Tuesday, November 21, 2006

An Artful Dodge of the Holiday Hub-Bub: Eight Not-to-Be-Missed Exhibits

With the holiday season upon us, you may be scrambling to take the last of your vacation days that you’ve put off all year, or hosting a number of out-of-town guests, or simply in need of a respite from the holiday hub-bub. Whatever the case, immersing yourself in an art exhibit is a great way to resolve the unique challenges presented by any of the above.

New York is never short on exhibits worth at least a couple of hours of your time, and now is no exception. Plan your museum itinerary for the holiday season – and the post-holiday hangover – with this guide to eight must-see shows closing between now and the end of January.

Navigation Tip: The exhibition title links directly to the exhibit Web site; the museum name links to the home page of the institution's Web site. All links will open in a new window.

Full House: Views of the Whitney's Collection at 75
Closing on December 31

Marking its 75th anniversary, the Whitney has devoted its entire fifth floor to works by Edward Hopper, drawn both from its extensive holdings (the world’s largest Hopper collection) as well as loans from other institutions, such as the Art Institute of Chicago’s Nighthawks (1942) and MoMA’s New York Movie (1939). Included alongside his paintings are many of Hopper’s preparatory sketches and drawings. Originally scheduled to close on December 3, the exhibit has been extended through the holidays.

NOTE: The other sections of the Whitney’s larger Full House exhibit, which featured selections from its entire collection, have already closed. If you don’t care for Hopper, check out Picasso and American Art, which examines Picasso’s influence on American artists by juxtaposing his works with those of Max Weber, Stuart Davis, Arshile Gorky, John Graham, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jasper Johns. It runs through January 28.

The Whitney Museum of American Art: 945 Madison Ave. (@ 75th St.); 800-944-8639.
Hours: Weds.-Thurs., Sat.-Sun., 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Fri., 1:00-9:00 p.m.; Closed Mondays.

Admission: Adults: $15; Seniors & students, $10; NYC public high school students, children under 12 & members, free. Admission is pay-what-you-wish Fridays, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Willing to Be Lucky: Ambitious New Yorkers in the Pages of LOOK Magazine
Closing on January 3, 2007

The title for this exhibit of 1940s and ‘50s photography was cleverly excerpted from E.B. White’s classic essay Here is New York, in which he wrote: “No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” The New Yorkers featured in the 100-plus images here are dancers, boxers, showgirls, artists – some celebs and some just plain folk, but all “just offbeat enough” to end up in one of the most influential pictorial magazines in the 20th century – and some lucky enough to be photographed by Stanley Kubrick, who launched his career with LOOK. Special events in association with this exhibit include a guided tour with co-curators Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins followed by a screening of the early Kubrick film Killer’s Kiss (Sunday, Dec. 3, 2:00 p.m.) and a screening of the 1945 film The Stork Club, which stars Betty Hutton as a hat-check girl lucky enough to get rich working in the famed New York nightclub (Sunday, Dec. 10, 2:00 p.m.); both are free with museum admission.

Museum of the City of New York: 1220 Fifth Ave. (@ 103rd St.); 212-534-1672.
Hours: Tues.-Sun., 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Closed Mondays except holidays, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.
Admission: Adults, $9; Seniors & students, $5; Families, $20 (max. 2 adults); Children (12 and under) & members, free. Admission is free Sundays, 10:00 am-12:00 p.m.

Closing on January 7, 2007

You won’t look at “nature photography” the same way again after this exhibit of images by 39 international artists who “boldly examine new concepts of the natural sphere,” reflecting “new perspectives on the planet that sustains, enchants, and – increasingly – frightens us.”

International Center of Photography (ICP): 1133 Sixth Ave. (@ 43rd St.); 212-857-0000.
Hours: Tues.-Thurs., Sat.-Sun., 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Fri., 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Closed Mondays.
Admission: Adults, $10; Seniors & students, $7; Members, Free.

Defamation of Character
Closing on January 8, 2007

How apt, with all the hoopla surrounding the “TomKat” marriage (did I say that out loud?), the Britney divorce and, worst of all, the now canceled, thank the gods, O.J. interview and book, is this exhibit of “post-punk” work that “explores the relationships between face and fame, notoriety, disclosure, and erasure.” While some of the 30 international artists represented here “mine popular culture to produce scathing or defamatory indictments of consumer mores,” others bring their art to bear on “the moral corruptions of public and political acts,” and some “practice detournement – using elements of well-known media to create new work with a different or opposing message – to elevate injury and injustice into the realm of high art.”

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center: 22-25 Jackson Ave. (@ 46th Ave.), Long Island City, Queens; 718-784-2084.
Hours: Thurs.-Mon., 12:00-6:00 p.m. Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.
Admission: Adults, $5; Seniors & Students, $2; MoMA members & MoMA ticket holders, free. Fees are suggested donation.

