Sly Mr. Stuy
Amongst the bustling New York City Streets lies a charming one-block street in East Village’s St. Marks Historic District, Stuyvesant Street. Stuyvesant Street is quite odd in the fact that it runs due east to west diagonally relative to the present Manhattan street grid pattern from 9th Street at Third Avenue to 10th Street near Second Avenue (“ST. MARK’S HISTORIC DISTRICT, Borough of Manhattan.”). It is the city’s only street on a true east to west axis. Stuyvesant Street is comprised of mostly residential old sophisticated and ivy covered brownstone buildings, evoking an “Old New York” feel that we often are used to seeing in television shows and movies. However, the street is not only residential. The East end of the street houses the St. Marks Church-in-the-Bowery and the Abe Lebewohl Park, where many homeless-looking people hangout. In the Middle of the Street is the NYU Barney Building of the Arts, and at the West End is Little Tokyo, housing many Japanese restaurants and markets.
After a semester-long relationship with Stuyvesant Street, I can’t help but see the street as someone I know, rather than something I know. Since I have become so close with Stuyvesant Street, walking up and down it twice a day and doing extensive research on it over the past four months, I have decided to personify my street. If Stuyvesant Street were a person it would be a male in his mid 40’s to early 60’s. He would not only be charming and handsome, but also well educated. His physical appearance would be most similar to that of CNN’s silver fox, Anderson Cooper. Let’s call this dapper man, Mr. Stuy.
So, it is quite apparent that Mr. Stuy comes from a long line of prominent and wealthy men. Mr. Stuy is a descendent of the famous Stuyvesant clan, who are responsible for the New Amsterdam settlement in historic lower Manhattan. Peter Stuyvesant, the Director General of the West India Company in New Netherlands, was a major figure in early New York history and founded Stuyvesant Street. The other prominent family members included Petrus Stuyvesant, great-grandson of Peter, and his daughter Elizabeth Stuyvesant. Elizabeth married Major Nicholas Fish, who was a Revolutionary War hero. In 1808 Elizabeth gave birth to her first son, Hamilton Fish. Hamilton grew up to be the governor of New York, as well as a U.S. representative and senator, and served as the secretary of state under President Grant. Hamilton’s son, grandson, and great-grandson were all named after him and were all elected to the House of Representatives (Naureckas). Mr. Stuy not only came from wealth, but also from many generations of powerful figures in American history.
Furthermore, Stuyvesant Street houses educational and religious establishments, such as the NYU Barney Building and the St. Marks Church-in-the-Bowery. The NYU Barney Building is part of the Department for Art and Art Professions in the Steinhardt School. The facilities in the Barney Building include classrooms and workshops for sculpture, printmaking, painting, drawing, ceramics, metalsmithing, and sewing (steinhardt.nyu.edu). As for religious establishments, The St.Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery is a historic New York City Church. The church was originally a progressive church housing most of Manhattan’s elite. It was both socially and culturally progressive, supporting immigrants, labor, and civil rights. (Naureckas).
After considering the educational art establishment of NYU’s Barney Building and the historic religious establishment of St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, we can describe Mr.Stuy as a good Christian man, with a love and knowledge of art.
Like the street itself, Mr. Stuy’s outward appearance is endearing, charming, and attractive. He is always well manicured and clean-shaven. Also, one can easily tell from his sharp dress and polished demeanor that he comes from a sophisticated background.
However, just like on Stuyvesant Street, no one really knows what lies beneath those perfectly charming brownstones. One might find Mr.Stuy oddly peculiar. Why would a man of such power and old wealth live in the East Village among students and recovering heroine addicts, and why would he stray off the grid, when he appears to be a man very much of the grid. Well, behind Mr.Stuy’s innocent façade, spacious Old New York Brownstone, cookie cutter wife, and 1.3 children, lies a very dark and mysterious man. You might say that Mr. Stuy is somewhat similar to that of Nicole Kidman’s character in the 2005 film, The Interpreter, which took place on Stuyvesant Street, in the fact that they both have concealed identities.
When Mr.Stuy isn’t playing Racquet Ball at the Harvard Club or doing whatever they do on Wall Street, he oftentimes enjoys a chilled glass of whiskey, a fat Cuban cigar, a nice needle to the arm, and a Japanese hooker or two.
In Schlor’s “Night Walking,” he discusses the changing identity of a city street once the sun goes down, “Accessibility turned out to be decisive for the representation and interpretation of what goes on at night: to whom does the nocturnal street belong, who has the opportunity to make use of the street and the many things it offers?” (235) Just as the identity of a city street can change with the night, the parallel identity of Mr. Stuy is revealed.
