Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

La Plaza Cultural debuts two free lending libraries

La Plaza Cultural, the community garden and open-air theater on the southwest corner of Avenue C and Ninth Street, now features two free lending libraries ... with a third on the way.

For now, one of the bookshelves is on the outside fence along Avenue C, while the other is inside the garden, which is open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (as well as for other special events during the week).

Passersby are welcome to drop off books and pick up a few in exchange. According to a La Plaza volunteer, the bookcases are built of sustainable bamboo plywood paid for through a Citizen's Committee grant. 

Local residents and activists founded La Plaza in 1976. It was renamed in honor of Armando Perez, a community activist who was murdered in 1999, in 2003. 

Photo via La Plaza Cultural

Friday, July 23, 2021

Author Q&A: About the dystopian East Village future of 'Drained'

Marc Daniel Acriche, a native New Yorker and longtime East Village resident, recently self-published his first book (this does not include the one he wrote about dinosaurs in the first grade). 

"Drained" is a young-adult dystopian thriller taking place in the near future (2048!) NYC.

"A good deal of it was inspired by Hurricane Sandy," Acriche told me. "Tompkins Square Park, and the neighborhood generally, are characters in their own right. There's brainwashing, there's spycraft, and, of course, some thrills."

Acriche (aka the EVG commenter who goes by creature) answered a few questions about the book...

Why was this genre appealing to you?

While "Drained" was always meant to be a thriller, taking place in a near-future, dystopian NYC — my first significant read as a kid was Stephen King's "The Stand," so dystopia is in my blood — it was never intended to be a young adult book. 

"Drained" started as a three points-of-view story with Casey Parker, our eventual 17-year-old protagonist, being one of the three. Then, after about 20,000 words, Casey started taking over the story — she would not be denied — and I went back and started over with her as the single point-of-view character and the book really took off from there. 

The last thing I expected was to write a book with a teen protagonist, but here we are. She took over and we never looked back. 

What role does the East Village play in the book?

What role doesn't it play?! As a longtime resident, it was a natural choice for me to place most of the story down here. That said, the story's setting did not fall into place until after Hurricane Sandy. The images from those days stayed with me: the brightly lit food trucks, the communal phone charging and, most of all, how the lights stayed out below 14th Street

I remember taking a cab home from work a few days after Sandy, passing from the lit streets to the dark, looking out the back window and seeing how 14th Street appeared to be an actual border of light. It was striking. I ended up calling 14th Street the "Light Border" and it came to define so much of the story.

Tompkins Square Park also plays a large role. In the book, it's become a refuge for a good number of the displaced residents from the flooded and condemned streets surrounding it, and, as the park has always been a refuge of sorts, it seemed right having it play that same role in the book.   

Talk about the Spotify soundtrack that you created to accompany "Drained." (Ed note: Amyl and the Sniffers!)

I love the soundtrack, I loved putting together the soundtrack, and appreciate you asking about it. First, the Cure aside, most of the songs are from the last few years and were part of my background while writing and editing, but, really, I tried to match up the songs — with the help of my best friend BAGeL Radio's DJ Ted who hosts the list — to the mood of the chapters they represent. 

Whether it's the title, the words, or the beat, the songs on the list spoke to me, and, I would hope, the reader as they take the book's journey. That said, on another level, our protagonist is a big music fan, who goes to shows and has band posters on her wall, and it was just natural to have a soundtrack that represented her love for music as well.

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Find more book and author info at this link.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

A conversation with Lilly Dancyger, author of the East Village memoir 'Negative Space'

Growing up in the East Village, Lilly Dancyger had many happy memories, from sitting and reading books at the Strand to getting ice cream at Ray’s Candy Store.

At the same time, however, she learned that there was a troubling undercurrent to her childhood as her parents struggled with drug addiction.

Her father, Joe Schactman, was an artist who made sculptures and other art out of discarded objects and was part of the vibrant East Village scene in the 1980s. He died suddenly at age 43 when Dancyger was 12 years old. (A cause of death was inconclusive.)

She spent her teens often in a rage, dropping out of school, experimenting with drugs and staying out all night wandering around the city. Years later as a writer and journalist, Dancyger revisits her own past and father's legacy in “Negative Space” (SFWP), a must-read memoir released to positive notices this spring. 

Dancyger, guided by her father’s letters and journals and interviews with his friends (not to mention in-depth conversations with her mother), creates a compelling generation-spanning narrative — part memoir, part investigative journalism. 