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life, 1990–2005
Closing on January 21, 2007

Together with Willing to Be Lucky and Defamation of Character, the celebrity photography of Annie Leibowitz on display here form a trifecta of sorts for those interested in images of popular culture. But this exhibit of 200 images goes beyond Leibowitz’s well known and witty photos of the famous; it also includes personal photographs of friends and family, documentary photos from Sarajevo in the early ‘90s and landscapes of the American West and the Jordanian desert, broadening our perspective of Leibowitz’s body of work.

The Brooklyn Museum: 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn; 718-638-5000.
Hours: Weds.-Fri., 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (11.a.m.-11 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month). Closed Mondays and Tuesdays; also closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Admission: Adults, $8; Seniors & Students (with valid ID), $4; Children under 12 & members, free. Fees are suggested donation.

Americans in Paris
Closing on January 28, 2007

American artists flocked to Paris “by the hundreds” in the late 19th century, when it had emerged as the world’s new art capital. The City of Light, notes this exhibition’s Web site, “inspired decisive changes in American painters’ styles and subjects,” which can be seen in this landmark exhibit of 100 paintings by 37 artists, including James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer. The Met will also host a special symposium, “Americans in Paris, 1860–1900,” on Thursday, Nov. 30, and a special related “Sunday at the Met” program on Dec. 3. Both are free with museum admission; for details, email lectures@metmuseum.org.

Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1000 Fifth Ave. (@ 82nd St.); 212-535-7710.
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. & Sun., 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 9:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; Closed Mondays.
Admission: Adults, $15; Seniors, $10; Students, $7; Children (under 12) & members, free.

Masters of American Comics
Superheroes: Good and Evil in American Comics
Closing on January 28, 2007

These two concurrent exhibits survey the American landscape in the 20th century through the comics. While Masters of American Comics, featuring work by R. Crumb, Chris Ware and others, explores the evolution of comic book art style from 1950 to the present, Superheroes delves into the themes that characterized the “Golden Age” of comics (1938-1950), featuring work by 15 Jewish comic book artists who created such iconic characters as Superman (Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel) and Batman (Bob Kane and Bill Finger ). “With the creation of superheroes and super villains,” the exhibit Web site explains, “these artists and writers not only reflected their own experience as immigrants—frequently Jewish immigrants from European countries—but explored the very real battles of good and evil that were being fought internationally during WWII. …
These powerful figures came to secure truth and justice the American way—forging an Americanness that was extremely important for many of these immigrant children and immigrant artists.”

The Jewish Museum: 1109 Fifth Ave. (@ 92nd St.); 212-423-3200.
Hours: Sat.-Weds., 11:00 a.m.-5:45 p.m.; Thurs., 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Closed Fridays.
Admission: Adults, $12; Seniors, $10; Students, $7.50; Children under 12 & members, free. Admission is free on Saturdays.

Manet and the Execution of Maximilian
Closing on January 29, 2007

When a Mexican firing squad shot France's Emperor Maximilian to death in 1867, Édouard Manet began working on a series of paintings that would culminate with his landmark painting The Execution of Emperor Maximilian. This exhibit brings together, for the first time in the United States, several of these works and additional pieces that “examine the evolution from one painting to the next, which was fueled by a steady stream of written and graphic accounts of the event.”

Museum of Modern Art: 11 West 53rd St. (between Fifth & Sixth Aves.); 212-708-9400.
Hours: Mon., Weds.-Thurs., Sat.-Sun., 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Fri., 10:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Closed Tuesdays.
Admission: Adults, $20; Seniors, $16; Students, $12; Children (16 & under) & members, free.

Friday, November 17, 2006

When You Need to Know: Film Festivals in the Five Boroughs

New York film buffs have the chance to attend not just one, but two, film festivals this weekend. In fact, over the last three months the city has hosted no fewer than eight fests, including October’s 44th Annual (that would make it the longest-running in town) New York Film Festival.

On tap this weekend are the Big Apple Film Festival (November 16-19), showcasing works by the New York indie filmmaking community, and the New York/Avignon Festival (November 15-19), billed as “the transatlantic crossroads of independent cinema.”

Over the course of the year, New York film buffs can usually find at least one, if not more, fests to attend each month. No matter what you like, you can find a festival for every taste and special interest, from the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival showcasing films of anthropological and environmental interest to The Bicycle Festival, celebrating all things on two wheels. And this doesn’t include specially programmed fests that outfits like the Film Forum and the Pioneer Theatre regularly put together.

