Bronx Art Store Has It All: Sensational Staff and Supplies

4 Mar

I’m 49, but right now I’m essentially the equivalent of a college student in the art world.

Lucky for me, and Bronx artists all around, there’s a relatively new (as I reported last June) great place to affordably acquire and explore art supplies in our own borough: Artist and Craftsman Supply at 3961 White Plains Road in Wakefield.

Most of the staffers there are college-age or a little beyond. They’re Bronx artists and  students who are just nice, helpful, and hip young folks all around. I’m new to paints and related supplies but they’re not. I ask them things and they’re happy to help.

Here are just some of the staffers who were there when I shopped there last …

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In January, staffers of Artist & Craftsman (from left): Carol Heiser, Devin Gayle, Carlos Luciano and Felix Caballero. Photo by Jordan Moss

I’m posting this because I want Bronx artists, friends of artists, parents and schools to know about Artist and Craftsman Supply. Every time I’m there, they have phenomenal sales, which is particularly helpful to me as I’m taking a class at the Art Students League and regularly need new supplies, which seem to cost way more in Manhattan.

Upstairs at Artist and Craftsman they have relatively small store space packed with a cool variety of kids’ art supplies, and downstairs, in a very large basement covering much of the block, there is everything else you can imagine.

And now there are art classes for adults and kids on weekends. Very cool. If art supplies are anywhere in your interest zone, check it out!

Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment’s Financial Uncertainty

19 Feb
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The Kingsbridge Armory on Kingsbridge Road. Photo by Jordan Moss

Politico New York reports on the uncertain financial status of the mega ice-skating palace planned for the  Kingsbridge Armory’s redevelopment.

‘Little Free Library’ on Bronx Block

12 Feb

Even with its 1.4 million people the Bronx has only one general bookstore: Barnes & Noble in Bay Plaza by Co-op City. (I’d love to be wrong about this, so please let me know if I am.)

That said, we can all regularly share and exchange books we’ve read — but don’t need around the house anymore — in an outdoor book cabinet. Think that’s a good idea? Well it is, but it ain’t mine.

Down our Bronx block on Giles Place in Kingsbridge Heights (also known as Van Cortlandt Village) our friends and neighbors, Sarah and Brian Aucoin, installed a Little Free Library in their front yard last year. They painted it beautiful colors with their two sons, Artie and Ozzie. It’s simply a house-shaped wooden cabinet and a glass door on a pole.

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A ‘Little Free Library’ on Giles Place in the Kingsbridge Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. Photo by Jordan Moss

Little Free Library is actually a nonprofit that provides these all over the world. But for now, the Aucoins’ library appears to be the only one in the Bronx.

The book cabinet allows anybody who walks by to see what’s available, take what they would like to read, and/or share what they’ve already read. It’s clearly been a big success. The shelf is regularly full and from week-to-week the titles continue to change.

Oh, it appears that the Aucoins’ Little Free Library launch is beginning to spread. Another wooden post similar to the one at the Aucoins’ house is going up next door. But that post is a bit shorter so it looks like the library is going to be for the little (or soon-to-be) readers in our area! How cool is that?

Stay tuned!

 

City Limits Highlights 40 Years of Critical Reporting

3 Feb

City Limits is 40 years old this year. For most of its life thus far it was a hand-held magazine, but for a couple of years now it’s been a website with the same critical coverage of urban policies that affect all New Yorkers and their neighborhoods.

Celebrating its impressive anniversary (how many nonprofit publications are around for four decades?) City Limits highlights a story from each of those 40 years (including my piece -part of a series produced by Tom Robbins and his excellent students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism – about a boy’s death following a fire in a disastrous Bronx building long-ignored by its landlord.)

What City Limits also has up and running are essays by many of its former editors including Robbins, Alyssa Katz and Doug Turetsky. (Bronx and Norwood neighborhood resident Jarrett Murphy is the current editor who made this whole lookback happen.)

Take a read and pass it on. It’s good for everyone to know more about where we were and focus on what policies still need focus and change.

 

DEP Needs to Do Its Job Clearing Jerome Park Reservoir Sidewalk

25 Jan

Those of us who live around the Jerome Park Reservoir probably know that most of that 2-mile-long public sidewalk has not been dug out after the historic snowstorm. It’s the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that’s responsible for that, not the Parks Department, which is doing a great job clearing the paths at Fort Independence Park which is also adjacent to the reservoir.

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As the photo above shows, salt has been put down near that park’s entrance (by NYC Parks Dept. just to help access to their the park they’re responsible for I’m guessing), but that can only help a bit considering the snow’s height and since 2/3 of the reservoir is inaccessible to local residents and workers.

I called 311 but was on hold for a very long time thanks to the snowstorm. So I went on 311’s website and app but the complaint choices were not helpful in this situation. I then went to DEP’s website and made the following complaint to DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. If you share this concern I suggest you do the same. I’ll let you know if I get a response.

Hi Comm. Lloyd,
While the snow has been removed from Fort Independence Park in CB8/Bronx, it has not been removed from the public sidewalks around the Jerome Park Reservoir (other than at Lehman College, which probably did the work itself for student and staff access). This is DEP’s job as far as I know. It is a critical sidewalk to clear as it’s the way so many people walk to work, school, home, etc. The way it is, people are more likely to fall or walk in the street, which is also very dangerous of course. If you or someone on staff can let me know when DEP will be coming to clear sidewalk surround the reservoir. I would appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Jordan Moss

Oh, while I’m at it, here’s the excellent job Parks Dept. workers already did at Fort Independence Park (also know to many locals as Pigeon Park).

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Parks Dept. workers cleared the Fort Independence Park pathway this morning.           Photos by Jordan Moss

 

 

 

Kingsbridge Armory Re-Do Update

20 Jan

 

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The Kingsbridge Armory on Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx. Photo by Jordan Moss.

In the latest Kingsbridge Armory status update, the Norwood News recently reported that the Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC) will receive a $30 million loan from Empire State Development for its first redevelopment phase of the massive landmark facility. The Armory will become the largest ice-skating center in the world, with nine rinks. Completing the initial phase of work is scheduled for April 2017. That’s more than 20 years after initial debates and activism were launched to plan the armory’s future.

Beautiful Bronx River on Sunny, Freezing Afternoon 

19 Jan

Yesterday at New York Botanical Garden

  

  

Don’t Miss Martin Wong Exhibit at Bronx Museum of the Arts

15 Jan

I forget why I headed into the Bronx Museum of the Arts seven weeks ago. But when I got there and ended up at the opening for a media tour (yup, I was lucky!) of the Martin Wong exhibit I felt like I was meant to be there. Among what I’ve seen at the museum, which is not nearly sufficient for a Bronxite former newspaper editor who has lived in the borough for 24 years, Wong’s work is the most significant. It’s the art of a proud, gay, artisitic urbanite (he spent some time here but was more of San Franciscan) obsessed with … well … his art and the influence of the diverse, difficult and delectable world around him. Here are a few photos I took of paintings that grabbed me, but they insufficiently document my experience there, which is why you should go! The exhibit closes on Feb. 14.

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