woman feels feminine in, and a lot of women have a hard time feeling very sexy. Wearing a garter belt and some lacy see—through red [lingerie], with a really hot with a pair of heels… you don’t need a significant other to wear it for. Just wear it for yourself. It’s like a little secret you have with yourself that nobody else knows. How do you use dress to send a message? Ooh, I’ve never thought of that actually. I have shirts that have political statements on them, and I do like wearing those sometimes specifically when I know I’m going to be going into Manhattan. I have a shirt that says, “Grab me by the pussy, I dare you.” I actually love wearing that shirt with a business suit to be completely honest; I go on a power trip when I wear that a little bit. And then other times I will literally wear my dirty paint smock. I think if I’m sending a message, the message could be emotion that I’m feeling because if I’m feeling really, really happy I’m going to put on something that makes me feel very girly and flowy. If I feel like I’m going to an interview where I have to put my best foot forward, it’s usually a pair of pants. I’m not going to lie. It’s usually a pair of pants. It’s more of an empowering feeling.

541


The Living City

Why Street Vendors are Vital to NYC Food Culture by Max Falkowitz

T

he New York Post wrote about a licensed hot dog vendor on Montague Terrace in Brooklyn Heights who was pressured out of the neighborhood by anger from local residents. The reason? A hot dog vendor doesn’t belong. As far as the law is concerned, the residents were right. Montague Street between Court Street and the Promenade prohibits street food vendors (you can check out all the restricted streets in this PDF). But the story also highlights some incredibly negative attitudes and prejudices toward street food, and a case of jingoistic NIMBYism* that repeatedly finds itself at war with street vendors across the city. * NIMBY: Not In My Backyard Street Food and Public Space The other negative comments center on the idea that it’s unacceptable for a hot dog vendor to set up shop in a ritzy residential neighborhood. The more measured commentaries point out that he could have sold at the nearby Promenade, the public park that overlooks Manhattan. But the ire of other voices seems to surpass questions of legality and veers into outrage about the very nature of what street food is. The most interesting remark to me: “Ours is a quiet residential neighborhood. This is not the place to live fir [sic] people looking for ‘street life’.” Here’s the thing about street food: it’s not just about the food. It’s about bringing a sense of life and activity to urban spaces. It’s a gathering point for a community. And it’s ultimately what living in cities—and frankly, neighborhoods in general—is all about: the interconnected network of public space and public activity that everyone is welcome to partake in. “Street life” is just that: a manifestation of public energy. And it’s a democratic energy, one that’s open to everyone and treats everyone equally. That kind of culture is important, especially in New York. Street food helps transform sidewalks and public spaces from transit ways to destinations. “Street life” is just that: a manifestation of public energy. And it’s a democratic energy, one that’s open to everyone and treats everyone equally. In midtown, $100,000 salary-earners wait in line with bike messengers and construction workers for $5 plates of chicken and rice. That’s a healthy, necessary thing in a city where it’s far too easy to get siloed in socioeconomic subcultures. Street food helps to build and maintain community across economic, ethnic, and regional boundaries. It’s a vital part of urban life here. That doesn’t mean every street corner in this city needs a taco truck; some neighborhoods should be quiet, residential areas. But it’s the right of street vendors to sell food in public spaces where they’re legally allowed and not grievously disrupting someone’s quality of life. Harassing them out of that right with mean-spirited speech ruins the very idea of public space and its importance to city living.

55


Why Street Food Culture is Important If you need an illustration of street food’s effect on public life, check out the spiffy residential sections of the Upper East Side during the afternoon, when the streets get dead quiet. Except, of course, for the street vendors, present on many a corner, selling cheap, tasty meals to locals and passersby. It’s a vitality boost to the streets, and it looks like the residential community there hasn’t crumbled from the presence of some dirty water dogs. There’s also the more concrete point: street food is an awesome part of our city’s food culture. It’s our fast food, our on-the-go food, our daily lunch, our pre theater dinners. People of all walks of life enjoy it and buy it regularly. Street food is an enduring New York icon because it’s something everyone can, and does, enjoy regularly. If there’s a problem with street food, it’s this: it’s a constant thorny reminder that none of us truly owns public space, and that we as New Yorkers are forced to live shoulder to shoulder with people who may not be like us. If there’s a problem with street food, it’s this: it’s a constant thorny reminder that none of us truly owns public space, and that we as New Yorkers are forced to live shoulder to shoulder with people who may not be like us. When a community closes itself off to a democratizing influence on public life, it does so at the peril of becoming isolated from what makes New York such a great place to live: the mind-boggling diversity of human capital that our population boasts. Our best, and worst-off neighborhoods could use more of that diversity, not less. Fair, equal use of public space is one of the ways to achieve it. Residential zoning exists for good reasons, and I’m not against community members raising complaints with city officials when business owners operate outside those zoning restrictions. To be clear, I do agree that the vendor didn’t have a right to park at that spot, that he should have left, and am fine with neighbors asking him to leave. But unless a hot dog cart is right outside your window—which this wasn’t (it was on a street corner), or unless it’s spewing smoke or bad smells into the air (which it didn’t; hot dog vendors actually can’t cook on their carts without a permit, and they don’t give off exhaust), the only thing harassing a street vendor accomplishes is protecting a sense of “community” from one of the very staples of New York life. So how about this: let’s not hate people for trying to earn a living by participating in a vital piece of New York culture. If exacting regulation of community is important to these critics, there are gated communities aplenty in the suburbs, where they can structure their public space however they like.

“Street food is an enduring New York icon because it’s something everyone can, and does, enjoy regularly.”

Brooklyn

56


Caught on the Brooklyn Bridge


Brooklyn

Completed in the late 19th century, the Brooklyn Bridge was the epitome of the forward thinking inventions developed during the Industrial Revolution. The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was innovative in the incorporation of a unique suspension design made possible by strong steel cables and stable caissons. Whether it’s the aesthetic architecture influencing culture, the economic link from Brooklyn to Manhattan stimulating business, or the modern engineering design enhancing safety, the Brooklyn Bridge made New York City the most important commercial center of the United States. In today’s age, the Brooklyn Bridge continues to connect the two boroughs of New York City, the beauty of its architecture a symbol of national pride. 127 years later, the Brooklyn Bridge still stands as an engineering spectacle and cultural icon visited yearly by tourists.

58


MODEL: TIMOTHY TERRELL

The Living City

59


CREDITS

book chapter goes here

1


The Living City

CREDITS

A cosy little neighbourhood with a strong Polish presence, Greenpoint’s charming townhouses and cramped shops imbue its streets with a sense of welcomed familiarity. It takes a little longer to reach always-on-the-move Manhattan from this northernmost Brooklyn neighbourhood, but basking in Greenpoint’s communal vibe is well worth the extra minutes. Also worth the journey? The stellar skyline views of downtown Manhattan from the rooftops of Greenpoint’s converted warehouses and loft apartments.