In the process, she uncovers a patchwork view of her father's life while also coming to terms with her own memories. “Negative Space” includes photos of Schactman’s paintings, prints and sculptures, sharing his art with a new audience in the process.

Today, Dancyger, a writer and editor, lives on the Upper West Side with her husband Soomin, also an East Village native. During a recent phone conversation, Dancyger talked about why she stuck with this book project, her decision to move away from the East Village and the importance of Ray’s Candy Store. 

After the book came out, you spotted copies of it at the Strand, a place you spent a lot of time with your father while growing up. How did this sighting make you feel?

Seeing my book at the Strand drove it home and made it feel real in a different way. I’ve been going to the Strand my entire life, and I always browse the front tables; over the last few years, I would check the main non-fiction table and see my friend’s books. So seeing my book there was really cool.

I had been waiting for when it would feel real. Even after the publication date … it felt as if I was pushing this boulder up a mountain for the rest of my life. So it is really, truly out there in the world, in the Strand — that has really sunk in.

My dad loved that store. And we used to go there and hang out for hours. He would hand me a book from wherever he was looking, and I would sit on the floor and read.

In the book credits, you mention that various publishers rejected the proposal more than 50 times through the years. What drove you to make this book a reality?

It was a combination of things. I wanted to give up at a few different points. However, it was my father’s story. And I was doing it not only for myself but also for him. It became this thing where I had committed to doing it, you know? I committed to getting his work out into the world, and I couldn’t give up on that. I’d already sunk six, seven, eight, nine years into this. I had to see it through — otherwise, what the hell was all that for?

Why did you decide to move away from the East Village in recent years?

I held out for as long as I could. For years I felt like I was stubbornly staying there, trying to be a holdout. And eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore — just the changes in the neighborhood. I was walking around bitter and angry, and it was just too painful and upsetting to walk down the street every day thinking about what has been lost in the neighborhood.

It was starting to get to me in a way that negatively affected my mental health and took up too much of my mental energy just getting angry. The whole city is changing. I’m on the Upper West Side now, and it’s not changing as quickly. And I don’t take it personally when something closes up here. I’ve just calmed down.

I’m trying to remember what Jeremiah Moss once wrote: If such and such place closes, he’s moving. I can't recall what place it was.

I used to say that if Ray’s Candy Store ever closes, I’m out of here. Luckily, he’s still there. I think he will outlive us all.

Speaking of Ray’s, in 2010, you and your friend Haley held a fundraiser for Ray’s — the Day of Ray — when he was struggling with a rent hike. Why did you decide to do this?

I had to. There are so many places that closed that I took personally and made me sad, but Ray as a human being and Ray’s as that place — it’s just so important to the neighborhood and so important to me personally. I went to Ray’s when I was a baby with my parents.

When we moved back when I was 14, after being on the West Coast for a few years, I went into Ray’s, and he remembered me from when I was 4 years old. And you know, it felt so great. I had intense emotions about being back. I was happy to be back, but I was angry that I had been away, and I felt like I wanted to be part of the neighborhood again, and I felt like I was coming in as an outsider even though I felt very attached to it already.

When I was a degenerate teenager wandering around by myself, I could go hang out in Ray’s and chat with him at like 4 in the morning. I care about him, and the idea that this gentrification would take that place from him and us was not acceptable.

I highlighted a passage in the book talking about being in Tompkins Square Park with your father: “the smell of water cooking off of asphalt in the sun is one of my strongest sense memories of childhood.” There are happy moments in the book like this. How did you balance these memories with the reality of drug use?

I wanted to show that complexity. I didn’t want to whitewash it and pretend that there was no downside to being raised by drug addicts. However, I also didn’t want to make it salacious and turn it into this drama porn because there was a lot of happiness and love, and my childhood memories are good ones. So, I wanted to make room for all of those different things that are true at the same time.

Was there a point when you realized that perhaps you weren’t experiencing a typical childhood?

It was a slow realization. I think that’s also part of my coming back to New York and coming back to the East Village was so emotionally healing for me — because then it was normal again.

When we were on the Central Coast of California, it was a beautiful, sunny, rich place. I saw that my mom stood out from the other moms — she was the only one with tattoos, motorcycle boots and a nose ring. I waited for her to pick me up with all these sunny California moms.

Back in the East Village, all my friends’ parents were weirdos and artists and a lot of them had drug problems and were kind of strange in one way or another. When I was back in the city, this was all normal, all fine.  

