‘Tis The Season To Be Thankful

This semester, I set blogging goals for the enrichment of my posts and myself. Call it a social experiment or me vying to spice up my normal routine, but I fully enjoyed the new aspect I added to my posting process. For those who aren’t familiar with my new process, it was to cease going on site visits alone. Last year, I relished in my solo hours put into the development of each post since, as an introvert, spending time alone came naturally. But I wanted to try something different and out of my comfort zone. This new, scary, and uncharted territory was my new addition to my posts and I feel like it thoroughly improved my overall blogging aesthetic. I wrote differently, my pictures felt different, and most of all I will always have the memories shared with each of my participants. So this post is for all of you (you know who you are!) whom I begged, pestered, and ultimately dragged this semester. In the essence of the holiday season, I want to take some time to thank all of you who helped, supported, and guided me to where I am now. Without you, I would have nothing, I would be nowhere, and I wouldn’t be who I am; I can’t imagine a world like that, so I refuse to.

Brianna
This all began with a beautiful woman named Brianna. She was the first person to tell me that my photos were actually worth being seen and she was my connection to this amazing student blogging “epidemic.” My Bri-Bri was the first willing participant to go on site visits with me. In fact, most of my first posts were created with her and whatever I learned on those trips, we learned together. So I thank you for always being there for me not only as a sister but as a peer, colleague, friend, and so much more. I was born into a world with you in it and I can’t imagine my life without the one driving force that shaped, guided, and advised me to be the person I am today. We don’t say it often so I won’t say it now but I will say “… Not possible.”

a picture of brianna in a quiet park

Image Credit: Sabrina Vasquez


Randy+Amanda
I would like to shed some much needed light on this duo. These true gladiators came out on the Friday before Halloween to a site visit with me. It was midnight and we had to weave through drunk costumed people in order to arrive to the site but it was all worth it. I wouldn’t trade that night for anything. It, unexpectedly, resulted in the best photos I would get this entire semester. Thank you for coming with me regardless of your understandable lethargy and aching need to be home after a long week of work. I appreciate both of your presence on that very peculiar night. Randy, thank you for listening to my random architectural gibberish. I began to run off on a tangent about the exposed structure and all you said was “Hmm… Never noticed that.” Amanda, like always, you kept the experience fun and enjoyable. Thank you for making work less tedious (especially on a crazy night in Manhattan) and making me very proud of this new process.

A photo of amanda and randy on a busy Manhattan street

Image Credit: Sabrina Vasquez


Genny
To the Agent 99 to my 86, the Detective Stabler to my Benson, Burton Gustor to my Shawn Spencer, thank you for all your feedback and support this semester. It seems rather preposterous knowing that we’ve only known each other for a short four months. We mutually learned from each other throughout our editing process. There was never a time that I felt that you didn’t have my back; whether it was a quick text at 12 o’clock in the morning or a casual conversation in the hallway. It was lovely getting to know you these past months and I couldn’t be any more thankful for the time that we had together. May our professional collaborations continue to thrive as well as our friendship.

Ride-Along_01
To my personal TMNT, who loves pizza just about as much as skateboarding much alike Michelangelo, but has a kindred heart and spirit similar to the persona of Donatello. Thank you for agreeing to come with me on one of my site visits. On each of my visits, I had to say at least three annoying historical or architectural facts about the site; you were one of the few to mutually geek out with me. I thank you for your time and interest in what I do; it gives me the inspiration to continue working on tuning my craft. Your input has been nothing but insightful and I am deeply grateful for all your encouragement. I said this once before, but you really are a wise person, and never think anything different. Your ability to perceive and analyze is inspiring all in itself; anyone who knows a fragment of what I know about you would see just how truly amazing you are. Thank you for always supporting me, regardless of if it was for a post, project, or just about anything; it gives me the determination I need to do the plethora of tasks I do on the daily. Thank you for all that you are.

