Tag Archives: new york

beginnings&endings // arrivals&departures

Today is my 1 year anniversary of moving to New York. I love it here.

Today is also the day I start my first art residency, at The Wassaic Project in Wassaic, NY.

My friend Joe graciously offered to assist me and be my co-pilot driving up there. We rented a car and packed up all my fabric and sequins and bike and clothes, and drove 2 hours out of the city to Wassaic, arriving just in time for dinner.

We made a mini-video-series documenting our road trip! I love it. Watching this is almost like hanging out with us along the trip – being right there in the car talking about art, relationships, snacks, friendship, the pursuit of happiness…. really great stuff here. A lovely portrait of a friend, and of a time of transition — moving into a new realm of art making and living in new york!!

(don’t worry I edited it so you don’t have to sit through all of our blabbering….)

Joe And Aliya go to Wassaic, the Web-Mini-Series

PILOT EPISODE: “I think our movie is going to be better than Portlandia.”

EPISODE 1: “The Manhattan Bridge: There’s a little park in the corner where you can pee”

EPISODE 2: “Biker Lady Pursuit”

(there is no episode 3)

EPISODE 4: “Come on down to Joe and Aliya’s Style Station”

EPISODE 5: “”We’re Talkin’ about Love”

EPISODE 6: “Mellow, Reflective Episode”

EPISODE 7: “The Dessert Episode, inspired by Nature Goodness”

EPISODE 8: “The Adorable Episode”

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nyc christmas tourist

Christmas time is a bizarre time for a Jew (for anyone?). I feel like all month I’ve been wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas!” or almost worse, a “Happy Holidays!”. I vaguely hate the “Happy Holidays” because it’s pretending that there is actually another set of important holidays at this time of year. Really it’s just Christmas. We all know it, ok? stop pretending. Chanukkah is not a big deal. if you want to get excited about a Jewish holiday, let’s get gung-ho about Passover! or Rosh Hashannah! or Yom Kippur (oh wait, there’s no big present buying rush then? oh never mind.) anyways, we’ll get some mad passover fun going on in about 4 months but until then we’re here in December with Christmas.

So, having seen my amazing family during Thanksgiving I thought, there’s no reason for me to come home for this holiday I don’t celebrate. I’ll just stay in NYC and do some awesome sewing projects or catch up on work I’m making or get some good money-paying gigs while there’s no one here to distract me. Little did I know that the HOLIDAY MALAISE would descend upon me in a most epic way, reinforced by my new york setting.

Lonely and a bit homesick for a home beyond just the cinder blocks in Florida, I knew this was prime art-making time.

My companion for this adventure was a fellow non-celebrator, Davey Davis, who I found out was also around the city for the holiday, and who had been pumped about the idea when we ran into each other on the Williamsburg Bridge the other week (photoshoot!)

December 25, we set off to really feel the full extent of Christmas Spirit inside the city that many frolic to for just that feeling at this time of year. We collected objects, patterns pictures, feelings, sandwiches to document here. I also documented the project in real-time via twitter (<– a backwards stream of all my tweets from the day).

1. Breakfast at 473 St. Johns Pl, 9:40am:

Oatmeal (rolled oats, not steel cut), frozen berries, walnuts, almonds, ginger, cinnamon, yogurt, honey. Chai tea. We talked about routines and moving to new york and our individual adventures of late.

2. Train ride uptown, 10:35am:

Botanical Garden Shuttle to Franklin Ave, Manhattan bound C to Jay Street, Manhattan bound A to 125th Street, west to 490 Riverside Drive. We talked about outsider artists and traveling with intentions to make a difference and being the life of the party.

3. Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, 2nd floor balcony, 11:55am:

The Riverside Church is a historic church, the church where a friend told me that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. went to / preached at (? facts not checked). A church which, “commits itself to welcoming all persons, celebrating the diversity found in a Congregation broadly inclusive of persons from different backgrounds of characteristics, including race, economic class, religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, family status and physical and mental abilities. ”

We got here late, but caught the end of the sermon which surprisingly mentioned #occupywallstreet, being thankful for their cause and for the way they have brought up OWS issues into the public sphere, in a non-violent way. The sermon called to support their cause and have the mission of OWS be clearly articulated to all in the coming year, and that non-violent protesting be protected and continued. I was really impressed and moved by this endorsement, re-contextualization of the OWS movement into this religious context — makes it more viable? more credible with the weight of religious conviction, without scaring me because of this collapse of the religious and secular worlds? I hope this makes sense.