Here’s a sampler, in alphabetical order, of 25 local fests, mostly in Manhattan but a couple from Queens and Brooklyn for good measure. (Feel free to email me additional fests that aren’t listed here.) Note that dates are subject to change, but I’ve listed the month that the festival typically takes place. If upcoming dates (between November 2006 and November 2007) have been announced, they are listed here, but your best bet if you find a festival that interests you is to bookmark the site and check back often for news and schedule updates. And for filmmakers who want to enter the festivals, I’ve included the URL for submission information and forms.

* N/A indicates information not available.

The Avignon/New York Film Festival
Billed as “the transatlantic crossroads of independent cinema,” this fest takes place in Provence in the summer and New York in the fall, offering a mix of French, American and European indie films as well as roundtable discussions, parties, trinutes to indie filmmakers and more in “a celebration of independent cinema with good films, good people, good wines and good talk.”
Usually held around: November
To submit your film for consideration: The deadline for the New York festival is usually in September; the deadline for the 2007 Provence festival is May 1, 2007. Click here for details and forms.

The Bicycle Festival
Proving that where there’s a special interest, there’s likely a film festival built around it, this fest “celebrates the bicycle.” Appropriately, this is a traveling fest that – forgive the pun – cycles through L.A., San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago, London, Milan, Sydney and Tokyo in addition to New York. “We are into all styles of bikes and biking,” the Web site explains. “If you can name it-Tall Bike Jousting, Track Bikes, BMX, Alleycats, Critical Mass, Bike Polo, Cycling to Recumbents- we've probably either ridden or screened it. What better way to celebrate these lifestyles than through art, film, music and performance?”
Usually held around: May
To submit your film for consideration: Submissions for the 2007 festival will be accepted from December 1, 2006-February 17, 2007; click here for details.

Big Apple Film Festival
Showcasing the works of the New York independent filmmaking community, this fest aims “to bridge the gap between dedicated independent film audiences and filmmakers, as well as to connect emerging filmmakers with established industry professionals.” It also screens a number of other indie films from outside the New York area and offers panel discussions, a screenplay competition and networking parties. MsManhattan hopes its organizers have a far better eye for film than for design: This fest definitely takes the award for worst Web site – the information is poorly organized and the layout is hard to follow.
Usually held around: November
To submit your film for consideration: Click here for guidelines.

Coney Island Film Festival
This quirky fest, held at Coney Island’s Sideshows by the Seashore and the Coney Island Museum, showcases shorts and features made in or about Coney Island. It’s a freewheeling weekend full of joie de vie, parties and screenings of films you may not see anywhere else.
Usually held around: October
To submit your film for consideration: The call for entries for the 2007 festival will begin in March. Apply via Withoutabox.com; for details, click here.

Havana Film Festival in New York
Despite its name, this fest goes far beyond Havana, offering audiences a wide range of works from Cuba, Mexico, Central America and South America, as well as an annual tribute to a Cuban filmmaker.
Usually held around: April
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

Human Rights Watch International Film Festival
This activist-oriented fest, which debuts in London before coming to New York, features documentaries and dramas – “heroic stories of activists and survivors through the eyes of courageous filmmakers, putting a human face on threats to individual freedom and giving voice to those who might otherwise be silenced.”
Usually held around: June
To submit your film for consideration: Unsolicted submissions are accepted for the New York festival only; the 2007 fest deadline is December 10. Click here for guidelines.

Israel Film Festival
This annual traveling fest rotates through New York, L.A. and Miami as a showcase for the Israeli film and television industries. Works are selected “to enrich the American vision of Israel’s social and cultural diversity and to advance tolerance and understanding.”
Usually held around: Varies; the 2007 festival is scheduled for June 6-21.
To submit your film for consideration: The deadline for the 2007 festival is January 20, 2007. Click here for guidelines and forms.

LaCinemaFe Film Festival of New York
The 2007 installment of this two-week fest of “the best of Latina Merican and Spanish cinema” promises features and shorts from Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Spain, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Peru, Mexico, Italy, France and Spain. Additionally the program will feature retrospectives of children’s films and “Latin American Gay Cinema.”
Usually held around: It appears that this festival, which is coming up on its fifth installment, had originally been held in August; however, the Fifth Annual fest seems to have been delayed and is scheduled for February 22-March 3, 2007.
To submit your film for consideration: The submission form for the 2005 festival is here; it will give you some idea of the requirements for entry. The submission deadline for the 2007 festival has passed; check the Web site next spring for more information.

The Machinima Festival
Described as “filmmaking within a real-time, 3D virtual environment, often using 3D video-game technologies,” Macinima “blurs the lines between production and post-production,” according to the Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences, which produces this fest for the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens.
Usually held around: November
To submit your film for consideration: For rules and deadlines, email your inquiry to submissions@machinima.org.

Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival
Showcasing international documentary works produced by social scientists, independent filmmakers, students, and indigenous media-makers, this festival honors anthropologist Margaret Mead for her pioneering use of film in fieldwork. Presented by the American Museum of Natural History, the festival travels around the country after its New York debut.
Usually held around: November
To submit your film for consideration: Call for entries usually starts in the spring; check the Web site periodically for entry forms or read the festival’s FAQ here.

New Directors/New Films
A collaboration between the Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA’s Department of Film and Media, this fest focuses on works by emerging filmmakers from around the world and has introduced such directors as Pedro Almodóvar, Spike Lee, Sally Potter, Nicole Holofcener and John Sayles. Recent films that debuted at the festival include Junebug, Murderball, My Architect and Real Women Have Curves.
Usually held around: Mid-March-Early April; 2007 festival is scheduled for March 21-April 1.
To submit your film for consideration: Click here for rules and submission forms. This fest is non-competitive – “films are chosen according to quality,” the guidelines state – and no awards are given. The deadline for the 2007 festival is January 5.

NewFest: The New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Film Festival
Marking its 19th year in 2007, this fest showcases the best of film and video by, about, or of interest to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered persons. NewFest also supports other programs throughout the year, including FilmMaker’s Forum, a workshop series, and NewFest at the IFC Center, a monthly film series.
Usually held around: Late May/Early June; 2007 festival is scheduled for May 31-June 10.
To submit your film for consideration: Click here for guidelines and forms. The early deadline for the 2007 festival is December 22; regular deadline is February 20, 2007.

New York African Film Festival
A nine-day program of features and shorts by African directors, this fest is held only during even-numbered years. Additionally, the AFF supports outdoor screenings in the summer, a traveling film series, educational programs and more.
Usually held around:
To submit your film for consideration:

New York Asian American International Film Festival
Known as the “First Home to Asian American Cinema,” this festival launched in 1978 to screen works from all over the world by artists of Asian descent.
Usually held around: July
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

New York Asian Film Festival
Presented by Subway Cinema, a collective established in 1999 to promote Asia’s popular cinema in the United States, this two-week festival brings to New York films from China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and India.
Usually held around: June
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

The New York City Horror Film Festival
With more than 50 films over five days, filmmaker Q&As, awards and tributes to masters of the genre, just call this fall fest horrific – in the best possible sense.
Usually held around: October
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

New York Film Festival
One of the world’s most important festivals and, with 2007 marking the 45th anniversary, the oldest fest in New York, this 17-day festival sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center is the city’s must-attend fall event. It screens an average of 28 features and 12 shorts from around the world, including premieres of new works by leading filmmakers.
Usually held around: Late September/Early October
To submit your film for consideration: Application forms are available starting in May; the submission deadline is in July. Click here for details and forms.

New York International Children’s Film Festival
Perhaps better called the festival for hip New York kids with creative, open-minded parents, this three-week fest aims “to help define a more compelling film for kids” by presenting “intelligent, passionate, provocative cinematic works for ages 3-18.” For example, a previous fest featured a Peter Sellars retrospective for kids ages 10 and up that included Dr. Strangelove and The Mouse That Roared. “We are not shy about showing films with mature themes, subject matter, language or sensibilities—especially for our teen and pre-teen audiences,” the submission guidelines say. The 2007 fest will feature over 100 films in competition plus gala premieres, retrospectives, workshops and more.
Usually held around: March; the 2007 festival is scheduled for March 2-18.
To submit your film for consideration: For rules and submission forms, click here. The deadline for the 2007 festival has already passed.

New York International Latino Film Festival
Dubbed “New York’s Latin Sundance” by industry pub Indiewire, this week-long festival brings together an array of features, shorts and documentaries by Latino filmmakers from around the world. The festival, which is co-sponsored by HBO, debuts each year in New York and then travels around the country; other programs throughout the year include a short film competition, a Latino Writers Lab and more.
Usually held around: July
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

New York Jewish Film Festival
Running since 1992, this festival co-sponsored by The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center presents international features, shorts and documentaries that offer “unique visions of the Jewish experience.”
Usually held around: January; the 2007 festival is scheduled for January 10-25.
To submit your film for consideration: For details and forms, click here. The submission deadline has passed for the 2007 festival.

New York Korean Film Festival
Sponsored by the Korea Society and held at various venues around town, this is a two-day fest of shorts and features from Korean filmmakers.
Usually held around: Late August/early September
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

New York Short Short Film Festival
This festival featuring shorts with a running time of five minutes or less launched last May as a forum for “empowering new and emerging filmmakers in the New York area.” Hosted by the Anthology Film Archives, it billed the 2006 event as the “First Annual…” but the Web site does not yet have details on a “Second Annual” fest for 2007 (at least as of November 2006).
Usually held around: May (but it has only been held once, so who knows?)
To submit your film for consideration: Click here for details.