Dolores
World, I introduce you to my grandmother. Everyone I know has heard a story or two about her. I don’t know how it happens but my stories and experiences always make a beeline back to this woman. Class after class, I bring her into a project at least three times every semester. I never cared what my professors, bosses, and peers would think of me discussing my grandmother so much because she was the root of it all for me; the one constant that never changed over the years. I voluntarily owe my entire existence to my Nana because I am here due to all her support, love, sacrifices, and wisdom. She gave me my very first camera and taught me everything that she knew. A force to be reckoned with, this woman is the source of all my sarcasm and wit. She deserves more than everything I could possibly ever give her. If I’m ever -so lucky in life to be able to inspire anyone, even an eighth of how much she has inspired me, I would have fulfilled my life’s expectations. To Dennis/Mom/Nana, I also offer the grandest appreciation; I am forever indebted to your love and everything similar.

a picture of dolores in the glow of a sunset

Image Credit: Brianna Vasquez


Sadia
To my very first friend at City Tech, thank you for your time contributed to one of my posts and being the greatest friend anyone could ask for. You don’t only push me intellectually but you also make me want to be better and continue to enrich myself academically and personally. You know me; all my antics and imperfections and you still are a great friend to me. I hope you know how much I appreciate you and our friendship since you just GET me so well. Only you understand when I say “Sorry, I’m a toucher” or when I make that dumb timid face and you force me to do something that I don’t want to do, but we both know will ultimately help me. Thank you for being there for me throughout all the crazy twist and turns in the years of us knowing each other; honestly, I don’t know where I would be without you. So, thank you… Thank you for being you.

Mya
To my baby sis, you make me proud every day! I’ll never forget our outing; I don’t think I have laughed any harder on any site visit, by far. With a sweet face and sarcastic tongue almost comparable to mine’s, I can’t picture the last ten years or so without you. I have watched you grow into the person that you are today and I couldn’t be any more invested in the enrichment of your future. You already know that I love you with all my being has to offer; and it may not seem like it, because I’m so busy at times, but I’ll always be there for you. Thank you for allowing me to schlep you around lower Manhattan on a hot summer day and for all the years of our friendship turned sisterhood. May I continue to see you grow, and may I continue to annoy you every day; it’s my life’s commitment.

The Buzz Team
To the ladies of The Buzz, thank you for being the best damn all-female team that I have ever worked with in my entire life. I take pride and honor, every single chance I get, to have worked with all of you. You’ve made work a beautiful environment and being around you all has only added to my repertoire. This has to be the closest I have ever felt to a work family and I have to admit that it is the best feeling I have ever had about work. Thank you for showing me how great women can click with each other. You all have set the bar so high and I hope that I can be so lucky to feel this way about a work environment again in my lifetime. Sam, you inspire us all to be more organized and involved. Neffi, you give us all the love and uplifting insight we need to continue to flourish in our semester. Robine, you always have something really deep to say that leaves us thinking, trying to fully analyze what you said. Pebbles, you motivate us all to try to really depict our posts and make it so literal for our readers. Cherishe, you always have the gumption to say those things that are on everyone’s minds; you influence us all to be hard-working and to not get entangled in webs of self-made excuses. Thank you, ladies… Thank you for being the greatest role model of how women can not only work together but work EFFECTIVELY together.

Readers
Lastly, it is my greatest honor to thank all those who read, share, or comment on my posts. Each of my posts had you all in mind and I will continually try to find better methods to reach you more in depth. When I first started blogging, I had a motto: It was to “make New Yorkers fall in love with New York again.” I hope I was able to do that and more with my posts. You allowed me to learn more about myself and for that I am infinitely grateful. The more you learned about New York, the more I did as well. I can honestly say that the more I posted, the more I fell in love with New York, myself, which I didn’t think was possible. Thank you for reading; I can’t wait to see the new adventures we’ll take in the future.

O Holy Night

It was dusk on a clear Saturday night when my grandmother and I decided to venture to Midtown Manhattan in the hopes of taking some nice photographs and having a fun time in the city. We had ridden the C train for over twenty stops and we were more than ready to be dazzled by some beautiful architecture, amazing music, and wonderful art. As we walked the few avenues necessary to get to the renowned St. Patrick’s Cathedral, we started to see more and more people than expected. Droves of tourists and fellow New Yorkers crowded the sidewalks until the bustling walkway spread in to the street. The streets were closed off and a plethora of families, friends, and tourists alike, roamed the city’s streets. We persisted and kept walking until reaching what seemed to be an amoeba of people. It swayed from side to side, people attaching themselves to the moving cell and exiting through dendrites of people attempting to cross a busy street. We tried our best to steer clear of the human amoeba before getting sucked into the abyss of people. I latched onto my grandmother’s hood,scared to lose her in the crowd (since it has happened on many occasions). The last thing I saw before my vision was almost completely shut off from my surroundings was the glowing awning of Radio City Music Hall. Instantly, I found a reason for the large crowd; they were all there to see the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller! Soon we were spat out of the organism and began trying to figure out a plan to reach our destination. We walked a severely crowded block before my grandmother left me to find an officer halfway into the street. She tenderly tapped on his shoulder and asked him for the fastest route to our destination, which was to walk back a few avenues and down a few streets over, in the hopes that we’d reach a clearer avenue.

