Wall Dogs: The Midair Muralists Who Paint New York
It’s 8am in Soho, the thermometer reads just above freezing, and the sky is bleak. Taxis splash down the streets; New Yorkers stride with their heads down, leaping over puddles, carelessly bumping into each other. Everyone wants to get out of the cold, out of the rain, into the warmth.
Ten stories above — on a long, skinny platform hanging from the facade of a building at Canal and Mercer in downtown Manhattan — it’s a different story. Climbers’ ropes secured around their torsos, Jason Coatney and Armando Balmaceda stand in a melange of open paint cans and brushes. These two muralists of Colossal Media, the largest hand-painted advertising company in America, are heavily layered in sweatshirts and raincoats. But in this industry, c’est la vie. Paintbrushes in their fingerless-gloved hands, earbuds in their ears — “I like to start out with Miles Davis in the morning,” Coatney smiles, his breath visible in the frigid air — they begin yet another workday in the sky.
Documenting Disappearing London
I pass these stores every day. I pass hundreds every week, maybe thousands each month. It’s rare that I look for longer than I need. But Emily Webber sees them.
Based in Hackney, Emily shoots images of the urban furniture of 21st-century London. Her photos show chicken shops and nail bars; laundromats, kebab shops, hairdressers, cab offices, newsagents, and thrift stores all feature. In an increasingly chainified city, she zeroes in on the beauty and originality of the garish and the mundane. On London Shop Fronts, she has published over 1,200 images so far, running one every morning for almost four years.
Oscar Niemeyer, the celebrated Brazilian architect whose flowing designs infused Modernism with a new sensuality and captured the imaginations of generations of architects around the world, died on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro. He was 104.
Ye olde mail chutes from around NYC…
I recall that the one on top is from a building not far from Grand Central Terminal. Those on the bottom are from the Flatiron Building which I have occasion to visit since it’s the home of my publisher, Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt/Macmillan…
Pennsylvania Station, New York City, c. 1960.