Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Before It's Gone: S. Beckenstein

I've started to do an ongoing series of drawings of buildings and places around the city that are either about to be torn down or altered, or are in danger of it. First up is the S. Beckenstein building, at 130 Orchard St. in the Lower East Side.

I first took notice of this building last winter, but it was too cold for me to sit out there and draw it, so I filed it away in my mental "to draw" list. A few months ago, I saw a posting that construction was beginning on it, so I rushed out to get it down. The building had been purchased years ago by a developer for $28 million. When I got there, the ground floor had been turned into a high-end art gallery. What had been old-school garment shops had been replaced by a totally blank, black facade; so I skipped sketching the ground floor. I'm unclear if the gallery is going to occupy the entire building, or if they plan on retaining the old facade on the upper floors.

Samuel Beckenstein was a Polish immigrant who arrived in New York City in 1910. He began his business selling rags from a pushcart and eventually built a retail store for clothing, draperies and upholstery. The business survived the Great Depression by providing custom trousers "matched and made to order." People who could not afford new suits could purchase pants that matched their suits to replace their worn-out trousers. Beckenstein occupied this building, which was originally a telephone company switch exchange, from 1945 to 1999.

The business is still owned by the fourth generation of the family. It relocated to the Garment District. Fabric businesses there have been being displaced in recent years, and there is a "Save The Garment District" campaign underway. Hopefully this historic business is able to survive.

More history of S. Beckenstein can be found here and here.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Star Wars at 40

Today is the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars. I actually don't remember the first time I saw that movie, or how many times I've seen it since, but I can pretty much recite it line for line. I think Empire Strikes Back is better than Star Wars, and Rogue One is probably a better movie, too. But the original will always have a special place in my heart.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

USS Intrepid

I didn't draw this specifically for Fleet Week, but since it is Fleet Week, I figured this is a good time to post this one.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Water Street Pipes

A pair of pipes in front of a building on Water Street in DUMBO. I don't know what these pipes are for; pumping something in or pumping something out? They reminded me of a pair of drunk buddies, staggering home.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May The Fourth Be With You 2017

It's Star Wars Day, and the 40th anniversary of the first Star Wars movie.

Luke dreams of joining the Rebellion, or at least going to Tosche Station for some power converters.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Brooklyn Back Yard

The view from my bathroom window. I'd been planning on drawing this view for awhile, but I suddenly realized I had a deadline. There's a big tree between the window and these buildings, and one morning I noticed buds on the branches. I drew this in a morning, and a few days later, the tree was covered in leaves. This view is now a big wall of green.