Pastis, Meatpacking District, New York City – http://www.pastisny.com/
When the stock market crashed in 1929, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. held a $91 million, 24-year lease on a piece of midtown Manhattan property properly known as « the speakeasy belt. » Plans to gentrify the neighborhood by building a new Metropolitan Opera House on the site were dashed by the failing economy and the business outlook was dim. Nevertheless, Rockefeller made a bold decision that would leave a lasting impact on the city’s architectural and cultural landscape. He decided to build an entire complex of buildings on the property-buildings so superior that they would attract commercial tenants even in a depressed city flooded with vacant rental space. The project would express the highest ideals of architecture and design and stand as a symbol of optimism and hope.
The search for a commercial partner led to the Radio Corporation of America, a young company whose NBC radio programs were attracting huge audiences and whose RKO studios were producing and distributing popular motion pictures that offered welcome diversion in hard times. Rockefeller’s financial power and RCA’s media might were joined by the unusual talents of impresario S.L. « Roxy » Rothafel. Roxy had earned a reputation as a theatrical genius by employing an innovative combination of vaudeville, movies and razzle-dazzle decor to revive struggling theatres across America. Together Rockefeller, RCA and Roxy realized a fantastic dream – a theatre unlike any in the world, and the first completed project within the complex that RCA head David Sarnoff dubbed « Radio City. » Radio City Music Hall was to be a palace for the people. A place of beauty offering high-quality entertainment at prices ordinary people could afford. It was intended to entertain and amuse, but also to elevate and inspire.
Source : www.radiocity.com
Source : New York Times
By DAVID GONZALEZ
Forget what your parents told you: money does grow on trees. Well, at least for the street photographers who work the crowds around the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, it does. With digital cameras and ink-jet printers powered by car batteries, they churn out images at about $10 a pop.
Arrivistes, as far as Louis Mendes is concerned. Where is the skill in setting a camera to “automatic” and pushing a button? Where is the permanence in a shot printed with no-name ink on no-name paper? Where is the craft?
In his hands. Mr. Mendes works the same crowds — and parades, graduations and concerts — cradling like a piece of sculpture a vintage Speed Graphic camera outfitted with two flash units and a Polaroid back.
That’s right, instant film, a phrase that sounds almost as dated as “electric typewriter.” In an age when digital photography offers instant gratification and cameras come in most phones, who would have thought a decent living could be had taking pictures with a vanishing technology?
Mr. Mendes does, and well enough to do it full time. He can sometimes charge as much as $20 for a portrait, depending on the location.
“I’m the only one with this camera,” he said one afternoon last week as the sun set and the wind whipped through the streets. “This is about a moment for nostalgia. People see these cameras in movies, but they’ve never seen one in person. But when they see this, they go: ‘Ooh. Ahh. Wow.’ ”
As if on cue, a young man who had just taken a picture of his friends with a tiny digital camera looked longingly at Mr. Mendes’s rig the way an econobox owner might swoon over a vintage Benz.
“I get that a lot,” Mr. Mendes said. “I really don’t even have to talk to get customers.”
He had started the afternoon outside Dean & Deluca on 49th Street: “Picture with the tree? Picture with the tree?” Maureen Behnke, visiting from New Jersey with her children, took him up on it. He posed them, shot the frame, pulled the film from the camera and tucked it under his arm. As they waited, he offered tips on what to do in the area.
“It was about a moment,” she said of her decision to be photographed. “I told my son he would never be this little again. In 20 years, he’ll be an adult.”
“And you’ll have a classic,” Mr. Mendes said as he handed her back the 2-by-3-inch photo in a holiday frame.
Suitably suave at 70, he has been doing this for almost 40 years now. He is nothing if not stylish, decked out in a red turtleneck, gray blazer and long black leather coat. As always, he sports a black hat whose left brim is clipped up with — what else? — a pin shaped like a Speed Graphic. A fan on his Facebook group called him “Shaft with a camera.”
If you have been at any parade or major event in New York — or the Super Bowl or the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans — you have seen Mr. Mendes. You might even have had him snap your portrait. Though at this time of year he does straightforward images with the tree in the background, he has also specialized in double exposures in which the subject appears twice, sometimes in different outfits or different seasons.
Yes, he knows Photoshop can let a novice achieve a similar effect. But that’s cheating.
