An Artistic Enclave in the Center of Commerce

In the middle of New York City’s financial district stands Joie de Vivre – a vibrant concoction of flaming scarlet steel towering at an audacious 70 feet above Zuccotti Park. Fearlessly stalwart in the face of tragedy, it beckons its harried visitors to embrace its revered message – the “joy of living” – in this unconventionally versatile neighborhood.

But it is often overlooked in favor of the area’s more tumultuous history, and its message is forgotten.

Opera Manhattan house photographer Eric Hazard recalls that his family was in town and had not noticed this magnificent structure until they witnessed its majestic presence in one of his photographs.

That is a shame, thought Hazard, since the sculpture is “meant to be joyful – meant to proclaim ‘look at how great life is.’”

They are hardly the only ones, however; as the area is scarcely renowned for its artifacts of artistic finesse.

The expansive walkways in New York City’s financial district are among the priciest per capita worldwide. While home to some of the most affluent of persons, this neighborhood also holds premiere office buildings in which millions of dollars circulate daily; priceless artifacts rest on its revered streets and scores of tourists come to either mourn the loss of hundreds, or to bask in awe of one of Manhattan’s busiest hubs.

74 Trinity hosts something significantly more valuable, however. لعبة سلوتس Within the humble confines of this well-placed gallery rest the artistic expressions of its locals – a softer side that few would associate with the cutthroat bustle of the financial district.

Here lie paintings and photographs of its residents, unsheathed and carefully displayed for all to see.

At the World Trade Art Gallery, a spectator has the incredible opportunity to not only witness a remarkably personal approach to the rich culture and history that surrounds the area, but to purchase various pieces, as well.

It began through Doug and Jane Smith, co-owners of the local establishment, who sought to capture the essence of this multifaceted neighborhood with the help of its many talented residents.

It also boasts original paintings and photographs taken in the neighborhood decades ago, as though allowing their observer to be carried away to a time when the current, international crisis seemed a fantasy. Grand ships adorn its revered canvases, proudly advancing toward the South Street Seaport, as does the New York Stock Exchange, and a stock certificate signed by Wells Fargo, who many would be surprised to learn was an actual person.

A signed photograph of Thomas Edison can be found in this culturally enriched enclave, as well as a painting depicting a large steamship’s maiden voyage from Bristol, England to New York City, a romantic relic of yesteryear.

An antique stock ticker machine lays claim here, as well. All of these pieces come from the John Herzog collection at the Museum of American Finance.

Aside from the intriguing array of history, however, local art can be found, as well.  Smith likes to refer to the adjoining rooms at the World Trade Art Gallery as a merging of the old financial district with the new.

The gallery hosts the large, comic book-inspired art of Sandrine Ronvaux, with specific pieces dedicated to the fame of Frank Miller’s “Sin City” – but the Luxembourg native’s talents for artistic expression extend much further than the venerable pages of graphic novel noir. Fully embroiled in the trenches of chaotic emotion, stands a massive painting called “Eu nao sou eu,” which translates into “I am not myself.” It shows a fragile and exposed form desperately writhing in a fetal position in one, black-and-white frame; while another features vibrant red and urgent, clawing hands eager to close the world away, as pieces of white rain upon them. Favored by some and shunned by others, the piece is undoubtedly effective, possessing strength, intensity and most of all, a sense of presence.

On a slightly more controversial angle are two pieces by Michael D’Agostino. A self-taught artist, the former vice president of investment banking at Bear Sterns experienced the upheaval at the defunct firm first-hand, and consequently had greater exposure to its devastating effects. His thoughts are reflected in his paintings of Alan Greenspan and Henry Paulson. Featuring ominous green slits for eyes, the shady figures within the expressive paintings are hardly featured in a positive light, but it is precisely for this reason that they are so treasured – art specifically expresses, and the effects of D’Agostino’s work are hardly dismissible.

Aside from painting, however, the gallery features the work of Hazard, a local photographer, chef and public relations specialist.

His revered shots focus primarily on the secret splendor of his neighborhood.

Yet he can hardly bring himself to choose a favorite among the many.

“I suppose that this is cliché, but asking an artist to pick a favorite photo is like asking a mother to pick a favorite child,” he chuckled. افضل طريقة للربح في الروليت “But I think actually ‘Brooklyn Bridge at Dawn’ is my favorite photo, for two reasons: one, because of the amount of work that went into this picture, and two is because it was an accident.”

This particular photograph’s history weaves a decidedly serendipitous tale. Hazard had set out to begin his expedition on the Saturday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when the freezing temperatures at the early hour had left the bridge devoid of its customary visitors.

His original aim had been for the photograph to be in black-and-white, but it seems that contemporary cameras come equipped with a capricious mind along with their fancy gadgetry. لعبة كريكت

“When I originally took this photo, I intended it to be black and white; and in black and white, the contrast between the high clouds and the blue sky – or at that time, the grey sky – is really pretty dramatic,” he said, intending to emphasize the bridge’s glorious geometry.

He then delivered the photograph to Smith, whose Mac had someone opened the raw file in color – and suddenly found himself amidst a conversation praising a “beautiful blue sky.” Initially unaware and confused by the unlikely attribution to his photograph, Hazard had been absolutely shocked that the aforementioned color anomaly had transpired within his own work.

The financial district in New York City had always been a hub of commercial and social activity, as though it possessed a life and energy at once contagious and unbridled. A center of tragedy and loss, as well as perseverance and hope, it springs little surprise that even the technology of its residents would strive toward individualism – toward developing that one idiosyncrasy that would ultimately set it apart from the rest.

Perhaps there is something in the air; or maybe the neighborhood tries – in its own, unique way – to infuse a little Joie de Vivre.

Photos by Ron Hatcher

About Olga Privman 132 Articles
I spent a good decade dabbling in creating metaphysically-inclined narrative fiction and a mercifully short stream of lackluster poetry. A seasoned connoisseur of college majors, I discovered journalism only recently through a mock review for my mock editor, though my respect for the field is hardly laughable. I eventually plan to teach philosophy at a university and write in my free time while traveling the world, scaling mountains and finding other, more creative ways to stimulate adrenaline. Travel journalism, incidentally, would be a dream profession. Potential employers? Feel free to ruthlessly steal me away from the site. I’ll put that overexposed Miss Brown to shame.

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