Photographer Stephen Spera sent us these lovely photos after a bike ride through the L.E.S. Here’s what he had to say:
I took a long bike ride through the LOWER EAST SIDE today. Incredible and embarrassing, as I live FOUR blocks from it….or IN it, according to your point of view. The geography shifts daily, as do many things in New York. I particularly went in search of the old Hasidic LES, where decades of gorgeous decay turned signage into art. SO much was gone, I couldn’t believe it. The rich palimpsest of a neighbourhood intersecting with itself was fading, replaced layer upon layer by the Manhattan of bike lanes, tiny parks that would make William Penn smile, and enough coffee to carry this island out to sea.
That’s not a complaint – I love the bike lanes, and the parks (in fact, a friend designed more than half of them, including Washington Sq…) and I need coffee to become vertical…
I had one of my first gallery shows at Henry St. Settlement, performed and read poetry at ABC NO RIO, had studios at El Bohio (PS 64) on E. 9th street – so I guess I’ve come almost full circle….and of course I love the new LES. After all, I got pumpkin fudge on a stick, ate South African food, shopped at my favourite clothier, and met many amazing people. That says neighborhood to me.
Stephen Spera is a New York based artist, designer, photographer, and musician. He is active in all these areas, so its tough to pin him down. He seems to like it that way. You can see a tiny bit of his output at these sites – www.pictusarts.com (interiors, decorative arts, installations ), www.myspace.com/stephensperamusic (latest releases and reviews), www.myspace.com/stephenspera (older music, film, photos, and The Musee Vaché, Spera’s imaginary museum )