Archive for August, 2011
POSTED: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 11:18 am
There are a lot of little treasures and unknown secrets in New York City. From a cupcake café that originated the red velvet cake (supposedly) to speak-easy bars with old fashion drinks and secret passwords to enter, we sometimes miss these wondrous attractions as we walk on by. A few weeks ago as I was hunting for a gift for someone after work, I came across a small store on 35th street with old movie posters taped to the window, curled at the corners and faded from the sunlight. It was the vintage 1950’s horror film posters that caught my attention, as I am instantly attracted to the old fashioned classics and artwork during this glamorous era. At first I thought to myself –Wow, you really don’t see any ‘Mom and Pop’ video shops anymore, let alone video stores. The old storefront was a bit hidden underneath some scaffolding and squeezed between garment shops, making it that much more enticing. So I delayed my quest for whatever gift I was looking for and stepped inside.
It was love at first sight. Greta Garbo, Peter O’toole , Cary Grant, Cate Blanchet, John Cusack, Robert DeNiro. Their faces and hundreds more greeted me in frozen smiles and graceful poses captured in the artistic moment within the frame of a photo or movie poster. Being a movie nerd, I felt right at home! The moment you walk in, the fragrance of old library books and that awesome dusty-attic-mildew smell meets your nostrils and a sense of nostalgia hits you even though you have never been there before. This was a library, a haven, for old movie posters and postcards. When I say library, I mean LIBRARY! Not only are there stacks upon stacks of boxed movie posters of different sizes, covered in a protective plastic – but there are multiple shelves of large binders filled with original photos of hundreds of actors and actresses. For instance, I noticed that there were about four large 3-ring binders marked “Kirk Douglas” with nothing but photos, posters, and more pertaining to Mr. Douglas and his movie career. Both walls are lined with these shelves and binders stretching all the way into the back of the store, as well as a 3rd wall facing the entrance. Basically, my eyes did not know where to look! The clerk, Pythagore (awesome name) was busy slipping posters into the protective sheets as I crept in, scanning over endless prints and postcards. I flipped through three boxes of postcards with images of different movie posters to old Valentine’s cards from the 1950’s to miscellaneous black and white photographs of random people. Just an endless trove of timeless images and faces.
Having moved three times from its original location, Jerry Ohlinger’s Movie Materials store has been in business for 35 years and counting. I had the pleasure of speaking with this movie-mad owner, and he explained some interesting details. For instance, the lowest poster sells at $15, and the highest would be closer to $5,000 and up. There is only one store, but there are 2 warehouses which. All three house over 400,000 prints in each location! I was curious if Mr. Ohlinger is worried about his business surviving in today’s digital and suffering economy. He responded that there is always a need for these prints. Movie house, production companies, networks and more demand these archived posters and prints for sets, in which produces good business. His business offers custom orders for specific prints if desired, allowing everyone to connect with the past through posters and prints. Apparently Spike Lee utilized many prints directly from Mr.Ohlinger’s collections for his film Malcolm X in 1992. So, it is safe to say that Movie Material Store is a unique spot that has a deeper history and presence in this big city.
Written by Lauren Macé
POSTED: Monday, August 22, 2011 1:35 pm
Russell Shorto’s book, “The Island at the Center of the World” presents a lively picture of New York’s much forgotten origin while offering the author’s conviction that the Dutch influence in New Netherland has been a lasting one and shapes the Island of Manhattan today.
To me, the book features two heroes. One is a young ambitious yet idealistic Dutchman Adriaen van der Donck, and the other is a man whose love of a language long lost brought history back to life – Charles Gehring. Though you hear little more about Mr. Gehring after the first few pages it was his tireless work translating long-lost Dutch records into English – through a large endowment from Nelson Rockefeller – that provided the material for the author to weave this unforgettable tale. It is in Mr. Shorto’s capable hands that Manhattan’s 40 years as a Dutch colony comes alive like no other historical accounting that I have ever read.
“Island” answered questions I didn’t know I had (like why is Wall Street called that?), takes what I thought was historical fact and turns it on its ear (Stuyvesant was a bad guy?), and gave me an understanding of the present by explaining the past (why is New York City different from every other city in America?). While doing all that, the author also injects humor and unforgettable characters (a real pirate marries a prostitute and they become rich land owners on Long Island) making the pages practically turn themselves. If you are a fan of New York and want to learn more about its history, or if you just want a great historical read, I strongly recommend “The Island at the Center of the World”.
By: Jennifer Rota
POSTED: Friday, August 19, 2011 11:05 am
There is a comic heaven in Midtown, and luckily it is two blocks away from Distrikt’s front doors! Located on 40th Street at 7th Avenue, Midtown Comics holds two enormous floors of an impressive collection of comics, magazine, graphic novels, anime, manga, t-shirts and apparel, and much more. The store opened its doors in 1997, followed by its two sister stores in Grand Central (2004) and Downtown Manhattan (2010). The company has built its reputation over the years, and is now known as the leading vendor of comic books, manga, and graphic novels.
Once you climb the dark, narrow staircase, admittedly a bit intimidating, you find yourself in a large bright room with fantastic views of Times Square. Sunlight hits every corner of the store, as eager, young and older customers peruse the overwhelming shelves of comic goodness.
On the register, the young employees respond to all guests’ questions in professional and amiable tones. A tall man was helping a customer interested in selling his vintage comic to the store. The store buyer opens the book and inspects it with great care.
Unable to decide which section to look at first, I spun around and observed the room from floor to ceiling. Occasionally, my eyes jumped to the large signs advertising a new release or specials. I decided to start on the left from the “manga” section, and work my way around bookshelf by bookshelf.
I felt a rush of joy and my inner child come back when I saw all of my childhood favorites. I walked the countless aisles and admired the various selections of Spiderman, Captain America, The Punisher and Superman comics. The most exciting part was the Ninja Turtle backpack hanging on the wall!
I climbed the staircase to the second floor and was greeted by a life-sized Spiderman statue. Posters of all action superheroes decorated the walls, and on the right, collectibles were displayed beautifully on glass shelves. I moved from display window to display window, admiring Star Wars, Spiderman, X-men, and even Asterix and Obelix figures.
Near the back of the room were hats, shirts, bags of all of your favorite super heroes. There were playing cards, games, and action figures on the left. I overheard a little boy say to his aunt with excitement, “Finally you’re buying me something!”
Before I left, I glanced at the countdown clock to this year’s Comic Con in Manhattan, and smiled to myself.
For purchases, information and future events visit: http://www.midtowncomics.com/
By: Paola Mathe
POSTED: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 12:56 pm
Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors festival opened last Wednesday, July 27, 2011. This two-week summer festival promotes music through a variety of genres including, Soul, Funk, R&B, Jazz, Blues and Rock.
Out of Doors started in 1971 as a small festival of street theater. Over the years, it expanded to include both music and dance performances. Presently, the festival is considered one of the largest free performance festivals in the US.
Last Thursday, we were able to catch a snippet of one of the night’s performances. At the Josie Robertson Plaza, a talented and promising tap dancer, Maurice of the Maurice Chestnut’s Above Ground Project, entertained a small group. He led his band, consisting of a drummer, keyboardist and violinist in his signature style of “playing tap” as the leading instrument.
We hope you get to walk to Lincoln Center to enjoy one of these free performances before the summer series ends!
For more information and full schedule, visit this link: http://www.lincolncenter.org/press_release/PR_LCOOD11_Announcement_FINAL_4-25-11.pdf