New York has never been much for cobblestone and colonnade, vistas seeping historical vernacular and cocooning inhabitants in fantasies of a past continuum. Famously amnesiac, its building stock chronically provisional, New York offers a past that comes at us in fits and starts–a sideways glimpse, a shimmering peripheral vision at best. Mostly, though, we rehash Read More
By Emily Geminder 2/09/11 1:25pm
About 90 percent of all diamonds that enter the U.S. pass through New York’s diamond district, though you’d never know it walking down West 47th Street, a warren of grimy aluminum and puffy-coated hawkers, the claustrophobic energy of deal-making, all of it crammed like carbon atoms into a one-block expanse.
But to Gary Barnett, diamond Read More
By Emily Geminder 2/01/11 12:42pm
For a long-darkened building on Broadway, the Metro Theater still manages to incite sudden outbursts—impromptu manifestos, eager litanies of trivia, all but priestly intercessions—from its passersby. Stand too long gawking at its Deco lettering (one of its M’s was recently felled by a snowdrift), and strangers will materialize out of the passing crowd Read More
By Emily Geminder 1/19/11 2:16am
The naming of a neighborhood is always a somewhat elaborate tug of a war, but last year residents of Dumbo faced a rare quandary, when City Hall officialy named the area New York’s Digital District. Though the neighborhood has been reborn with a new moniker roughly every half-century-Olympia, in keeping with the post-Revolutionary trend of Read More
By Emily Geminder 12/14/10 10:51pm
The Internet, for most of us, is a fairy-dusted invisible terrain, a current through which we drift in and out with seamless ease. A cloud, we call it. A Web. Whatever it is, the Internet is very light.
It is this lightness that’s difficult to square with the nuts-and-bolts hardware that powers our virtual worlds, Read More
By Emily Geminder 12/08/10 2:56am
Even to the locals who’ve watched it happen, the hyperkinetic transformation of Frederick Douglass Boulevard is still a one-two punch of baffled awe–part time-lapse metamorphosis, part coy erasure. The south Harlem throughway of brownstones and anonymous bodegas suddenly speckles with glass condos, blank-faced and steely purposed. It has yielded to the sort of eating and Read More
By Emily Geminder 11/23/10 12:37am
As hundreds of Bernie Madoff’s personal belongings were auctioned off to bidders last week, the owners of the building that once housed the con artist’s Potemkin trading floors, the so-called Lipstick Building, were preparing to declare bankruptcy.
In midtown, the Sheraton Hotel ballroom was transformed into a kind of government-run garage sale, part garish treasure Read More
By Emily Geminder 11/16/10 9:33pm
In the early-morning hours, when most New Yorkers are sleeping, thousands of trucks thunder in and out of Hunts Point’s industrial sprawl.
Roughly 60 percent of the city’s produce is shuttled through the peninsula’s food distribution center, the largest wholesale food market in the world and, since 2005, home of the historic Fulton Fish Market. Read More
By Emily Geminder 11/09/10 11:54pm
Even in a seemingly dismal age for the printed word, the Manhattan mediascape–all but littered with the shells of publishing enterprises come and gone–at least offers comfort in its constancy, a kind of rapid-cycling eternal flux. Most departed periodicals find themselves entombed in the dusty corners of archives, but a few manage to wedge themselves Read More
By Emily Geminder 11/03/10 12:27am
It’s hard to call New York’s history a circular one–we build over our past too fervently for that–but nonetheless, certain corners of the city manage to accumulate something like odd rhymes and resonance with their pasts, perhaps a barely conscious tic of repetition.
At the turn of the last century, Washington Street in Lower Manhattan Read More