As the sun sets on Stuyvesant Street, the main residential section is transformed from charming and inspirational to dark and eerie. Also, once it becomes nighttime the polar ends of the street come alive. On one end of the street, closest to 9th street and 3rd avenue, the corner becomes lively and social with packed Japanese restaurants and hidden bars, such as Angle’s Share, which is tucked away behind the Japanese snack restaurant Village Yokocho (Naureckas).
On the other end of the street, near 10th street and 2nd avenue, lies the St. Marks Church-in-the-Bowery and the Abe Lebewohl Park, where it is typically isolated and dark, with clusters of homeless heroine addicts posted up on the surrounding benches. On the night before Halloween, I came across celebration in the churchyard for the Mexican “Dia de Los Muertos,” Day of the Dead. Although this was a festive celebration, the fact that they were celebrating the dead was enough to keep things creepy.
The Stuyvesant Street nighttime ambiance and activities not only make me think that Mr. Stuy is a mysterious and dark man on the inside, but also has some weird fetishes. When I think of Mr.Stuy, I almost wanna call him sly Stuy; A charming businessman, father, and husband during the day with a ravenous craving for illegal drugs, underground bar activities, and celebrations of the dead at night.
Photo 1& 2- Olivia Landau
Photo 4- Olivia Landau
Photo5- New York Public Digital Library
Photo 6- http://onthesetofnewyork.com/theinterpreterapartment.html
Photos 9,10,11- Olivia Landau
Photo 12- http://www.deadline.com/tag/anderson-cooper/
Barney Building- http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/art/facilities
Naureckas , Jim. “New York Songlines: Stuyvesant Street.” New York Songlines. n. d. Web. <http://www.nysonglines.com/stuyvesant.htm>.
New York. ST. MARK’S HISTORIC DISTRICT, Borough of Manhattan.. New York, NY: , 1969. Web.
Schlor, Joachim. “Night in the Big City”
Walking down Stuyvesant Street, you get the feeling as though you have just been transported back into an “Old New York” film. Stuyvesant Street is one of the oldest and most historic streets in Manhattan. It is located in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood, with the majority of the street in the St.Mark’s Historic District. Stuyvesant Street actually runs due east to west diagonally relative to the present Manhattan street grid pattern from 9th Street at Third Avenue to 10th Street near Second Avenue (“ST. MARK’S HISTORIC DISTRICT, Borough of Manhattan.”). It is the city’s only street on a true east to west axis. Petrus Stuyvesant, great-grandson of Peter Stuyvesant, the Director General of the West India Company in New Netherlands, mapped the street before the city laid its street grid (Cooper).
Originally, Stuyvesant Street ran through the Stuyvesant’s farm, also known as a Bowery,to the Stuyvesant manor house. In 1778, the manor house burnt down where the St.Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery now stands. Church (“ST. MARK’S HISTORIC DISTRICT, Borough of Manhattan.”). The St.Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery was originally a progressive church housing most of Manhattan’s elite. The church was both socially and culturally progressive, supporting immigrants, labor, and civil rights. Black Panthers and Young Lords used the church as a meeting place; the church also launched the first lesbian health care clinic (Naureckas).
In 1969, the New York City Landmarks and Preservation Commission created the St. Mark’s Historic District to preserve and protect the buildings and area surrounding the St.Mark’s Church (“ST. MARK’S HISTORIC DISTRICT, Borough of Manhattan.”).
Today, Stuyvesant Street maintains it’s old-world charm as a picturesque street with a mix of historic buildings, single-family homes, modern architecture, and a few small stores and restaurants (mostly Japanese). New York University has a couple of buildings along Stuyvesant Street, including NYU’s Barney Building, and Alumni Hall. NYU’s Alumni Hall is located next to the historically preserved Stuyvesant/Fish House, a federal style house built by Petrus Stuyvesant for his daughter Elizabeth upon her marriage to Nicholas Fish in 1803. A sharp contrast is drawn when looking at the new NYU dormitory directly adjacent to the traditional architecture of the Stuyvesant/Fish house. A blending of the old and new can be seen throughout the small street as it not only houses some of the oldest buildings in all of New York, but also some of the more modern, including Alumni Hall and The Cooper Union Building (Naureckas). Stuyvesant Street remains to be a small treasure in the East Village.
