Posts Tagged ‘New York’
What does the child of Brooklyn Syrian Jews have in common with Manhattan glitterati on a freezing cold night in an Upper East Side mansion?
Diamonds and other stones. Art and design.
This past week New York’s top interior designers gathered in a house on East 63rd Street and Fifth Avenue to celebrate the season and raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Among the artists whose creations were requested by designers who contributed their skills to the cause was sculptor Robin Antar. Her work had been noticed by designer Michael Tavano during a show at the Waterfall Mansion, where some of her other pieces are still on display.
Tavano removed her “detached retina” from that show for the room he created at Holiday House NYC. The event shows off the best in interior design and holiday entertaining, and is open to the public from now until December 21. Tavano’s eye-catching room was packed on opening night.
Few of those in their suits and evening gowns at the gala, however, realized the petite Antar wielded a jackhammer and a seven-inch diamond blade saw to carve the stone for her larger-than-life-size sculpture.
“I did it just before I went into surgery for a detached retina,” Antar told JewishPress.com in an exclusive interview. “It was my interpretation of vision.”
But Antar takes the long view in her art. She began her love affair with stone carving as a Brooklyn teenager and created as her first piece a graceful alabaster swan which she has kept in the family collection.
She is also known for the sleek silver Sephardic Torah cases she creates. Not one is left sitting on a shelf unused. The first was cast from a mold formed from a limestone sculpture of a prayer shawl draped on two “shoulders” of the Western Wall.
Little did she know that some day she would use that same mold as the basis for a one-of-a-kind tribute to her youngest son that only an artist mother could produce – sadly, for a tombstone. Antar’s son passed away last year at age 26 of a drug overdose after years of struggling to overcome emotions from early childhood abuse suffered at the hands of a daycare operator. Two more sons — a married businessman and an artist with a special flare for color and design — carry on the family traditions.
Salt from the tears that were shed for the life cut short eventually was poured (in a virtual sense) into unique semi-precious salt cellars she now creates for the light and joy of the Sabbath table. Antar had a huge pile of stone chips left over from other sculptures carved from stone such as blue onyx, rose alabaster and honeycomb calcite, and “didn’t want to waste them,” she says. What began as an experiment is now functional art for the interiors market, with those and larger table bowls both much in demand.
But her pride and joy is the Realism in Stone series, she says; a line of art she calls the “virtual record of contemporary culture” in America.
“I ask myself, ‘Will a bottle of Heinz ketchup really exist in another hundred years?’ and then I begin to see the product emerge from the stone,” Antar explains. Different sculptures are carved from different types of stone, depending on what she is creating – but all require heavy power tools that demand precision in their use.
“You cannot do this work without the right equipment,” Antar warns. “Don’t even THINK of starting to carve stone without a face mask for breathing, and especially not without goggles to protect your eyes.”
The New York Times reports that Cafe Edison, a modest Theater District coffee shop long favored by Broadway’s cognoscenti, has been asked to leave by the owner of the hotel in which it is located.
While not kosher, Cafe Edison serves deli sandwiches and traditional Ashkenazi Jewish fare, like blintzes and matzo ball soup, and was founded by Polish-born Holocaust survivors, Harry and Frances Edelstein.
It’s also the inspiration for the setting in Neil Simon’s play, “45 Seconds From Broadway.”
Simon reportedly enjoyed frequent meals there with his producer Emanuel Azenberg. Other regular patrons included comedian Jackie Mason, actor Henry Winkler and the late African-American playwright August Wilson.
Mimi Sheraton, a former Times restaurant critic who has published books about bialies and chicken soup, among other topics, features Cafe Edison in her forthcoming “1,000 Places to Eat Before You Die.”
A 5-year-old boy who arrived in the United States on Saturday from Guinea has been hospitalized in New York City’s Bellevue Hospital for symptoms of Ebola, while senior federal officials are concerned over new quarantine policies in New York and New Jersey.
The boy was not under quarantine. He was hospitalized with a temperature of 103 degrees (39 Celsius) and vomiting.
New York has issued a quarantine policy, but the Obama administration warned that it could actually hurt the fight against Ebola because it would deter medical personnel from traveling to West Africa to fight Ebola.
.Four cases of the disease have been documented in the United States, and the first diagnosed victim, Thomas Duncan, died from Ebola.
The quarantine requires people exposed to anyone with Ebola in New York to stay in their homes for 21 days and be checked twice a day by professionals.