In the book, you meet some of your father’s friends, who describe this long-lost East Village world that will likely never exist again. Did you ever think about what it would have been like growing up in a different time in the neighborhood?

I felt that a lot when I was a teenager. In the early 2000s, I felt like it was already too late — I wished it was the 80s or the 90s. But looking back at it now, I realize that I got the last little bit of it.

Postscript: 

On June 23-24, Dancyger hosted a book party and exhibit featuring her father's work at 17 Frost Gallery in Williamsburg ...

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Book smart: the return of Jen the bookseller on Avenue A

Jen the bookseller makes her 2021 debut today at her usual spot on Avenue A at St. Mark's Place.

She says she'll be here today until the rain arrives later this afternoon.

You can follow Jen on her VorteXity Books Instagram account for updates. (And this photo is via her Instagram.)

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Behind the first book featuring the work of artist Steve Keene

Steve Keene, the prolific Greenpoint-based painter whose work on album covers for Pavement and the Silver Jews is likely well-known to indie-rock enthusiasts, is the subject of a new coffee-table book now in the Kickstarter phase.

East Village resident Daniel Efram,  a longtime Keene collaborator, is producing the art book.

"In my nearly three decades of working on various projects with Steve Keene, my home and many of my favorite SK moments came at 1990s indie rock shows at Brownies or the Lakeside Lounge in the East Village," Efram said in an email. 

Eric Ambel, the former owner of the Lakeside Lounge (RIP April 2012) on Avenue B, recalled how Keene helped give the bar-music venue its identity.

"I was in the process of opening ... with partner Jim Marshall (aka WFMU DJ The Hound). We had a name, the Lakeside Lounge, but we didn't have a concept for the decor," Ambel said. "I suggested we get Steve Keene to do a bunch of paintings for us that had a sort of 'lodge/lake vibe' to them. Steve was way into the idea, and after checking out the colors we had used in the bar, he created an amazing set of images for us. During our 16 years in business at the Lakeside, he would make three completely new sets of art for the bar."

According to Efram, "The Steve Keene Art Book: Live from Subliminal Projects LA, CA" is the first art book attempting to tell the story of Keene's career by showcasing the complete work from his 2016 show at Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects gallery. 

You can find more info on the Kickstarter page.

Photo by Daniel Efram

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Your Book Swap Sunday reminder for Sunday

A remnidner that there will be another Book Swap Sunday (tomorrow!) outside the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B... from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Per the organizers: 
Let's share our used books to help us get through this pandemic together. Leave some and take others... Thanks for making these such a wonderful success! And you don't have to donate. Taking is sharing also.
Photo by Kevin Farley

Saturday, January 16, 2021

There's a Book Swap Sunday — this Sunday!

Tomorrow (Sunday!) marks another Book Swap Sunday outside the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B... from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Per the organizers:
Let's share our used books to help us get through this pandemic together. Leave some and take others... Thanks for making these such a wonderful success! And you don't have to donate. Taking is sharing also.
Photo by Kevin Farley

Sunday, December 27, 2020

A post-Christmas Book Swap Sunday

Perhaps you received a book or two as a Christmas gift... and need to make some room on your shelf... then consider dropping by the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B where today marks another Book Swap Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

As the organizers said: "Let's share our used books to help us get through this pandemic together. Leave your donations, and take home some others. Reading is a safe survival tactic!" 

Photo courtesy of Kevin Farley

Sunday, December 6, 2020

It's Book Swap Sunday

Today marks another Book Swap Sunday outside the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B... from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Per the organizers:
Let's share our used books to help us get through this pandemic together. Leave your donations, and take home some others. Reading is a safe survival tactic!

By the way, this is not an officially sanctioned NYPL event — the location just happens to be outside the Tompkins Library branch.

Photo from last Sunday by Stacie Joy

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Another Book Swap on 10th Street

Back in the summer, some East Village residents started a Book Swap Saturday outside the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B... the swap is making a return ... tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. you can find Book Swap Sunday.

Via the EVG inbox:
Let's share our used books to help us get through this pandemic together. Leave your donations, and take home some others. Reading is a safe survival tactic!

Photo from last summer by Stacie Joy 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Reminders: It's Book Swap Saturday!



Book Swap Saturday enters its fourth week outside the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.

Per the organizers: "Let's share our used books to help us get through this pandemic together. Leave some and take others."