New York Underground Film Festival
Hosted by Anthology Film Archives, this fest screens narrative features and shorts, documentaries, animation and experimental films “of an innovative, experimental, subversive, critical, uncompromising, and adventurous nature,” according to its call for submissions. As of November 2006, the Web site is lacking in information on the upcoming festival but provides links back to previous fest archives.
Usually held around: Late March/early April; the 2007 festival is scheduled for March 28-April 1.
To submit your film for consideration: Submit via Withoutabox.com.

Tribeca Film Festival
One of the newest and already most prestigious fests in town, Tribeca is a not-to-be-missed two-week party of red-carpet premieres, filmmaker panels, indie screenings, street parties and more.
Usually held around: End of April/beginning of May; the 2007 festival is scheduled for April 25-May 6.
To submit your film for consideration: Click here to apply online or download submission requirements and forms. The entry deadline for the 2007 festival is December 8 (late entry deadline is January 5).

24-Hour Film Festival
Downtown Community Television (DCTV) last July launched this screening sleepover featuring 12 two-hour programs of indie shorts, features and animation. Whether the group intends to make it annual event remains to be seen, but it’s certainly worth checking the Web site periodically to find out.
Usually held around: July (but it has only been held once, so who knows?)
To submit your film for consideration: N/A

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New York for Reel

New York films are what make those of us who grew up anywhere else want to move here when we grow up. We see Diane Keaton and Woody Allen capping off an odd and elegant evening with hot dogs under the 59th St. Bridge, Dustin Hoffman going to town on the hood of a taxi in the middle of a busy intersection, Cher strolling home in Brooklyn Heights under an impossibly big moon, Audrey Hepburn sitting on a fire escape strumming a guitar, and we get a glimpse of ourselves leading a different life.

And so we transplants who now feel ourselves, perhaps, New Yorkers owe, in a sense, a debt of gratitude to the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting (MOFTB), which marks its 40th anniversary this month with a series of screenings, a book release and a photography exhibit.

The MOFTB is a huge resource to big production companies making on-location movies and television shows as well as local indie filmmakers, providing free location permits, police assistance, discounts and various other supporting production services.

(Of course, you can also blame the MOFTB when you can’t park on your block because Law and Order is shooting there that day or some overly eager production assistant stops you on the sidewalk and makes you wait until they “get the shot.” It can be annoying, without a doubt, but try to be patient – those films and TV shows they’re shooting add jobs and revenue to the city.)

Many of the events commemorating the MOFTB’s 40th anniversary have already passed – such as October’s Coney Island Film Festival, in which (WARNING: BLATANT PLUG COMING) Aram Bauman, my production partner, and our friend Stephanie Armstrong screened their short film Red Meat.

But you can still catch a number of events, including the following:

  • Tuesdays-Sundays, 12:00-7:00 p.m, through November 27: Exhibit featuring photographs from Scenes from the City: Filming in New York 1966-2006, a new book examining filmmaking in New York over the last 40 years. The book shows how New York itself becomes a character in the films set here and also documents the city’s changing landscape – as well as the history of location shoots here. Tribeca Cinemas Gallery, 13-17 A Laight St. (between Varick and Sixth Ave.).
  • Wednesdays, November 15, 22 and 29: Screenings of experimental and indie short films about the city. 11-15, 1:30 p.m., Andy Warhol’s The Chelsea Girls; 11-22, 1:30 p.m., Central Park; 11-29, 2:30 p.m., Living American Theater Dance, Company, and Kiss Me Petruchio. New York Public Library’s Donnell Library Center, 20 West 53rd St. (between Fifth and Sixth Aves.).
  • Friday, November 17, 6:00-7:30 p.m.: A book-signing by James Sanders, an architect and New York history buff who put together the new photographic survey of New York films, Scenes from the City: Filmmaking in NY 1966-2006, produced with the MOFTB. International Center for Photography (ICP), 1133 Sixth Ave. (@ 43rd St.).
  • Tuesday, December 5, 6:30 p.m.: A talk – and another book-signing – by James Sanders (see above), Recital Hall at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave. (@ 34th St.). Advance reservations required; to register, call the CUNY Graduate Center's Office of Continuing Education and Public Programming at 212-817-8215 or email continuinged@gc.cuny.edu.
  • Thursday, December 21, 7:00 p.m.: A screening of director Ry Russo-Young's Marion, a remake of Psycho set in the West Village. Jonathan Shorr Gallery, 109 Crosby St. (@ Prince St.). Presented by the AIC-Cypher Salon, a series combining poetry and filmmaking.

For more details on these events, click here. And, to learn more about the book Scenes From the City, check it out at Amazon.com.

MsManhattan commemorates the MOFTB’s 40th anniversary by launching New York for Reel: Resources for NY Filmmakers and Film Buffs. Over the next few weeks look for links to local film festivals, production resources, best places to see indie films and more.