outside view of saint patrick's cathedral

A ten minute walk turned into a forty-five minute fiasco. I asked my grandmother if she was still willing to walk as far as we had to, in order to actually get to the cathedral and to my dismay she was more persistent than I was. I, on the other hand, was ready to go home and label the visit as a failed attempt. Instead of my desires to ultimately give up, we continued walking down streets until we reached a clearing on the sidewalks. After practically a hour of walking around in circles we finally reached the cathedral. It was breathtaking and created such a cultural contrast. Christmas lights, high energy of commerce, and other tourist attractions invaded the sidewalks and streets. But deep in the midst of all that confusion was something so stark and beautiful.

The nave of saint patrick's cathedralThe ceiling structure of the saint patrick's cathedral

The crowds gathered around the decorated storefronts, leaving St. Patrick’s Cathedral as a more reserved area. Although it was relatively crowded inside, the crowd felt different. Believers filled the space, saying prayers and cleansing their souls. They treated the cathedral like the closest thing to the pope that they could possibly achieve; their need for the sanctuary screaming from the organ pipes that played beautiful music throughout the entire structure. It was loud enough to “move” you but low enough for one to actually enjoy it. My grandmother and I broke apart and explored the cathedral separately for some time; taking in the surrounding by ourselves before conversing the beauty amongst each other. Our differing photographic styles really shined in this aspect as we found different things interesting and took photographs in contrasting manners.

Statue of Mother Teresa

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”- Mother Teresa                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Image Credit: Dolores Greene

carved statues in a wall of the saint patrick's cathedral

According to NPS.gov (National Park Service), Robert C. Broderick, author of “Historic Churches of the United States(1958)”, informed his readers of the history of the beloved cathedral. Apparently, the first Catholic priest of New York City, Jesuit martyr St. Isaac Jogues, came to Manhattan in the hopes of saving the souls of those who were here before the new settlement; his goal was to convert the Mohawk Indians. He carried out his work, eventually launching the first Catholic church in New York City, it was called St. Peter’s Cathedral and opened in 1785.

carved depiction of Jesus in a wall of the saint patrick's cathedralA nativity scene at saint patrick's cathedral

The growth of the congregation demanded a bigger cathedral to be built, so in 1810 the site of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral was purchased. By the time of 1850 the plan to build was placed. Archbishop, John Hughes, and architect, James Renwick, began to create plans and proposals for the project. Construction began in 1858 and was completed in 1906. The process took so long since construction had to halt production when the Civil War took place; as resources ran low, the Cathedral had to wait to be completed.

view of the nave in saint patrick's cathedralpew and nave of the saint patrick's cathedral

As the years went on, the Neo-Gothic Cathedral has seen multiple restorations and additions. A major addition being the various organs that breathed life into the Cathedral. As stated by Saint Patrick’s Cathedral’s website, the first organ system was by George Jardine and Sons in 1879. Only one year later the system was upgraded by J.H. & C.S. Odell. The organ pipes were then renovated over three times, thereafter.

Organ pipes at saint patrick's cathedral

Although the site visit had its respective road blocks and other difficulties, I’m glad we endured the long travel since it was well worth a visit regardless of my failure to piece together simple New York tourist spots. I feel like I didn’t only learn about the architecture of a 19th century cathedral, but I also was immersed in a culture; a culture with deep roots and beliefs.

