Monthly Archives: April 2005

Helicopter Bug


It’s a car. It’s a helicopter. It’s a … “helicar”? No, wait … it’s a n “automocopter.” Whatever it is, it was on the wall of a lofts building in downtown New York City. The car itself looks a lot like a tricked-out Porsche Carrera sports car or possibly a Volkswagen Beetle. But we doubt that there would be any official connection between the German automakers Porsche or VW and this graphic street art.

Ivan Corsa Photo



Pink paste-up of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in lower Manhattan. A couple of random notes about Powell. As this paste-up states, Powell is from the Bronx and he is a Brooklyn College grad, so in a sense he’s originally a New Yorker. His son, Michael, was recently chairman of the FCC. Like many Executive branch administration officials, Colin Powell has been the target of much criticism with regards to the country’s foreign policy, etc., as the message in this poster demonstrates. Question: does a paste-up on like this affect a building’s property value in a real estate market like that of downtown Manhattan, which is very expensive to begin with and where the prices of lofts, condos and aprtments are currently soaring?

Ivan Corsa Photo

An Artist Called West 01 – Faces of the LES Tenement Museum


This impressive painting on Orchard Street, between Delancey and Broome streets, in the Lower East Side, is by one of the all-time great artists to emerge from the New York City graf underground. The artist is called West One (or West 01). These days he calls the Upper West Side his home, but West One keeps a studio in Brooklyn. He started writing graf on NYC subways in the mid 1980’s and distinguished himself by painting in a crisp letter style dubbed “Broadway Style.” In a recent interview, West One cited the work of graf superstars Zephyr, Revolt, Skeme and Dez as inspiration early in his career. These days his work, like the painting pictured above, are mural-like works that seem far removed from the graf-writing style. The image is an homage to the diverse ethnic history of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It’s fitting that this West One painting is supported by, and placed in front of, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. What was the worst slum in America for decades, and an ethnic enclave for generations of Jewish, German, Latino and Chinese immigrants (as well as people from many other countries) is now Manhattan’s hippest, hottest nabe. The Lower East Side’s slummy streets are increasingly home to a luxury real estate market that has spawned multimillion-dollar apartments, condos and lofts.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Sushi Ahoy! – Maritime Hotel Building, Chelsea, NYC 02

Sushi Ahoy! – Maritime Hotel Building, Chelsea, NYC 02


A shot of the lower and ground levels of the Maritime Hotel in Chelsea where the wave of chic gentrification continues to turn warehouses into multi-million-dollar condos and apartments. This hot piece of Manhattan real estate serves not only as a fashionable boutique hotel, but is also home to Megu, an upscale, buzz-worthy Japanese restaurant.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Sushi Ahoy! – Maritime Hotel Building, Chelsea, NYC 01


The Maritime Hotel in Chelsea has only been around for 39 years, but it already has a storied history. The 12-floor building is now a fashionable boutique hotel and office building catering to the rich and fabulous and celebrity-crowned peeps who haunt the Meatpacking District, West Village and Cheslea. The structure is now one of the hottest pieces of real estate on the west side of lower Manhattan, where the wave of chic gentrification continues, a process that has turned meat warehouses into multi-million-dollar condos and apartments. As an example of the second wave of “international style” architecture popular in the 1960’s, the Maritime Hotel has a distinct look. Designed by architect Albert C. Ledner, the structure’s obvious and most eclectic feature is the grid of porthole windows, which, like the building’s name, hints at its past. When the building was opened in 1966, it housed the National Maritime Union and was home to sailors. Now, in addition to serving as a jet-set hotel, the tower has one of the most recent buzz restaurants of New York City, the upscale Japanese sushi palace called Megu.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Honolulu Graphica 11 – Airport Men’s Room Sign


Our favorite piece of graphica from the recent Honolulu series is this example of signage and graphic design at Honolulu International Airport. The standard internationally recognized iconography for Restroom, or Men’s Room, has been dressed up with local Hawaiian flavor. Not only has a Polynesian decorative graphic been used in the treatment, but a classic aloha shirt and the Hawaiian word for men, “Kane,” have been added. Very cool, if a little kitschy.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Honolulu Graphica 08 – Waikiki Galleria Building