We also ended up on part of a tour of the church. We went to the top balcony, and the 20th floor, which for some reason was so impressive to me. 20 floors! in a church! that seems like a lot, but then I think about NYC and 20 floors is like nothing. It was beautiful regardless, and the room reverberated with the vibrations of the bells of the building, non-stop ringing.

4. Deli Sandwiches, Broadway Ave bodega, 1pm:

Hunger sets in. Davey advocates for his favorite NYC universal eats, the Bodega Deli Sandwich. Turkey and Ham, respectively, with “all the veggies you got” –  pickles, tomato, lettuce. Surprisingly delish and effectively filling lunches. Beautiful abstract-geometric-landscape setting. We talked about religion and Judaism and Atheism vs Agnosticism. We talked about families.

I picked up this interesting set of anthropological field samples on our walk through Morningside Heights.

5. 1 train south to Times Square, 1:35pm:

this train structure amazed me. It was beautiful. I also loved the tiny 1-person wide escalators.

The LED sign felt poetic, and foretelling of futures.

so many patterns. We talked about Cindy Sherman and the effectiveness of advertising on trains.

6. Bryant Park, kettle corn and not ice-skating, 2:00pm:

On our list of “maybe” was ice-skating. My mom said, “You gotta go ice skating on Christmas in NYC!” but the $35 ticket was a bit of a hesitation. But more-so than that, once we got there, it didn’t look very fun at all, and everyone just looked really silly.

7. New York Public Library steps, looking out on East 41st Street, 2:25pm:

Walking from Bryant Park, we came upon some folding chairs on the mall (promenade??) of the New York Public Library. IT was a lovely place to sit, watch people taking pictures of each other, and look out on the city. We talked about how we ended up in NYC, what we liked about it here, and what we saw as our futures here.

We saw these two kids posing for their dad, and they looked so funny in their posed faces. As soon as they finished their photo-shoot, I asked the dad to take a picture of Davey and myself posed in just the same way as the kids had posed.

8. Walking up 5th Avenue, 2:45pm:

So many people told me our tour HAD to include looking at the fabulous Christmas windows of department stores along 5th avenue. They were great! We saw Minnie Mouse! and then paid $1 for this damn photo:

The problem with this part of the tour was that between all the other Christmas Tourists, the hot dog vendors, the dudes selling Louis Votton purses, and barricades put up to control the crowds I was a part of, I kinda wanted to scream. The claustrophobia set in. I couldn’t move. everyone was so slow and leisurely and there wasn’t even that much to look at. I like that we couldn’t even take a photo in front of the windows without a million people moving into the picture too. That is more interesting to me than a picture of a fancy department store window.

Davey ended up going back another day to look at the better windows of Bergoff Goodman that we apparently missed because they were a few streets up from when we got too pooped out to continue (BUMMER).

9. Rockefeller Park/ Rockefeller Tree, 3:10pm:

“I’m gonna take a picture of you as you in front of the Rockefeller Tree — your first time seeing the tree!” Davey said to me as we neared 50th st. Some of the a million people next to us said, “Aww!” — our first Christmas!

But actually, it wasn’t so cute. It was entirely overwhelming. SO MANY PEOPLE AAACKCKKKK!!!!

All of this crazy was made better by impersonating the statues. We talked about bike races and how Davey has never met someone shorter than 5’4″ before (he says).

10. Train ride home, 3:30pm:

The crowds and ultra-tourism really wiped us out. and it was time to head home anyways for our separate evening plans. “We have to take a photo of you next to this fire-hydrant to end the project.” I don’t know why really but I guess it was a fitting end.

Downtown E to 42nd Street, Brooklyn-bound 2. We talked about potlucks and small-frame bikes.

Arrived home around 4:30pm. Parted ways. I ate all of the remaining toffee that my roommate Zoe had made for presents. Felt slightly sick from too much toffee and still a bit Christmas-lonely. But with a new friend and a great day of conversation and adventure gained.

