Monday, September 12, 2011

New York: September 11 anniversary card

So I turned out on Thursday, September 8, at St. Ann's Warehouse in DUMBO, Brooklyn, to support the NYPD Boxing Team--the "Fighting Finest," run by the great Lieutenant Dave Siev--in a series of 10 matches against fighters from the famous Gleason's Gym, located in that very same neighborhood.

And though the Finest got the worst of it by a slim margin, winning 4 of the 10 matches, a good time was had by all...

...even these guys, who seemed at one point about to fall through the ropes and break my camera.

Afterward, walking back to my car in the gathering dark, through the streets of DUMBO that seem so much like a movie set, with the old trolley tracks lining the cobblestoned roadways, the bridges looming overhead...

...and the old factory and warehouse buildings, everything industrial-gritty yet curiously clean...

...I noticed a young redheaded woman on a deserted section of sidewalk, gathering up what seemed to be a dropcloth, or perhaps some newspapers, that had been spread out on the pavement, in addition to some other objects that I couldn't quite make out.

Overcome by curiosity (yes she was, quite, if you must know, as if that had anything to do with it), I asked what she was doing.  It turns out she is the artist and sculptor Sarah Walko, and had come outdoors to paint some objects being used in her work.  Here is Sarah's website--she does some interesting, complex stuff that I won't even pretend to grasp or be able to explain, but nonetheless intriguing to look at and think about.

"I go on walks through forests and beaches as well as thrift stores and many other kinds of stores and websites and collect and order small objects," Sarah says.  "I find objects on the street and in subway stations that I collect too.  Each has a story and a history and a journey that it carries.  I use objects both fantastical and mundane, dead and alive, made by man or made by nature so once the viewer leaves the installation, these specks of symbolic language are still around them on sidewalk streets or a walk through a forest or the light switch in their bedroom."

This is Sarah in her studio...
(Photo courtesy of Sarah Walko)

...and this is a bit of her art:

(Photo courtesy of Sarah Walko)

In New York you can't walk down a street without coming across unique, creative people.  Slugging and sculpture within a few minutes and a few blocks of each other--what a rich life we live in this city.

Three days later, we commemorated the 10-year mark of the September 11, 2001 attacks.  I and many others worked that anniversary day, necessarily concerned with the mechanics of the events--dignitary visits, personnel deployments, traffic patterns, street closings and openings.  But it would have been impossible to ignore the city's radiance as we worked, the moon...

...competing with the spotlights for prominence...

...and the new Freedom Tower rising above, not just the desolation that was Ground Zero, not just the horror of what happened there, but the years of political dysfunction that made it seem as if nothing good would ever be built on that holy ground.  As lovely as it promises to be...

...I'd bet something a bit loftier than New York's corrupt political machines is at work in guiding it forth.  Whatever that spirit is, may it continue to protect us.

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At October 20, 2011 at 1:29 PM , Anonymous Dave Siev said...

Great job of covering the Fighting Finest Team, George, as we attempt to go into different neighborhoods and reach out to our fellow NY'rs the best way we know how. Gleason's is probably in the top five most famous boxing gyms in the world, if not number one, and it's great to do a show with them. What's also great is the DUMBO area growing into a terrific community there (Gleason's was the first to move in, 25 years ago). There are so many neighborhoods and flavors within NYC, and by doing our shows with various gyms and teams, we get to see them, if only briefly.

Please have the fintofile cover us in MSG on November 19, when we go up against FDNY!

Dave Siev, Prez--NYPD Fighting Finest


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