1


Brooklyn

Age: 24 Class: lower Identifying Gender: male Neighborhood in NYC: East Brooklyn Ethnicity/Background: black Sexuality: straight (I love my queens) Educational Background: High School Graduate Occupation: Fashion Stylist/ Personal shopper, 9-5 works at a graphic design company in the apparel department Political Views/Spectrum: don’t pay attention Religion: I don’t practice any religion, but go off energy and vibes Hobbies: shop, listen to podcasts, watch vlogs, museums, art galleries, a little bit of 2K (very little bit), spend time with my nephew Originating City/Nationality: born and raised Brooklyn NY Ultimate Dream/Ambition: to be comfortable, happy, and successful... just keep being me to the fullest extent

Trend

Setting Himself Apart from the Crowd 62


The Living City

How would you say that growing in New York has influenced you? Growing up in Brooklyn, I feel like I was like the typical New York kid... getting into trouble and being young, dumb, and bored. I feel like every kid that grows up in New York goes through the whole “bad era”, with gangs and stuff... it’s all that’s around you. It’s just how long you relate to it though. I’ve never been gang related but I used to follow after it because of my cousins... I grew out of it really fast; I’m proud of that. I did have a lot of police contact; I felt like it was because of the way I dressed. We all dress the same... The same name brands, the same way we sag our pants—it’s the typical image. I wanted to change that [image] so I wouldn’t get stopped [by the police] and I started experimenting with my fashion and dressing based on the things I’m into and my culture. I moved to Syracuse for 6 months, and started experiencing different cultures while I went to school out there: like hippie, Gothic, preppy, trendy stuff. When I came back to New York, I went to an alternative school. The alternative school mixed people from all over New York—different ethnicities. That gave me a different insight on styles. After that I started looking into expressing myself in a different way. New York is versatile. I love it but I hate it at the same time; there’s so much competition. There are so many people that copy others... So many fakes and pretend wannabes. How would you describe New York culture? If you’re really from New York, you’ve got 4 or 5 hustles... You have to have more than one income just to not make it. Because whatever you’ve got still isn’t enough, no matter how much money you make. You’ve got to know how to multi-task, and you’ve got to be strong. You can’t let anybody knock you because there are a thousand people that are looking to hate and throw you down... But you can’t let that stop you. [In New York] we are too defensive... We look at everybody like an enemy. Everybody is looking to use you or gain from you, instead of grow with you. If you aren’t built for it, you aren’t going to make it. Growing up here, you’re built for the grind, built to go through the bullshit, you’re built to fail. But just because you fail doesn’t mean you can’t make it though. Are there any places or geographic locations that you go to be inspired in New York? Williamsburg, Soho. On 14th street you see people with chess boards, painting live artwork... It’s different atmosphere. In the city its rush rush rush, work, work, work. I just started going to some art galleries too. The most recent one that I liked the most was that Louis Vuitton one—seeing how their clothes have been elevated to modern day... I felt like it took me back in time.

“[In New York] we are too defensive... We look at everybody like an enemy. Everybody is looking to use you or gain from you, instead of grow with you. If you aren’t built for it, you aren’t going to make it.”

How would you describe the attitudes of the people living in New York? It depends where you are. Everybody is in a bad mood because they’re late and it’s most likely something that’s not their fault. The trains, traffic, this asshole in the way. If you go to Soho or places that are cool, it’s more about the vibe… it’s calm. And if you go to some of those bad neighbourhoods like East Brooklyn or Harlem, people are looking at you like you don’t belong. Beyond that, I feel like you shouldn’t be paying attention to anybody. I don’t care what you’re doing or what you have going on... I just know what I’m doing. Why do you think people are attracted to New York? Honestly, what you see on TV… because what you see on TV is the good. You don’t see where I live. What you hear, the history… What did you expect New York was before you got here? 42nd street is all I think people expect. “Where are all the tall buildings?” That’s just Manhattan. You expect tall Buildings, bright lights, Time Square. But there is chaos here. What is your typical dress? I dress the same way everyday. If today were my birthday I would wear the same outfit; if it were raining I would wear the same outfit. If you were taking pictures of me I would wear the same outfit. I don’t try any harder today than I do on other days. If you remember, on picture day when you were growing up you had your clothes laid out… you probably woke up early to put that outfit on. I feel like that everyday; I have a saying: “everyday is picture day”. Typically though, sneakers, jeans, a flannel, and a dope t-shirt. My everyday accessories matter though… I wear my meditation beads everyday. The little details matter… my watch, my keys hanging on my hip, my earrings, my nose ring… these are not real glasses. What do you look for when shopping? The first place I go is to the sales rack. I never really go shopping for a specific item though. [I like to] mix high-end and cheap [fashion] together. My jeans are from 10 to 40 dollars, but I spend a lot of money on my sneakers and tops. I try to just mix it together so you can’t tell. It’s just the look… it’s not high-end, or cheap, it’s not average or trendy. It’s just a mixture of all of that together to make me. I shop at Saks, H&M, TopShop, thrift stores. What do you wear to feel confident? Everything I wear [makes me] confident… from sweatpants with some slippers, a hoodie. I don’t care. Anything. I’m always confident. ASAP rocky—he really gave me the confidence to not care, be myself, and take a challenge.

63


Brooklyn

Do you ever alter your clothes or make your own clothes? I go buy cheap jeans and I started putting rips in them, and I stretch them… it’s a whole process. At my job I do something called DTG where I can put pictures on shirts. In the past, I was ripped them up, stretch the shirt and I threw bleach on them. What do you wear to work? I don’t have a dress code, I can wear jeans, sneakers, I can wear a suit, sweatpants, shorts. Have you ever judged someone based on what they’re wearing? I judge everybody based on what they’re wearing. Some people have certain days where they want to be comfortable; some people just want to be casual. I understand it; I don’t judge fashion as a bad thing. It’s just the way I dress (as opposed to someone else). I can’t judge fashion as a bad thing. It’s creative. I feel like I can’t not like your outfit because I don’t know where the inspiration’s coming from… maybe I just don’t understand it yet. Do you dress differently around your family? Nah. My father’s response to the way I dress is “that’s you!” And he doesn’t judge me on it… I feel like he respects it. My mother she thinks it’s different. And then as time goes on, with the way I dress, they’re starting to see [my style] more in the media. “If the celebrities are dressing like you, obviously it’s something.” How do you think others perceive your style of dress? What I go for is “rare”… I just like to stand out. Some people hate… hate that they didn’t do it first. How does other people’s dress inspire you? Hip-hop culture. When I was growing up and watching fresh prince, retro looks from that mixed with modern and different cultures. I also like the punk rock stuff, so I have gages (spacers). I like the preppy look … that’s where the flannels fall in. [I’m inspired by] average hood youth swag… that’s why my pants sag a little but you can’t see my boxers. I love sneakers, but I’m not going to be standing in line. I might be more hippie today, tomorrow I might be more preppy. Next day I might be a little more hiend. It’s just a mixture of everything that’s all put together. Growing up in New York, I get a lot of my style from the train. Riding the train everyday... You see gay people, you see white people, black people; you see different styles; you see high-end; you see bums. I’m not going to lie to you, I feel like bums out here in New York are fly. You can look at a bum that’s on the corner and they look raggedy, dirty, they probably stink. But if you take the time to actually look at the clothes they’re wearing, they probably are wearing something that you had on when you were younger; it’s probably a name brand, not just a white T-shirt. Also on Instagram—that’s where most of my fashion inspiration comes from. I hate looking like everybody else; I try to reinvent something my way, or do the opposite. I avoid whatever is trending. IF I do it, I try to reverse it or do it my own way. Like today, I have two different types of sneakers on just because I don’t want to be like everybody else... And it just draws attention. Me personally, when I get dressed I just want your attention. I don’t care if you like what I’m wearing, as long as you took two seconds out of your whole day just to think about my outfit, in a bad way/good way, it’s cool with me.

64


The Living City

Age: 22 Class: middle class Identifying Gender: female Neighborhood in NYC: Bed-Stuy Ethnicity/Background: African - American Sexuality: heterosexual Educational Background: Bachelor from Florida State Occupation: fashion, work at Kate Spade Political Views/Spectrum: Liberal Relational Roles: daughter, friend Abilities: able bodied Hobbies: self improvement Originating City/Nationality: Jacksonville, FL Ultimate Dream/Ambition: To change societal norms

Maiya Making Waves and Enacting Change in Fashion

What made you choose New York over LA? I thought about LA before because the weather, but I didn’t know that much about LA at the time. I feel like, if you can make it here [in New York], you can make it anywhere. So if I conquer New York, LA will be a breeze. How would you say that living in New York has changed you? When I came here I had a set goal and a set dream and a set path. I was like, “I’m not interning for any of this,” but what it really showed me is that you can always have a goal but you cannot set the path for that goal. You have to just live your life out and eventually you will get there and enjoy it. I’m a very goal-oriented person but I focus too much on the goal and not the journey to get there. And I didn’t appreciate the little things that happened to get there. Also, I’m from the south, and so we’re really big on manners. And here they’re not big on manners at all. I feel like it’s a lot of normality and disrespect here; you just kind of have to not get mad initially when it happens. I had to realize everybody was not raised like I was, so if I’m going to be around these types of people I just have to teach them.