And, if you’d like to support a humble local indie filmmaker – namely, MsManhattan (WARNING: BLATANT SELF PROMOTION COMING) – check out the Exposure online film contest sponsored by SciFi Channel and Sundance Channel. RF EYE-D, a short film I wrote, produced and co-directed (with DP/Editor/SFX Artist extraordinaire, the aforementioned Aram Bauman) is in contention this week only (November 13-19). To view and to vote, go to SciFi.com and then to SundanceChannel.com – and email the links to all your friends.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Let Your Voice Be Heard: A Guide to Manhattan's Community Boards

It's easy to feel like you're not being heard in a city as cacophonous as New York, but don't give up. If you have concerns about your neighborhood – too many rats on the block, a high-rise development proposal that will mar the local character – voice them at the next public meeting of your local Community Board.

Each of Manhattan's 12 Community Districts is represented by a Community Board. Community Boards are fundamental local resources for each neighborhood within Manhattan. Staffed entirely by volunteers, they serve as liaisons between New York City government agencies and local civic organizations, residents and businesses in each district. Monthly public meetings involve civic and public officials as well as city agency representatives, and public sessions at each meeting offer community residents an opportunity to speak out on local issues, make new proposals and more.

Don't get drowned out by all the noise; check your local Community Board's schedule, and make it a priority to attend the next meeting. Use this guide to find information on the Manhattan Community Boards where you live and do business.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This information is accurate as of June 3, 2006. To ensure that you have the latest available contact information for your Community Board, link to its Web site or check the city’s listing at the Community Assistance Unit Web site. (The Board Web sites tend to be more up-to-date than the city’s listing.)


Community Board 1
Board Chairperson: Julie Menin. District Manager: Paul Goldstein.
51 Chambers St.. Room 712, New York 10007. Phone: 212-334-0611.
Little Italy, Tribeca, Lower Manhattan, Ellis Island, Governor's Island and Liberty Island.
Monthly Meetings:
6:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday; call or check the Web site for location.

Manhattan Community Board 2
Board Chairperson: Maria Passannante Derr. District Manager: Arthur Strickler.
Address: 3 Washington Square Village, New York 10012. Phone: 212-979-2272. Fax: 212-254-5102.
Area: From Canal St. to 14th St. between the west side of Bowery and the Hudson River.
Monthly Meetings: 7:00 p.m. on the third Thursday; call for location.

Manhattan Community Board 3
Board Chairperson:
David McWater. District Manager: Susan Stetzer.
59 East 4th St., New York. 10003. Phone: 212-533-5300. Fax: 212-533-3659.
From Houston St. to East 14th St. between the East River and Bowery/Third Ave.
Monthly Meetings:
6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday at P.S. 20, 166 Essex St.


Manhattan Community Board 4
Board Chairperson: Lee Compton. District Manager: Anthony Borelli.
Address: 330 West 42nd St., New York 10036. Phone: 212-736-4536.
Area: From West 14th St. to West 59th St. between the Hudson River and Sixth Ave. or Eighth Ave. (depending on the block).
Monthly Meetings: 6:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday; call or check the Website for location.


Manhattan Community Board 5
Board Chairperson: David Diamond. District Manager: Gary Parker.
Address: 450 7th Ave., Suite 2109, New York 10001. Phone: 212-465-0907. Fax: 212-465-1628.
Area: From 14th St. to 59th St. between Lexington Ave. and Eighth Ave.
Monthly Meetings: 6:00 p.m. on the second Thursday; call for location.

Community Board 6

Board Chairperson: Carol A. Schachter. District Manager: Toni Carlina.
Address: 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 308, New York 10017. Phone: 212-319-3750.
Area: From East 14th St. to East 59th St. between the East River and Lexington Ave., and further west in some areas.
Monthly Meetings: 7:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday, usually at the NYU Medical Center, 550 First Ave.


Manhattan Community Board 7
Board Chairperson: Sheldon J. Fine. District Manager: Penny Ryan.
Address: 250 West 87th St., New York 10024. Phone: 212-362-4008.
Area: From Columbus Circle to Cathedral Parkway (West 110th St.) between Central Park West and the Hudson River.
Monthly Meetings: Usually held during the first week of the month; call or check the Web site for dates, times and locations.

Manhattan Community Board 8
Board Chairperson: David G. Liston. District Manager: Elizabeth McKee.
Address: 505 Park Ave., Suite #620, New York 10022. Phone: 212-362-4008.
Area: From the north side of East 59th St. to the south side of East 96th St. between Fifth Ave. and the East River, including Roosevelt Island.
Monthly Meetings: The third Wednesday; call or check the Web site for dates, times and locations.

