Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Posts tagged “Brooklyn

Photo of the day: LOOSING NEW YORK

LOOSING OUR NYC

We have been loosing our city at a rapid speed since the 12 year Bloomberg administration. Our new mayor Bill DeBlasio didn’t make things any better. A shill and phoney sell-out as our city’s history continues to be torn down left and right while being raped by an overbuilding of glass towers where they ought not to be.
As a tour guide I am supposed to tell people how wonderful New York City is...I do. But they don’t see that Harlem is now only 40% black, overrun by self-righteous white yuppies renovating Harlem’s brownstones pushing the original residents out. Greenwich Village once an epicenter of gay culture, dance clubs, cool quirky shops, cutting edge boutiques is now devoid of anything gay, buried in GAP, Polo, Starbucks, Sephora, Michael Kors, more GAP, more Polo, more Michael Kors. (Btw, Michael Kors being a screaming queen doesn’t count.)
The mushroom rate of the ‘space needle’ über high, über rich residential high rises on 57th and 58th Streets will put parts of Central Park’s south end into permanent shadow at certain times of the year. Jackie Onassis is turning in her grave.
Jackie O. would also be horrified to discover that grand Central Terminal is to be encased in super tall, super glassy high rises, therefore dwarfing the spectacular station, reducing it to a needle in a haystack.
Tribeca and Soho once filled with artists and art spaces are now filled with tourists artfully shopping. Times Square has become a 2nd rate shopping mall filled with Elmos badgering your for $5 photos. The lower east side aka ‘the Bowery’ is rapidly loosing any trace of our large immigrant history. It IS filled with our ‘new immigrants’ the young rich, spacey Millennials, trust fund babies and tech company millionaires. Apartments costing $1 million in the Bowery are cheap.
Little Italy is nothing but 6 or so blocks of Italian restaurants trying to hang on while the Chinese and the stores of Soho eat up their once large thriving Italian neighborhood. Fuggedaboudit.
New York’s harbor was once the busiest harbor in the world. Today, with a combination of damage from hurricane Sandy and the sheer greed of the Bloomberg/DeBlasio real estate ‘developers’, in South Street Seaport nothing will be left but a few gratuitous red brick buildings and only one old sailing ship to be now surrounded by a mirror glass ersatz ‘Pier 17’ and two gigantically tall mirror glass ‘luxury towers’ encroaching on America’s historical land mark the Brooklyn Bridge.
Go to Brooklyn then you say? Oh no, that is being gentrified at a hyper speed such has been never witnessed before in America. The foot of the Brooklyn Bridge is now being encased in a towering glass apartment building in DUMBO and the once spectacular view of the bridge from the Brooklyn Heights promenade is now obliterated by a gigantic apartment complex. If anyone would have told me that one day the views of the Brooklyn Bridge will be gone, I’da said you’re nuts.
Further in Brooklyn, whites buying $1+ million town homes in Bedford–Stuyvesant is now the norm. What was once our largest African American neighborhood, now has it’s residents being forced to go back to their Southern roots where they might be able to afford the rent. Meanwhile ultra hipster Williamsburg battles it out with ultra orthodox Satmar Jewish Williamsburg for real estate, who will win is anybody’s guess.
Hey, but Hans you’re safe in Queens. Not so, as my neighborhood fights off the flood of ‘poor upper middle class’ who can’t quite afford the $500,000 to $1 million dollar glass towers of the East River’s Long Island City. One by one we are seeing the affordable shops disappear, street vendors forbidden and a slimey corrupt councilman like Jimmy Van Bramer sign off on real estate deals wiping places like the spectacular 5 Pointz Graffiti Museum and the immigrant’s car-repair shops of Willet’s Point off the map while he brown noses his way up in the mayor’s administration.
If anyone has noticed, I haven’t posted daily “Photos of the Day” since mid June, I needed time to reflect. I will continue to tell people how ‘wonderful’ New York is, but I will also tell them that the city is an illusion, a big grand, sparkling, smoke & mirrors illusion. With my camera I will try to find something worth capturing that someone’s cell phone camera has not. My main concentration will be on researching and writing a book about my Von Rittern land baron roots in Bremen, Germany, and a second book on my Broadway stage door memories.
In the meanwhile, my German guests, while taking my tours say to me, “Sadly, it’s happening in Germany too, capture it while you can.”
I’ll try.