New York. ST. MARK’S HISTORIC DISTRICT, Borough of Manhattan.. New York, NY: , 1969. Web. 13 Sep 2011.
Cooper, Michael. “MAKING IT WORK; Reading the Hidden City.” New York Times 20 Aug 1995: n. pag. Web. 13 Sep 2011. <http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:34344/pqcentral/docview/430260275/131C9FBAA3C4C48735C/55?accountid=12768>.
Gray, Christopher “It’s Only Two Blocks, but It’s Full of Literary History.” New York Times 02 Mar 2003: n. pag. Web. 13 Sep 2011. <http://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu:34344/nytimes/docview/432357344/131CB3FD4946A0BA190/8?accountid=12768>.
Naureckas , Jim. “New York Songlines: Stuyvesant Street.” New York Songlines. n. d. Web. 13 Sep. 2011. <http://www.nysonglines.com/stuyvesant.htm>.
Photo 1: nyc-architecture.com
The Stuyvesant-Fish House
East Village’s Stuyvesant Street may easily be one of Manhattan’s most unique streets. As the street remains to be one of the only true East-West running streets in the city, it boasts many distinctive characteristics that set it apart from the rest. Not only does Stuyvesant Street house The St.Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery and Abe Lebewohl Park (named for the murder owner of 2nd Avenue’s Deli), but also The Renwick Triangle and two NYU facilities (The Barney Building and Alumni Hall). Besides Stuyvesant Street’s odd positioning and obvious landmarks lie many of the city’s most historic brownstone buildings.
When walking down Stuyvesant Street, you get the feeling that you have been transported back into another time; perhaps because these brownstones date back to the 1700’s and are official New York City landmarks. One landmark, in particular, located on 21 Stuyvesant Street is named The Stuyvesant-Fish house. Mounted upon the historic brownstone are two plaques.
The first plaque provides the origins of the house. The Stuyvesant-Fish house was a gift from Petrus Stuyvesant to his daughter Elizabeth Stuyvesant after she married Major Nicholas Fish, who was a Revolutionary War hero. In 1808 Elizabeth gave birth to her first son, Hamilton Fish, in the house. Hamilton grew up to be the governor of New York, as well as a U.S. representative and senator, and served as the secretary of state under President Grant. Hamilton’s son, grandson, and great-grandson were all named after him and were all elected to the House of Representatives (Naureckas).
The second plaque dedicates the Hamilton Fish house as a National Historic Landmark. The plaque reads, “This site possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.” The National Park Service and United States Department of the Interior designated the house as a historic landmark in 1975.
Shortly after the Stuyvesant-Fish house was officially designated as a historical landmark, it had been placed on the market for a whopping $140,000 at the time (The New York Times). Now, the house is enjoyed by the Presidents of Cooper Union (Naureckas).
“Landmark House Offered for Sale.” New York Times. 12 Nov 1965: n. page. Print.
Naureckas , Jim. “New York Songlines: Stuyvesant Street.” New York Songlines. n. d. Web. 13 Sep. 2011. <http://www.nysonglines.com/stuyvesant.htm>.
September 28, 2011
Walking Down Stuyvesant Street
Walking down Stuyvesant Street transports you away from the noise and rigid grid of the East Village, to what feels like a quaint back street. At almost all hours of the day, it is hard to find more than a few people walking along the historic Stuyvesant Street. The charming brownstones, covered in ivy and romantic finishes, evoke a spirit of an “Old New York” that we are used to seeing in television shows and movies. From time to time, perhaps every Tuesday, a small scale farmers market sets up in the Abe Lebewohl Park in front of the church. The market gives the street a small-town organic kind of feel. At later hours of the evening, Stuyvesant Street can appear almost eerie, with the empty sidewalk and large St. Marks Church-in-the-bowery at the end (many homeless people hangout in front in large groups). However, above the physical appearance of the street lies each person’s individual perception of it.
In Michel de Certeau’s article, “Walking in the City,” he emphasizes the city is viewed differently by all who walk around and through it. This is the idea that each individual walking through a city has his or her subjective narrative, in which they project upon it. De Certeau writes, “This relationship of oneself governs the internal alterations of the place (the relations among its strata) or the pedestrian unfolding of the stories accumulated in place (moving about the city and traveling)” (110). He suggests that certain areas are viewed subject to each person’s individual memories and experiences.
