Monthly Archives: January 2005

Bleeding Like a Virgin Rambo


Two buildings on two corners at opposite ends of the same block along Spring St.–one at Elizabeth St., the other at Bowery–are locally famous for constantly being covered with street art, graf and the ephemeral graphics of ambitious guerrilla marketing. Fresh material goes up on the walls of these buildings weekly, amounting to an ever-changing public tableau of underground art and over-savvy youth advertising. (Droll fact: In an intriguing fit of uptown stiff buying into downtown cool, one of the buildings was purchased in 2004 for several millions of dollars by one of media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s sons.) The buildings provide a steady stream of new art, which seldom fails to amuse, provoke or hit the aesthetic mark (in other words, kids, the art is mostly good.) But living in the neighborhood, one can easily start to take all this great street art for granted. It becomes just another part of the urban landscape. Recently, however, this serendipitous juxtaposition of various kinds of sidewalk junk, fading art, graf and Basquiat-like messaging on the building at Elizabeth stopped us in our tracks cold. It was the words especially that made us pause to think: “‘Holy death before dishonor’ / Bleeding like a virgin Rambo.”

Ivan G. Corsa Photo

Tiger Jesus Stencil


What does a giant, ferocious feline and the Messiah have in common? Well, if you walk down Rivington St. (which seems to be increasingly the focus of our Nikon cameras in recent weeks) in that gray zone between SoHo and the Lower East Side, you’ll find out. On the south side of the street, between Bowery and Chrystie streets near the foot of a tenement building is afixed an amazing piece of multi-colored stencil street art, in the form of a plaque, bearing the images of both a tiger and Jesus. What a combo!

Ivan G. Corsa Photo

Gusto on Rivington St., Lower East Side


This weighty tag on a storefront shutter on Rivngton St., between Bowery and Chrystie, has lost some of its luster, but is still an excellent example of the aesthetic style and cryptic lettering usually found in large “throw-ups.” Though a bit faded, the tag has survived mostly intact for at least a couple of years–that is pretty amazing considering the short lives of most tags, which sooner or later (and usually sooner) get painted over my shopowners or obliterated by rival aerosol writers.

Ivan G. Corsa Photo

Bäst on Prince St., SoHo


One of our favorite New York City street artists is Bäst, whose work has been featured here before and will likely appear again in the future. We snapped this recent work by Bäst on Prince Street in Soho, about a block from the Apple Store. This black-and-white wheat-pasted poster uses images of a man who looks a lot like 20th century British writer George Orwell and an anthropamorphic cartoon wolf.

Ivan G. Corsa Photo

Blizzard Night on Houston St.


New York City is getting hit by it’s first full-bore blizzard of winter 2005. The temperature was about 20 degrees below freezing when this photo was taken looking east on Houston St. at around midnight. The snow had stopped following by then, but a second storm front is due, as are 35-mile-per-hour winds. Bring it on!

Ivan G. Corsa Photo

Electric Reindeer, East Village


Yet another image from the holiday season in the Village. (We promise, this is the last Christmas photo ever–or at least until next December.) This shot is of some seasonal decor in the courtyard of an East Village restaurant. The center of attention is a couple of reindeer made up of white Christmas lights. Sure, the reindeer are a bit kitchsy, but they would be a lot more kitchsy if the lights were multi-colored. Remember, kids, the use of white lights is the elegant option for seasonal decor during the winter holidays.

Ivan G. Corsa Photo

Christmas Decor at Washington Square Park


The winter holidays are now a distant memory, but we had to post this image taken New Year’s Day 2005. Surrounded by New York University in the heart of Greenwich Village, the famous arch honoring U.S. President George Washington sits on the northern edge of the aptly named Washington Square Park. The large Christmas tree in front of the monument is a grand seasonal touch that compliments a recently restored arch. Until a year ago or so, the structure was surrounded by a cheap, run-of-the-mill chainlink fence. This barrier was an eyesore and a shockingly undignified way of protecting such a stately historical landmark from would-be vandals. Washington Square Park itself has gone through as much of a transformation in the past couple of decades. As recently as a decade ago, the neatl-appointed square was well-known as a reliable spot for buying illicit herb. The park continues be a space abuzz everyday with chess players, street performers, joggers, and musicians. You may notice on fair-weathered weekdays a lot of people working on Dell laptops (there’s a free wi-fi hotspot here) or typing into Blackberry handhelds or talking into their Smartphones–the park is like an outdoor office space for NYU students, professors and technology geeks.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Acupuncture Neon Sign, East Village


You see a lot English signs in downtown New York City in front of shops offering acupuncture, massage and East Asian medicinal and health treatments. The closer to Chinatown one gets, the more frequent the signs appear, until, in Chinatown itself, the English mostly disappears from such signs altogether. In any case, they tend to disappear into the landscape of street-level advertising. This neon version in the East Village, however, caught our eye. The shop is closed, but the sign is alive with electric energy. We might walk by this sign in daylight and never notice, but at night the neon effectively plants an idea in our heads. That said, a few years ago we tried acupuncture while travelling though Asia. It was an interesting expereince for a first timer, curious and open-minded, but we didn’t feel any better afterwards, healthwise or otherwise, and so we hadn’t really given acupuncture any further thought until we saw this sign.

Ivan G. Corsa Photo

Guggenheim Museum Interior Spiral


This shot shows the spiral interior of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. The iconic Upper East Side museum was designed by celebrated architect Frand Lloyd Wright and holds one of America’s greatest collections of modern art. Major shows are exhbited in the main spiral, an atrium with a single, circular ramp that visitors walk along while viewing art works. The ramp gradually ascends nearly ten floors high. At the time this photo was taken, a retrospective of American pop artist James Rosenquist was being held. The Guggenheim’s permanent collection is shown in an adjacent wing.

Ivan G. Corsa Photo