65


Brooklyn

How would you describe New York or New York culture in a few words? A roller coaster… because of the personality, the atmosphere, and the weather. One minute you can be having so much fun out, roof-top parties; the next minute you’re at work, hustling bustling; the next minute you’re stuck in the house because it’s snowing. You worked at a few publications previously. It’s something I feel that somebody, especially if they feel like they want work at a magazine, should do because it really shows you if you really want that or not. It’s not people in fashion are mean, people in fashion are just kind of cut-throat and only think of their self. I’m not as selfish as the regular person, it’s a different environment and you have to just kind of reevaluate how to go about things in a different way. I want work in publication, I’m just making a detour at Kate Spade and Instagram. Where is your office located? We’re on 2 Park Ave in mid-town. What’s it like working there compared to living in Bed-Stuy? It’s high-rises, a lot of retailers/designers. A lot of business people. So it’s a very different atmosphere. For home I like the calmer, quiet atmosphere. But if I’m out or working anywhere beside my house, loud is fine. How does the city inspire you? The people in the city actually inspire me more than anything. I’m a big people—watcher. And I know people think I’m a freak for it, but I don’t care. People don’t realize that they feed off of other people. And people feed off of you. I like rooftop views because you can see everything—you can actually see different boroughs sometimes. I know there’s this particular rooftop club in Chelsea on 14th Street and you can just see everything. And that just inspires you to do new things. How would you describe the attitudes of the people who live in this city? It depends on who you meet. I meet a lot of nice peoplereally super sweet people. And then you meet kind of some stuffy people, the fake nice people. Especially in the fashion industry that’s a very big thing. Why do you think people are attracted to the city of New York? Honestly, it’s the hype. I’ve talked to New Yorkers who are from here. They’re like, “You’re from Florida. Why would you come here?” I came here off of a dream, and so far I’m okay. I watched Devil Wears Prada and I’m fine. I’m perfect. Why did you put on that outfit today? This one? Because I got so tired of wearing jeans everyday, all day. And I wanted [to wear something] to go with my Instagram portfolio, if I wanted to take a picture… something that I thought was fashion-forward and I didn’t see other people doing.

Do you have any staple items that you wear a lot? I love my watches. It’s a smart watch, although it’s probably about to die. I wear them with almost everything because they’re so versatile. How would you say your work wear differs from your day-to-day wear? That’s the thing I’m trying to work with now—I’m trying to make it so there is no differentiation. I’m me 24/7. When I first started working at Kate Spade, I looked around and saw, “Oh, this is how they dress here.” And I automatically thought to myself, “That’s not how I dress.” So I tried a few tester outfits, to see kind of how far you can push the envelope before you get in trouble with the boss. I feel like by doing that I just stand out even more because I’m not wearing the mules and the leather legging pants or the big shirt or whatever somebody else is wearing. What do you look for when you buy clothing? Since I’m younger I look at pricing first. I tend to shop on the clearance racks, the sales rack, and then I look at the quality of the clothing. Is the material thick enough for me to wear? Are there straight seams? Are there strings hanging out and it will fall apart if I pull one of them little string on it? I’m going to be naked? Things like that. Where do you typically buy your clothing? I would say Old Navy. I like Zara, Forever 21. And thrifting. That’s the biggest thing because somebody’s trash is my treasure. And I get a lot of hand-me-downs from my mom surprisingly. I’ll come dressed in something and be asked, “Where did you get that?” “That bag of clothes that you got to throw out? This is that. This is that bag of clothes.” What do you wear to feel confident? My hair – worn big—always makes me feel sexier and confident. Have you ever judged someone based on what they’re wearing? Yeah I have and I’m trying not to do that. I know specifically in Florida, have you heard of Salt Life? It’s really big in Florida. It’s a whole restaurant, a brand, clothing, flip-flops. They dress like surfer guys and you wouldn’t think he owns that whole corporation. And sometimes I feel like I judge people with suits than I do people in street clothes. He looks like a complete asshole because he has that suit on. But you never know until you actually go and talk to them. What would you say is your end goal in the fashion industry? I was thinking small at first… I just wanted to be a stylist. Nothing major. But then, I decided I want to be a creative director, then a editor-in-chief, then an owner of a publication. I want to go completely all the way because you can’t create change if you don’t have the power.

66


The Living City

GUTTER CREDITS

With adventurous art, international cuisine, gorgeous parks and world-class sporting events, Queens features attractions to satisfy nearly every taste. Sports lovers can watch the New York Mets play baseball at Citi Field and, in a venue nearly adjacent, see the US Open host the world’s best tennis players. But in Queens, every day can be an event, whether you’re sampling the delectable Greek cuisine of Astoria or authentic Chinese food in Flushing. View inventive art at MoMA PS1 and Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, and take in the stunning flora at the Queens Botanical Garden.

1


book chapter goes here

GUTTER CREDITS

People all around the world know the Bronx as the home of the New York Yankees, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden—not to mention as the birthplace of hip-hop. Look deeper and you’ll discover the quaint maritime village of City Island, the cultural attractions of Fordham and Belmont, aka the “real Little Italy,” centered on the restaurants and cafés of Arthur Avenue. Grand Concourse, in the South Bronx, is full of art deco marvels.

1


The Living City

Pudis ab inci dolupta eceperum sam laut latus aut harci conseri onsectus dolo quis ut vera nulpa dolendu ndelis et ius, officia conecta tessinv electa doloressus min cus

Age: 47 Identifying Gender: female Neighborhood in NYC: Greater New York Area, Westchester Ethnicity/Background: Caucasian Sexuality: heterosexual Educational Background: Masters in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute Occupation: Professor of Design Political Views/Spectrum: left leaning Religion: practice none, raised catholic, but celebrate Christian holidays and Jewish holidays with husband Relational Roles: Mother, wife Abilities: excellent physical and mental health Hobbies: run, create, design, teach, yoga, cook, laugh Originating City/Nationality: Detroit Ultimate Dream/Ambition: Run a combined design/ cooking school with my husband Eric on the island of Marthas Vineyard

69

Molly Designing the City through Teaching


The Outer Boroughs

What made you stay here in New York? The diversity and the experience to get anything you want within a one-block radius—I really appreciated that. [When we lived in the city] we lived in a great area, in Carroll gardens in Brooklyn, right around down that way from Park Slope. They have the best restaurants, bakeries, meats; I would shop everyday on my way home. Instead, now I shop once a week and getting everything I need… the lifestyle changed. How would you say that living in New York has changed you or influenced you? I think it changed how I look at things. Being a educator in art design, I build exercises about how we see things and how we observe things. Travelling through New York, to and from home to work, I’m constantly curious enough to observe people’s behaviour and how they move about their everyday. “How many bags are they carrying? What are they schlepping around? Do they go grocery shopping on their way home?” Just noticing, becoming aware of those details, I think has helped make me become a better designer and become more empathetic about how people move about their day. And recognizing those I think is an important quality of a designer. And that’s something I hope to install in all my students as well. How would you say that New York inspires you? Well, the museums, and just walking on the streets—making yourself aware of things. A lot of times people tune out and they wear their headphones and they look down at their phone but I try to remind myself just to look around. Walking through Grand Central everyday for work is a huge transformation, reminding myself that this is an important place. I should always notice something new whether it’s the morning light, or the sunset light, or how people travel through it for the first time and noticing it. I think coming about it, I try to always remind myself to have a beginner’s eye, to say, “Okay, this is the first time I’m looking at it. I just got dropped off from outer space. How would I notice it?” And reminding myself to appreciate that, I think is important. Why do you think people are attracted to the city of New York? Oh the energy. I feel like you can do anything here. There’s that dreamy quality, whether it’s that you can experience a lot of different things in a small amount of space. I think anywhere else you have to travel distances to see a lot of different things but here you can travel a lot within the short distance. I think that’s a really nice quality. Why did you put on that outfit today? Well, I put on my worst outfit today because I knew I was teaching a plaster assignment. But I did garnish with a scarf to actually make me feel like I wasn’t wearing my sloppiest clothes.