The free book swap is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. But get there early if you want the "naughty" ones...



And EVG Book Swap Correspondent Stacie Joy did check the bag — it was empty!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Book Swap Saturday happening again tomorrow (Saturday!) on 10th Street



Book Swap Saturday is happening again tomorrow (Saturday!) outside the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.

This will be the third Saturday for the free book swap, which is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (To be clear, the library isn't involved in this swap.)

Per the organizers: "Let's share our used books to help us get through this pandemic together. Leave some and take others."

And they'd like to see it expand to other NYPL branches until the libraries can safely reopen.





Thanks to Stacie Joy for the photos from last Saturday!

Friday, June 26, 2020

About Book Swap Saturday on 10th Street

While the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street may be temporarily closed, you still have a chance to fetch some books from the sidewalk outside.

Some East Village residents started a free book swap last Saturday outside the branch between Avenue A and Avenue B. They plan on doing it again tomorrow (Saturday!) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (To be clear, the library isn't involved in this swap.)

Via the EVG inbox:

Let's share our used books to help us get through this pandemic together. Leave some and take others.

Thanks for making the last one such a wonderful success. There were so many donations that East Villagers were still browsing books into the next day — late Sunday afternoon!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A sign of spring (and summer)



Jen the bookseller is back at her usual spot on Avenue A at St. Mark's Place for the afternoon...

Photo by Steven

Friday, December 20, 2019

These were the top reads from East Village libraries in 2019

The New York Public Library has shared its top checkouts for 2019. These are the books that were checked out the most at our neighborhood branches:

• Tompkins Square, 331 E. 10th St.: "Circe" by Madeline Miller

• Ottendorfer, 135 Second Ave.: "Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover

• Hamilton Fish Park, 415 E. Houston St.: "Becoming" by Michelle Obama


"Becoming" and "Educated: A Memoir" were 1-2 systemwide for the NYPL. ("Circe" was No. 7 overall.)





Previously on EV Grieve:
Say hi to Sam, your new Ottendorfer librarian

A visit to the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street

Friday, November 8, 2019

A look at Book Club, the new bookstore-cafe (softly) opening tomorrow on 3rd Street



Tomorrow (Nov. 9) at 9 a.m., Book Club makes its debut at 197 E. Third St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

As we've been reporting, this bookstore-cafe is the work — two years in the making — of an East Village couple, Erin Neary and Nat Esten.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by yesterday for a quick look at the space before its soft opening tomorrow...



The book portion of the storefront will carry a broad selection of adult fiction, non-fiction and a children's section ...







Book Club includes some East Village-specific reads...



The space features an area for sitting and reading ... and a cafe serving MUD coffee. (They were approved for a beer-wine license, though that has yet to be issued.) Expect some community events and readings in the weeks/months ahead. You can follow their Instagram account for updates... or their website.

Meanwhile, they'll be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow...



Previously on EV Grieve:
Book Club — an independent bookstore with cafe — coming to 3rd Street

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Signs of spring: Books for sale on Avenue A today

Jen Fisher, who has operated the book stand on Avenue A at St. Mark's Place the past five years, will make her 2019 debut this afternoon ... as she announced on Instagram...




Saturday, February 9, 2019

Today's free book selections



Subjects in the pile of discarded books at the St. Mark's Place entrance to Tompkins Square Park include Ralph Waldo Emerson, the San Francisco Earthquake and Leonardo DiCaprio Da Vinci.

Thanks to Vinny & O for the photo this morning.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

'Punk' talk tomorrow night at Cooper Union with Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain



Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain will read from and talk about their book "Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk" tomorrow (Sunday!) night at Cooper Union.

It starts at 6 p.m. in Cooper Union’s Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Square at Seventh Street. It's a free event, though the organizers are asking you to RSVP via email — please.kill.me.rsvp@gmail.com.

Friday, January 19, 2018

A used book store opened this week on Bleecker and the Bowery



Codex, which sells used and new books with a focus on literary fiction and art, opened this week on Bleecker Street at the Bowery. (H/T to Lola Sāenz for the photos!)

The shop is in part of the space last occupied by the Latin bistro Agozar! ... and Codex connects to Think Coffee on the corner...



The shop, open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, also buys gently used books, per the Codex website.

There's a grand opening reading tonight from 6:30-8 featuring Gabby Bess, Andrew Durbin and Chelsea Hodson.

Here's a quick take on Codex via Instagram...