Tag: new york city

We referred to it as ‘the neighborhood’

At Bklyner., reporter Pamela Wong talks with photographer Larry Racioppo, whose new book of 128 black-and-white photographs documents a neighborhood of South Brooklyn that existed long before you needed at least $2,500 monthly for a one-bedroom in Park Slope (and yes, I know where we live is worse). From Bklyner.:

Born in South Slope, Racioppo’s family moved to 40th Street between 4th and 5th Avenues in Sunset Park when he was in second grade. “When I was born my parents had an apartment on 6th Avenue between Prospect Avenue and 17th Street,” he explained over the phone. “The building was torn down to build the Prospect Expressway.”

“My parents, my grandparents, all came from southern Italy,” he continued. “They worked as laborers. My grandparents never learned how to speak English. They had Italian friends that had Italian bakeries, Italian stores. They all settled in South Brooklyn and Sunset Park. My dad and five or six of my uncles were longshoremen. They all worked on the docks,” he recalled.

“We referred to it as ‘the neighborhood,’” he said of the area he grew up in, which serves as the setting for his book. “This vague thing, somewhere from 10th Street to 18th Street, from 4th Avenue to 6th Avenue. All my mother’s friends and cousins lived there. They were all from southern Italy.”

Read the story on Racioppo at Bklyner., and see the exhibition of his work at the Central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library until December 29th.


An answer to graffiti art

In anticipation of two new solo exhibitions of his work opening in New York City, writer Brett Sokol profiles street artist, illustrator, and comics creator Richard McGuire. From The New York Times:

Posters featuring Ixnae Nix receive central billing, drawing upon nearly 150 variations that Mr. McGuire plastered throughout Soho, Tribeca and the East Village. Using oversized sheets of blank newsprint he would spray paint a silhouette of the spiky-haired Ixnae Nix, usually in a state of frenetic motion, and then use a crayon to neatly fill the edges with cryptic text, all without spacing or punctuation. The net effect married a hard-boiled voice straight out of old detective movies — “I Knew She Could Whistle;” “Someone No One Remembers Who;” “Good And Sick Of The Whole Business” — to unsettling science-fiction imagery, akin to Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Alphaville.”

But Mr. McGuire says he was more inspired by rumblings from underground than the stars above.

“I wanted to do an answer to graffiti art,” he recalled. “I can still see that cast of character names when the subway would pull into the station, all with their own code names: Futura, Lady Pink. So I had mine: Ixnae Nix. I would hear those words in 1940s movies. Ixnae is the pig Latin of nix. And I like the double negation, it just sounds good.”

exhibitions New York City Richard McGuire

In Manhattan, Alden Projects will host Richard McGuire: Art for the Street–1978-1982, and at MoMA PS1, another exhibition will open this weekend at the New York Art Book Fair. Four years ago, in association with a show at The Morgan Library & Museum, Pantheon Books published McGuire’s Here, a stunning, full-color graphic novel grounded in an experimental black and white strip that the artist contributed to anthology magazine RAW in 1989 (see my post). Read Brett Sokol’s story here.

“Here” original strip © 1989 Raw Books & Graphics.

Stand clear of the closing doors, etc.

NYC architect Candy Chan is “constantly amazed and annoyed by the city’s subway system” per her website. She’s perhaps more obsessed with the stations than anything else, and a few years ago, she launched her own examination of the stations by way of intricate 3D visuals that are representative of the structures themselves as well as what’s above ground. Even as there are 472 stations, Chan points out that “a three-dimensional representation of the stations does not exist.” Until now, anyway.

candy chan architect subway nyc

WIRED talked to Chan about her project and the enormous new sketches that are now on her site: “This time around, instead of one station per drawing with colored platforms, we have multiple stations per drawing and colored tracks that connect them all,” she writes at her blog.


Despite the complexity, Chan starts her sketching process with just pen and paper. She hoovers up information from Google and Apple Maps, which give her a rough idea of how the stations are arranged in space. Then, she hits the tunnels themselves, walking through the stations and snapping photos to understand how they fit together. What she’s found is that stations have their own hidden tricks. For instance, New York has some subtle hills and slopes, a topographical challenge last century’s subway builders had to finesse. Then there are confounding issues of inconsistency: “It gets so trippy when you see that in this station, a blue line is on your left, and red is on your right, but in the next station it’s flipped,” she says.

These drawings are so beautiful that I’m almost completely distracted from how terrible the whole transit system is in New York City. See the WIRED story and visit Candy Chan’s site.

Image: “City Hall Park” © 2018 Candy Chan.