“The essence of fashion in New York City lies in the individuality and keen observations. Daily observation to the nine million people living in New York City proper, and the desire to discover something new, being open to seeing new things, and then willing to be honest and true to one’s own approach, is how I think of fashion in New York City.”

What do you look for when you buy clothes? A nice fit, a nice quality, and material. I think materiality in fashion is a really big deal, especially the combination of the older, tradition materials with like cotton and then mixed in with the new synthetic materials. don’t shop that much anymore. There’s a really great second-hand shop in the city where they have all the high-fashion, and I like going there because I’ll get a couple of really nice signature pieces that I match with all my basic stuff. How do you use dress to send a message, if you do? I guess I play around with casual clothes versus dress-up clothes and where that line is. And can you still be in casual clothes but have it feel dressed up? Have you ever judged someone based on what they’re wearing? No, but I see my nine-year-old being challenged with that question where she likes to not be identified by her clothes. I observe other people always identifying her based on what she wears, and it’s usually the opposite. So that, I look at a lot. Do I judge people? I think it’s just observing, not judging. Just noticing. So there’s a difference. How do you think others perceive your style of dress? Or lack of style? I don’t know. I have a uniform. Pants, boots, and some sort of scarf. I guess my signature is my scarf. I could say uniform is colour—based, like a lot of good neutrals, the greys, and the taupes, and the navies. I don’t do a lot of colour. I should but I don’t. How does other people’s dress inspire you? Oh, I love when people are brave and they mix all different materials and colour. I think that’s awesome. I guess, then I would ask, “Why don’t I do that?” Maybe because I don’t know how to do it, how to make those combinations. Some people are really natural about putting them together. And then they’re brave enough to own it when they’re in it. This guy in the subway wore this really amazing lime—green shag rug jacket. And I looked around and everybody else was in black, or greys. And he had such a cool colour jacket. I guess I could try that… sometimes I do it; for festive vacations then I would. But for everyday, that’s work.

70


The Living City

Sports in the

CREDITS

Metropolis

71


CREDITS

The Outer Boroughs

72


Sports have been essential to New York City’s culture for a long time. NYC happens to house the headquarters for all the major sports leagues, from the National Football League to the National Hockey League, from Major League Soccer to Major League Baseball to the National Basketball Association. It’s one of the few cities to have two MLB baseball teams, the Super Bowl has been hosted here, 14 World Series have happened here, and the fans in the city are fierce. Few topics are woven into the fabric of New York City culture as deeply as New York City sports. A little knowledge of NYC sports teams will help you bridge the silence with your hotel doorman, earn the respect of your taxi driver, and arm you with the ability to converse with even the hardest New Yorker.

73

MODELS LEFT TO RIGHT: KRISTIN ARMANI, KAMMY WONG; MUA: STEPHANIE GREENBERG; STYLIST: TREND GRIFFY

The Living City


CREDITS

book chapter goes here

1


The Living City

CREDITS

High-rises, high prices, and high blood pressures are common in NYC’s famous Financial District. This financial epicenter’s looming buildings bankroll it as one of the city's most recognizable neighbourhoods. Financial District may rush by at lightningspeed during the day, but once the last fasttalking mogul leaves for the evening this neighbourhood quickly quiets down.

1


Downtown

SAMO© IS REALLY DEAD How the Commercialization of American Street Art Marks the End of a Subcultural Movement by Katherine Bovenzi

S

haring a canvas with an entire city of vandals, a young man dressed in a knit cap and windbreaker balances atop a subway handrail, claiming the small blank space on the ceiling for himself. Arms outstretched, he scrawls his name in loops of black spray paint, leaving behind his distinct tag that reads, “Flip-One.” Taking hold in the mid 70’s, graffiti in New York City ran 2 rampant; young artists like Flip-One tagged every inch of the city’s subway system, turning the cars into scratch pads and the platforms into galleries. In broad daylight, aerosol-can-yielding 3 graffiti artists thoroughly painted the Lower East Side, igniting what would become a massive American subculture movement known as street art. Led by the nation’s most economically depressed communities, the movement flourished in the early 80’s, becoming an outlet of expression for the underprivileged youth of America. Under state law, uncommissioned street art in the United States is an act of vandalism and thereby, a criminal offense. As a result of the form’s illegal status, it became an artistic manifestation of rebellion, granting street art an even greater power on account of its uncensored, defiant nature. Demonized for its association with gang violence, poverty, and crime, local governments began cracking down on inner city street art, ultimately waging war upon the movement itself. As American cities worked to reclaim their streets and rid them of graffiti, the movement eventually came to a standstill, giving way to cleaner, more prosperous inner city communities. In the last decade or so, street art has resurfaced as a relatively celebrated art form in the United States. Today, street art represents a multi¬million dollar industry fuelled by an increasing public appreciation for the once denounced art form. Ruled by a handful of the most popular artists, street art has been welcomed into the greater art world as the breadwinner of 21st century contemporary art. Praised for its dominating aesthetic and powerful political commentary, modern day street art is revered as “a democratic art form that

revels in the American Dream,” according to noted sociologist, Gregory Snyder. Seemingly loosening their grip on the graffiti wars they waged in the 70’s, American cities have begun to allow aesthetically pleasing works to remain up regardless of the vandalism laws set in place. In many instances, the works of 6 infamous streets artists are fought over, cut from the streets, and displaced into private galleries. Standing on the shoulders of the massive subcultural movement of the 70’s and 80’s, modern American street art has grown up to become just another highly commercialized form of pop art. This evolution, from a vilified expression of inner city disorder to a lionized form of illegal pop art, represents the end of an American subculture that began as the antithesis to the art world itself. American street art, once an art form powered by self expression and rebellion, has become a trendy, commercialized form of pop art newly glamorized by its aesthetic appeal and its ability to ‘wow.’ In the large, fastpassed cities of modern America, street art no longer acts as a voice for those unheard. Instead, the large stencil paintings and prints represent the ‘sell out’ of artistic rebellion rooted in a newfound multimillion dollar industry. The growing presence of street art in the media reflects a movement that is tailored to a very specific aesthetic with a global audience prepared to ‘retweet’ or ‘like’ anything that resembles a Banksy. While this new form of illegal pop art is intriguing and beautiful, it seems to lack the authenticity of the anti­art movement that precedes it. Hipsters and art snobs alike find themselves enchanted by street art’s rebellious energy and apparent freedom to criticize whomever and whatever it wants. Street artists have one thing straight: the rhetoric of rebellion is what sells, and the idea of the free, anti­establishment artist is irresistible. Put simply, street art has become the pop art fad that will eventually fall out of style. It is unclear whether the subcultural movement of the ‘70s and ‘80s will be revived or if street art will take permanent residence in private galleries and contemporary museums, using ‘rebellion’ as a long­term marketing scheme. Inevitably, new forms of anti­art will surface, and perhaps graffiti, once the epitome of anti­art, will never be able to separate itself from the commercial art world.

