Curated by NoLIta participant Nick Martin
02 jun 2014 by art:i:curate team
As part of our 'Curated by NoLIta' project, we met with the curators: people living and working in the neighborhood.
Ky Katrensky met with art director Nick Martin, who shared some memorable New York moments with him.
KK: Why did you get involved with art:i:curate and this project?
NM: I became involved though a friend and love the concept partly because of the immediacy of reception. I see this as a magical opportunity for critics, curators and emerging artists.
KK: How do you normally take in art?
NM: Any way I can. I watch, feel, listen, read.
KK: What does the term "curating" mean to you?
NM: In a strict sense curating means deciding which art to show and how to present it. For me it's the privilege of sharing my creativity and love for art and my ever-evolving perspectives.
KK: When did you move to NoLIta and why?
NM: Valentine's Day 2014. I had been living on the Upper East Side, right next to the Queensboro Bridge where so many high-rise buildings are being built. I had access to the artistic heart of Manhattan but yearned to be at its creative and energetic epicenter, which I feel NoLIta has become in many ways. What I love about the neighborhood is that it still feels like the old New York that I remember as a kid. The energy, the people, the creation and entrepreneurship are all so inspiring.
KK: What do you like best about your part of town and what don't you like at all?
NM: NoLIta, particularly the Bowery, has grit. The kind of grit that defines the soul of the city and built its greatness. A big part of the punk scene emerged from that Bowery grit, as did Scorsese. However, so much of the development that’s been going on has been chiseling away that grit from the borders of NoLIta. A lot of people, Scorsese among us, are not only hoping that doesn’t happen, but fighting it.
KK: Favorite New York moment?
NM: The night of the blackout in ’03 we could see Mars from Times Square. I was nearly killed by a flower pot that exploded inches from my feet in Hell's Kitchen. Someone tossed it from the roof of an old tenement.
KK: Do you know any of your neighbors?
NM: I've met a few of my neighbors at the M'Finda Kalunga Garden where I spend time on weekends. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them. Even though Manhattan is really kinetic people in NoLIta take more time to interact.
KK: Do you hope to connect with your neighbors through this project?
NM: Yes, it would be nice to get to know more of the people in my building and my neighborhood.
KK: Are there any notable neighborhood characters?
NM: There are too many to mention. Even the laundry delivery man, who smokes a cigarette while lugging 50 pounds of freshly cleaned clothes up a few flights of stairs, is quite the unforgettable character. NYC is a magnet for them, or maybe it grows them. But they are everywhere doing the unexpected. The unexpected becomes what you do expect so much that you can forget how special they are.
KK: Do you have a local hangout spot in the neighborhood?
NM: Morgenstern’s Ice Cream, which just opened. You must try their coconut sorbet.