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December Flatiron Newsletter

in this issue:
  • Flatiron Charity: Helping New York's Neediest
  • Holiday Message From the BID
  • Shop Flatiron for the Holidays
  • 2011 Flatiron BID Community Survey
  • Flatiron Faces: Q&A with Adam D. Weinberg
  • Small Biz Rising 2011
  • Holiday Tree to Glow on December 6
  • Be a Part of Your Community Board
  • Discover Flatiron: Young Robertson Gallery
  • Baruch College Community Reception
  • At the Galleries and Museums
  • Recent News About the BID
  • Newsletter Archives
  • About Us

  • Holiday Message From the BID

    ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD AND STAFF OF THE Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, we thank our partners, supporters and members for another successful year in the Flatiron district. To read the holiday message from the BID Chairman and Executive Director, click here.

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    Shop Flatiron for the Holidays

    WITH ITS OWNER-OPERATED BEAUTY boutiques to global electronic retailers, discover the district as this season's go-to destination for great deals, with free gift wrapping and a chance to win prizes!

    Free Gift Wrapping
    Bring purchases from Flatiron district stores with this month's receipts of $25 or more to the Flatiron Public Plaza wrapping station, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, north of 23rd Street, on Fridays, December 2 through December 23, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., weather permitting.

    Enjoy festive sounds from the district's own Singers Forum, savor sips of warm seasonal beverages courtesy of Almond Restaurant, Birch Coffee and Benvenuto Café and pick up a complimentary copy of the new 2012 Flatiron Shopping Guide, courtesy of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District. Special thanks to Marimekko for providing tablecloths for the wrapping station.

    For a list of eligible stores, go to www.discoverflatiron.org/shopping or click here for the new shopping guide.

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    2011 Flatiron BID Community Survey

    IF YOU WANT TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS about the Flatiron neighborhood and tell us how you rate the job being done by the Flatiron Partnership, here's your chance. The 2011 Flatiron BID Community Survey is now available online. As a thank you for participating, the BID will randomly select four respondents who complete the survey to receive a $50 gift certificate to a Flatiron district restaurant.

    To take the survey, click here.

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    Flatiron Faces: Q&A with Adam D. Weinberg

    The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is marking its five-year anniversary this year. To celebrate it and highlight some of the great aspects of the Flatiron district, the BID has asked notable residents, business and property owners several questions about the district they have chosen to call home. Next up: the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Adam D. Weinberg. The Whitney Museum recently relocated approximately 70 employees and its administrative offices to the Flatiron district.

    Q: What drew the Whitney headquarters to Flatiron? We decided on a location that was accessible to both our new building site in the Meatpacking district adjacent to the south end of the High Line and to the existing Museum on 75th and Madison. We are also pleased to be part of the diverse neighborhood that offers a great variety of dining, shopping and recreational choices for the Whitney staff.
    Q: What's the most important artistic feature of the Flatiron district? I have been on the advisory committee for Madison Square Art for a number of years so for this reason I am biased. The installations in Madison Square Park by artists such as Sol LeWitt, Jim Campbell, Jessica Stockholder and currently Alison Saar have greatly enlivened the neighborhood.
    Q: Favorite thing about the Flatiron district: All of the wonderful architecture including the Flatiron building (where my father worked when I was a youngster), the New York State Appellate Court and the New York Life Building.
    Q: Favorite place to grab a bite in the district is: I often go to Ciano for lunch and my guilty pleasure is a burger, fries and milkshake from Shake Shack.
    Q: Flatiron in three words: Energetic. Gritty. Real.
    Q: Favorite store: MUJI and Shakespeare & Co.

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    Small Biz Rising 2011

    A FANTASTIC GROUP OF SMALL business owners and entrepreneurs eager to become more tech savvy gathered at Baruch College on Nov. 30 for the fourth free small business assistance event from the Flatiron Partnership and the Field Center for Entrepreneurship.