76


The Living City

Nita

Starting a Business in NYC

Age: 38 Class: middle class Identifying Gender: female Neighborhood in NYC: East Village Ethnicity/Background: Caucasian Sexuality: bisexual Educational Background: bachelor Occupation: CEO of start-up Political Views/Spectrum: liberal Religion: atheist Relational Social Roles: sister, friend Abilities: healthy with history of mental health issues Hobbies: learn new things, enjoy life, interior decoration Originating City/Nationality: Finnish Ultimate Dream/Ambition: to be recognized in my category for my work

Why did you choose this specific area of New York? I like that I can wake up to the noise. There is life around us and then we’ll fall asleep again. It’s a wonderful feeling. So you’re a city person? I’m definitely a city person. I lived in Germany in Hamburg for four years, and that was definitely not my city. So it’s very quaint with parks… not my style. And I lived in Shanghai which was similar to this. How has living in New York changed you thus far? Yeah, this is interesting because I do think it has, or maybe it’s not that New York has changed me but the New York in combination with the life choices that I’ve made, that combination has changed me and has changed how I feel about myself. I’ve never been complemented as much as in New York on my appearance. And that’s surprising to me. Is that a confidence booster? Yeah. But confidence not that I’m special, but rather that there is the diversity… I feel that I fit in because it’s so diverse. There are all shapes and sizes and colours and that’s wonderful. Shanghai was just about appearance and money. Hamburg was just about old money and business and security. Helsinki is nice and quirky but it’s so tiny. [New York] combines all of the best things. How would you describe New York culture or New York? Positive. Inclusive. There are many cities in to one city. So you’ve got like the fancy—pants stuff, the financial stuff, the boho style. I think the acceptance in between these borders is wonderful. I have so much to choose from.

77


Downtown

How does New York inspire you? Because I feel that I’m accepted here, it makes me express myself more. And I think that’s the difference… that you always still project yourself or mirror yourself to others. It’s liberating and it allows you to be the way you are. And that brings out the best in you, I think. It’s tough from the business perspective but how you express yourself is not judged. Are there certain places in the city that inspire you, that you find yourself returning to? There are a few streets in Soho where I walk sometimes just because like to imagine where my company will be in three years. We’ll have an office here or this is where I’ll live. How would you describe the attitudes of the people who live in New York? I would say that they are very welcoming. Positive. Altruistic. I had just arrived [to NYC], and I took the subway to the wrong direction and got lost. This lady stopped and took a few minutes out of her time to figure out where I was going. And I wasn’t asking for help, she just saw that I was so confused. A lot of people have said to me that New York is perceived to be very unfriendly, which I find very weird. Living in Finland, is that the opposite of how people act? Yeah. We don’t talk to other people unless we know them. And you don’t exchange compliments or pleasantries. That’s not what you do. So you don’t say, “How are you doing?” It took me a while to understand that when you say or when people say here, “How are you doing?” They actually don’t want to hear how I feel. For example, I told a shopkeeper that I had a really shit day, and he was like, “Why are you telling me this?” And then I understood, “How are you doing?” Is not how am I doing but “Hello.” Why do you think people are attracted to the city of New York? I think because of the scale that allows serendipity. Because there is so much, the chances of things happening are so much higher.

What is your typical dress? I’ve noticed, in how I dress, that every city has changed how I dress. In Shanghai I was always wearing heels. In Helsinki, I’d be mostly in sneakers. In Hamburg, I’d be in flats. And here, I feel that the city is bringing out the fun side of me. I go to investor meetings where people are in suits and I look like this… because this is who I am. I always sell to people stuff they’re not ready to buy. Like the technology that I’m building now, it’s very disruptive. It’s something that hasn’t been done before. I have to be sort of serious, so I can’t be completely off the wall with something completely crazy because I wouldn’t be taken seriously. But I want them to feel that I’m thinking differently, because they want charismatic leadership. There is also this part of me, which thinks to do these things that I didn’t get to do when I was a child… I wasn’t allowed to have purple hair. I’m 38 now and I can do what I want. It’s just a celebration of how you don’t have to dumb down the creativity and the curiosity of the child. I think what New York is doing is it’s emphasizing this part of me. What do you look for when you’re buying clothing? Well, I’m plus size so I have to look for stuff that fits. I want basics—like a black pencil skirt my go—to thing. Basics with interesting features… like ruffles or material. And the rest… items that aren’t too serious but convey how I think about the world.

“I like that I can wake up to the noise. There is life around us and then we’ll fall asleep again. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Are there certain trends or certain garments that you judge people for wearing? I do this often, if I’m bored sitting on the subway or whatnot, or if I stand at the traffic light I think how I would re—dress people. I often think of people who have amazing bodies or very personal, characteristic features that they don’t emphasize them, where their personality doesn’t come through… that’s always a pity. How do you think other people perceive your style of dress? I think they [people] think it has an element of humour in it. Is that your intention in dressing? Yeah. I think it correlates also with my interior. Don’t get shocked now but I will tell you. When you come into my apartment, if you look quickly it looks like [I have a collection of] antiques… but then when you start looking really thoroughly, on the mantelpiece is a large butt plug in the shape of a garden gnome. And this is what I like to play with, the perception of things. [Certain things] are accepted and fine, but then if you start looking then you start identifying more into depth in the things.

78


Grabbing A Slice 79

MODEL: ANOUK BROUWER

The Living City


GUTTER CREDITS

book chapter goes here

1


The Living City

15 Ways Lower Manhattan Has Changed Since 9/11 by J Jennings Moss

N

o neighborhood in New York City was more affected by the events of Sept. 11, 2001 than Lower Manhattan. Fifteen years later, the devastation, trauma and sadness that hit the area on that fateful day has been replaced with vitality and strength that’s quantified in a new report issued Tuesday by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “It would have been impossible, in the midst of the unspeakable tragedy suffered 15 years ago, to imagine Lower Manhattan as we know it today,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “The terror attacks forged determined partnerships — between the local community, government, and the private and not-for-profit sectors — that made Lower Manhattan’s renaissance possible.” According to the report, here are 15 ways Lower Manhattan has changed since the terror attacks destroyed the World Trade Center and killed 2,606 people:

81

1

Population size: In 2000, the area was home to 22,700 people. In 2014, that number has more than doubled to 49,000.

2

Housing inventory: Since 2000, the number of residential housing units has more than doubled. By 2015, it accounted for 30,0000 units with residents occupying new buildings like the Frank Gehry tower at 8 Spruce Street as well as converted office buildings like the former AIG building at 70 Pine Street.

3

Age of residents: Lower Manhattan can make a legitimate claim as being a great spot to be young as 77 percent of the population is under 45 years old. Plus, the number of children has tripled since 2000.

4

Household income: Across New York City, 7 percent of families have household incomes of at least $200,000. In Lower Manhattan, this figure is more than 33 percent.

5

College education: Almost 40 percent of those living in lower Manhattan had at least a graduate degree. Across the city, 14 percent of residents can make this claim.

6

Private sector employment: The area has seen an average annual growth rate of 2.6 percent since the end of the Great Recession, and last year hit 228,300 jobs — the highest level since Sept. 11, 2001.


Downtown

7

Wall Street’s change: In 2000, the financial sector accounted for more than half the jobs in Lower Manhattan but in 2015, it made up just one-third of the area’s jobs. Meanwhile, jobs that aren’t tied to the finance industry have increased by more than one quarter.

8

A new media hub: Two major publishing companies moved to lower Manhattan — Condé Nast to One World Trade Center and Time Inc. to Brookfield Place (what used to be called the World Financial Center) — has helped shift the media landscape downtown. This sector has increased 39 percent since 2012.

9

Health care and social services: Since 2000, this sector has more than tripled and now accounts for 24,100 jobs. The area’s only full-care facility, the Lower Manhattan Hospital, has been around in some form since 1853 but became part of NewYork-Presbyterian in 2013.

10

Small businesses return: All those new residents and other factors have led to a boom in small businesses that serve the local community, which have seen their numbers double since 2000. Today, some 10,900 people are employed at businesses like dry cleaners and pet care facilities.

11

Commercial real estate: Because of the 2001 attacks, more than 15 million square feet of office space was lost in Lower Manhattan. By 2013, more than 9 million square feet had been added back.

