Monthly Archives: August 2004

Osaka: Apple Store

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The innovative and design-savvy maker of the iPod and Macintosh, Apple Computer Inc., has been planting Apple Stores around the world in the past couple of years. In 2004, it opened stores in Japan, the first in Tokyo. The second shop opened in Japan’s second city, Osaka, on August 28. Here are two exterior shots of the Apple Store Shinsaibashi. The images were taken seconds apart and show the store from across Midosuji Street in the heart of Osaka. Among the events kicking-off the opening at the new shop was a performance by prolific Japanese electronic musician Nobukazu Takemura. Like several Apple stores, the Osaka branch sports a striking glass-and-Plexi staircase.

D. Carter Witt Photo

Collective Unconscious

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Collective Unconscious occupied a small, ratty and bizarrely decorated retail space on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side. The space was a venue ruled by and for a diverse group of performance artists, writers, poets and creative scenesters who held regular open mic nights and shows there. CU represents a part of New York City’s post-post-modern underground at its best and most fun. Among the scene’s notable figures is the artist and author Reverend Jen. But Collective Unconscious had been battling a malevolent landlord and the indefatigable tsunami of Lower East Side gentrification. Before fleeing the space, the CU massive (allegedly, of course) put up some cheeky graffiti plugging their new location and hinting at the logo-fied retail giants who might occupy the space in the future; on the Collective Unconscious sign, “Starbucks” and “The Gap” have been spray-painted. CU will live on. A new space has been secured in lower Manhattan at 279 Church Street. You should pay them a visit when in NYC.

Ivan G. Corsa Photo

Seventies Sunglasses Girl

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These black-and-white photos of a woman wearing large 1970’s-style sunglasses were pasted up on the side of a large building across from St. Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo, in Brooklyn, in area filled with street art. The photos are in all sorts of sizes and are cropped in many different ways. We don’t know who the woman in the photo is nor the source of the image. Note the red, white and blue sticker with the words “The Streets Are Saying Things,” the name of an organization with an excellent Web site devoted to documenting graffiti writing.

Ivan G. Corsa Photo

Graf by Skrew

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“Can control” is a key among the graf writer’s skill set and can make all the difference between a messy tag and a clean one. This large tag by “Skrew” on Rivington Street, in the Lower East Side of New York City, is a good example of bold, crispy graf spray painted with a deft hand. Its clean lines and economic use of a tight space on the lower third of the store shutter give the tag strong visual impact.

Ivan G. Corsa Photo

Walking the Dog in Summer

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Part chore, part pleasure, the act of taking your canine pet for a stroll in downtown New York is like walking around with an open invitation to strangers to strike up a conversation with you, the owner (and failing that, with the pup itself). Here a young woman is casually walking a small dog on a hot, humid summer afternoon on Broadway in NoHo, as seen through a taxi window. Owning a dog in the city has its advantages–companionship, protection, social magnet–and its disadvantages–the barking, the attention and the cleaning up after your pooch’s “business” on the sidewalks whenever it answers nature’s call, as required by New York City law. And for those who care, walking around with doggie in tow is a way of telling everyone around you that this small part of this crowded, littered, stressed-out, fast-paced, noisy and ridiculously overpriced island called Manhattan is where you call home, sweet home.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Chatham Towers

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Many of the residential buildings in Chinatown are old low-rise tenement buildings tightly crammed next each other along narrow traffic-choked streets. That makes the Chatham Towers apartment complex pictured here a stand-out in the neighborhood. The architectural design, with its concrete facade and alternating balcony scheme, is a sophisticated example of the 1960’s international Brutalist style. The 25-storey Towers are surrounded by a landscaped plaza and leafy park grounds that make the complex seem like it’s a world away from Chinatown’s cramped chaos a few meters away. Chatham Towers were built in 1964 and each building has 120 apartments. The design was by Kelly & Gruzen. Since 9/11, the area surrounding (and including) the Towers has been barricaded and closed to non-residents due to the proximity of the structures to New York City Police headquarters and heightened security concerns.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Better Living Through Chemistry

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This is a snapshot of a display window at a Chinese pharmacy (or “chemists,” as they say in London) in the heart of Chinatown in New York. Limited retail space and maximized efficiencies, as well as a distinct sense of Confucian-like order, puts most of the medicinal stock of this store in full view of customers and passersby, advertising the variety and multitude of products available. Note the Japanese “lucky” cat statuette tucked between items in the lower left of the window. On the right, a potential customer edges into frame while studying a product’s details.

Ivan Corsa Photo