Photos, Travel, Writing

NYC – Day 2 – Creative Spaces

IMG_7302Twelve hours sleep will do wonders for spirit and mind – we were up and out the door for a run around Prospect Park park by 10am, soaking up the greenery. Creativity is supposedly boosted by a dose of green, and that’s exactly what was on for the day – a grand tour of some incredible creative spaces around NYC.

IMG_7304Back to the Smith’s by 11, and out the door again by 12 to meet up with an old friend, Moriah Cowles, in her Orchard Steel metalwork studio. Bursting with energy, she gave us a grand tour of her working space and walked us from tip to tail in process of making a knife – sourcing the right metal, tempering it, pounding it out, picking the wood for the handle, putting in the decorative pin, giving it a mild ‘patina’, and touching up the uber-solid edge.

It sounds so simple in a list like that (and I’m surely missing some of the key features), but I think Moriah just makes it sound easy.  The finished product is an elegant blade, built to last, but age with style and grace.

Moriah shares her space with very cool (very Brooklyn) start-up vodka outfit called Industry City Distillery.  It was mid-day so didn’t get into a tasting, but will surely follow up another day.

Over burritos on the fire escape we all mused about what we might do if we had such a space…  Dave was music and I was publishing/writing. We can all dream…


Next up, we dashed downtown to the Flatiron District to see some family history.  Legend has it that Oscar Lundberg, my great-grandfather from Sweden, worked on the famous Flatiron building for the Remington Construction Company. One day while out on a beam, he lost his balance and fell six stories into a pile of shrapnel.   The doctors said he was probably a goner, but sure enough he left the hospital later that week complaining of the food.

Check the New York Times article here:

Click the picture to see the PDF.

Click the picture to see the PDF.


Our next destination on this whistle-stop creative spaces tour was Neuehouse to see R. Littauer for ‘happy hour’ on his last day in the building.  A linguist by trade, but a front-end web designer by choice, Littauer does some great work for Ideapod – a Facebook/Twitter for ideas. Very cool office, if it can even be called that. Pictures give the vibe, but I’m sure it’s the people that make it.

The final stop was The Village Vanguard for some world-class jazz from the Billy Hart Quartet.  Nobody was snapping or howling, but just thinking about all the famous acts that had come through there from the Beat generation to now was pretty special.  IMG_7367

Quite the day in the life of a New York creative class citizen. It takes strength to wake up and do any of these things every day – music, art, writing, craft. Seeing the design specifics for each creative purpose really highlights the importance of where the craft is done, not just how.



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