Manhattan Community Board 9
Board Chairperson: Hon. J. Reyes-Montblanc. District Manager: Lawrence McClean.
Address: 565 West 125th St., New York 10027. Phone: 212-864-6200.
Area: From the north side of West 110th St. to the south side of West 155th St. between Riverside Dr. and various avenues (depending on the block).
Monthly Meetings: 6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday at the Community Board office.

Manhattan Community Board 10
Board Chairperson: Hon. Neal Clark. District Manager: Yasmin Cornelius.
Address: 215 West 125th St., 4th Floor, New York 10027. Phone: 212-749-3105. Fax: 212-662-4215.
Area: Harlem and the Polo Grounds.
Monthly Meetings: The first Wednesday; call or check the Web site for dates, times and locations.

Manhattan Community Board 11
Board Chairperson: Lino Rios. District Manager: Javier Llano.
Address: 565 West 125th St.. New York 10027. Phone: 212-864-6200.
Area: From East 96th St. to the northeastern tip of Manhattan between the East River/Harlem River and Fifth Ave., including Ward's and Randall's Islands.
Monthly Meetings: The third Tuesday; call or check the Web site for details.

Manhattan Community Board 12
Board Chairperson: Martin Collins. District Manager: Charles DeFino.
Address: 711 West 168th St., Ground Floor, New York 10032. Phone: 212-568-8500.
Area: From the north side of West 155th St. to the northwestern tip of Manhattan between the Harlem and Hudson Rivers, encompassing Washington Heights and Inwood.
Monthly Meetings: The fourth Tuesday; call or check the Web site for details.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Point A to Point B in a HopStop and a Jump

I have two friends who in March used their remaining FEMA funds to relocate to the Big Apple from the Big Easy. Having been among the first wave of residents to return to New Orleans after Katrina, they were ambivalent about leaving their French Quarter digs. But with work scarce and their landlord in need of their apartment for a family member, they concluded that it was time to make a move.

They had both lived here previously, years ago, so they weren’t entirely inexperienced in the ways of the city. Still, even for those who have lived here before, finessing a move here can be challenging, and they’ve often impressed me with the ease with which they’ve made their transition. For one, they’ve shown tremendous resourcefulness in navigating the subway system, finding unique and efficient ways of getting from their out-of-the-way neighborhood in Brooklyn to various points around the city. They finally shared their secret with me: HopStop.com.

As with MapQuest, you just enter your starting and ending points, and the site generates detailed directions from point A to point B. It tells you how to get to the nearest subway station, the transfers you need to make, and how to walk from your subway stop to your ultimate destination. What if you don’t know the address of the Met? No problem; just type in “Metropolitan Museum of Art.” You can also use intersections, but the system won’t recognize a single street only (e.g., you must put in 14th St. & Avenue A” – not merely “14th St.”). You can use pull-down menus to select such preferences as whether to walk more and transfer less (or vice-versa), and whether to combine bus and subway options. You can also enter the day and time you’ll be making the trip and select a language for the directions (current options are English, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Swahili).

If you don’t like the route it suggests, just click “Reroute” and HopStop provides alternate directions. Or if you want to know how safe, clean, efficient, etc., the subway or bus line is, just click “Ratings” to get Zagat-like user reviews and tips. Once you have your route, you can text-message it, email it or print it. Other site features include the ability to generate an itinerary with multiple stops, maps, and guides to nearby attractions, shops and restaurants.

Even if you know the subway system like the back of your hand, HopStop.com is a great asset when you’re hosting the inevitable out-of-town visitor. Just text-message them an itinerary, and you may never get another desperate “OMG, we’re lost!” phone call again.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

When You Need to Know: The Sporting Life Links

Being a city dweller doesn't negate an interest in the sporting life. New Yorkers are an active bunch, and Manhattan provides a number of opportunities for athletic pursuits and both indoor and outdoor recreational activities.

Turn here to find sports, fitness and recreation resources to indulge your physical side. I’ll update this as I come across new resources – and if you have any good local sports and recreation sites to recommend, please send them along!

For links to your favorite local pro teams, check out When You Need to Know: NY’s Professional Sports Teams.

New York’s Parks
NYC Parks Facilities: Where to Play, Practice & Watch
The New York City Parks system provides public facilities for a vast array of sports and recreation, from bocce courts to volleyball courts. Find the public places to play, practice or watch the sport or game of your choice with this searchable Parks Department guide.

Manhattan's Backyard: Sports Facilities in Central Park
Did you know that Central Park has indoor and outdoor rock-climbing walls? Or that it has two croquet lawns and yoga classes? Get information here on all of the public sports facilities Manhattan's backyard has to offer.

League Sports
A League of Your Own: Applying for Athletic Permits
If you're organizing a league of your own, you'll need to obtain an athletic permit to use the public parks facilities. Apply for a permit online, download applications for permits (Adobe Acrobat Reader required), and check out the usage guidelines for the public courts and fields at this Parks Department Web site.