    Attendees at the event "Small Business Rising: Leveraging Technology to Grow Your Business" enjoyed a networking breakfast and were treated to remarks from Brad Hargreaves, founding partner at General Assembly who provided insight on the many ways that technology has "democratized small business" and given entrepreneurs new opportunities to grow. General Assembly helped to produce the three, hour-long workshops on using Facebook, Twitter or Google AdWords, which followed the networking reception. Sponsorship support was also provided by NearSay.com, and NYC Business Solutions had a presence at the event.

    To see the presentations given at the three workshops, click here.

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    Holiday Tree to Glow on December 6

    exact, the first holiday tree lighting took place in Madison Square Park. That tradition will continue on Tuesday, December 6, at 4:30 p.m., with the Madison Square Park Conservancy's annual holiday celebration. The New York Life Singers and AudraRox, a rock band for children, will provide festive sounds. Once again, the Flatiron Partnership is a co-sponsor of the event.

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    Be a Part of Your Community Board

    either live, work or have an otherwise vital interest in their neighborhoods and who want to apply for membership on one of Manhattan's 12 Community Boards must do so by January 13, 2012.

    Community Board members work with their neighbors, elected officials, city agencies and others to address quality-of-life issues that affect their communities. The boards represent community interests on crucial subjects such as land use, zoning, development, and delivery of municipal services. Commonly discussed matters include applications for liquor licenses by local businesses, park and open-space issues, pedestrian safety routes, construction projects and sanitation pick-up.

    The Flatiron BID is part of Community Board 5, which extends from 14th to 59th Streets, and basically from Eighth Avenue to Lexington Avenue. To view more information, and to download an application, click here.

    There will be information sessions on December 6, December 14, and January 6, for those interested in learning about the roles and responsibilities of Community Board members and how to apply. For specific times and locations, and to RSVP to a session, call (212) 669-4465 or send an email to conference@manhattanbp.org.

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    Discover Flatiron: Young Robertson Gallery

    collection, Paulette Young and Eric Robertson have always felt fortunate to be in the Flatiron area. Robertson, who founded the original gallery, Robertson African Arts, has been in Flatiron since 1974. "I signed a lease for a [monthly] rent of $150," recalls Robertson of the 1700 square foot loft space. "We were one of the first galleries to move into the area and for an African-American owned gallery that was significant. We recognized this area as accessible, from downtown to uptown. And it was a more logical place to deal with objects coming from abroad. I thought that this would be great to be able to get to the airports to get shipments. And what better area where your clients would have no trouble taking the subway or bus here."

    Adds Paulette Young, a cultural anthropologist and the gallery's director about their location, "Besides the architecture being beautiful, it's one of the areas of the city that's still green as Madison Square Park, the High Line and the Hudson River promenade testify. The subsequent arrival of the Chelsea art galleries and Flatiron's proximity to the art scene is also a positive development for collectors and art supporters. And with businesses such as Eataly opening up, it has become even more of a tourist destination. I've noticed that the types of tourists who come to the area are very interested in art and culture. For us, I'm happy that we're here. The area is very inviting to people."

    Robertson, who is also the gallery's advisor and noted African art expert as well as a former civil rights organizer with a law degree, says "art is a universal language. There's satisfaction of bringing this message through the exhibition of beautiful art objects which includes sculpture, textiles, furniture and metalwork. These incredible forms that move you."

    Young also agrees about educating collectors. "It's very rewarding, to change people's perception of what Africa is about and what African-related arts really mean and to see them develop their eye. The point of our gallery is that we have a strong background in Africa, its history and culture and we provide research and documentation to our clients, so that it's not just an attractive object, but also one that has meaning behind it. We welcome residents of the area, people who are looking for something different for their homes or offices. That's a strong component of who we are--the infusion of art into our daily lives. And we like making new friends!"

    With its distinctive African and African Diaspora collection, the gallery has attracted an eclectic group of notable clientele in and outside of the community, including celebrities, scholars and individuals active in the diplomatic field.

    The gallery has long established contacts in Europe and Africa, which are useful in acquiring objects for discerning collectors, although Robertson notes this has been affected by the recent economic downturn and the paucity of authentic pieces on the international market. "Collecting has been going on for 30 to 40 years now in America and there are only so many pieces in Africa," he says. "A lot of things have been destroyed through political and cultural changes. And, many people are not selling their objects, because of their understanding of the value of these art pieces and the fact that they went to great trouble to find or commission these objects. They'd also like to hold onto them because these objects are connected to their own family history. They see them being passed down through the family. But I must say, people manage to collect African art because they love it. They have a relationship with the forms."