For instance, when I first walked down Stuyvesant Street after receiving it as my assignment, I realized that it was where I got so confused and lost freshman year walking back from my friend’s apartment in St. Marks. Since Stuyvesant Street runs diagonally, and my sense of direction is not quite the best, I remembered finding myself completely disoriented. Although I am now much more acquainted with Stuyvesant Street, I oftentimes still get a small hint of anxiety when I approach the intersection. I also remember my friend telling me that there was a methadone clinic near by and to walk along the outside of the park in front of the church, so that the recovering heroine addicts sitting in the park wont attack me, which I still, routinely, do to this day. My revisiting past memories and personal experiences, we write our own maps and stories of the city.
De Certeau, Michel. The Practices of Everyday Life. N.p.: University of California Press, 1984. Print.
All photos-Olivia Landau
October 5, 2011
Little Tokyo on Stuyvesant Street
After browsing through the Historical New York Times database, I was surprised to find an overwhelming number of articles on the authentic Japanese culture and cuisine found on Stuyvesant Street. The West end of Stuyvesant Street near 3rd avenue houses many Japanese restaurants, stores, and supermarkets lined one next to another. Jiro Adachi calls Stuyvesant Street Little Tokyo or J-town, “because it is so easy to get a fix of daifuku, a traditional pastry, and okonomiyaki, an Osakan-style seafood pancake” (Adachi 1).
In the article “Croquettes by Way of Toykyo,” Eric Asimov writes, “the little triangle formed by East Ninth Street and Stuyvesant Street, between Second and Third Avenues, comes as close to Tokyo as anywhere in New York” (Asimov 1). Asimov specifically focuses his article on the restaurant Otafuku, which is famous for serving only two authentic Japanese dishes: Takoyaki (octopus croquettes) and Okonomiyaki (grilled pancakes). Apparently Otafuku is the only place in the entire city that serves up these rare Japanese delicacies.
Similarly, in Michael Shapiro’s article “Visiting Japan, No Ticket Required,” he raves about the Panya Bakery and Sunrise Mart, both of which happen to be extremely popular and authentic Japanese locations on Stuyvesant Street. The Panya Bakery is a Japanese bread shop that sells “chestnut cream cake, carrot bread and potato croquette sandwiches” (Shapiro 1). The Panya Bakery can be seen filled at almost all hours of the day.
Right next door to the bakery is the Japanese supermarket, Sunrise Mart. Shapiro describes the market in detail writing, “Taken together, the two stores felt as if someone had assembled a checklist of sense-memory items and stacked them all on the shelves for us to see. There were bottles of Pocari Sweat, a sports drink, along with boxes of Pocky chocolate sticks and bags of white bread with slices so thick that they could pass for roof tiles. The store offered individually wrapped pieces of fish, jars of miso, slippers, Japanese videos and drying racks for damp clothes” (Shapiro 1).
The concentrated Japanese culture on Stuyvesant Street draws a tremendous, yet interesting contrast to the historical brownstones, and the St. Marks bookshop next door. Although the original Stuyvesant family might be surprised to see a section of their homes converted into a sort of Little Tokyo, that’s exactly what is special about New York, and the East Village in particular. The beauty of Stuyvesant Street is the diversity of not only architecture, but also culture.
Adachi, Jiro. “How Q found Her Groove.” New York Times: 14.1. New York Times. Jan 30 2005. Web. 4 Oct. 2011 <https://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/432953049?accountid=12768>.
Asimov, Eric. “Croquettes by Way of Tokyo.” New York Times: F.2. New York Times. Feb 02 2000. Web. 4 Oct. 2011 <https://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/431377904?accountid=12768>.
Shapiro, Michael. “Visiting Japan, no Ticket Required.” New York Times: E.2:45. New York Times. Jan 12 2001. Web. 4 Oct. 2011 <https://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/431639039?accountid=12768>.
Photos by Olivia Landau
October 18, 2011
While looking for information and resources about Stuyvesant Street, I came across sources mostly concerning the street’s history and landmarks. Although Stuyvesant Street is a fairly short street (extending from around 9th street and 3rd avenue to 10th street and 2nd avenue), it has a long and rich history. According to the Historical Guide to the City of New York, Stuyvesant Street was a part of Peter Stuyvesant’s Bowerie Village, which was the oldest settled portion of that area in Manhattan. All of the streets and names of the original Bowerie Village have disappeared, with the exception of Stuyvesant Street and Bowery Street (89). In 1969, The New York City Landmarks and Preservation Commission created the St. Mark’s Historic District, where Stuyvesant Street now resides. The A1A Guide to New York City maps the St. Mark’s Historic District to include “21-35 AND 42-46 Stuyvesant St., 102-128 and 109-129 E.10th St., 232 E. 11th St. and St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery Church” (197). The historic landmarks of the district are found along Stuyvesant Street and includes the earlier established, St. Mark’s Church and the Stuyvesant-Fish House, along with the “Renwick” Triangle (attributed to James Renwick Jr.) (197-198).