votive candles in a row

A Ride to Remember

Since September 11th attacks, there has been so many iterations of memorabilia to grasp the honor and respect for the people lost on that tragic day. The scales of grandeur range drastically; we can see or the objects of honor everyday to the point that we forget why they exist. From simple keychains, to water bottles engraved with the devastating date, or that mural you pass by everyday on your way to work, Calatrava’s Oculus, or that large shiny beautiful mass that we all look toward not replacing the towers but emitting the strength and determination of New York City, Freedom Tower. Small enough to fit in one’s pocket or large enough to be the tallest building in the infamous New York City skyline, all objects of honor convey the same thing; remembrance, desire to rebuild, a method to carry such a heavy burden together, and many other beautiful concepts. This post is dedicated to those objects by mentioning a striking piece of art that was made in memorium of 9/11 and the acts of rebuilding thereafter.

a front view of the 9/11 memorial motorcycle

Paul Teutul Jr. (yes, that guy from American Chopper) stylized a motorcycle for the cause and it was named the “9/11 Memorial Motorcycle”. According to 9/11 Memorial organization It made its debut on September 5, 2011 right on the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site. This was a few days before the National September 11 Memorial & Museum officially opened; the motorcycle was built for this congratulatory event. It was commissioned by Daniel Tishman, who is a board member of the 9/11 memorial and chose to reveal it publicly on Vesey Street with, at the time, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels. Another vehicular masterpiece inspired by the 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle was then donated for raffle to raise as much money as possible for the organization.

I read on Manufacturing.net that Teutul felt this project was the most important to ever be completed by the company. He worked vigilantly with Tishman Construction who were responsible for the building of Freedom Tower and the Oculus. Daniel Tishman is the CEO of the construction team and was how so much attention to detail was implemented to the finished product. Teutul expressed his utter honor and dedication to the project, he explained “We built the bike to be a sculpture and pay tribute to 9/11. It speaks of the resiliency of America and the new beginning that the new towers represent.”

a back view of the 9/11 memorial motorcycle

The motorcycle was housed in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum for an entire year before it was moved for preservation against Hurricane Sandy; it was temporarily held in Teutul’s warehouse. Nearly a month after the storm, the bike was replaced to its innate home. The motorcycle, once again, was a small sign to rebuilding the city after a devastating occurrence; giving us hope that we can reconstruct ourselves as we once did before.

a side view of the 9/11 memorial motorcycle

The Things We Love to Hate

North of Houston Street lies one of my hideout spots, my “rain or shine” type of place to scurry off to and disappear from civilization for a few hours. The photos alone, surfaces so many memories. Back in my freshman year of college, fellow blogger, Brianna, and I were pining for months to see a small independent film by the name of “Room”. Before it became so famous and won various amounts of awards, it was just a small film that was anticipated by a small group of folks. We ran there after class on a brisk Friday night with no expectations of the theatre itself. We only had one focal point in mind that day; MAKE THE SHOWTIME! Upon arrival we were greeted with the smells of a great cafe as the warm lights shined upon our glistening foreheads. The area was moderately crowded and there was a particularly buzzy nature to the environment. Voices clashed over each other as people congregated in the cafe sipping caffeinated drinks and discussing the previously watched film. It all amazed me; in the total ten seconds I had to soak in the new territory, it reminded me of a social club for film enthusiasts, a communal spot for real film lovers to geek out and feel unapologetic about it. Our tickets got clipped and we headed downstairs to the auditoriums. Stumbling into the theatre, we quietly found seats and enjoyed the film.

The marquee of the Angelika Film Center

I found on Angelika’s website that the entire chain began in 1989; the NoHo (North of Houston) location being the theatre’s birthplace before its roots spread, overtaking the country like a viral infection. It supplied a major demand for independent movie houses in the US. I always thought of these theatres as the rebels of American commerce; they didn’t conform to big sales and branding, instead they played what they thought would be a regional hit. They didn’t care about what society would think, they only desired to please the audience and what would possibly enrich their lives and overall perspective of life, itself. Admirably, Angelika now has five locations around America.

the Cafe at the Angelika Film Center

The Cafe Selection at the Angelika Film Center

The New York Times published an article pertaining the previous use for the building before Angelika Film Center and a plethora of other stores invaded the space. Its original name was “The Cable Building” and its primary use was as such. McKim, Mead & White was the architectural firm that was responsible for the creation of this Beaux-Arts style building. It was built in the years 1892-1894. The eight stories was used as office space while the gears grinded, twisted, and turned in the basement. The never-ending, winding cables weighed over four tons but was able to move sixty cable cars at the rate of thirty miles per hour on average. This system was in place for about a decade before it proved to create more harm than efficiency. Eventually, the cables were discarded from societal use and electric cars came into place. By natural selection the basement of “The Cable Building” was no longer necessary and reached its unfortunate demise. Untouched for years the room would patiently wait. Until 1930, in which the space was cleared out, making way for various companies,A chandelier at the Angelika Film Center

The Ceiling of the Angelika Film Center

Ceiling of the Angelika Film Center

who used the area for manufacturing space. It wasn’t until 1985 that Harry Feldman, Jules Demchick, and a group called Cable Building Associates bought the building including the tenants and renovated the building. Four short years after their purchase, Angelika Film Center would take home to the old building.