    Of the wide-range of items in the gallery, "most of the objects you see here are ritual ones," says Robertson. "Some objects refer to or portray African cultural heroes, a custom that exists today. There are also other objects that were produced as adornment or which pertain to status a dignitary's status or achievement. Adds Young, "It's the practice of many peoples in Africa to celebrate them," referring to a five foot tall soccer player sculpture, which Robertson calls the "protective figure" at the gallery. "Africa is obsessed with soccer," says Robertson. He's from one of the great carving groups of the Ivory Coast, the Baule and carved from one piece of wood, probably mahogany. The Baule have well-trained carvers, who would do these for public display. The fact that he has side burns, the mustache is close to the mouth and he has an Afro, we can safely say he's probably from the '70s."

    Another favorite artifact are masks. Explains Robertson of a helmet mask from Liberia, "this is worn by women to signify their membership in the Sande society. The society trains women to care for their family and develop virtuous behavior. The mark of a civilized woman, for example, is having the perfect coiffure, represented in the mask."

    "There are so many organizations in the Flatiron area that have to do with the visual arts," declares Robertson. "And we think that in this economic climate, it's very important for the various groups to know each other and work together, to promote this area as a destination for the arts."

    (Young Roberston Gallery, 36 West 22nd Street, #4. Open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m by appointment only. Telephone: (212) 675-4045. E-mail: youngrobertsongallery@gmail.com. Website: youngrobertsongallery.com)

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    Baruch College Community Reception

    Wallerstein, invites you to join in a celebration of community partnerships and to thank legislators and friends for their hard work and support of the College. State Senator Liz Krueger will be honored as the "Legislator of the Year" and Jeffrey Rodus with the "Distinguished Alumni Award."

    The event will take place Wednesday, December 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Baruch College Performing Arts Center, lower level Newman Vertical Campus at East 25th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues. RSVP online or call (646) 660-6095 by December 9.

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    At the Galleries and Museums

    A monthly roundup of exhibits and events at the gallery spaces and museums within the Flatiron district. To be considered for inclusion, please send relevant information to: Eric Zaretsky, Director of Marketing & Economic Development, at ezaretsky@flatironbid.org.

    The IMC Lab + Gallery
    The IMC Lab + Gallery is a technology research lab and a multimedia art gallery with a focus on creative technology development and participative new art forms. Their mission is to support artists and programmers by featuring their work in art shows, funding technology research, providing collaborative facilities for art-making and finding commercial applications for new technologies.

    "Light Years: The Art of Rudie Berkhout": This show spans a lifetime of work by Rudie Berkhout (1946-2008), whose art was an expression of his desire to paint with light through the various disciplines of holography. Light Years explores three primary periods of Berkhout's artistic oeuvre: transmissions, reflections, and lasers.
    Dates: Through December 22.
    Address: 56 West 22nd Street, 6th Floor.
    Hours: The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Please contact the gallery to schedule an appointment.

    Calumet Gallery
    "Moments in Nature": The Photo Committee of the New York City Sierra Club Group presents an exhibit of 120 color and black and white photographs in the best Sierra Club tradition at Calumet Gallery. Nature themes evolve into fine art via this exhibit by one of the largest nature photography groups in the tri-state area. From Icelandic landscapes to Central Park meadows, from oceans to Southwest desert, from bird portraits to flower close-ups, nature both grand and intimate is gloriously interpreted in these images. The exhibit was juried by Anastasia Tompkins, award-winning photographer and competition judge. A portion of all sales will benefit the Sierra Club.
    Dates: Through December 27.
    Address: 22 West 22nd Street.
    Hours: Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

    The Sidney Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College
    "Milt Hinton's Jazz Photographs: Classics and Works in Color": The great jazz bassist Milt Hinton was also a lifelong photographer who took his camera with him wherever he went. This exhibit, a major retrospective of his work, contains images recently digitized, and color photographs never before seen by the public. Hinton's subjects include jazz world greats Cab Calloway, Billy Taylor, Thelonius Monk, Gene Krupa and many more.
    Dates: Through December 12.
    Address: 135 East 22nd Street.
    Hours: Weekdays from noon to 5 p.m.; Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m.

