March 16, 2011
Greetings from Soho
Bikes, Lafayette and Spring.
I moved. About a month ago. That’s where I’ve been. In flux. I am no longer in beautiful Downtown Brooklyn. Instead, I’m back in Manhattan. Soho, to be precise.
The long answer is that I’ve been living, by default, at my BF’s place in Soho for quite some time. Sleeping here, then sneaking back to Brooklyn in the morning, using my place as an office. But now I’m officially here.
Soho is different animal. Brooklyn, at least downtown, which is dominated by courthouses, city offices, and fast food franchises, is still stubbornly unfashionable. Soho, well you know about Soho. Even if you don’t live around here, you come here to shop. I’ve seen you queued up outside the Uggs store. (Yes, the Uggs store on Mercer St. often has a doorman and a line. Go figure.)
So the challenge is to see this place as a neighborhood. As my neighborhood. And I have noticed a funny thing happening. Art is trickling back in. Little, unflashy galleries still exist here and there, especially south of Broome St.. New ones seem to be popping up.
And then there are the crocheted bicycles. They were a mystery for a while. But in the age of the internet, there are no mysteries. They are made, it turns out, by an artist named Olek. And, of course, Olek has a website. I love the crocheted bicycles she deposits on the streets because they are reminders that this is not just an urban mall where people inexplicably line up to buy things, as if things were scarce, but a neighborhood that is still partially inhabited by artists.
(Also, the bikes remind me of the guy who covered endless East Village lamp poles with mosaics. I never knew his name when I lived in the neighborhood — there were still mysteries back in the ’90s — but I can now find him with a little rudimentary Googling: meet Jim Power, Mosaic Man.)
P.S. Here are links to a few pieces that have recently been published.
Made in the USA?, a Metropolis column about the terrific exhibition, Vertical Urban Factory, now at the Skyscraper Museum. Read the column. See the show
Quick Fix Urbanism, a Metropolis column about Greg Lindsay’s book Aerotropolis.
And two Travel + Leisure web features. America’s Coolest Houses (that you can actually visit) and the relentlessly viral World’s Most Beautiful Buildings.