Perspective view of the auditorium at Angelika Film Center

Art instillation of an animal in flight

I didn’t like the theatre at first, the auditoriums were sub-par, if that. They are also underground and too close to the nearby train station; so at the climax of a movie, there’s a slight chance of  feeling and hearing the rumble of a passing train. As if the current transportation system is constantly jeering the failure of its predecessor, the cable car. The auditoriums are not stadium seating and the rooms are rather intimate. The size of the auditorium can be a real deal-breaker for some, but I don’t mind at all; in fact, I have grown to love the cinematic intimacy. I can name so many more initial complaints I had about Angelika proving the very reason for my utter dislike. But ever since that first movie experience, I impatiently wait for the next opportunity to catch a flick at Angelika. As a society, we love to hate something regardless of how we actually feel about the subject. Angelika Film Center and I have that type of relationship; I think it’s beautiful and, at times, a beautiful disaster. But there is no other place like it! Where else can you buy macaroons, gelato, and a delightful cup of coffee as a movie snack?

 

 

Angelika film center auditorium

Image Credit: Sabrina Vasquez

Can-can

“How could I have not known?” are the words that continued to bounce around my thought process while walking through Brookfield Place. The poster and signs all congratulated the organization for their 25th year of the competition. “But how?” I thought to myself, wondering how something to exceptional and amazing could be so close to me in proximity yet so far away in reality since I hadn’t known of its existence. How was it that I only stumbled upon something of such grandeur only a few months ago? I enjoyed every second that I spent there, allowing every dynamic to dance around my thoughts. But I couldn’t help but think about all the years I wasted; the years I didn’t get to see the exhibit in reality. Regardless of how much I wish or beg, I will never be able to get those years back; the only thing I can do is enjoy the current exhibit and its potential for future years.

Brookfield Place

According to the Canstruction Nation Headquarters website, Canstruction began in 1992 by a woman named Cheri Melillo as a collaborative idea with her fellow colleagues. Together, they created an idea to bridge the gap between architects, engineers, and contractors. Each of these professions are connected but don’t really interact with each other; they just coexist in the vast world of design and construction. Melillo saw a problem with the lack of interaction but, also, saw a solution to make the worlds collide and begin to form a better and more comfortable relationship with one another. Canstruction officially made its debut in 1992, taking place in Denver, CO and Seattle, WA before the New York chapter opened on November 13, 1993.

the Canstruction Poster

Canstruction is a competition in which groups of architects, engineers, and contractors (licenced, students, and graduates, alike) build structures completely out of canned goods. Yes, those old fruit cocktails and tuna fish cans in back of your pantry are turned into art. Maybe more enjoyable than the taste, these sculptures stand in the space for a limited time; displayed for everyone’s amusement. After the awards are given and the competition runs its course, the cans are then donated to a local food drive; in our case it all goes to City Harvest. Twenty-five years after the competition’s conception, Canstruction has grown into a massive organization, its compassion spreading to over two hundred cities all over the world and donating about fifty million pounds of food.

Canstruction Sculpture

“We CAN Coexist” by RAND Engineering & Architecture, DPC

Canstruction Sculpture

“Beauty and the Feast” by Gannett Fleming

Canstruction Sculpture

“Fearless in the Face of Hunger” by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Canstruction Sculpture

“Out of the Tunnel, In CANsit” by Thornton Tomasetti

This year marks the tenth year of the exhibit’s location at Brookfield Place. Twenty-six different groups entered their own renditions of can sculptures and they were dispersed around the property; weaved in between the commerce and lobbies, inciting droves of people to surround these structures. The creativity stunned me so thoroughly, that I don’t think I could pick a favorite. Each structure was unique and had its own respective qualities that I found favorable.