Out of Bounds
Get a listing of New York's LGBT sports leagues and recreational groups, such as the NYC Gay Hockey Association, NY Pride Rowing Association, Fast & Fabulous Cycling Club and a host of others. All are endorsed by Out of Bounds, a non-profit organization that “advocates and actively works for the acceptance, visibility, and active participation of members of the GLBT community in professional, amateur, and recreational programs without regard to race, gender, age, or sexual orientation..” OOB’s Web site also features news, a calendar of LGBT sports and more.

Inline Skating
NYC SK8: The New York City Inline Skating Guide
This all-purpose overview of inline skating in the New York Metro area started out in 1994 as a mere FAQ and has grown into a useful guide to local inline skating. It features information on where to buy inline skates, a guide to local laws regulating the sport, a safety primer and more. My favorite feature is a handy neighborhood guide to the city’s best places for inline skating, which is thoughtfully written for the novice as well as experienced skater.

The Empire Skate Club
This non-profit membership-based association is “dedicated to having fun and improving the skating environment in New York.” It sponsors a variety of regular skating events, such as the Tuesday Night Skate, for advanced skaters; the more relaxed Thursday Night Roll, a social skate for beginner-to-intermediate skaters; and out-of-town skate trips. An annual membership is $25. Get all the details at the club’s Web site.

The Central Park Skate Patrol
This group is a godsend for beginning skaters. I would never have learned to feel confident on hills without the patience and persistence of the Skate Patrol volunteer who taught me how to brake at the West 72nd Street entrance to the Central Park Loop; volunteers are available every weekend, April-October, 12:30-5:30 p.m.. The local chapter of the International Inline Skating Association's (IISA) National Skate Patrol, the Central Park Skate Patrol also runs a very reasonably priced Skate School, with certified instructors, on the second and fourth weekends of each month. Check the Web site for more information.

TennisNYC League
The official Web site of the city’s self-proclaimed “#1 Tennis League” is a confusing mess in terms of design but, if you’re willing to scroll through its very long main page, you’re apt to find out everything you wanted to know about amateur tennis in New York.

Central Park Tennis Center
Get the lowdown on group classes, private lessons and tennis camps offered at the Har-Tru and hard courts located near the reservoir in Central Park.

Riverside Clay Tennis Association
This citizen’s group saved the clay courts at 97th St., alongside the Hudson River in Riverside Park, from being paved over in the early 1980s and now, in conjunction with the Parks Department, maintains 10 world-class courts, runs tournaments and tennis ladders, and hosts a summer sunset concert series. The organization also pays the salary of an on-site tennis pro who offers private and group lessons.

119th St. Tennis Association
This home-grown site representing the hard courts at 119th St. in Riverside Park features tournament schedules, news and, most notably, a listing of “Play Pals” – names and contact information of local enthusiasts who are seeking tennis partners.

Friends of Harlem Tennis Center
Support tennis north of 96th St. by checking in here for an update on the Harlem Tennis Center at the 369th Regiment Armory. The center has been closed, awaiting funding for a renovation. Check out the “HTC Crisis” link for news on what’s been going on, the “About HTC” link for a history of the center – notables such as Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe played and taught here – and the “Local Tennis Groups” link for a listing of various leagues and associations elsewhere in the city.

Horseback Riding
Riding in NYC’s Parks
Each of the five boroughs offers public horseback riding trails in the city’s parks. While Central Park is Manhattan’s backyard, you’ll only get to ride here if you’re pretty experienced. Venture out to one of the other boroughs, however, and you can get reasonably priced lessons as well as guided trail rides. This Parks Department guide includes information on hours, services available and rates, as well as links to the individual stables in each park.

Urban Cowboy: NYC Horseback Riding
If you want a glimpse into what riding in the city is really like before you venture out and try it for yourself, check out this article at Gorp.com, the Web site affiliated with Outside magazine. A first-person account by an experienced rider of various stables and trails in each of the five boroughs, it offers both a glimpse into the reality of riding in the metropolis and practical information on the stables. NOTE: You must complete the free Gorp.com site registration to access the entire article.

GoCityKids.com’s Guide to Horseback Riding in NYC
Get an overview of the stables and rates available around the city, plus kid-centric mini-reviews of each, as well as links to the stables’ Web sites.

Recommended All-Purpose Guide to Sports and Recreation in NYC
NY Sports Online
I’ll add more sports and recreation links to MsManhattan.net over time, but as much as I’d like to, it would be next to impossible for me to provide a comprehensive listing of sports and recreation opportunities in the city. And why should I, when New York Sports Online has done a fabulous job already? This site offers local sports and recreation news as well as localized guides and links to just about any athletic pursuit you can think of, from arm wrestling to volleyball.