    SPACED: Gallery of Architecture
    "Architects As. . . . . . . . . . . . .": The works on view start with excursions into the ancient ruins of the Middle East and Mexico, then to the extraordinary folios of British and Italian architecture that are masterpieces of early printing. There is a selection of the meticulous printmakers who evolved during the Depression and found no work as architects. Their Beaux Arts training enabled them to become master printmakers. The most current works are by Saul Steinberg and Richard Haas. Jim Heron's large painting creates a tree house in an urban setting. And coming full circle, David Macaulay mimics Piranesi in his extravaganza showing Grand Central Terminal as an archaeological relic.
    Dates: Through January 28, 2012.
    Address: 31 West 26th Street, 6th Floor.
    Hours: Saturday afternoons. For hours, please call (212) 213-1720, or by appointment.

    Swann Auction Galleries
    Swann Auction Galleries was founded in 1941 as an auction house specializing in rare books. Today Swann has separate departments devoted to photographs, posters, prints, drawings, books, maps, atlases and autographs. Prior to auctions, the gallery is open to the public for viewing the various items up for auction.
    This month at Swann Auction Galleries:

    December 3-8
    Maps & atlases, natural history & historical prints, ephemera

    December 8-13
    Important photobooks & photographs

    December 10-15
    The Complete Poster Works of Roger Broders: A collection of the entire output of posters by the master Art Deco designer Roger Broders. The exhibition features travel posters, including variants, for locales along the route from Paris to the Cote d'Azur.

    Address: 104 East 25th Street
    Hours: Click here for details.

    Greensquare Tavern
    "AWay": A new exhibit from Manhattan multimedia artist, Hillary Altman. The project depicts ephemeral imagery that is predominantly fleeting in nature. They are a conversation between painting and photography, mostly illustrating the shifting perspective between abstraction and realism. They are a play on memories fading, on filtered realities as they approach dream states. They are the exploration of the duality that is propulsion and pause, the gesture of motion into still, and a continuing questioning of the insistent presence of the past.
    Dates: Through February 2012.
    Address: Greensquare Tavern, 5 West 21st Street.
    Hours: The restaurant opens daily at 11:30 a.m.

    AIGA National Design Center
    "50 Books/50 Covers of 2010": Since 1923, AIGA's 50 Books/50 Covers competition has recognized excellence in book design and production. This exhibition showcases the best-designed books and book covers published in 2010, selected in the 2011 competition by a distinguished jury chaired by Chip Kidd (designer, author and associate art director, Knopf, New York), which included Arthur Cherry (designer, Design by AAD, Kansas City), Barbara Glauber (principal, Heavy Meta, New York), Kimberly Glyder (designer, Kimberly Glyder Design, Philadelphia) and Joseph Sullivan (founder, The Book Design Review blog, Chicago).
    Dates: December 8 through February 23, 2012.
    Address: 164 Fifth Avenue.
    Hours: Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Museum of Sex
    "Obscene Diary": Based on Justin Spring's widely acclaimed biography, "Secret Historian," this exhibition explores the rich sexual documentation of Samuel Steward's life through photos, diary entries, sexual recordkeeping, explicit drawings and erotic literary musings. Over 200 of the best artifacts from the Samuel Steward archive will be on display to the public for the first time.

    "Obscene Diary asks our patrons to reflect on what it would look like if their own sexual histories were documented and what this would say about the times in which we live. Rarely do we have an opportunity to see a sexual life so completely documented, providing an unprecedented peek into the private lives of men from an earlier era." -- Sarah Forbes (Museum of Sex Curator)
    Dates: Through January 17, 2012.
    Address: 233 Fifth Avenue.
    Hours: Sundays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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    Recent News About the BID

    Newsletter Archives


    About Us

    The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District, formed in 2006, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance the area's reputation as one of New York's most vital and exciting neighborhoods. This is accomplished by maintaining a clean and safe environment for the district's businesses, residents and visitors; by spearheading area improvement projects; and by marketing the diverse business and retail options in this vibrant and historic neighborhood.