As I was browsing the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery, I stumbled upon many lovely photos of historic Stuyvesant Street. Most of the photos were taken from the late 19th century to the early 20thcentury. There is a collection of photos taken of Stuyvesant Street from 1936-1937, depicting the street with spacious single home family apartments with wrought iron railings and large stoops. The photos feature the St. Mark’s Church standing alone and undisturbed amongst lush greenery.
Throughout the centuries, Stuyvesant Street has always been a place of residence to wealthy and influential people in New York City. Originally founded and resided by the Stuyvesant family, Stuyvesant Street continued to house important governmental figures, such as the Fish family, and now educational figures (President of Cooper Union). According to the New York City Census FactFinder, in the year 2000 Stuyvesant Street was comprised of mostly single family homes that’s are majority Caucasian (67.3%) and in their mid 30’s.
Photos by New York Public Digital Library
books.google.com – Hailed as “extraordinarily learned” (New York Times), “blithe in spirit and unerring in vision,” (New York Magazine), and the “definitive record of New York’s architectural heritage” (Municipal Art Society), Norval White and Elliot Willensk’ys book is an essential reference for everyone with an interest…http://books.google.com/books/about/AIA_Guide_to_New_York_City.html?id=t0gj61QSgk8C&utm_source=gb-gplus-shareAIA Guide to New York CityAIA Guide to New York City AIA Guide to New York City By Norval White, Elliot Willensky, Fran Leadon AIA Guide to New York City. eBook.
books.google.comhttp://books.google.com/books/about/Historical_guide_to_the_city_of_New_York.html?id=v4cGmMe6_okC&utm_source=gb-gplus-shareHistorical guide to the city of New YorkHistorical guide to the city of New York Historical guide to the city of New York By City History Club of New York Historical guide to the city of New York. New York, NY: F. A. Stokes company, 1909. 1-402. eBook.
New York City. Department of City Planning. New York City Census FactFinder 2000 Census Profiles for New York City. New York City: Department of City Planning, 2000. Web. <http://gis.nyc.gov/dcp/pa/Map?hseNumber=32&address=Stuyvesant
October 19, 2011
“The names of men of substance haunt street signs until they are exorcised by numbers” (73); this quote from Whitehead’s “Broadway” spoke true to the perception I have acquired of my street, Stuyvesant Street. This quiet small street tucked into the heart of the East Village does a fantastic job at preserving and honoring the memory and name of the Stuyvesant family. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the surrounding numbered streets and avenues, Stuyvesant Street remains a quaint escape. From the St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, where P. Stuyvesant was buried, to the famous Stuyvesant-Fish house, where generations of American royalty resided, it is impossible to escape the street’s past and unique charm. For this reason I found it extremely difficult to pinpoint Stuyvesant Street in a work of fiction. Much historical fiction centered on the late Peter Stuyvesant, and many novels made brief mention of Stuyvesant Street or the streets surrounding, but none that I found in the detail I found fitting for my street.
I luckily happened to stumble upon Murder on St. Mark’s Place by. Victoria Thompson, which gives a brief description of a nearby Dutch street lined with brownstones. The novel is the second installment of the Gaslight Mystery series, and centers around a midwife in the turn of the century, Sarah Brandt, that uncovers a neighborhood murder. I figured that I could make an educated guess that the novel referred to Stuyvesant Street, since it is very close to St. Mark’s Place (in the St. Mark’s Historic District), is historically Dutch, and is famous for its brownstones. The passage reads:
“The Schylers lived in one of the unpretentious brownstone town houses a few blocks from her parent’s home. Outside, the homes were quietly elegant. The Dutch weren’t must for ostentatiously flaunting their wealth. Inside, however, the dwellings were as plain or elaborate as the occupants’ tastes—and fortunes—allowed. The Schylers, Sarah discovered when she was admitted to their home, were apparently still doing very well, indeed.” (243)
Although the passage is short and sweet, it does a surprisingly good job of presenting the feeling of the homes along Stuyvesant Street, not only back then, but to this very day. The brownstones along Stuyvesant Street are demure and elegant, displaying a quiet beauty that is much more appreciated once recognized. For instance, just this morning I took my daily route from my East Village apartment to campus cutting down Stuyvesant Street to get to 3rd avenue. It rained the night before, and there was just something just so wonderful about the wet autumn leaves, which lined the glistening old buildings in the overcast light. Even my friend, who I walk to class with on the same route almost everyday, stopped me to say, “Wow, this is a beautiful street…I’ve never noticed it before.” I was proud to say that it was my street, and that was the beauty of it.
