NEW YORK: random favorites

I've been going to New York quite a bit this year. Here are some places I've enjoyed going to in the last few months. This is a focus on downtown, and Brooklyn, with a little Queens.

I like to start the day at Buvette on Grove St. near Bedford.

Below: If there's only time for coffee, Jack's on 10th St. is a good choice. 

Just half a block away from Jack's is Three Lives Books. It's been here since 1968 a classic Village bookshop. Writer Michael Cunningham, author of "The Hours", describes it as "One of the greatest bookstores on the face of the earth".

And across 10th Street is Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks. She has lots of vintage cookbooks, including children's books, as well as decorative kitchen objects. 

I found an appealing set of doll's plates in old English brown and ivory china that I brought home.

Walking down West 4th St.  I'm happy to come across this white blossomed tree each spring...

Above: Left Bank Books, which is known for out of print and vintage books. They used to be on West 4th, but have moved to 8th Ave just south of Jane St. There's a wide range of subject matter here.

Above and Below: Inside Left Bank Books. The old tiled floor has an intricate design...I was told the space used to be a soda fountain.

Not far from Left Bank Books is the High Line, which starts at Gansevoort and Washington.

Above: In January it has a sparse and quiet character.

Above and below: In April the ground cover is greener and blossoms are blooming.

The landscape designer for the High Line, Piet Oudolf, shares his approach in a recently published book, "Planting: A New Perspective". You can read more about him here.

Above: This mural on the High Line, most of which disappears in this dim light, uses mirror in a great way, breaking up the mass of the building with the reflection of the sky. It's by El Anatsui, who's currently having a "Monumental Works" show at the Brooklyn Museum. He's represented by the Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street.

The High Line is a great way to get to Chelsea. Here are a few good shows I've seen there in the last couple of months...

At Luhring Augustine, 531 W. 24th St.: Ragnar Kjartsson had the most wonderful video installation, shown on 9 screens. If you get there at the start of the 50 minute performance, you start by walking into a dark room. One by one each screen lights up as someone on camera walks into a room (each screen shows one room) and turns on a light. and each room comes to life. The piece is a recorded and shot in a beautiful old home, Rokeby Farm, in the Hudson Valley, an artist's residence. On each screen a musician enters their room, gets settled, and plays a part of the two songs in the performance. As you walk around the gallery, (which is dark except for the glowing rooms on the screens),  each room is miked separately so that the room in the screen you're closest to sounds loudest, but it's all part of one piece. The rooms were in a perfect state of age, not too perfect, but with a great sense of history. Old wallpapers, and aged walls are the romantic backdrop to the performance. The musicians are all close friends from Iceland. Here are some images from the installation:

Above: Ragnar in the bath.

At the end everyone is shown walking through the house, going out the front door, and down the grassy slope to the river, singing and playing music all the way. 

At Hauser & Wirth, 511 W. 18th St.: Dieter Roth show, installed by Bjorn Roth. The Hauser & Wirth show has just been taken down, but currently Dieter Roth is having an exhibit of his books, prints, and multiples at MOMA.

Above: Dieter Roth "The Floor" 1973-1992. This is Roth's studio floor, from Iceland, removed and installed as a free standing wall. 

Above: Dieter Roth's video diary...128 monitors showing scenes of his life working, eating, and sleeping.

Above: Dieter Roth "Zuckerturm" (Sugar Tower) 1994-2013. Sugar casts, glass, wood.

Above and below: At Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 West 24th Street, is Luigi Ghirri: Kodachrome. The vintage photos from the 70s are from a book Ghirri self published in 1978. A review in the NY Times describes the show. Kodachrome has been reissued by Mack Books.

At Susan Inglett Gallery, 522 W. 24th St., Hope Gangloff had a show of beautifully detailed portraits.

Above: This piece protests Cooper Union's consideration of breaking faith with their tradition and starting to charge for tuition. In fact Cooper Union has made the decision to do just that. You can read about it here.

Above and below: The Sears Peyton Gallery is showing Cecil Touchon collages. These two appear to me like cut lettering of a huge scale, re-imagined into ambiguous interlocking shapes.

Above: My favorite stop for lunch in Chelsea is Chop Shop at 254 10th Ave, between 24th and 25th.

Above: Printed Matter has a unique selection of artist's made books and magazines.

Above: Heading downtown, a lovely corner on Greenwich St.

On Greenwich, near Morton,  Elizabeth Peyton is showing at Gavin Brown:

Farther south at 488 Greenwich is a real surprise...Joanne Hendricks Cook Books. The shop is housed in a beautiful home built in the 1820s, and it is one of few homes remaining in a fairly industrial area just north of Canal St. Inside a terrific vintage cook book selection, many graphically beautiful book covers and illustrations. Please click here for a thorough and vivid history of the house.

Above: Next door is "Converso" at 490 Greenwich St., a high end mid-century dealer. They had a Nakashima show earlier this year.

Above: Much further East, on Rivington St, Roy McMakin had a show at Dodge Gallery. I love this piece...the way the old stool fits into McMakin's table shaped to accomodate it.

Above: Installation view, New Museum, from the show NYC:1993. Felix Gonzales-Torres wrap around photo mural with birds and light sculpture "Untitled" (Couple) 1993 hangs above Rudolf Stingel's "Untitled" 1991/2012, Carpet. The orange carpet continues into the large elevator, so that the elevator becomes part of the installation. Stingel is interested in the marks left on the bright orange carpet by the people walking through...they become part of the art. The installation includes a sound track by the artist Kristin Oppenheim singing lines from Sail on Sailor in a moody and mysterious way.