Photo of the day: Far away . . .

GONE gone©

Photo of the day: Gone far away . . .


Photo of the day: FLORAL TRIBUTE FOR DEATH OF A PIANO

DEATH OF A PIANO

FLORAL MEMORIAL TO A LOST TUNE – Sadly one of New York’s most beloved recent attractions has been destroyed. First by taggers, then (supposedly) by the sea itself. See my post of June 2nd when I discovered the Mason and Hamlin piano there on the shores of our East River/Atlantic Ocean right under the Brooklyn Bridge. It became fodder for every news reporter, tourists loved it and New Yorkers adopted it. The police and harbor patrol looked the other way as people hopped over the gate to be photographed with the piano, the ‘beach’ there is not for public access especially since at high tide the water reaches the West Side Highway. But flock they did, as did I several times. Check out the Internet and you will find some of the most creative and joyful photos taken with it.

I did some research myself. The serial number under the key board, 335 26661, according to Mason & Hamlin’s web site, places it around the year 1915. Mason & Hamlin was founded by Henry Mason who was actually a direct descendent of the pilgrims of the Mayflower!
piano driftwood
As to it’s mysterious origins, a so-called ‘street artist’ named HEK TAD took credit for it. Not until 2 weeks later when he tagged it with his spray painted logo all over it, did he lay claim. If you try to find photos of him, he is this skinny little kid, I sure hope he had plenty-a-help lifting that heavy baby grand over the 30″ gate and onto the beach and that tow truck musta been expen$ive. IF, if he indeed is responsible – he should have just left a sign taking credit, not destroying it’s melancholy beauty with his garish white spray paint markings. Many, including me, sought to paint over the markings and gladly finally someone did with what seemed to be some “oops paint” bought cheaply at hardware stores.
One of the last people to be photographed with the piano, is my friend and model Diana Amirova in an early morning photo shoot. I am so glad her beauty did it justice.
Diana Amirova

Diana Amirova

So finally now this proud 99 year old piano is giving up it’s ghost and surrendering to the mighty sea.
When I arrived this past Thursday to check on the piano, someone had left a floral memorial tribute to the beautiful graceful grande treasure from the past. Adieu, farewell, your songs played stay in our hearts.
The sea, the sea, calling out to you and me
Waves rush in to caress the sand
Only to roll out again
          The sea, the sea, calmness in its water
But in one fowl swoop
The clam has tourned sour… 

by Lillian B. Rose

Photo of the day: TWO LITTLE CHOIR BOYZ ARE WE

Jonathan 'Meres One' Cohen, Hans Von Rittern

Jonathan ‘Meres One’ Cohen, Hans Von Rittern

Photo of the day: 2 CHOIR BOYZ ARE WE – During our “Whitewash” exhibit Meres and I were given the task to assemble and Ikea choir bench for an artist’s talk we were to give later that evening. Quite proud that we had both assembled it successfully and that it held our weight – we posed like the two little choir boiz we are .
Two little choir boyz from school are we
Pert as a choir boy can be
Filled to the brim with boyish glee
Two little choir boyz from school are weEverything is a source of fun
Nobody’s safe for we care for none
Life is a joke that’s just begun
Two little choir boyz from the Factory Phun

Two Little choir boyz who all unwary
Come from a boy’s seminary
Free from his genius tutelary
Two little choir boyz from school

Two little choir boyz from school !One little choir boy is the painter handsome

One little choir boy has photos done
Two little boyz in attendance to the art show come
Two little choir boyz from 5 Pointz come
Not under any politician’s thumb
Not liking that Wolkoff scum
nor that Van Bramer bum
Here to make your hood not so glum
Here wishing we had a (paint) gun
LET’S GET THIS DONE !
(With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan.)