Photo #1 by iTunes Photo#2 by Olivia Landau
Colson, Whitehead. “The Colossus of New York: Broadway”
Thompson, Victoria. Murder on St. Mark’s Place. New York, NY: Berkley Prime Crime, New York, 2000. 1-277
October 26, 2011
The Interpreter (2005)
Stuyvesant Street has been a site of many film shoots. The charming street is a popular location for New York City film shoots not only because of the historical landmarks brownstones (often used to represent “Old New York), but also of it’s short length and odd positioning on the grid, the street can easily be blocked off without causing traffic problems. One popular movie, in which Stuyvesant Street makes several appearances, is Sydney Pollack’s 2005 film, The Interpreter.
In The Interpreter Nicole Kidman plays a United Nations Interpreter working in New York. He hails from the fictional African country, the Republic of Matobo, but has dual citizenship. The plot of the movie revolves around the possible UN impeachment of the president of Matobo, Edmond Zuwanie (played by Earl Cameron) in international court. Zuwanie came to power as a liberator 20 years earlier, but now has become corrupt and tyrannical. Zuwanie plans to come to the UN to present his case to the General Assembly, hoping to avoid the indictment.
On day, after a security scare in the UN forces everyone to evacuate, Silvia returns to the building to gather her belongings. When she returns she overhears an assassination plot against Zuwanie, spoken in a rare dialect in which Silvia can understand. Soon after Silvia reports the incident to UN security, she is placed under the protection of federal agent Tobin Keller (played by Sean Penn). Keller learns of Silvia’s past, her involvement in a Matoban guerilla group, her mother and sister’s death to Zuwanie’s land mines, and her ex love affair with a political opponent of Zuwanie (IMDb)
The scene featured below is when Keller learns of Silvia’s suspicious past. This scene is shot at “Silvia’s home,” which is located on 128 East 10th Street and Stuyvesant Street between 2nd and 3rd avenue. In the beginning of the scene Keller chases Silvia down Stuyvesant Street to her apartment. Most of the scene takes place within the one bedroom pre-war townhouse.
128 East 10th and Stuyvesant Street is a charming brownstone, like most on Stuyvesant Street. The garden floor apartment has a private entryway into a vestibule that leads to a spacious living room (onthesetofnewyork.com)
In Steve Pile’s, “The Problem of London,” he says, “moving through the city would demonstrate the settled formations of power in the city…the places where access is denied from the gates of government institutions, to military sites, to buildings for spies, to private houses. The porous city is more closed than open” (212). However this was not the case with The Interpreter. The movie was not only filmed in the private apartment on Stuyvesant Street, but also inside the UN building.
The Interpreter was the first movie ever filmed actually inside the UN General Assembly and Security chambers. Earlier films were only allowed to use the exteriors. The first time the producer’s approached the UN about filming there they were turned down. The production did not want to relocate to Toranto, because it would have significantly increased the costs to construct a set. Sydney Pollack directly negotiated with then-Secretary general Kofi Annan, and was given permission to film inside the UN (onthesetofnewyork.com).
“The Interpreter (2005).” Internet Movie Database n. pag. The Internet Movie Database. Web. 25 Oct 2011. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0373926/>.
“The Interpreter Apartment.” On the Set of New York. n. d. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <http://onthesetofnewyork.com/theinterpreterapartment.html>. (all photos also courtesy of http://onthesetofnewyork.com/theinterpreterapartment.html)
Pile, “The Problem of London”
November 2, 2011
Stuyvesant Street at Night
In Schlor’s “Night Walking,” he discusses the changing identity of a city street once the sun goes down, “Accessibility turned out to be decisive for the representation and interpretation of what goes on at night: to whom does the nocturnal street belong, who has the opportunity to make use of the street and the many things it offers?” (235). So who is Stuyvesant Street at night?