Project End.

*all photos by Davey Davis. Except some less fancy ones by me on a phone camera.

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2011: an audio review

I recently had to get a new computer hard-drive, and lost a big chunk of my organization/files/crap. Mostly this has been almost like a digital rebirth. I’ve called it my Tech Revival. One exciting thing I just found was all these old audio clips I started recording, mostly randomly, on my phone. Listening to them, I’m amazed at how quickly I’m transported right back to that exact moment. I think they provide an incredible reflection on this past year.

1. a recording of the floridian tropical downpour of rain, recorded August 29, 2010 at 9:13pm (ok, not quite part of 2011 but still counts): The rain in Florida is magical and torrential. Powerful like no other rain I’ve seen/felt/heard/been soaked by.

tropical rain

2. an audio note to myself, recorded February 6, 2011, 11:35am. In this clip, I am driving and speaking an audible list to myself. The first part references a to-do that causes me to move to NYC, and end up dedicating a majority of my year to Creative Time – a place where I met amazing people and artists and was really introduced to this whole new world. The other things in the list appropriately encompass almost everything else going on in my life and brain at that time. ending of course with “finish my plan”

list to myself

3. an audio portrait of driving in the nissan maxima, recorded February 25, 2011, 9:00am. I remember recording this clip when I knew that my days of driving on long stretches of sunny sunny highways into the palm tree sunsets were numbered. I wanted to capture the sounds of the windows all down, the car making horrendous noises that are surely signaling its slow breaking down, and the one CD that was stuck in the radio that I didn’t mind at all playing over and over on repeat.

driving in the nissan

4. a clip of the mariachi band that was playing in the subway, recorded April 13, 2011, 12:09pm. I was coming back to Manhattan on the 7 train from a Creative Time staff meeting in Corona, Queens at the Immigrant Movement International headquarters. I thought they were very beautiful.

7 train band

5. a clip of a longer interview with Ashley Young of Brown Girl Love, recorded April 20, 2011, 9:34pm. This is a longer interview, which is currently unedited (so don’t listen too critically). Ashley and I had set this up as a blog interview to discuss our blogs and visions and what we cared about in the world. It was a lovely discussion, which I had thought I had lost/erased. Happy to have found it and to edit it soon.

ashley interview clip

6. an audio portrait of the empty (old) Essex Street Market, 80 Essex Street, NYC, recorded October 12, 2011, 3:49pm. This was towards the end of the run of the exhibition (Living as Form) and I realized that I wanted to capture the noises and the feel of walking around this huge space with a life of its own. The street, the cars, the people walking by, the windows creaking, the lights buzzing.

inside the essex street market

7. a sampling of the musical offerings at the third night of Hanukkah, recorded December 21, 2011, 6:00pm. I went to the public celebration of Hanukkah put on by Chabad of Brooklyn at Grand Army Plaza near my house. Not only was there this rockin’ techno-version of vaguely Jewish tunes, but there was a giant 45 foot tall menorah (and a rabbi in a cherry picker to light it!), hot latkes passed around, at least 4 mini-vans with menorahs strapped to their roofs, and a million identically dressed Jewish children running around. It was so festive I couldn’t even suppress my festive spirit.

techno hanukkah

8. the draft voice-over for PEAK Technical marketing animation I’m working on, recorded December 22, 2011, 9:42pm. I’m almost embarrassed to include this one, but I think I need in order to complete the 2011 audio compilation. This is me reading through the voice-over script for the marketing animation I’ve been working on. These are kinda bizarre animations that our clients just keep loving and asking for more — no matter how many weird rainbows and flying text and flowers with money signs we throw in!

Aliya PEAK voice-over draft

9. the reverberations of the bells at Riverside Church, Harlem, NYC, recorded December 25, 2011, 12:23pm: we went on a mini-tour of the historic Riverside Church in Harlem after the Christmas morning service. This was recorded on the 20th floor of the Church tower, and the subtle drone of the bells was beautiful, haunting and ever-present as we looked out on the city.

bells of riverside church

what a beautiful and audible year.

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