Photo of the day: MUSIC MAKES ME HIGH

Mason and Hamlin piano in East River under Brooklyn Bridge

Mason and Hamlin piano in East River under Brooklyn Bridge

Photo of the day: MUSIC MAKES ME HIGH – ♫♪♪♪♫♫ The ethereal effect of music is to make one feel is if you are floating on air. Listen closely to sounds of the sea or Mozart, are you floating yet?

Photo of the day: THE CYCLE OF ART AT 5 POINTZ, “Whitewash” closing party today 5pm

5 POINTZ DOCU

Photo of the day: THE CYCLE OF ART AT 5 POINTZ – Come see the magnificent art work for these last two days and celebrate with us that life and art always prevail. Artists and writers will be on the scene.
If you would like to see more expressions by great artists on canvas and in photographs (mine included) from today till this final weekend – come to the Jeffrey Leder Gallery this weekend and view the brilliant art by artists: Auks, Cortes, Hans Von Rittern, Jerms, Just One, Meres One, Poem, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad, all brilliantly curated by Marie Cecile Flageul! A catalog is available for sale as is all the art.
The Jeffrey Leder Gallery: 2137 45th Road, L.I.C.
#7/G subway stop. One block away from 5 Pointz and PS1 Moma. Admission is free, open Saturday: 12-8pm. Artists will be present from 5-7 today!
Sunday: 12-6
CLOSING PARTY HANS WHITEWASH

Photo of the day: ART IS TRA$H, Francisco de Pájaro and 5 Pointz

ART IS TRASH

Photo of the day: ART IS TRA$H – This art work by street artist Francisco de Pájaro was discovered on a mattress late at night at 5 Pointz Graffiti and Street Art Museum which is now destroyed. So, the art at 5 Pointz is now sadly trashed. Or, is it we as society that are the trash? Come see the ‘Whitewash” exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery in it’s last days till June 8! Closing party Saurday June 7: 12 -8.  LEDER GALLERY: 2137 45th Road, L.I.C.
#7/G subway stop. One block away from 5 Pointz and PS1 Moma. Admission is free
Here is an excerpt from an interview on Francisco de Pájaro from the blog: ‘Street Art Mecca’: “Francisco speaks about the absurdity in society, our hideous selfishness, our capacity for self destruction and our ridiculous behaviour towards weaknesses. Pajaro’s “Art is Trash” speaks directly at you and says “you are the art, the lie and the trash of society”, and we love him for it. I realised in hindsight that he is just as wonderfully satirical and humorous in conversation as his art is on the street. He sees society with the stark reality you find in many great artists. He points out our imperfections and makes us laugh at them. He converts our waste into grotesque reminders about who we are and what we do. His style of art might be named naive if it wasn’t so harsh to look at. The gallery is on the street, among our discarded belongings that we so often like to ignore.
On previous mini filming excursions with Pajaro I noted that the artwork doesn’t last long on the streets. In Barcelona there are specific nights when people can put any type of trash on the streets. Each neighbourhood has it’s own day and we met in Gracia on a Tuesday. It doesn’t take long to find an attractive pile of crap and he gets to work. The street is dark and desolate and there’s only Pakistani immigrants competing for recyclables. They stop and watch the performance. One couple walk past and recognise him from “that documentary”. On a different occasion I’ve seen people take some of the art as soon as we leave. “It’s a Barcelona thing” says one neighbour, as he takes a mini monster sculptor back into his house.

Art is Tra$h: Nobody can put me down.

 

How true that is…..


Photo of the day: COME SEE THE LIGHT of the 5 POINTZ “WHITEWASH” Exhibit

"Cathedral Light"

“Cathedral Light”

Photo of the day: COME SEE THE LIGHT – The Cathedral-like light of what once was 5 Pointz can be in seen in one of my many photographs at our current ‘Whitewash’ exhibit ending this Sunday June 8. Closing party to beheld this Saturday from noon till 8pm, please join me and my friends!
If you would like to see more expressions by great artists on canvas and in photographs (mine included) from today till this final weekend – come to the Jeffrey Leder Gallery this weekend and view the brilliant art by artists: Auks, Cortes, Hans Von Rittern, Jerms, Just One, Meres One, Poem, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad, all brilliantly curated by Marie Cecile Flageul! A catalog is available for sale as is all the art.
The Jeffrey Leder Gallery: 2137 45th Road, L.I.C.
#7/G subway stop. One block away from 5 Pointz and PS1 Moma. Admission is free, open 12-6.
Leder Gallery: http://www.jeffreyledergallery.com/whitewash.php
Jeffrey Leder Galler 2137 45th Road, LII.C.