Canstruction Sculpture

“Heart to Heart” by Dattner Architects

Canstruction Sculpture

“PAC-CAN” by Perkins Eastman/DREAM

a Canstruction Sculpture of a pretzel

“Tying the Knot” by NV5

Canstruction Sculpture

“Game of Buildings – Winter Is Coming, Feed the Hungry” by Metropolis Group, Inc.

Although Melillo wasn’t able to see the growth of her organization since her tragic passing in 2009, I guarantee that she would be proud to know how much her work has induced the design and construction worlds to continue mingling with one another.

Canstruction Sculptures

Main floor for CANstructures

Who knew that a simple can had the ability to connect people at such a grand scale…

The Future of Landmark Theatre

Last week, I discussed Sunshine Cinema which is a part of the Landmark Theatre independent movie chain. This week, I would like to venture deeper into the history of the chain, itself, and its current New York City chapter.

 

Parallax Theatres (previous name for Landmark Theatres) was conjured by a man named Kim Jorgensen in 1974. Jorgensen is an American film director from Copenhagen, Denmark and started his own theatre chain for independent films and everything alike. The first theatre opened in 1974 under the management of Jorgensen. With the use of an old movie theatre he housed the first of many Landmark Theatres.

According to Cinema Treasures, Nuart Theatre was built in 1930 and had an occupant capacity of 600; it opened its doors for the first time in 1931. Fox West Coast Theatres owned the space from 1941 until their departure from the lot in 1954. In the early 1970’s Jorgensen set prey on the space, purchasing it and making it his own cinematic paradise. It was more than just a theatre, it was a concept; a concept that was lacking in the American movie industry. He introduced to the country an art house theatre that was so versatile that it was bound to be loved by many. It wasn’t exclusive to the movies that were financially pumped with propaganda and almost destined to succeed with gross profits. It showed the films that were under-funded and under-advertised giving them a chance to be seen. The outcome was grand, which ultimately led to the concept growing into something bigger than the old theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard.

In 1989 Jorgensen sold his company to Todd Wagner (movie producer) and Mark Cuban (yes, the Shark Tank guy) and together they manage the chain under 2929 Entertainment.  Now, Landmark Theatres has fifty-six theatres dotting the country in 30 different cities.

The move into VIA 57 West seemed only innate since the main concept of the space was to create this type of self-dependent community that satisfies all types of everyday necessities and common pleasures.

The building, itself, was completed in 2016 and has already began to house people.

I’m not sure if this is just incidentally ironic, but the entire esthetic of the building was based upon the classic Copenhagen dwelling complex which is strangely reminiscent to Jorgensen’s cultural background. BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) made the building to surround a courtyard in which all the services and trades would reside. One of the corners reaches for the sky like every other skyscraper in its surrounding. It towers over four hundred fifty feet in the air; this enables the inhabitants with clear views of the Hudson river.

At the foot of the structure lies the new cinematic neighbor, Landmark Theatre. It just opened its doors to the public on September 15, 2017. In its short life, it has already seen Q&A conferences with well known authors, directors, producers, and actors/actresses. Growing in potential and gaining popularity, the small theatre with 8 auditoriums, continues to flourish. It still holds that main concept of giving much needed light on the quickly over-looked and underappreciated films while capturing the most avant-garde approach to the movie theatre experience.

Although this new move means the close of one chapter, it also opens vast possibilities on an uncharted territory. May the young Landmark Theatre see as many good times as Sunshine Cinema did in retrospect. Only time will tell the true potential of the new location and new face of Landmark Theatres.

Roll Film!

On the Lower East Side resides the beloved Sunshine Cinema. It lives nestled in the East Village, serving the lovers of indie films. It has seen years of popcorn, sodas, stolen kisses between the aisles, laughter, suspenseful gasps, quiet sobs, and so much more. Drenched in history and love from the regulars, this theatre deserves to be known. There is more that meets the eye with Sunshine Theatre; it might look contemporary with a tongue-in-cheek type of reassurance to the more classic style of older movie houses, simply because it is. But below the entire building lies the richest soil of cinematic antiquity.