At a park near Chrystie and Grand Streets, this fantastic lantern hung from the trees...

Above: A beautiful scarf at Matta on Lafayette. I want to make a curtain with it.

Above and below: On 2nd Street near 3rd Avenue John Derian sells my favorite french ceramic line...Astier de Villatte.

Above and below: Nearby, in the window of Karma, a gallery, bookstore and graphic design company, an installation by artist Anne Chu of paper flowers. Karma is at 39 Great Jones Street.

Above and below: McNally Jackson Books, on Prince Street in Nolita. They have a large selection of contemporary books, good suggestions, readings, a cafe, and an "Espresso Book Machine" where you can create self published books or order books that aren't in stock and they'll print them and bind them on the spot.

Above: Dashwood Books, at 33 Bond Street, is photography book store...one of a number of bookstores that cross the line into being galleries. There's a great NY Times piece about them here. Some of them are Printed Matter and Karma, which I mentioned earlier, and Mast Books, Specific Object, 6 Decades, and Boo-Hooray. Uptown, Ursus books focuses on new, out of print, as well as rare highly collectible art books. Another interesting place to look is the rare book room upstairs at Strand Books, on Broadway and 12th. You do feel you can discover something forgotten there. Specific Objects will be closing as the owner, David Platzker, has just been appointed a curator in the department of prints and illustrated books at MOMA.

Above: At the Strand rare book room.

Above and below: "Purl" on Broome Street in Soho, a knitting and quilting store with an extensive range of vivid colors in yarn, felt, quilting fabric, and embroidery thread.

Above and below: Steven Alan opened their first "Home Shop" a month ago in Tribeca. They sell a mixture of table ware, bedding, furniture, rugs, and accessories.

Above: A Moroccan "Boucherouite" rug from the 1960s at Steven Alan.

Above: Schoolhouse Electric has a showroom on Vestry Street. I'm glad to be able to see their fixtures in person, as they don't have a showroom in L.A.

Across the water in Brooklyn:

Above: Under the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn is a terrific place to find  interesting debris washed up on the beach.

Above: Williamsburg beach, near 8th.

Above: Found on the Brooklyn beaches.

A few places to see in Williamsburg:

Future Perfect has contemporary furniture and lighting with a lot of character. Sometimes too much, but sometimes it works:

Above: From Future Perfect "Nos Da Pouffes" by Donna Wilson

Above and below: Moon River Chattel has good basic pieces for the Kitchen.

Below: Brook Farm General Store has beautiful dishes in their "Tourne" Line. Their red and white enamel ware is also quite pleasing:

Above and below: Pilgrim Surf + Supply, a store with a surfing aesthetic on Wythe and N. 3rd St.

Above and below: Layla, on Hoyt St. in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. A store I always try to visit...custom printed fabrics from India made into simple and lovely clothing, as well as various textiles and bedding.

Above: On Atlantic Ave there's a small but excellent carpet store; Kea Carpets and Kilims. This one is a Moroccan Berber.

Since some close friends of ours moved to Park Slope I've spent more time there, and I've gotten to appreciate the Brooklyn Museum.  One of the current shows at the Brooklyn Museum is "John Singer Sargent Watercolors". It's great to see his use of wax resist technique, and the way he leaves large areas undefined and semi abstract.

Above: John Singer Sargent "The Cashmere Shawl", 1911.

Above: John Singer Sargent "Carrera: A Quarry", 1911.

Above: Another current installation is the show "Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui". Pictured above is "Gli" (Wall) 2010. Aluminum and copper wire.

Above: El Anatsui "Ozone Layer", 2010. Aluminum and copper wire.

Above: El Anatsui "Drainpipe", 2010. Tin and copper wire. This is made from the top of tin cans, yet it looks glitteringly expensive.

I've also gotten to visit Prospect Park, whose rolling hills makes you feel you've gone to the English countryside, yet it's walking distance from our friend's house.

Above: Not far from Prospect Park is Rose Water,  a restaurant we've liked on Union St.

In Long Island City, we went to the Noguchi Museum...this is the street outside. Noguchi worked in the spaces here, and across the street, so the environment you see his work in is set in the place he spent his days, surrounded by much of the same sense of semi industrial Long Island City.

Below: A bench at the Noguchi Museum, where they have a sculpture garden as you enter the museum.

Above and below: Works by Noguchi

At MOMA PS1, an art space in Long Island City, in what used to be a public school...

Above and Below: One of my favorite discoveries, walking through the almost empty upstairs halls at P.S.1, we came across this discrete sign, and what appeared to be as subtle as an office nameplate on the door.

Below: We were delighted to open the door and find this:

Above: Lying on the floor gave the best view. And a place to rest!


  1. I can't wait to visit some of these with you soon. We can start right where this blog started! xoxox

  2. So many cool places to learn about and explore.

  3. Always a pleasure to experience your world view. Many thanks for sharing!

  4. Macie Sears Scherick5/5/13, 12:28 PM

    I just spent 30 mins savoring this experience. Cecil Touchon's work is very happy sandwiched between books, musicians, and paintings of women. You are speaking his language.
    I am dying over those metallic wall hangings. Thanks once again Laura!

  5. Thank you for the great post Laura! I'm in Amsterdam and you've inspired me to keep taking photos of the little things I appreciate as I walk around. XX

  6. Lovely record of your visit - I will rely on it next time in NYC!