During the day Stuyvesant Street is a quaint short cut of a street amongst the hustle and bustle of the East Village. The ivy covered brownstones and the intermittent triangles of green space throughout evoke a comforting and uplifting atmosphere. Apart from the homeless people sitting on the benches in front of the Church, the middle-aged man walking his dog, and the few people at the cafés near 3rd avenue, not much goes on during the day on Stuyvesant Street. Schlor suggests, “It may be that here in the night the yearning for public life finds an outlet” (240), this is both true and untrue in the case of Stuyvesant Street. At night the main section of Stuyvesant Street, where the residential brownstones line the street, is transformed from charming and inspirational to dark and eerie. The street is very dimly lit, almost giving it the feeling of a long dark alleyway. Because of its irregular direction on the grid and lack of public spaces, Stuyvesant Street is not only quite quiet during the daytime, but also nearly deserted at night.
As I walked down this part of Stuyvesant Street at night, I felt as if I was in an old mystery tale, always looking behind my back for someone following me. It was probably only around 8 or 9 o’clock at night and I was the only person walking down this street, apart from another middle-aged man and his dog far across the way.
However, this middle section of Stuyvesant Street stood in stark contrast from the opposite ends of it. The section closest to 9th Street and 3rd avenue contains several authentic Japanese restaurants, cafes, and markets. Unlike the residential section, these Japanese hot spots are completely full at nighttime, especially around dinner. The ambiance of this section is very lively, social, and well lit.
At the other end of Stuyvesant Street, near 10th Street and 2ndavenue lies the St. Marks Church-in-the-Bowery. The church is usually dark and isolated, much like the residential area, but on the night I walked down the street there was a cultural fair on the green space inside the gates of the church. It was a fair honoring the Mexican “Dia de los Muertos,” or Day of the dead, similar to our American Halloween.
Inside the gates of the church there was live music being played, and many tents set up selling various Mexican crafts and food. Many families, mostly with small children, gathered together ate food and danced. This was truly a special and unexpected site to see. After emerging from the sea creepy brownstones, I found myself in the middle of a festival celebrating the dead. It is hard to believe that such a short street can possess such different identities and belong to so many different types of people and activities in one short day.
Schlor, Joachim. “Night in the Big City”
November 9, 2011
Sex on Stuyvesant
According to Sadler and Haskins’, “Metonymy and the Metropolis,” “television’s representations of cities create a ‘postcard effect’ that affords the viewer the pleasure of a tourist gaze, a disposition that both reflects and legitimizes a fragmented experience of visiting a location without immersing oneself in the intricacies of its politics and geography” (196). Sadler and Haskins attempt to prove this point by using examples of famous television shows that depict New York City, such as Seinfeld, Friends, Felicity, and The Sopranos.
When I personally think of New York, the first thing that comes to my mind is Sex and the City. Sex and the City was a wildly popular HBO show that ran from 1998-2004. Sex and the City documented the trials and tribulations of four fabulous and modern Manhattan women: Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbs, Samantha Jones, and Charlotte York- McDougal- Goldenblatt.
Similar to the shows mentioned by Sadler and Haskins, Sex and the City also creates somewhat of a “postcard effect” of New York City. For instance, on the show Carrie supposedly lives on the “Upper East Side,” but in reality the exterior of her apartment is located on Perry Street in the West Village. Although Sex and the City was actually shot in New York City, unlike many other shows that have come to be representative of New York Life, the experience of the city remains fragmented. Viewers are left unaware of the surrounding geography of a specific scene, and are ultimately kept from getting a true insiders experience of the city
In Season 6 Episode 18 of Sex and the City, entitled “Splat!,” a scene between Carrie and Miranda takes place on 10th street and 2nd avenue in front of the St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery. In this episode, which was filmed on December 1, 2003 and first aired on February 8, 2004, Carrie finally decides to quit her job as a sex columnist at the New York Star and move to Paris with her then boyfriend, a famous Russian Artist named Aleksander Petrovsky (IMDb).
Carrie announces her decision to leave New York at the funeral of her party girl pal Lexi Featherston, who died from a tragic window falling accident. Lexi’s funeral appears to have been held at the St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery (nyc.gov), although there is no mention of the location in the actual show. The scene depicted has Carrie confiding in Miranda at Lexi’s funeral about her decision to move to Paris.
Perhaps this “postcard effect” is what is truly appealing about a show. Sometimes it is nice to escape our own lives and experience a “tourist gaze” from time to time. Isn’t that what TV is all about after all?
