OPENING THURSDAY NOVEMBER 5, 6-8PM
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Mon – Fri: 9am – 9pm.
Sat: 10 am – 6 pm.
All the arguments against it are right: too crowded, too loud, too spread out, too expensive. But also: too exciting, too energetic, too fast, too much. All superlatives. New York, I love You, But… is a glimpse at the superlative that is New York, an audience to the internal conversation of the person pressed against the subway door, smelling something unidentifiable on the journey home from some unique, strange wonderful New York moment. It is a glance at the instances of excess and intimacy, humanity and wonder that define being a New Yorker. “You are a New Yorker when what was there before is more real and solid than what is here now,” (Colson Whitehead) because being a New Yorker is as much about the frenetic thrust into the present (and by that we mean the future), as it is about harboring nostalgia for a New York that is eternally slipping away. CBGBs or Shea Stadium, Ebbets field or the Twin Towers; affordable rent or addicts in Times Square: all gone. What is lost is our city, the city that each of us individually makes through momentary encounters, reflections in the window of a cab, panoramic vistas we didn’t know existed, but became ours because that is where we fell in love, were held up, got away, and all the other endless events that create the place we call home.
As part of that bifurcated experience, New York also lays out too plainly its problems. Economic disparity is nowhere so clear as on a walk through the city. If you walk an hour in any one direction, you see it. A multi million dollar pied-à-terre, not even inhabited most of the year, minutes away from a cockroach infested five story walk up. The changes imposed upon neighborhoods, blind the already existing owners and tenants. A white man claims to have “settled” a part of Brooklyn, and we all know what he means: moved into a Brown space, a POC space, before the caucasian influx, made it safe for the late comer, as if it were an uninhabited desert, forgetting (if only momentarily), of course, that he too is an invader. The admixture of race and class, ethnicity and education, location and proximity make the turbulence apparent on the surface, all too quickly. The split is everywhere, and the only ones who seem not to see it are literally above the fray, in buildings with park views that push the clouds a little bit further up.
Within that constant but often unstated battle there remain the connections and crossings that fill ones day with a reminder of how strange and magical New York can be. Tourists openly marvel at acapella gospel groups on the subway, but die hard New Yorkers too look up with a warm recognition of talent. And on those platforms and trains, glances cross and moments had that push distant strangers into accidental intimacies. It’s not just Tinder and Grindr, OK Cupid and Bumble, but also real human bodies that meet by chance and make us murmur New York, I Love You, But…
- Keith Miller, curator.