Can’t argue with this. I saw so many bikes out this weekend. It was perfect riding weather in New York. Alas, I miss my old bike.
It’s probably easier to list which neon signs in New York were not made by Tribeca’s Let There Be Neon, then which were. The little shop on White Street is responsible for creating some of New York’s most iconic signs like the one at Russ and Daughters, the neons at Mondrian SoHo’s Mister H lounge, the classic sign at Old Town Bar on 18th Street, and most recently, even the sign on Nucky Thompson’s Old Rumpus bar in the Season Finale of Boardwalk Empire.
I've walked by Let There Be Neon dozens of times and always wanted to see inside. Luckily, owner Jeff Friedman was completely welcoming and let me come in and take some photos. The day I went, the team was working on signage for Kiehl’s.
The work of making a neon sign is a delicate dance. Glass benders wave the fragile glass tubes through a blue flame to bend them, while simultaneously blowing air through the tubes to keep the inner passage open for the neon (or argon) gas to flow. The glass benders bounce back and forth around the flame, twisting and bending the tubes until they’re ready to bring the hot pieces over to a table and lay them over a blueprint. Then they repeat, waving them back over the flame, and bringing them back to the table until they’re just the right shape.
Of course, broken glass happens.
Let There Be Neon was originally founded by Rudi Stern, a multimedia artist who worked with Timothy Leary, back in 1972. Friedman took it over in 1990 and has been keeping New York lit up ever since.
Will neon signs ever go away?
It’s a question the New York Times put to Friedman back in 2011, “No,” he says. “People are always saying, ‘I’ve always dreamed of having a neon sign.’ Neon’s part of the American landscape.”
And he’s right. But also, there's an art to neon sign making. It’s impossible to think that in 40 years anyone will be photographing LED sign makers. But neon? Yes. Always neon.
This video has been around for a bit but I just found it. Grado has been getting a lot of press lately, and I’m glad that making high tech products like headphones by hand is getting some well deserved attention.
Rohan Anderson is one of my cultural heroes. Straight up. He’s a no B.S. guy who walks the walks, and isn’t afraid of pissing off powerful people and corporations in the process. Better, healthy, organic food is his mission and he’s tireless in pursuing it. Thing is, he’s in Australia, which makes me wish we had a Rohan Anderson here in the U.S.
True, we do have a lot of food crusaders, people I admire like Michael Pollan and Alice Waters, and a giant new food movement that is awakening to the importance of sensible food production, but we don’t have a personality like Anderson. Regardless we’re connected to him. Through his amazing blog and Instagram feed, we can be part of his mission.
And his latest chapter is one called the Nursery Project. From his Indiegogo campaign: “The Nursery Project will be hobby farm, based in the Central Highlands in regional Victoria, Australia. It will have a mess hall for cooking, eating and workshops; a vegetable garden; a fruit orchard; and paddocks for livestock. The Nursery Project will be a community-centred haven - a place for people to come and get their hands dirty, to breathe in some fresh air and learn more about where food really comes from.”
I’m looking forward to following Anderson’s project, even if he’s on the other side of the globe and I never actually get to taste the fruits of his labor.
At the time if its construction in 1963, the Miami Marine Stadium had the longest cantilevered concrete roof ever made. Originally built as the viewing area for a man-made powerboat race course, it screamed ambition and Florida style.
The architect who designed it, Hilario Candela, was a 28-year-old refuge from Cube. He’s described the concrete design as “honest’ because the bones of the buildings can be seen in plain sight instead of being hidden behind layers of other materials.
It is gorgeous.
And all though it was built for powerboat racing, the stadium also hosted concerts and political events, and served as the backdrop in a few movies too.
Like many great old architectural relics though, the Miami Marine Stadium has fallen on hard times. Hurricane Andrew damaged the stadium in the early 1990s, and officials locked it up when they couldn’t figure out what to do with it. But unlike so many of those great old forgotten buildings, there’s some hope for the stadium.
Gloria Estefan, who played there in the 1980s, gave some $500,000 to help preserve the stadium, which is still structurally sound according to engineers. And graffiti artists have helped raise interest in the building by turning it into one giant piece of street (bay?) art.
“They have kept the building alive,” says Candela the architect. “They have brought new life into it.”
Now preservation groups are figuring out how to keep some of the new graffiti in place as they go ahead bringing it back. It’s an amazing story of decay and, hopefully, renewal.
Inside the mind and work of a large format photographer. It compels one to think about the “lost arts” and the people who keep them alive. It’s not an easy process at all, but there’s something so intense about art forms like large format photography that draws in some seriously committed people. I love it. and I love the way this video was shot.
I recently got to meet the guys from Hella Bitter and imbibed some of their cocktails as well. I hope to feature them on the blog in a more in-depth way sometime soon, but for now I asked them what we should be drinking this fall and they happily obliged with this recipe. Just in time for the weekend.
Red Jacket Old-Fashioned
- 2 ounces rye
- 1/2 ounce boiled cider*
- 2 dashes Hella Bitter Aromatic
- 1 dash Hella Bitter Citrus
- Orange peel garnish
In rocks glass combine rye, boiled cider and bitters. Stir gently. Add ice 3/4 up glass. Stir gently for about 8 seconds. Garnish with thick orange peel.
- Basic recipe for boiled cider
- Ingredients: 1 gallon cider
In a heavy-bottomed pot bring cider to boil—cook uncovered for 4 to 5 hours stirring occasionally. It will start to thicken in the last hour, and at this point you’ll have to stir it a little more so it doesn’t burn. It’s done when it coats the back of a spoon. If you don’t have time to make it, you can order it online. Morris Kitchen makes a spiced apple syrup that’s an acceptable replacement.
I first came across Hansuld's work when I was looking for some examples of molded plywood for this post. And since then I've been following his Instagrams, which reveal whimsical wood twists and very serious pieces of furniture that, well, appear to to come from the hands of someone much older than Hansuld, who is 27.
Hansuld came from Canada, with a stop in Maine where he seems to have really mastered his craft, and now he's posted up in a corner of Red Hook which is home to one of NYC's last creative enclaves. He’s got a space in a larger shop, takes cigarette breaks on the balcony and then turns out these beautiful pieces. He’s been in the City for just over a year and has already firmly established himself with gallery representation and also over at Fiercely Made.
Hansuld’s Rocker No. 1 is just one example of his amazing collection of heirloom furniture, pieces that really will be handed down to children or grandchildren. There are end tables with arcing legs, dining room chairs, stools, and coffee tables that play with form beautifully without sacrificing function. All appear firmly routed in the tradition of handmade furniture, while also appearing absolutely contemporary as well. It’s a fine line that a lot of designers try and pull of but few do.
Give this a second. Then realize that over 11,000 frames where shot for this seven-minute video.
Here’s a fairly fascinating look at the steam system that powers much of New York City. My guess is most people don’t realize just how critical and abundant steam power is in NYC.
What’s most notable though is how none of this would have been possible if the infrastructure wasn’t laid, in the ground, so many years ago. It was a different time then, when big infrastructure projects were embraced. Building a city of the future was sort of expected and I wonder, as we argue over relatively small projects like bike lanes, if we can ever get back to a place where we’re designing and building a better city with such ambition.
Perhaps the City’s future flood defenses fall under this grand sort of vision. But I’d like to see improved airport to city center infrastructure and major subway overhauls too (Been on the C Train lately?), not to mention awesome biking infrastructure like Copenhagen's Cycle Snake.
Catching up with the man behind Benjamin Bott, maker of handsome handmade leather goods.