12

Retail landscape: One area that continues to see increases is in the retail sector, which will see 2 million square feet of new or redeveloped retail space completed by 2019 at projects like the World Trade Centre Transportation Hub and the Fulton Transit Center.

13

The tourist factor: Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector has doubled since 2002, with more than 14 million tourists visiting Lower Manhattan last year.

14

A new World Trade Center: For years after the 2001 attacks, the spot where the Twin Towers stood was a construction zone. But today, most of the main elements of the reconstruction plan are either in place and open or on their way.

15

The building continues: Just as it has since New York City began its development in the 18th century, lower Manhattan keeps evolving. Among the projects now in the works: three additional towers at the World Trade Center complex, a new South Street Seaport, and possibly the creation of the “Dry Line” to protect the area for a storm like 2012’s Superstorm Sandy. “We’ve witnessed a remarkable transformation of Lower Manhattan over the past 15 years,” Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, said in a statement. “In the wake of one of the country’s most tragic events, the neighborhood has rallied to rebuild itself as one of the most desirable places in the city to live, work and visit.”

82


The Living City Get lost in Chinatown’s jam-packed labyrinthine streets. As a crowd-pleasing place to explore (despite the smell), Chinatown offers hole-inthe-wall restaurants, open-air fish markets (the source of the smell), and entertaining souvenir shops. Most of the centuries-old apartment buildings in Chinatown are tenement-style, which accounts for this neighborhood’s dense and noisy atmosphere. Centrally located, Chinatown is served by multiple subway lines and borders neighbourhoods like Soho and Civic Centre.

CREDITS

A tiny and iconic NYC neighbourhood, Little Italy comprises a few bustling blocks packed to the brim with colourful decorations, enticing aromas, and Italian restaurants that exude an amusingly kitschy vibe. Little Italy sure is small, and you don’t have to walk far to experience another country altogether—Chinatown is steps away! This neighborhood’s charming peculiarity and lively atmosphere act as Manhattan’s magnet for carbohydrate-craving crowds.

1

1


Downtown

Barbara Manhattan Native Living Her Best Life

Age: 64 Class: upper-middle Identifying Gender: female Neighborhood in NYC SOHO Ethnicity/Background: Jewish Sexuality: heterosexual Educational Background: graduate degrees in public health & urban planning Occupation: public health nurse and journalist Political Views/Spectrum: feminist progressive Religion: Jewish Relational Social Roles: wife, mother, daughter, sister Abilities: healthy, able-bodied Hobbies: dance classes, film, museums, activism Originating City/Nationality: New York City, United States Ultimate Dream/Ambition: costume designer and dance

84


The Living City

“I’m a city-dweller and a global citizen by identity.” What made you stay here in New York City all this time? I really thrive in cities. I’m an urban person who gets her hit of nature several times a year because this is a pretty charged living environment. I’m fortunate in that I have an opportunity to travel, both for work but also both my husband and I and our kids have made some decisions earlier on about where our resources would be spent. And before kids and since kids, we traveled at least two or three times a year to Europe, South America, I go to Eastern Europe, and I’ve travelled some parts of the US. So I’m a city- dweller and a global citizen by identity. What made you decide to stay in Soho specifically? We have a really affordable rent and like 2700 square feet of space. We moved in as pioneers, a term I use fairly loosely. My brother—in—law and his former wife were the first to move into the building when manufacturing was on the decline in this part of town. Most of these buildings have light manufacturing. The floor that we live on was an electronic supply company. And because of the economy and change in manufacturing in the US, a lot of the light industry moved out, and as a result of them moving out a lot of these floors in buildings were empty. Then landlords were looking for opportunity. If you were clever and in the know, sort of, you heard about these great spaces for very cheap. My brother—in—law was moving out and we moved in. We were able to take over the lease… and then we took over a second loft where my husband ran a business up until a couple of years ago. Now my daughter moved into that loft, so we’re keeping it in the family. We have a legacy experience going on. Not a lot, but some people after they have one child and then the second child, they feel like they can’t raise their kids in the city anymore, and there’s this idea of wanting a backyard. But we’ve made New York City our playground, and my kids have no regrets. We have parks in our neighbourhood, not enough, but we’re the unusual maybe New Yorkers that get on trains, and buses, and bikes. And we’ve never felt like we didn’t have enough to do with our kids in the city. I met a lot of great families just sitting in parks and I’d never felt isolated raising my kids here. How would you say that living in New York has influenced you? In the early ‘80s when we moved in, there was a lot more of an art scene. The entire second floor of the building we live in was a very progressive art gallery. Both myself and my kids were down there all the time, and I feel like because of what was drawn to this neighbourhood, there was an ability to really be yourself, whatever that means. I was raised in a family also where you were encouraged to be yourself and express that. Conformity is not my cup of tea, and I try to live my life encouraging others to be their authentic self. That’s who I want to be when I meet people. And I think being in the city, there’s enough space for that. Do you think the city promotes and entices those values? I really do. I feel like there is a sense of fitting in and being cool, and I don’t mean for me, just anybody within the city. But in spite of that or in addition to that, it really is a place where people self—express with their clothes, self—express with their hair, self—express with how they walk down the street or not. I mean you can be pretty isolated here too… sadly a lot of our elders. Despite this, all the research shows that aging in cities is the healthiest place to age. So I’m not going anywhere soon. How would you describe New York and New York culture? Having been born and raised here, I would say that one of the pulses that really attracts me to it is the diversity of the people, which sometimes feels in certain neighbourhoods to be diminishing, but in fact you can find it. Also people are quite surprised, even here in Soho, that I raised my family here. “Isn’t everything a store now?” Or, “How do you know your neighbours well?” I do, I have had relationships with people for 35 years. I think if you are walking down the street and aren’t someone who takes notice of things, you will see that not everybody pushing a stroller here is coming from Brooklyn, Queens, or Westchester. I think there are many different ethnicities, and races, and cultures. If you’re on the subway you can hear so many languages. And yes some of them are not here to live but they’re here because they also want to see what this attraction is, what the city has. I’m a big museum-goer. I’m a member of most of the city museums to support the arts, and also if I’m in a meeting mid-town and I have a half hour, I’ll bop over to MoMA and see a new exhibit. So I feel like I’m a New Yorker who makes way, makes

85


Downtown

hay with things in New York. When I go to the theatre I try and see movies, both Indie films and new releases. It’s as crazy as if I need a pair of panty hose I can walk down stairs and just get them. It’s not like jump in your car and go to the mall. So [the city] has created a mind-set for me in terms of being here. Just like the line at Supreme, I see that every day; it’s also underground economy. There are a lot of people hustling and I don’t just mean it in a negative sense, or a lot of people working multiple jobs. There are young people buying a pair of Supreme latest sneakers and going down the block and reselling them for 300% more because there people who don’t want to wait in line. I can tell you I see the exchange on that little street going up the block. So there’s a hustle, there’s a peace, and there’s humanity. If you make eye contact, I’m a very relational person, so I’m often the person that tourists will say, “I can’t believe people said New Yorkers weren’t friendly.” I think we have a reputation that often is a failed myth. How would you say that the city inspires you? And what are the places that inspire you specifically? I mentioned the art scene. You know, art is balm for my soul. I can stand in front of a painting multiple times. And I need that particularly now; I’m a political activist, and as a feminist it’s very tough times. But I insist on having fun. As hard as that is, I can get out of that space. So I go to comedy clubs. I see film. I’m inspired by some really cool looking person, walking down the street, who did something with that hat. I’m inspired that people who are still living his or her lives, in the midst of every person’s story. I want happiness in my life but I also know that being a nurse— people call me as a resource often. And no matter what’s going on, someone’s got something going on that is hard for them. I guess I’m inspired by resiliency, and I seek that out in supporting people’s resiliency. We have a lot of homeless people in New York. Stop and ask them their name… and tell them your name. Even if it’s one more minute you’ve made a social interaction that can change their day. I can’t solve the homeless problem, it’s bigger than my abilities at the moment. But I can be human, and I feel like putting that out there on these streets also make it feel less harsh. Do you think that the city promotes the ideologies you’re interested in? Are you a feminist because you grew up in the city or is this just something that you’ve always been? I know a lot of people who come from outside the city, they might be deterred by seeing lots of homeless people. Would you say that living in the city has made you more open? Yeah, I think so. I mean I’m a child of first generation immigrants, and my parents were community activists and involved in the Democratic Party. They were working class people, but we had five newspapers in our home growing up. So although they weren’t formally educated, my parents were both very smart. I was raised by city parents, who grew up in the Lower East side in an incredible mosaic of international immigrants. Growing up in that home, my parents would say, “You don’t like that? Go do something about it.” When I was about 14, something became very much more aware in me that girls and women were being treated differently and not equally. And I think that was the charge that I took on. I got involved in organizations that were supporting the things that I believed in.