“I can do it on the spot,” he said. “You don’t need a lot of stuff to make a shot. You don’t need lights and tripods. Just look at your subject, look at the light and shoot. You don’t need to take a thousand pictures to get a good picture. You need one good picture. One shot.”
As for those other guys selling pictures on the street, he pays them no mind. Competition, they are not. Some of them don’t even take a single shot; like barkers working for a photographer, they instead weave through the crowds holding out a sample 8-by-10 to lure customers. Frankly, some of them look like their only photo experience was at Central Booking.
“They’re not really photographers, more like picture hustlers,” he said of the shooters who hire the barkers. “They just push a button. They don’t know aperture priority from shutter priority. This, this is me priority. All manual. I set it.”
Mr. Mendes plans to work the Rockefeller tree until Jan. 7, when it is scheduled to be taken down and turned to mulch. Then he will return to the sidewalk outside BH Photo orAdorama Camera. Taking pictures of people who already own cameras makes perfect sense to him, the guy with instant film and a classic rig in a sea of digital snappers.
“Most photographers don’t have a good picture of themselves,” he explained. “They think nobody can take as good a picture as they can. So, I prove them wrong. There’s good money there.”
The Manhattan Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the East River in New York City, connecting Lower Manhattan (at Canal Street) with Brooklyn (at Flatbush Avenue Extension) on Long Island. It was the last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River, following the Brooklyn and the Williamsburg bridges. The bridge was opened to traffic on December 31, 1909 and was designed by Leon Moisseiff, who later designed the infamous original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that opened and collapsed in 1940. It has four vehicle lanes on the upper level (split between two roadways). The lower level has three lanes, four subway tracks, a walkway and a bikeway. The upper level, originally used for streetcars, has two lanes in each direction, and the lower level is one-way and has three lanes in peak direction. It once carried New York State Route 27 and later was planned to carry Interstate 478. No tolls are charged for motor vehicles to use the Manhattan Bridge.
The original pedestrian walkway on the south side of the bridge was reopened after sixty years in June 2001. It was also used by bicycles until late summer 2004, when a dedicated bicycle path was opened on the north side of the bridge, and again in 2007 while the bike lane was used for truck access during repairs to the lower motor roadway.
* Main span: 1,470 ft (448 m)
* Length of suspension cables: 3224 ft (983 m)
* Total length: 6,855 ft (2,089 m)
The neighborhood near the bridge on the Brooklyn side, once known as Fulton Landing has been gentrified and is called DUMBO, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.
The Flatiron Building, or Fuller Building as it was originally called, is located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, and is considered to be one of the first skyscrapers ever built. Upon completion in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in New York City. The building sits on a triangular island block at 23rd Street, Fifth Avenue, and Broadway, anchoring the south (downtown) end of Madison Square.The neighborhood around the building is called the Flatiron District after its signature building, which has become an icon of New York.
The Flatiron Building was designed by Chicago’s Daniel Burnham in the Beaux-Arts style. Unlike New York’s early skyscrapers, which took the form of towers arising from a lower, blockier mass, such as the contemporary Singer Building (1902-08), the Flatiron Building epitomizes the Chicago school conception: like a classical Greek column, its limestone and glazed terra-cotta façade is divided into a base, shaft and capital. Early sketches by Daniel Burnham show a design with an (unexecuted) clockface and a far more elaborate crown than in the actual building. Burnham, though he maintained overall control of the design process, was not directly connected with the details of the structure as built; credit should be shared with his designer Frederick P. Dinkelberg (c 1859—1935), a Pennsylvania-born architect in Burnham’s office, who first worked for Burnham at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893. Working drawings for the Flatiron Building, however, remain to be located, though renderings published at the time of construction in American Architect and The Architectural Record.Since it employed a steel skeleton, building to 22 stories was relatively simple. It was a technique familiar to the Fuller Company, a contracting firm based in Chicago with ties to Burnham and considerable expertise in building such tall structures.At the vertex, the triangular tower is only 6.5 feet (2 m) wide; viewed from above, this ‘pointy’ end of the structure describes an acute angle of about 25 degrees. The strong downdrafts in this area were reputed to raise women’s skirts as they passed. New York’s Flatiron Building was not the first building of its triangular ground-plan: aside from a possibly unique triangular Roman temple built on a similarly constricted site in the city of Verulam, Britannia, both the Gooderham Building of Toronto, built in 1892, and the 1897 English-American Building in Atlanta predate it. Both, however, are smaller than their New York counterpart.