    For more information, go to our website at www.discoverflatiron.org or e-mail us at info@flatironbid.org.

    Contact Information:

    Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership
    27 West 24th Street, Suite 800B
    New York, NY 10010
    (212) 741-2323

    Flatiron Charity: Helping New York's Neediest

    WHETHER IT'S THE HOLIDAY gift donation of a toy or coat, here are several notable district organizations who hope to make a generous difference in the lives of others during this season of giving.

    New York Cares: Coat Drive

    "We've set an ambitious goal to collect 100,000 and urge every New Yorker to give a coat so we don't leave anyone out in the cold," said executive director Gary Bagley on his announcement of this year's plans by the city's largest volunteer organization. "Low-income families are being forced to make difficult choices like whether they can afford heat or food or coats for their kids," according to Bagley. "The coat drive makes one hard decision easier."

    Through: December 31
    Items: New or gently used coats
    Recipients: Men, women and children
    Drop-off location: 13th Precinct at 230 East 21st Street; Anytime
    Contact: For more information, go to newyorkcares.org.

    Toys for Tots

    Since 1947, nearly 200 million children in need during the holidays have received more than 400 million toys with the help of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. "Every year the demand increases, while the donations become more and more difficult to come by," admits Staff Sgt. Ivan Lebron, the city's coordinator of Toys for Tots. "Our goal this year is 300,000 toys to over 225,000 children. Anything the Flatiron district can do to support this effort would be greatly appreciated."

    Through: December 22
    Items: Uwrapped toys
    Recipients: Children
    Drop-off location: Citi Habitats at 27 East 22nd Street; Business hours
    Contact: For more information, go to toysfortots.org.

    Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies: Toy, Book and Clothing Drive

    From ethnic dolls to the ever popular Lego sets, donors can contribute these items and more to the Federation, which has worked since 1922, with now approximately 300-member agencies and church-based human service programs.

    "We hope that the Flatiron district can increase the amount of toys we are able to provide our member agencies," says Karen Giacalone, the Federation's coordinator of volunteer services. "The agencies that we will be serving have requests in for approximately 60,000 children. The Flatiron drive has greatly helped us in the past to bring joy to thousands of New York City's poorest children. Being able to bring joy to children whose parents are struggling to meet their most basic needs is what Christmas is all about."

    Through: December 20
    Items: Toys, clothing and books
    Recipients: Infants through teens
    Drop-off location: Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, 281 Park Avenue South at 21st Street; Business hours
    Contact: Karen Giacalone, Coordinator, Volunteer Services (212) 801-1332 or go to fpwa.org.

    Town & Village: Toy Drive

    "Our goal is always the same," states Town & Village executive editor Sabina Mollot. "To make the holidays a little cheerier for children who are stuck spending their Christmas or Chanukah in a hospital room as well as to provide toys to kids who might not get anything at all if the drive didn't happen."

    The newspaper has led drives for six decades, with this year hoping to benefit over 1,000 children at Beth Israel Medical Center, "which distributes toys to its pediatric patients as well as the children of patients in outpatient clinics, some of whom cannot afford presents for their kids," explains Mollot. "With drives you never know what you're going to get, especially with the economy being what it is, but all things considered, I've been consistently impressed with the generosity of those who participate."

    Through: December 15
    Items: Unwrapped new toys only
    Recipients: Children and teens
    Drop-off location: Town & Village office at 20 West 22nd Street; Business hours
    Contact: For more information, call (212) 777-6611.

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    Free Walking Tour
    Sundays at 11 a.m.

    walking tours every Sunday.

    Join our experienced guides on a 90-minute journey through this vibrant neighborhood, viewing some of the city's most notable landmarks, including the New York Life Insurance building, the Met Life Tower, the Appellate Courthouse and, of course, the Flatiron Building.

    Every Sunday at 11 a.m.

    Meeting Place:
    The southwest corner of Madison Square Park, at 23rd Street and Broadway, in front of the statue of William Seward.

    To view a video of the tour, click here.

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