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Posts tagged "music"

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Future Streets: Little West 12th Street in NYC’s Meatpacking District

Little West 12th Street in the Meatpacking District has been transformed from an underused open street into a bustling, lively hangout thanks to 5,000 square feet of donated sod — Exhibit A in the open-and-shut case for more car-free streets in pedestrian-majority neighborhoods.

It’s a pleasant place to sit or stroll — and it’s good for business. “There’s an organic visual appeal — you see a street like this and you want to walk down it,” said Jeffrey LeFrancois, the executive director of the Meatpacking Business Improvement District, which created the one-block vision of utopia as part of the “Future Streets” collaboration of the American Institute of Architecture, the American Society of Landscape Architecture and the American Planning Association.

The block-long stretch between Washington and Greenwich streets has been largely transformed — first by the elimination of car storage (which still typically mars the de Blasio administration’s “open streets” program), then with the installation of tables and a large, grass-covered seating area on the western end of the block. That’s created foot traffic, which creates more business. “We’ve had twice the normal number of customers,” said Courtney McKamey, the manager of the Little West Wine and Spirits on the block, who provided a reminder that businesses that rely on walk-in customers have no need for streets filled with parked cars.

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London’s First Open Streets Is a Success!

Five years ago, David Love experienced Summer Streets in NYC and was so captured by the warmth and excitement he decided to bring open streets to London.

The starter event was held in the borough of Southwark, on Great Suffolk Street, and featured music, dancing, food, art and, most important, activities for children and families to enjoy.

Open Streets London hopes to have frequent and bigger ciclovias in the future, and to continue to enlighten Londoners to the value of re-thinking their streets as places for more than automobiles.

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Adventures in Montreal: Bikes, Bike Cafes & Riding Musical Swings in a Public Space

I was honored this weekend to be a guest of Vélo Québec to ride in the 30th annual Tour de l'Île, a 50km group ride I did way back in 2001 & 2003. It's really a great way to experience the city on car-free roads with 25,000 other people. In fact, I find Montreal to be one of the most fun places on the planet.  The entire city is so beautiful, relaxed and interactive from a visitor's standpoint.  And everything is accessible by bike.

Additionally, I was invited to take part in Friday night's Tour la Nuit, which is the companion night ride to Sunday's big event. As you can see from the above video montage, it was a celebration of people and joy, sort of like an official critical mass with closed streets. I really don't know why more cities don't try the night ride concept. I hope you enjoy the music I used. It's a little happenin'.

While there I got to learn more of Vélo Québec's mission including taking in a scrumptious meal at their cafe La Maison des Cyclistes which is on the ground floor of their staff headquarters. I got to talk to Vélo Québec's CEO Suzanne Lareau about what their organization does and why they created the cafe at its location, which is at the intersection of two of Montreal's most used cycle tracks.

Every time I visit Montreal I can't wait until the next time I come back. The quality and tranquility of its many pedestrianized areas I have documented before. It's a city that is constantly utilizing its public space for the health of citizens and visitors in unique ways. Art is everywhere.

Which brings me to the "21 Swings" interactive musical installation. The video says about it all, but to say I felt like a kid again (with plenty of other adults!) would not be doing the exhibit its due magnificence. There's more info on "21 Balançoires" here on the Daily Tous Les Jours site. I was fortunate to catch it on its final working day of 2014.

My coverage will continue later this week with a Streetfilm of my ride on the Tour de l'Île and what it has meant for cycling in Montreal.

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Happy Winter Solstice 2011: Make Music NY Comes to the F-Line

Making the darkest day of the year a little brighter, Make Music NY (Winter) decided to hold a series of musical parades on December 21st. One of the events was Thru-Line from James Holt, MATA & The Knights, which took place on the NYC MTA's subway F line.  From 7 to 8 pm, you could hear J.S. Bach performed on every one of its 44 Coney Island Bound subway platforms.

Wanting to go, I also decided to experiment with my new iPad2 as a recording device to see how it would handle indoors in a noisy, busy environment. But it was also a challenge as the event lasted only one hour.  In the end, I got to visit 8 stations and used almost half of everything I shot. There wasn't much time to think about anything, just get off the train, shoot for about 2 or 3 minutes and then jump on the next train. (Oh and to try to get the best sound quality with no trains coming in and out of the station.)

I also edited it in just about 90 minutes. Of course with such beautiful music and the awesome structure of our subway system, these kinds of montages are not very hard to make look wonderful. Next up:  I'll try the iPad outdoors on a sunny day.

Oh and just in case you haven't seen it, we did another one-day turnaround video on Make Music NY's first event back in 2007.

 

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Velo-City 2010: Copenhagen Bike Parade

Last week, Copenhagen was the host for the Velo-City Global 2010 conference featuring over 1,000 attendees, advocates, and bike enthusiasts from all over the world.  It was awesome and awe-inspiring. The city that loves biking welcomed us with open arms.

On the third night of the conference, Copenhagen did something it doesn't do often: holding a spectacular bike parade!  This critical mass-style celebration featured the young and old on all sorts of bikes and filled the streets with laughter and music. In fact, some participants told us they thought it was the first of its kind in 24 years.  I guess when every day is a massive critical mass of cyclists (38% of all trips are bike) then what is the need for ever needing to declare your right to the road?

The optimistic mood of the conference and the gaining momentum for bicycling facilities worldwide was as inspiring as the people of this great, livable city.  Don't miss the next one in March 2011 in  Sevilla, Spain which we were told is seeing skyrocketing numbers of those taking to the velocipede!