According to Cinema Treasures, way back in 1898, on the exact location of Sunshine Cinema, stood its first cinematic predecessor; it was called the Houston Hippodrome. This theatre showed Yiddish vaudeville (song and dance shows; burlesque) films and performances. By 1916, the building was closed and demolished, ultimately making space for a new theatre to take its place. It opened in 1917 and could seat six hundred people at maximum occupant capacity; it was called Chopin Theatre. It stayed in business until its unfortunate closure in 1945. Due to the decline of the economy, common businesses of pleasure were weeded out of society. The lot was then turned into a hardware warehouse. For about fifty years the old theatre was an over-sized container for supposedly more necessary things; its true potential, hidden underneath loads of a variation of metals, plastics, and paper.

In the late 1990’s, it was proposed to be revitalized as a theatre once again; releasing the lot back to its innate state. Landmark Theatres took the proposal, making a New York City chapter of the well known independent movie theatre chain; they would call this theatre, Sunshine Cinema. After three years and twelve million dollars of renovation, Tony Pleskow, Tom Rael, Lorenz F.J. Weiher under the Pleskow + Rael architectural firm, designed the interior, and TK architects, provided the structural design; together they finished the theatre. Sunshine Cinema opened its bronze clad doors to the public on December 21, 2001.

The cinema house has more to offer than classic theatre munchies, decent stadium style auditoriums, and a basic circulation. Everything was well-planned; creating a multi-dimensional movie experience. The ground floor houses the cafe/concession area; suited with bistro-style chairs and tables. Japanese rock gardens are dispersed throughout the space creating a calming effect to the customers as if walking through those doors were supposed to take you on a journey through time and space, placing you in a realm beyond the average New York City “hustle and bustle”. Like a quiet haven, Sunshine Cinema provides New Yorkers a place to reestablish their sanity with necessary time away from their normal busy lives.

Unfortunately, it has been announced that Sunshine Cinema will be closing when the lease expires in January 2018. The building has already been sold to the K Property Group for thirty-one million five hundred thousand dollars. The Group plans to renovate the space, making it suitable for a mixed use of office and retail. Landmark Theatre, itself, has officially and successfully moved to a new location on West 57th street inside of BIG’s (Bjarke Ingels Group) VIA.

Eventually, January will arrive and Sunshine Cinema will have to close its doors indefinitely. For those who are saddened to depart with the cherished theatre, all hope is not lost. We have not a clue what the future holds and this lot has always had a way of rediscovering its inherent nature of being a theatre regardless of time and social adversary. In a few months we will have to say our final goodbyes to Sunshine Cinema or at least goodbye for now…

A Scoop of… History

The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, known for its delectable frozen treats all year round. It resides juxtaposed the Fulton Ferry Landing, serving customers along the piers of Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s a short walk from CityTech’s campus, in fact it only took me around ten minutes to walk to the beloved ice cream shop. Due to its close proximity, I find that it’s a go-to place for down time or time away from the busy college campus.

The building that holds all the tasty treats was once a fireboat house for the New York City Fire Department’s Marine Company 7. According to Cory Seamer, It was built in 1926 with clapboard, the tower on top of the house was used as a lookout. As time went on the station was used less and less before just amounting to a place to hang-dry hoses; like that piece of equipment in your house that has been reduced to only being used as a coatrack. The station then was revitalized into a museum called the Fulton Ferry Museum, National Maritime Historical Society and stayed in this state from 1976 up until 1982. After facing near demolishment to make way for new construction, the small boat house was named a landmark due to it’s grand significance.

In 2001, nearly two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mark Thompson took his chance as an owner in the restaurateur profession and opened the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory to the public. Sixteen years later and another location available to Brooklynites in Greenpoint, the ice cream shop is still going strong.

After buying the ice cream (because I had to do my complete research for the enrichment of the post), My travel buddy for this post, Brianna, and I ventured outside to find some natural seating. We walked along the piers in the 70 degree breeze while spooning globs of rich frozen goodness that I can swear was made from the gods. We finally settled down on a large lawn and overlooked the New York City skyline. After our clothes soaked in all the fresh-cut grass smell and Brianna swatted the fifth mosquito off her face, we decided it was time to retreat back to the city’s civilization.

It wasn’t too expensive; a double scoop dish was only $7. The price is reasonable to me since the ice cream is just that good; there’s no other way to put it.

Tune in tomorrow to hear Brianna’s side of the story and get a complete breakdown of the most delicious ice cream I have ever tasted.