Photo of the day: “LEFT OUT TO DRY”

 

The shores of the East River, under the Brooklyn Bridge.

The shores of the East River, under the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

Photo of the day: “LEFT OUT TO DRY” – The tide recedes and leaves behind the treasures and also ravages of time. It takes, carves and creates new shapes for us to enjoy.

Photo of the day: EBB TIDE CONCERTO, piano mystriously appears in East River under Brooklyn Bridge

EBB TIDE CONCERTO

Photo of the day: EBB TIDE CONCERTO – The most talked about piano in New York is not Billy Joel’s, Liberace’s or Elton John’s – it’s the old Mason and Hamlin piano that mysteriously appeared on the East River shore of the Brooklyn Bridge sometime last week. At high tide the piano is almost completely submerged, at low tide it has become quite a tourist and photographer’s attraction. Who knew something so simple, old and decrepit could cause so much fun?!
Mason & Hamlin was founded by Henry Mason who was a direct descendent of the pilgrims of the Mayflower – so it is somewhat cyclical that this piano winds up in the Atlantic Ocean. There are three main theories as to how this heavy  baby grand piano landed in the river: 1) It was used for a photo shoot and was just too heavy and old to remove afterwards. 2) It was a garbage dump since some locals claim they say it tossed on it’s side just by the river walkway’s gate. 3) My friend Marie Flageul has the best theory as to it’s origin. She is convinced it is the piano from the Sequoia Restaurant that was part of South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 that is now disgracefully and disrespectfully being torn down. It could not have been snatched from the dumpsters since they are all guarded behind closed gates, so . . . was it construction workers in a humorous mood?
We will never know. Both the Sanitation Department, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Parks Department all claim it is not their jurisdiction. The curiosity now remains how long it will take for the Atlantic ocean to claim it’s serenade to sea.
In the meantime, enjoy the strains of Frank Chacksfield’s 1954 “Ebb Tide” ♫♪♪♪♫♫ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VATF93NMujk
“Ebb Tide”
First the tide rushes in
Plants a kiss on the shore
Then rolls out to sea
And the sea is very still once more
So I rush to your side
Like the oncoming tide
With one burning thought
Will your arms open wide
At last we’re face to face
And as we kiss through an embrace
I can tell, I can feel
You are love, you are real
Really mine
In the rain, in the dark, in the sun
Like the tide at its ebb
I’m at peace in the web
Of your arms

In 1854, two brilliant idealists, Henry Mason and Emmons Hamlin, founded the Mason & Hamlin Company in Boston, Massachusetts, the birthplace of American piano design and manufacturing. Although their backgrounds and interests were very different, the two men shared a common goal: to make the world’s finest musical instruments.

Henry Mason was a member of one of America’s oldest families—they were actually descendents of pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower. The Masons were renowned for their involvement in the arts. Henry Mason was a pianist and his brother, William, was one of America’s foremost classical pianists and composers.

Their father was the famous composer and educator Lowell Mason, a visionary who was the first to bring music into the public schools of America. He was also known throughout the world as a composer and publisher of hymns, and is often called the “father of American church music.” Henry Mason shared his father’s lifelong dedication to music.

Emmons Hamlin was not a musician, but instead a brilliant mechanic and inventor. While working at the melodeon factory of George A. Price and Company of Buffalo, Hamlin invented a way to voice organ reeds, so that they could imitate the sound of a clarinet, violin or other musical instruments.

Hamlin developed his discovery to perfection, and in 1854, he and Henry Mason formed their company for the purpose of manufacturing a new musical instrument that they called the “organ harmonium.”