it in, experience, if you think about the thousands and thousands of people that are moving all in the same crowded space. This is attitude sometimes, and there’s sexual harassment, and groping, and nasty calling out. But the percentage [of negative commotion] compared to smoothly how that works is pretty amazing. Why do you think people are attracted to New York? Why do people come from all over to live, experience? I have some family members who’ve left New York, who were born and raised here, that they could no longer live here… that it’s way too intense. I think some people want to have a taste of it, and some people come and never leave. I have travelled as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been to Paris, I’ve been to Tel Aviv, I’ve been to major cities in Spain, I’ve been to Moscow… nothing’s like New York. So I think if you’re a world traveller and looking for experience, it’s not a small city. It’s geographically not that large. We’re pretty compact. There are probably a lot of people who would not come here out of fear of that. But I think if you’re at least a bit curious, look, we’re in films that are seen all over the world. We’re on TV shows that are seen all over the world. I think people who have a curiosity want to come here. And I think that’s one of the leading reasons. We are an art capital, we are a business capital, we are a finance capital… and for all those reasons if you enjoy travel, this might be a place you’d come to. I’m the kind of traveller where a good amount of everyday, I spend in a cafe people watching. Whether it’s to take a break in the middle of the day or towards 4 o’clock before I go home, for a glass of wine. And I enjoy seeing the interface of the public. I go to small towns and I just wonder, “Could I ever do this?” And I think I would miss what fuels a lot of my energy. I have a very full life; I do a lot of things. And I’m healthy and I can still do it so I don’t see myself ever moving from here, unless it was to an international city. Why did you put on that outfit today? This is how I dress all the time; I like to be comfortable. I absolutely love fashion. For me, going into some of the shops in this neighbourhood can equate to going to a gallery. I love the way when things are well made. When the textures, and fibres, and fabrics are well selected. Look, I can go into H&M and enjoy some of the really cheaply made shit because it’s all copying fashion. But I wouldn’t buy it only because size wise possibly, but also I buy things so that I have them for several seasons, and I have things that are 20 years old that I still wear. I’m 63 and at a certain age I learn that buying a quality piece, if it’s the only thing I buy that season, will make me just as happy as having three things. So that has informed my dressing. This is one of my favourite designers, both of these pieces. The hat I wear everyday. I’m a fairly broad shouldered woman and I wear a size 14 so it’s very hard to find stylish things. So when I see a designer that I really like, I wait till they go on sale and I follow their line. People know me from my white lens, my glasses.

How would you describe the attitudes of the people of New York? I think the attitude range of New Yorkers is complex and diverse but I will give one example of an intense humanity and civility, which is our subway. If you have not been on a subway in the rush hour, take

86


“I think my fashion aesthetic is my art.”

The Living City

87

Are there typical colours that you tend to wear? I don’t wear black; I find that black brings me down. I do own one or two black pieces and when I wear them it’s because of a certain space that I’m in. And I prefer navy but I wear bright colours. I mix patterns. My kids used to laugh at me and say, “Mom, that doesn’t match,” and I said, “To me it does.” So I love that Prada does that, mixing patterns and colours. I dress for me. I mean, I like to be noticed about it but I really am doing it for me. Are there specific things that you wear to feel confident? Yes. I have a few pieces that for presentations and going out with my husband I want to look a certain way. I wear a lot of hats; I have a couple of fancy hats. And I noticed that when I wear a hat, I feel a certain way. And if it’s appropriate I’ll leave it on the entire party without it being pretentious, if it’s a house party or something fun. I often will open my closet and say, “How am I feeling today? What does it feel like I want to look like today?” as I leave the house. I really love coats, and tops, and toppers. I have a lot of dusters that, I can wear the same dress to seven weddings in one year in different dusters. And I also don’t care if I wear the same thing. I’m a really easy traveller— big traveller and I can pack everything for two weeks in a backpack. I’ve been stopped by Israeli security wanting to know how I could be travelling. They make me open the bag and they go, “You’re a woman and you have two pairs of shoes in there?” [Laughter] How do you use dress to send a message? I guess today, I felt that what I have on exemplifies the message I wanted you to have [for your thesis]… that I’m not trying to act young but I feel young. I feel that my fashion reflects a mind—set that I have about who I am in the world—that I remain agile in my thinking. I want to stay relevant. I’m in media, I must. Have you ever judged someone based on what they’re wearing? I wish I could say no. I just asked my daughter—in—law if she thought I was too judgemental. That’s a horrible admitting thing, but I’m trying to be transparent and not act like a saint. Do you dress differently around your family and kids than when you go out? No. I’ll tell you a funny story. I think my daughter was four or five, and I had this really cool silver leather— hunting hat with fur… it was 25 years ago now. I was bringing her to a birthday party, and she said, “Mom, can you take that hat off before we go to the party?” And I said, “No… because I’m me and you’re you. And this is my hat. And you’re not wearing it.” I thought, I’m not embarrassed and I don’t want my kids to be embarrassed by who I am. They know that I have a sort of a very outward—going personality and they’ve never said anything. And as a result, both of them have style. I will tell them if I think something doesn’t look well. Both of my kids went through phases not unusual with a lot of kids, where my son wore his sister’s tights but five pairs at one time. And my daughter wore the same outfit for months, and one of the parents in her nursery school class asked me if I ever washed it. I think it was part of them expressing something. And there are enough battles to choose in life, not what your kids have on anyway. How do you think others perceive your style of dress? People often remark that, “That’s so Barbara.” I get compliments. People will often say, “You could get away with that. I couldn’t,” and I say, “Why?” And not that I’m wearing anything costumey either! I think my fashion aesthetic is my art. How does other people’s dress inspire you? There’s nothing like seeing somebody wearing a great outfit. It does. I will try and mimic it if I can, or look for it or, I mentioned earlier in the interview, that I’ve gone up to people and said, “That is like an amazing coat. Where did you get it?” Or, “I love your shoes.” I find that the streets are my fashion show.


Downtown

Perfectly coiffed hostesses run the roost at Tribeca’s trendy bars and restaurants. As Tribeca is a late-night hotspot, the scene inside this neighborhood’s industrial-era warehouses is so stylish it can be intimidating. Counter Tribeca’s super cool crowd with its cobblestone streets, local cafes, and inviting park space. Remarkably hip Soho welcomes a fashionable crowd with a penchant for premium shopping. Renowned for its endless array of pricey boutiques and its charming atmosphere, this sought-after hotspot is famous for attracting cool celebrities. Away from the masses, Soho’s picturesque streets become quieter, but the youthful attitude of this trendy locale ensures there’s never an early bedtime. Nolita combines the sophisticated allure of designer boutiques with the simple pleasure of people-watching from front stoops. This fashionable and friendly neighbourhood is composed of narrow streets, picture-perfect window displays, and sidewalk cafes that invite you to indulge in a cup of fine espresso.