Responding to concerns that mandatory quarantine would inhibit doctors and nurses from traveling to West Africa, Cuomo said New York wanted to encourage personnel to go, lauding their “valor” and “compassion,” while also protecting public safety at home.
Reacting to the quarantine, the Obama administration stated, “We have let the governors of New York, New Jersey, and other states know that we have concerns with the unintended consequences of policies not grounded in science may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source in West Africa.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was not changing the policy even though he praised medical workers fighting Ebola “for their valor and their courage and their compassion.”
New Jersey faces a lawsuit by a nurse who was quarantined for 21 days in a hospital after returning from treating Ebola victims in Sierra Leone. She argued that the quarantine violated her constitutional rights.
Gov. Chris Christie said he was sorry that the quarantine made the nurse “uncomfortable but that he had “the people in New Jersey as my first and foremost responsibility to protect.”
Another suit is expected to be filed this week by a patient in Texas wo was quarantined but not tested positive for Ebola.
Actor Richard Gere reportedly is set to star in a new film by award-winning Israeli director Joseph Cedar, who also wrote the screenplay for the movie that will be filmed in both New York and Israel, according Yediot Acharonot.
Two of Cedar’s films, “Footnote” and “Beaufort,” were nominated for Academy Awards.
The movie is expected to be called “Oppenheimer” and also will star Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi. Gere will play the part of Norman Oppenheimer, a New York activist who starts a relationship with an Israeli politician.
The Golden Globe winning actor also is the star in “Time Out of Mind,” which is directed by Israeli-born Oren Moverman and is to be released soon.
Meanwhile, the popular Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Cats” is slated to come to Israel for the first time.
The musical, which has been running on Broadway for 18 years, will be performed in Israel in November, according to reports.
The holiday of Sukkot commands Jews to live in “booths” — commemorating the temporary dwellings their ancestors inhabited while wandering the desert for 40 years. Though many Manhattan apartments measure only slightly larger than those original booths, unless the apartment roof is retrofitted with twigs from Central Park, it doesn’t quite qualify as a sukkah.
Thankfully, one Chabad Lubavitch yeshiva student in Brooklyn has taken it upon himself to ensure that all New Yorkers can experience the holiday.
Levi Duchman, 21, is the inventor of the pedi-sukkah, a rickshaw bicycle with a mobile sukkah attached to the back.
While small, each sukkah meets all the halachic requirements. During the days before Sukkot and during Chol HaMoed, Duchman says he spends 12 hours a day on the pedi-sukkah, pedaling around Brooklyn and Manhattan to let New Yorkers step inside to say a blessing.
“It’s the best thing to see people’s reactions, and to give people in New York the opportunity to get involved with the holiday,” Duchman said. “We get a lot of smiles and pictures, and lot of positivity, even from the police.”
Sometimes people ask to take a ride in the sukkah, and he obliges for short trips.
Duchman built his first pedi-sukkah five years ago. He rented a pedicab and worked overnight with his younger brother to create something that hopefully wouldn’t fall off and block Manhattan traffic. The sukkah stayed put, and today there are over 50 of his bikes spread across 15 states and over five countries.
The bikes have come a long way. Duchman now works with a manufacturer to create an easy-to-assemble pedi-sukkah. He even created a “menorah cycle” for Chanukah, and a “mitzvah cycle” affixed with a banner that encourages others to lay tefillin and light Shabbat candles (because it’s never a bad time to ride a bike and do good deeds).
Between the cost of the materials and the pedicab itself, one bike goes for nearly $2,000. But Duchman charges exactly what it costs him.
“It’s not a business,” he said. “It’s a way to spread awareness. Baruch HaShem.”
New York police have arrested and charged a non-Jewish janitor at the Chabad 770 headquarters with molesting a young Israeli girl who was sleeping in a stairwell.
The incident provoked complaints of the lack of sleeping facilities for Jewish tourists who are essentially homeless.
The girl who fended off her attacker with screams is visiting from Israel for the month. She was sleeping in a stairwell leading to the women’s section of “770” when the attacker, of Hispanic descent, began to molest her.
Shomrim security officials tracked down the suspect, and the young woman was able to identify him in lineup.
Crown Heights Info reported that many women pay an organization that is supposed to provide housing and eating facilities for visitors, but young Jewish women have been seen roaming the streets with their luggage but without a place to stay for the night. Some of them sleep on benches in synagogues.