In the new anthology Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, contributors share the experience of moving to New York in pursuit of the writing life. In essay after essay, writers describe their experiences moving to New York from Long Island, New Jersey, California, and overseas. Anyone from anywhere can come to New York City in pursuit of fame, riches, and romance, and as a result, Goodbye to All That captures New York’s uniquely nuanced, overlapping landscape of cultures and geographies that for millions feels at once deeply personal and communal.
But while something deeper also reveals itself in the pages: Some thread of pure accident runs through the story of each writer’s dream of making it in the big city.
Goodbye to All That features several familiar names from the Manhattan and (mostly) Brooklyn literary community, including editor Sari Botton and several other 20- and 30-something women writers. Through a series of emails, I asked Sari and contributors Cheryl Strayed, Melissa Febos, and Mira Ptacin about the differences and similarities between their experiences in the city of so many of our dreams.
A documentary revisits the iconic 1932 ‘Lunch Atop a Skyscraper’ photograph.
A Chinese property company has pledged to build South Africa a new financial hub. On Nov. 4, Shanghai Zendai unveiled plans to transform Modderfontein, a manufacturing district in eastern Johannesburg, into a multi-use financial center “on par with cities like New York … or Hong Kong,” said Zendai chairman Dai Zhikang. The firm said it will spend about $7.8 billion on the development over the next 15 years.
The development—which has yet to be named and will include some 35,000 houses, an education center, and a sports arena—marks a departure from past forms of Chinese investment in Africa, many of which have drawn criticism. Over the past decade, state-owned and private Chinese firms have been been building African roads, railways, ports and other infrastructure in exchange for access to minerals and oil—a relationship that’s led some to call China a “neo-colonialist.” Chinese state oil firms now face resistance from their former partners in Niger, Chad, and Gabon.
Read more. [Image: AECI]
With countless walls to choose from, it’s little surprise that artists like Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, Thomas Hart Benton, Maxfield Parish, Keith Haring, and Sol LeWitt—and now, working on a different scale, Banksy—have made New York City their canvas. But many of the massive artworks that adorn office buildings, schools, hospitals, bars, and restaurants often go unseen to the many eyes that pass by them every day. Unless shown exactly where to look, a New Yorker can miss the masterworks in front of him or her.
I, for example, never realized that Orozco painted a suite of politically sensitive historical tableau on labor, science, politics and culture at The New School on 12th Street, so close to where I live. But then I saw the paintings in the new book Murals of New York City: The Best of New York’s Public Paintings From Bemelmans to Parrish by Glenn Palmer-Smith with photographs by Joshua McHugh. The tome offers a collection of fascinating, striking images—and should make city-dwellers look on their surroundings anew .
"People suddenly realized that New York could tear down things it should never have torn down."
"If you were to splash New York with some kind of luminescent ink that reveals the age of buildings, this is roughly what it would look like: vast green swaths of 20th-century development, freckled with verdant blue and purple structures slapped together in the 1800s"
Big, sweeping thinking was endemic to post-9/11 New York. The aftermath seemed to encourage everyone not simply to pursue their ideas but to stretch them to their most ambitious, impressive ends. For architect Kevin Kennon, this meant solving the problem of the WTC’s enduring chaos.
Kevin lived on Hudson Street, in Tribeca, about ten blocks from the destruction. Every night, the glow from recovery crews’ floodlights illuminated his street. The rumbling of jackhammers provided twenty-four-hour-a-day white noise. In the midst of all this, Kevin thought it was too soon to be thinking about rebuilding, so one October afternoon he took a break from the whirl of design meetings and walked to Ground Zero. “It was chaotic, and it was extraordinary,” Kevin said of the site. “There were an extraordinary number of people. People were climbing fences, it was unsafe.” He paused and gave me a knowing look. “Something had to be done.”
Read more. [Image: Mike Segar/Reuters]
New York City is one of the few U.S. municipalities–or maybe the only one–to have its own art director. “Well, more like a ‘de facto’ one,” says graphic designer Willy Wong about his seven years on the job as chief creative officer for NYC & Company and its outreach platform, NYCGO. At 35, Wong, who graduated Dartmouth College and received an MFA from Yale, oversees the NYC brand—the image projected externally to the world and internally in the city and to mark its products, services, and surfaces.