nyc highlights

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LOWER MANHATTAN SKYLINE:  Note the changing visual profile of downtown since 9/11, particularly with the loss and rebuilding of the World Trade Center complex. I took these photos from the Staten Island Ferry and harbor cruises over the years I have lived in New York City.

On May 10, 2013, the final piece of the spire was lifted to the top of One World Trade Center, bringing the tower to its full height of 1,776 feet (541 m), and making it the fourth-tallest building in the world, as well as the tallest in the city, surpassing the 1,454-foot (443 m) Empire State Building.

At the time of their completion in 1973, the “Twin Towers"—the original 1 World Trade Center, at 1,368 feet (417 m); and 2 World Trade Center, at 1,362 feet (415.1 m)—were the tallest buildings in the world.

One World Trade Center would no longer hold its lofty designation, however, under a developer’s plan to supersize a 57th St. residential skyscraper. Gary Barnett wants to raise the top of the spire at his proposed Nordstrom Tower to 1,795 feet (547 m) — 19 feet taller than the one atop 1 World Trade Center. 

Although the angles are slightly different in the three photos, I have tried in sizing them to keep the proportions constant with reference to the older buildings in front. Clearly Lower Manhattan has filled out a lot since 2001. There are many new highrise buildings, most notably One World Trade Center, which is slimmer but 408+ feet taller than the the old Twin Towers. 

So there really has been a lot of change over the last two decades. as Lower Manhattan now booms with new construction. Creative destruction continues unabated in NYC:  stay tuned in the highrise race to the sky! 

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How do we understand the idea of art? How do we understand the concept of social justice? What does Art Education do?

These were some of the questions explored by school administrators, arts educators, teachers, parents, youth, and community organizers gathered on March 24th at the Brooklyn Museum’s Arts as Social Justice Roundtable. Through group discussion, image reflection, and sharing personal stories, participants investigated the intersection of the Arts and Social Justice and the pedagogical implications of this relationship.After sharing some of the issues most impacting their communities, participants broke into smaller groups where they  raised a host of other questions including, “How can art redefine social concepts and dynamics?” “What is the relationship between art-making and learning in general? How can art bring communities together?” and “How can art help us imagine new social possibilities?”

Some key findings from the gathering included:

  • We often assume a shared understanding of Social Justice and this is often counter-productive.
  • Social Justice should be approached as a commitment to PROCESS. An understanding of pedagogy and the ability to facilitate groups around difficult conversations is essential to this process.
  • At its core Art can also be understood as a process/approach towards learning and doing. There is an intimate relationship between all authentic learning and Art.
  • Within the context of Art, a Social Justice perspective requires us to expand and questions traditional notions of “Fine Arts” and artistic “Canons”.
  • Art Education is essential to Social Justice because Social Justice requires Social Imagination.
  • There is power in collective thinking and group learning. There is a need and yearning for more spaces that bring together diverse cross-section of people to engage and to wrestle with these questions.

Over the next two years, the Education Division will continue asking these questions as we begin a new partnership with local community organizations and middle schools in Central Brooklyn (Districts 16 & 17) with the support from the Kenan Foundation. The partnership will result  in a student-driven community arts project highlighting the transformative power of the arts. The Arts as Social Justice Roundtable was the first step in learning from colleagues across the field and sharing inspirational approaches as we begin this new endeavor.

In reflecting on art education, imagination, and social justice, Director of Education, Adjoa Jones de Almeida recently wrote,  “Now more than ever, we must look at those realms in our collective consciousness that privilege the imagination and the human capacity to create. Continuous engagement with artistic practices strengthens our imagination muscle. Arts education is essential, because it builds our ability to dream and imagine beyond our present condition.” As we work to strengthen our Arts as Social Justice Pedagogy, Education staff will continue investigating the intersection between Arts and Social Justice in our teaching as well as in conversations with visitors, staff, and community members.

Posted by Adjoa Jones de Almeida and Katherine Kusiak Carey

Other Cute Infinite Effect NYC Highlights

- Dongwoo asking “Grandfather are you okay?” to an older male fan in the audience

- Woohyun being confused when the fans started singing happy birthday for him (I think he didn’t think we’d do it because it’s in 3 weeks but he got really happy and smiled)

- Hoya saw Woohyun get sung happy birthday to and then asked us to sing happy birthday to him which we did

- Dongwoo saying we had nice bodies

- Myungsoo picking up a stuffed bunny and dancing with it during My Girl (I have to upload this fancam it was adorable)

- Sungyeol jumping into the crowd suddenly out of nowhere

- Sungjong’s heartwarming speech in English where he said he’d always be on our side and how he wanted to be with us forever