PS- Passed by a television shoot on Stuyvesant Street about 2 weeks ago. When I asked what was being filmed all I got was: “TV,” thanks…
“Splat!.” Sex and the City n. pag. IMDb. Web. 9 Nov 2011. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0698666/>.
New York City. Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater, and Broadcasting. Set Photos. Web. <http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/locations/sex_and_city02.shtml>.
Sadler, WilliamJ., and Ekaterina V. Haskin. “Metonymy and the Metropolis: Television Show Settings and the Image of New York City.”
Photos 1&2 – New York City. Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater, and Broadcasting. Set Photos. Web. <http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/locations/sex_and_city02.shtml>.
Photo 3- Olivia Landau
November 16, 2011
Sounds of Stuyvesant Street
Corbould’s article “Streets, Sounds and Identity in Interwar Harlem, ” presents the importance of sound for the creation of Harlem’s identity. As a predominantly African American neighborhood, Corbould states that “To hear, rather than see, was at once to pose a separate mode of existence, connected to a separate public sphere and a different history. Black Americans quite simply deﬁned themselves using a different sensual tradition than that commonly associated with whites, that is, sound rather than sight,” (872) associating the sounds of Harlem with the African American culture.
Although Stuyvesant Street is not as lively as Harlem, and has been historically and predominantly a White neighborhood, that does not mean sound is not an integral facet of this East Village Street. I personally think it is hard to place a color on sound. I know this may sound corny, but to me music and sound transcend race, religion, political parties, class, age, etc. Music and sound are universal languages that everyone should be able to appreciate. Obliviously there are genres of music that can be traced back to specific cultures, but that’s also changing now.
The Third Street Music School Settlement on 235 East 11th street, one of the nation’s oldest community music schools, put on several public concerts over the summer on Stuyvesant Street’s Abe Lebewohl Park. These public community concerts were filled with sounds ranging from Yiddish Folk music to Latin Dance music. The performers were from all different backgrounds, and exposed the East Village to their diverse sounds. Here is a sample of the Latin Dance performance:
I think sound, noise, and music are not only defining features of Harlem, but also of all of New York City. New York is an undeniably noisy city. To live here you have to get used to constant auditory stimuli. Even Stuyvesant Street, which I consider to be one of the most quiet streets in the East Village is louder than most quaint streets in America! I took a sound recording on my way to school one morning as I walked down Stuyvesant Street, and as I replayed the recording I realized this charming “quiet” street, was just considered quiet compared to the even louder surrounding streets.
Corbould, Clare. “Streets, Sounds and Identity in Interwar Harlem.”
November 21, 2011
Virtual Stuyvesant Street
In Anne Galloway’s “Intimations of Everyday Life: Ubiquitous computing and the City,” she says, “Mixed reality environments refer to spaces that combine elements of the physical and virtual worlds” (390). This combination of the physical and virtual world in a mixed reality environment is perfectly represented with the “street view” on Google Maps. The street view option on Google Maps displays satellite images taken of particular streets all around the world. You can choose this option on Google Maps by first searching for a particular address, then dragging the animated male figure on the left hand of the screen and dropping him at your exact address on the map. The map zooms in as if you had just jumped into it. The images displayed are actual photographs taken of the street including the people, cars, animals, signs, and weather conditions of that exact moment of that exact day. Some other features of the Google Maps street view are the walking and viewing options, letting you virtually walk the street in any way you desire, and look up, down, left, or right as if you were standing outside. Street view also includes the GPS coordinates of all locations and featured “hotspots” on the street.
The digital representation of Stuyvesant Street is a mixed reality. Oftentimes the virtual images are so realistic, and the features are so simple and useful that we forget that they are not reality. If someone had never been to Stuyvesant Street they could get a good idea of what it is like through the street view option.
As I walked down Stuyvesant Street on Google Maps, I saw all of the same landmarks, homes, and restaurants that I see on the street as I walk along it everyday. Although the street was accurately and realistically represented on the virtual map, it lacked the charming “Old New York” feeling that Stuyvesant Street evokes in reality. As accurate as a virtual world can represent the physical world, it still cannot recreate the senses and feelings that we have in a real world experience.
Galloway, Anne. “Intimations of Everyday Life: Ubiquitous computing and the City.” Cultural Studies Vol. 18, No. 2/3. March/May 2004, pp 384-408.
Google MapsWeb. 21 Nov 2011. <http://maps.google.com/maps?q=stuyvesant street&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=ctPJTqGEMqHw0gHY_enzDw&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=3&ved=0CCIQ_AUoAg>.