1


The Living City

The Importance And Art Of Subway Busking by Hannah Leverenz

S

ubway performances are a distinctive feature of city life, an aspect that exposes spectators to many different cultures through music and performance art. In Union Square alone, musicians from Zimbabwe, classical cello players, jazz trios and Brazilian percussion bands all share a unique underground environment. For these artists, money is of secondary importance. To them, subway performances can provide rapid exposure to crowds and practice for the big stage. Many dream of the possibility of being discovered, inspired by stories of rising to fame from free performing in public areas, like Tracy Chapman and B.B. King. However, there is certainly a certain stigma attached to performing in the underground, with police harassing performers and crowd members reporting suspicious activity from entertainers. In 2014, an explosive YouTube video showed the wrongful arrest of a busking guitar player in a NYC subway by an NYPD officer. In the video, busker Andrew Kalleen is holding his guitar, reading a provision that allows him to perform in the subway. The policeman leaves to call for backup, and the several policeman eventually arrest Kalleen, throwing him to the ground. Over a year after the incident, the arresting officers have yet to face any discipline for their actions, according to Kalleen’s Facebook page. More recently, law enforcement has targeted subway dancers, labeling them as “panhandlers” or arresting them under for soliciting money. For these performers, dancing brings together community and offers an enjoyable and safe recreational activity. The most popular form of subway dancing is “Litefeet,” a style in between breakdancing and freestyle hip—hop that originated in Harlem. Often, the dancers are friends or family members who come together to practice and show off their skills on the subway, utilizing the poles on trains and the expansive floor space in subway stops. However, a decline in dance performances can also be attributed to fear of legal trouble. Local spoke with a regular street and subway performer Jeffrey Masin about his experiences with busking. Masin plays and sings in

89

“The hostility towards subway performers is not just an enforcement issue, it is a societal issue. It speaks to the lack of appreciation for everyday display of art and culture.” a one-man band he has built by hand. It’s basically an enormous contraption combining a guitar, bass drum, cow bells, and other percussion instruments strapped together onto his back. Masin has performed extensively in the United States, and also spent years traveling and performing in Europe. He attributes the contrasting attitudes regarding subway and street performers to the differences in culture. “In Europe,” he says, “the local people enjoy the different acts and tip to encourage and support [us]. I am always offered dinner invitations as well as places to stay or visit. They consider tipping as their way of supporting the arts, and the money is much better in Europe. I’ve received hundreds of different offers to come to someone’s town or city to visit them and perform.” In the U.S., by contrast, Masin has been called “desperate” and had his shows equated to begging. He also has also been arrested on numerous occasions, even while performing with an authorized permit. Not only has he been haggled extensively by police in the U.S., he also finds that the audience is less appreciative, less immersed in his performance, less willing to contribute. The hostility towards subway performers is not just an enforcement issue, it is a societal issue. It speaks to the lack of appreciation for everyday display of art and culture. Though you should always be on your toes in NYC, next time you see performers in a public arena, remember that they are putting themselves out there, exposing their fears, and maybe even unconsciously teaching us something about their life.


Boasting the best of, well, everything, the East Village’s inexhaustible grid of beyond-hip bars, bookshops, cafes, clubs, and galleries cater to even the most exacting tastes. As stylish as it is, the East Village preserves a laid-back attitude so even outsiders feel welcome when in this classic New York City neighbourhood. From early morning to late-late night, the East Village brims with activity for socialites and scaliwags alike.

GUTTER CREDITS

book chapter goes here

Slightly dodgy in a desirable way, the Lower East Side exudes an uncanny charm. Cramped spaces, rusty fire escapes, and gritty alleyways only add to its artful appeal. An eclectic neighbourhood grown from immigrant roots, the Lower East Side supplies ample excitement around every corner—whether you’re grabbing coffee at one of its trendy cafes or partying scandalously until the break of dawn.

1


DONUT

CULTURE


MODEL, STYLIST: ALEXANDRA DORSCHNER

Downtown

92


The Living City

Perhaps more than any other American city, NYC truly represents the melting pot of nationalities, ethnicities and cultures represented in the United States. A stroll through its neighborhoods, whether you’re a visitor or a local, can easily turn into an international food tour thanks to the city’s many culinary enclaves. With historic roots, restaurants and food culture became a household name from the beginning of the 20th century. The calibre of restaurants in New York City has continued to grow since then, in modern day initiating a foodie-culture... A modern art renaissance of food appreciation and dining.

93


CREDITS

book chapter goes here

1


Greenwich Village’s ultra-convenient location is outshined by the eclectic mix of creative college students, purposedriven professionals, and inquisitive visitors that frequent its cosy, tree-lined streets. This neighbourhood manages to feel intimate while maintaining a metropolitan edge. Grocers and bakers know your name in Greenwich Village, but should you want to remain anonymous you don’t have to go far to get lost in the crowds of the big city.


1

3

YOU’VE GOT TO REALLY WANT TO BE HERE.

New York is not for the faint of heart. It will push you, pull you and make you wonder why you moved here in the first place. But that’s the beauty of this city. It will shape you and make you stronger, but you’ve got to be willing to struggle through it. People come to New York City with an idea that it’s all sunshine and rainbows, and leave just as quickly as they came.

EVERYONE HAS A STORY.

One thing that I always loved about this city was the diversity of stories and people. Everyone you meet has a story, and there is inspiration everywhere you go, and in every person that you meet. I always chat up my cab driver, and I’ve had some of my most memorable conversations with them hearing stories about family, success, finding new jobs, moving to a new city, food and even relationships.

6

4

2

YOU’LL BECOME A CHAMP AT DAY-TO-NIGHT DRESSING.

by Sara Sherr

Adapt and Survive: 6 Things I’ve Learned While Living In NYC

Downtown

You’ll think about ways to be creative with your wardrobe, but also prioritize function when making fashion choices. I stopped buying things I can’t wear comfortably. I’m grateful to whoever brought the sneaker trend back. When in doubt, wear black. And I stick to buying pieces that can transition from day (work) to night (play).

IT CAN BE THE LONELIEST CITY IN THE WORLD, IF YOU’RE NOT CAREFUL.

Sometimes you can feel the loneliest when there are always people surrounding you. I’ve learned that everyone’s schedule is hectic, and it can be really difficult to keep in touch with your friends if they don’t live within a five-block radius from you. It’s also expensive to eat out and meet up for dinner multiple nights per week. But that’s when you’ve got to get creative, and make sure you do what you can to maintain your friend-

5

IF YOU MAKE IT HERE, YOU CAN MAKE IT ANYWHERE.

As cliche as this statement is, I 100 percent believe that it’s true. New York City will chew you up and spit you out if you’re not paying attention, but it’s this grind that separates the tough from the weak. If you can build up yourself, your career, your business, your goals while surviving in New York City— whether it’s for one year or 10— the lessons you’ve learned during your time here will be invaluable. And living and working any-where else will be a piece of cake.

I remember when I first came to Manhattan, I couldn’t stop looking up. The skyscrapers, the people, the cabs, the shops and restaurants—it was like I had a high from the city that felt like it would never go away. But the buzz wears off after you’ve been here for a while. You get caught up in your day-to-day life: work, home, favorite restaurant / bar, sleep. Wake up, do it again. Ask a New Yorker when the last time they went to any kind of tourist attraction and they’ll probably laugh at you. What once was wonder in your eyes can easily become frustration and stress. Your slow, sight-soaking stroll will most likely become a brisk walk. Everyone’s got somewhere to be, and everyone’s moving like they’re late for something really, really important.

DON’T GET LOST IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE.

96


NEW YORK CITY

Profile for Alicia Churilla

The Living City: New York City  

A Comparative Analysis of Identity and Dress in the Modern Metropolis This capstone project aims to answer the question: how does the ident...

The Living City: New York City  

A Comparative Analysis of Identity and Dress in the Modern Metropolis This capstone project aims to answer the question: how does the ident...

Advertisement