#WhyIWrite

Funds were always tight while I was growing up, so to entertain ourselves we didn’t have the new and hottest toys on the market. While everyone raved about PlayStation and Xbox, we were perfectly happy with vintage 1990’s Super Nintendo (still is my favorite of all gaming systems). While other kids were obsessed with cable television shows, we were completely fine with Z100 and a deck of cards, singing the most current jams while making our own stories before falling into never ending abysses of laughter. As I grew older, times grew harder as well. I became more protective of sharing my feelings and my only escape was writing. Even though I was absolutely terrible at writing, I kept practicing; reading different styles of writing to help me find my own. The more I wrote, the better I got; eagerly crafting my own style and ultimately finding my own voice. If only for a small moment I could go somewhere else, entranced and tangled in my own plots and analyses, my time and effort would all be worth it.

Image Credit: Sabrina Vasquez

Now, I hope that I can somehow be that escape to others like how my favorite authors were to me. That for a moment… a mere second… all your worries fade to the background and you can just be in the present. If words has the power to change someone’s emotion or overall perspective on a situation, what else could they possibly do?

The Fulton Ferry Landing

How many films were shot at this iconic spot overlooking the East River?  Movies like “The Adjustment Bureau” was filmed here, or my personal favorite “The Perfect Man”. It was there that Heather Locklear stood awaiting a man she had met and fell in love with over the internet,  only to be unfortunately surprised when her sixteen year old daughter showed up in his place; ultimately revealing herself as a catfish. Would that crucial scene be the same if it were set in another location? Would the last run for their lives by Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in “The Adjustment Bureau” be the same if hadn’t made a stop at the landing? Apart from movies, the Fulton Ferry Landing remains a very important piece of Brooklyn.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of DUMBO I always found the small pier very interesting. It was unlike the rest of the area; soaked in a rich history that was as visible as fog lights. All of the other piers seemed to have changed with the time with time; becoming more modernized with each renovation. But the ferry landing seemed to always keep its character regardless of the amendments or refurbishment; it added more memories without departing from its history which is very admirable. Despite how many site analyses, inventories, pictures, or any other form of studies I have taken on the landing, I have never written about it until now.

The landing dates all the way back to the 1600’s when the Dutch settlement blew into town, ultimately taking the land from the Native Americans. They ported their large boats right by the piers that line Furman Street now. Stealing the land the Native Americans called Ihpetonga meaning “the high sandy bank”.

On August 29th, 1776, US soldiers was led to this ground by General George Washington for the the Battle of Long Island (aka Battle of Brooklyn Heights).

Robert Fulton (Whom I have mentioned in a previous post) is immortalized in plenty different areas in New York City. In Brooklyn, alone, we have  two different Fulton Streets; Fulton Street which houses Fulton Mall (also mentioned in a previous post) and Old Fulton which is the cross street to the location of the Fulton Ferry Landing also named after Robert Fulton. His name is so regular around this part of Brooklyn since he invented the steamboat in 1814, bridging the gap between Brooklyn and Manhattan before there was a bridge.

Some of the safety rails that line the landing are inscribed with words. These words are excerpts from a Brooklyn poet by the name of Walt Whitman, his name is also throughout this part of Brooklyn. His poem ”Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” was written as he overlooked the East River, analyzing the circulation of people in daily motion and fantasizing of what the future would bring to the area. As the steamboat ferries came in and out of the port, he proposed a series of questions and thought analysis of his prediction. He wrote it unbeknownst of the true outcome and he would never know but all that mattered in the poem was his undying curiosity and optimism of what potentially could become of the area in the next fitty or one hundred years. The Poem was published in 1856 then again in 1860 as a part of his “Leaves of Grass” collection; it made its debut as “Sun Down Poem”.

The Fulton Ferry Landing also happens to be a go-to destination for romance as it has seen countless proposals and weddings. Although it has been outlawed, there are locks on the guardrails, signifying the love of numerous couples

I like to think that Whitman was right in a way; that certain things stayed the same and others progressed. Boats still port in and out of the dock; leaving people to circulate over the landing. The wooden floorboards sees countless footsteps everyday from all walks of life. I wonder if the landing is as busy as Whitman’s depiction. Whenever i am on the landing, I think of the inhabitants of Brooklyn from the early 1600’s to now and how separated we are by such an ambiguous medium like time; I question myself “… How are we different?” but more importantly “… How are we the same?”