A melting pot of cultures, Brooklyn has brought old-world charm to New York City for centuries. Its mainland is peppered with historic landmarks and the shore allows you to catch a glimpse of the glistening North Atlantic Ocean.
Without further ado, here is our first Cityseeker Neighborhood Guide covering a day in what’s arguably New York’s most eclectic boroughs. Enjoy!
Meet Zhuoran, one of our new interns visiting from China. A few weeks ago we took her to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), a few blocks away from our office. Below are her reflections.
When I first walked into SFMOMA, the first thing I saw was thousands of white computer-controlled LED spheres hanging from the ceiling; they dimmed and grew brighter, creating shapes. It was hard to see what the shapes were, but later when we went upstairs the shapes were clear: two dark figures boxing or practicing gongfu (kung fu). Very interesting. It was a new temporary installation designed by Jim Campbell, a local SF artist.
SF MOMA Lobby
Visiting SFMOMA was a good opportunity for me to better understand the fine art of photography. Before, I imagined photographers were just people with fancy cameras. I thought if the camera was good enough and the subject matter was beautiful enough (for example, super models or a scenic view) then their job was easy. After visiting the museum, I learned that photography is more than that.
It’s no shock that history nerds love museums. And when said history nerd is also an Anglophile, a trip to London is not just a vacation, but a pilgrimage. Having been to London several times, there are some museums I never get tired of no matter how much time I spend there, or how little it changes from year to year. As any true history nerd can attest, some things are just too awesome to only see once.
Of all the museums in Europe, the is usually in every sightseer’s Top Five. It’s a no-brainer, and for very good reason. It’s amazing. One of my former college professors once described it as “a staggering assemblage of pillaged artifacts from all over the world.” There are too many awe-inspiring relics to even mention. One of my favorite galleries features what’s known in Britain as the Elgin Marbles and known to the rest of the world as “Pieces of the Parthenon that Greece wants bluehost back.” It’s an incredible gallery that I never tire of, no matter how much time I spend there. Truly, you can’t go wrong in the British Museum, but if you need some suggestions on where to start, check out the BBC series which traces the development of human society through the museum’s collection. I will leave you with one tip though. The first time I went, I completely missed the Rosetta Stone because of the crowd of people surrounding it, so if you want a decent view and are short like me, use your elbows.
Pillaged statuary in the Enlightenment Gallery
Some of the famed Elgin Marbles
Admittedly, this wasn’t originally on my list of must-see museums, since my “interest in paintings” threshold is relatively low. However, it was a rainy day in and I really needed a restroom so I thought, “why not?” features art from 1250-1900 by everyone from Da Vinci to Van Gogh. Like most major London museums, the building is incredibly beautiful, with architecture from the Late Georgian and Victorian periods. All in all, even if classical art isn’t high on your priority list, the National Gallery is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Continue reading →
In fall 2010 my husband and I spent our belated honeymoon in London. We had planned our trip so as to accommodate our main interests: music and art.
Our main shopping destination was Sounds of the Universe, which is not just a record store, but a true institution. Suffice it to say that Sounds is associated with the mighty Soul Jazz record label, famous for its compilations of top-notch funk, reggae, avant-garde jazz, dub, no wave, and world music. Soul Jazz also publishes beautiful books (such as Kanaval—Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti) and releases DVDs. The atmosphere in Sounds of the Universe is not unlike San Francisco’s Aquarius Records, with knowledgeable and dedicated staff playing underappreciated albums and singles (the soundtrack to our record-browsing was some magnificent heavy dub). The difference is that Aquarius’s primary interest is avant-garde metal and noise, and Sounds of the Universe, just like Soul Jazz, has its main focus on Black music genres and their progeny, such as the various strains of contemporary bass music. Apart from Soul Jazz releases there are records and CDs put out by other independent labels. Sounds of the Universe recently started its own label, the first release of which was a 12″ by Chicago house and techno producer Hieroglyphic Being.
Sounds of the Universe. Photo courtesy of Julia Glosemeyer
To hear some cool new sounds live, we headed to Fabric. It is a giant, labyrinthine club, known for being very democratic: no one will turn you away at the door if your clothes are not expensive. Snobs might hate Fabric because it is so large and crowded, but I adore the fact that you can enjoy gigs by the most cutting-edge DJs in a non-elitist setting. When we were there, we heard sets by young dubstep producer Gemmy as well as drum ‘n’ bass institution Roni Size. If you want to brave Fabric and bypass the long lines, get a membership. For a monthly fee you will get not only priority entry, but also CDs delivered to you by mail. Recent additions to the Fabric and FABRICLIVE CD series have included mixes by Four Tet, Pinch, Agoria, and Pearson Sound/ Ramadanman. Continue reading →