We love the style of this building. The Waikiki Galleria Building in Honolulu is an impressive piece of real estate. The architectural design is a fusion of Polynesia and post-modernism. The result of these combined influences is a glass office tower in the international style with a lattice structure or exosleleton reminiscent of Hawaiian or tropical aesthetic motifs.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Honolulu Graphica 07 – Mural on the Kam


We came across this abandoned barn along the the King Kamehameha Highway (or “The Kam,” as locals say) outside the Honolulu suburbs on the eastern shore of Oahu. On the side of the barn is an old, faded mural of Hawaiian imagery. Even in its weathered condition, the mural retains a certain beauty. We can only imagine how vibrant its colors were when the painting was fresh and new a long time ago.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Honolulu Graphica 06 – Royal Hawaiian Logo-Seal Design


The famous Sheraton Royal Hawaiian hotel on Waikiki Beach, in Honolulu, is a classic, old-school luxury hotel. Its official logo is its venerable seal, pictured above. As design, it builds on the classic imagery and design conventions of both Western and Hawaiian nobility, and in doing suggests a degree of “class” and hence luxury in much the same way that many other products (tobacco packaging especially comes to mind) have used the same types of design motifs to lend a greater versimilitude of quality and appeal to social aspirations of target consumers.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Honolulu Graphica 05 – Royal Hawaiian, That Pink Hotel


The most famous hotel in Honolulu, or for that matter Hawaii and all the Pacific, the Sheraton Royal Hawaiian is certainly one of the world’s most famous hotels and an icon of beach-resort luxury. Dubbed the Pink Palace of the Pacific for the striking color of its exterior, the Royal Hawaiian sits on one of the most expensive pieces of real estate on Oahu and is still a benchmark in the ever-crowded field of toney Waikiki accomodations, be they apartments, condos or beachfront rooms. The architecture itself appears to be an amalgam of Spanish colonial and art deco. The building complex and ground bear a resemblance to another well-known pink hotel — the Beverly Hills Hotel, in Los Angeles.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Honolulu Graphica 04 – Lame Starter Tag


On the edge of downtown Honolulu is this feeble attempt to write a tag. This unfinished graf is a rarity nonethless in a city that has relatively little graf and street art compared to most large urban cities on the mainland of America. If you look hard enough, however, you’ll find graf of all kinds — crappy, lame and hasty tags that are truly eyesores, as well as complex, innovative skillfully executed tags with depth and artistry. Look under overpasses or along the walls of the H1 Interstate that courses through central Honolulu for better ups.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Honolulu Graphica 02 – UFO Skyscraper


This hotel and condo tower in the central Waikiki resort district, in Honolulu, looks like a classic piece of 1960’s or 1970’s beach-tourist architecture. The feature of this building is the curved UFO-like structure atop the skyscraper. Usually, this type of round, glass-sided architectural crown is a restaurant and bar that offers panoramic views.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Honolulu Graphica 01 – Tiger Stripe High


Snapped this shot of a huge, long mural of a tiger stripe motif on the exterior of a high school east of downtown Honolulu. The design treatment fits well with the Oahu environment, and, we speculate, the mural echoes the design of the school’s colors and athletic uniforms, especially since the the mural is adjacent to the sports field.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Truck Graf by “Gano” – Chinatown, New York City


Walking along Prince Street in SoHo, past the the cast-iron lofts buildings, this past Wednesday evening, we spotted a major up by Gano on a truck. We’ve seen Gano’s graf only on trucks, never on a building, and given that we’ve seen his moniker at least half a dozen trucks, Gano is prolific in exploring the truck medium.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Headache – Street Art by WK Interact, NYC


This is a classic piece of large-scale street art by New York artist WK Interact, whose work is drawn in high-contrast black-and-white images that convery power and motion. This image suggest the notion of headache as experienced by a necktie-wearing office slave. A masked wrestler is tearing violently at the head the office worker. This street art is on a large garage door on a weathered industrial building. But looks can be decieving. Across the street and down the block are million-dollar condos, duplex penthouse apartments and lofts.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Sticker Art – Ludlow Street Super Punk


We found this sticker on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side about a week ago and couldn’t resist pulling out our Nikon camera and snapping it for the record. The colors are harsh and even harsher as a combination. Pink and yellow scream attention and echo the spiky hair and crazed eyes of the super punk drawn on the sticker.

Ivan Corsa Photo