Curated by NoLIta participant Alana Esposito
03 jun 2014 by art:i:curate team
As part of our 'Curated by NoLIta' project, we met with the curators: the people living and working in the neighborhood.
Ky Katrensky met with Journalist Alana Esposito, who told him what she expects from her new neighborhood.
KK: What does the term "curating" mean to you?
AE: Strictly speaking, it means the act of caring for a collection of art and selecting pieces to present in a contextualized or thought-provoking way. I think the term is very overused and has come to mean many things. It is no longer strictly associated with art. To me though, it still means something beyond simply culling things you like various website onto a Pinterest board. There has to be some new meaning created or thought provoked by bringing these artworks or items together.
KK: How do you normally take in art?
AE: I visit galleries and museums pretty regularly. I don't typically spend a lot of time browsing art online, but rather use the internet to research or discover more work by an artist whose work I've seen in person. I do appreciate sites like art:i:curate and Artsy.
KK: When did you move to NoLIta?
AE: I haven't quite moved there yet! My soon-to-be husband and I bought an apartment, which we are currently renovating. We are really excited about our new neighborhood and hope to move in by June. We chose this neighborhood because it appeals to our creative sensibilities and is relatively affordable compared to most of the other areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn that we like.
KK: What do you like best about your part of town and what don't you like at all?
AE: I love the area's rich history and multiculturalism. It is reflected everywhere from the architecture to the aromas of various cuisines wafting through the streets. Where else can you get an authentic Chinese meal and then walk two blocks West for a genuine Italian espresso? And while there are plenty of enticing restaurants/bars/galleries/shops, it retains a somewhat and laid-back and homey. However faint, there are still traces of Old New York. So far it has escaped the uber commercialism and "Disneyfication" that has white-washed most of Manhattan and therefore is less touristy than other once-charming neighborhoods like the West Village - let's see how long it can hold out...
I'm sure once I've lived in the neighborhood a while I'll encounter some little things that annoy me about it, but as of now, I can't think of anything besides the seemingly constant construction. I do think it's sad that the historically Italian character of the neighborhood is receding more every year.
KK: Do you know any of your neighbors?
AE: Yes. Although we haven't even moved in yet, we've met a couple of our neighbors. There are only 8 units in our building and it's a walk-up, so you basically run into everyone on the stairs. One even knocked on our door when we were there measuring for furniture to introduce himself.
KK: Do you hope to connect with your neighbors through this project?
AE: Yes! As we are new to the neighborhood, it's a great opportunity to connect with people through a shared-appreciation for art.
KK: Have you heard any stories about the history of NoLIta?
AE: I've heard about the old slaughterhouses and how the neighborhood became a distinct from Little Italy in the 1990s as the Italian immigrants and their descendants left. I'm shamed not to know more details about the history, but I plan on rectifying that.
KK: Do you have a local hangout spot in the neighborhood?
AE: I hope to have one soon.
KK: Favorite New York moment?
AE: The summer I met my fiance we were both living in the West Village and neither of our apartments had AC. One sweltering night we decided to take a walk along the Hudson hoping to catch some breeze. It was quiet and romantic and we were innocently strolling along hand-in-hand when a policeman on a bike rode up to us and started barking: "Don't you know the 1 am rule?". We looked at each other, then at him, in shock! Who knew there were rules about what time you can take a walk, even in this over-regulated city? He threatened to arrest us, but calmed down when I showed him my license with my neighborhood address and he realized we weren't some drunken teenagers looking for trouble. Only in New York...