Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Before It's Gone: Village

One of the most ubiquitous examples of street furniture in New York is the red Village Voice newspaper boxes. I drew this a few weeks ago as part of my "Before It's Gone" series, when I heard that the Village Voice would cease publishing print editions. Today, I heard that this week's paper is the final edition, so it seems a propos to post it today. I imagine these boxes, now on street corners across the city, will be gone soon.

I spent a year in Boston before moving to New York, and I would buy the Voice each week (you had to pay for it outside of NYC) and peruse all the listings and blurbs of all the cool stuff going on, and dream about living here. When I arrived a year later, the Voice played a pretty big role in my life. Now I could actually go to some of those things. Or, even if I didn't or couldn't afford to, at least I was in the same city! There was some great news reporting and columnists. And the classified section was huge. I actually got a job or two from them. People would line up at the Astor Square newsstand on Tuesday evening, where the new paper would arrive early. Everyone wanted to get first crack at the apartment listings. And there were tons of kooky, kinky sex ads, of every stripe, hinting at a huge illicit under-economy.

These days, it seems like every week, some iconic signature of New York City disappears: a restaurant, a bar, a store, a business. And everyone says, "I can't imagine New York without ________" But the truth is, a lot of times no one's gone to that place in years. I can't remember the last time I picked up a copy of the Village Voice. They laid off most of their main reporters and columnists and drastically cut the page count several years ago, and the functions of the classifieds have long been supplanted by the internet. The publisher says they will transition to being an online paper, but I haven't looked at their website in ages, either.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Frick Museum Bust

Sketch of a bust in the Garden Court of the Frick Museum.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


From a drawing session at Minerva's Studio. The model's name was Yolanda. She was very lean. She said, "Drawing teachers love to use me for anatomy lessons!"

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Before It's Gone: Kensington Stables

When I moved to this neighborhood (Windsor Terrace/Kensington, Brooklyn), a pleasant surprise was discovering this working stables nearby, just a few blocks from Prospect Park. It's neat seeing the horses clip-clopping through the Brooklyn streets on the way to Prospect Park. The wife and I even took a ride once. I rode on a big old horse named Tinkerbell.

Unfortunately, the stables are not long for this world. The Blankenship Family, who has owned the stables since the 1930s, had racked up a ton of back taxes and filed for bankruptcy last year. There had been a deal to turn the property over to the city parks department, which would maintain a stables on the site and presumably hire the Blakenships to operate it, but that deal has fallen apart and the property is going up for sale.

The adjacent property is up for development, probably for another expensive apartment builidng. Local officials have said that they would keep the property zoned to include a stable, but I'm skeptical that any real estate developer is going to build a big condo that includes a horse stable. There's a big apartment complex across the street, where apartments rent from $3000 to $5000+ a month. I always wondered about the people who pay $5000 for an apartment that overlooks a street that is always covered in horse shit. (That guy sitting on the bucket on the side of the building; one of his jobs is to walk the streets from the stables to the park once or twice a day, shoveling horse manure into a wheelbarrow.) It's the last horse stable serving Prospect Park. Maybe it will have (another) last-minute reprieve, but I doubt it.

Some history about the stables here.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Recent life drawings. I believe I've drawn this model in the past.

Some people who have never done life drawing think all the models are sexy young things. But in reality, the ages and body types of models span a wide range. In fact, they're rarely young and nubile, in my experience. And often the non-young and nubile ones are the best models.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Louis Valentino Jr. Pump House

This is part of a pump house, located in Bush Terminal Park in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It's across from this pier and near this abandoned caboose.

My Google-Fu is pretty good, so usually I can draw things and figure out what they are later. Not this time. I know this is the Louis Valentino Jr. Pump House, and is a FDNY facility. But I don't know exactly what it's pumping. I think maybe it's connected to the fire hydrant system, or maybe the sprinkler system of the nearby warehouses? I know from previous sketching that the thing to the left of the large pipe is called a test header. But I don't know what the overall function of the building is.

Louis Valentino Jr. was a firefighter who died in the line of duty in 1996. There are a lot of things in Brooklyn named after him, but Google doesn't turn up any reference to this building. It's a mystery to me.