While 24th Street contains several world-renowned galleries, C24 is a less recognizable, but no less amazing art gallery. It was opened in September of 2011 by four partners: Emre and Maide Kurttepeli, Mel Dogan, and Ali Soyak. Though none were working directly in the art industry, all were united by a passion for art. “They thought, ‘Where’s the best place to open a gallery? New York!” explained Michelle Maigret, the director. “’Where’s the best place in New York? Chelsea! Where’s the best street in Chelsea? 24th Street!” In 2015, C24’s building was purchased, so the owners found a new space down the block. This time, however, C24 will not be pushed out. In keeping with a block norm, C24 is the owner of its building, and with the new location came a new vision. “I think we have more of a direction now,” Michelle said. “When we moved out of our old space, we went through the artists and moved out the ones who weren’t going with the direction the directors wanted to take.” It was not just a move, as Meghan Schaetzle, the gallery manager, clarified, but “a rebirth of the gallery.” The new C24 is more spacious than most of the surrounding galleries. There is an atrium as well as a large main room, featuring windows and glass doors, to create a naturally lit and generally welcoming environment. “Often, artists get restricted by gallery space,” explained Amanda Uribe, director of sales. “But here, they’re inspired by the possibilities.” The unique space allows C24 to step outside of what one might typically see on 24th Street - exhibiting all media, from miniature sculptures to monumental paintings to video art - and, recently, they have been moving towards multimedia or, as Michelle put it, “different media” displays. Rather than follow in the footsteps of more established galleries and try to feature the “big hits,” C24 aims to represent contemporary, mid-career artists who are pushing the boundaries of their craft. As Michelle told me, “The big name artists are great and it’s always good to see their shows, but we have something different, fun, and interactive - and people always respond to it. There’s a different attitude, different feel, something fresh here.” In keeping with that theme, C24’s curation attempts to push boundaries with an international focus and is proud to feature a geographically diverse roster of artists. Additionally, C24 brings in an outside curator each year to organize a show in their space. When it comes to the art world, keep an eye on C24: For the young gallery, things are only looking up. “We’ve been applying to some of the more prestigious art fairs and getting wait-listed, rather than flat-out rejected,” Michelle said. “We’re about to hit it.” Meghan concurred: “Stay tuned and see how we grow!”
I met JoAnne Artman shortly after she moved into her New York gallery. No stranger to the art world, JoAnne has been showing the work of culturally diverse, well-known artists in her Laguna Beach, California gallery since 2007. She claims that she has always been artsy – she loved painting in elementary school, drawing cartoon strips in middle school, and then eventually found photography, which she has been practicing for all of her adult life. Over the thirty years that she was living out west, she would often put on private art shows in her home. As she so eloquently says, “Art is an investment in your soul.”After her California gallery had been open for a few years, JoAnne reached the point where she was looking for a second location. At first she searched in her own state, but when she could not find exactly what she was looking for, she thought, “Dream big – I’ve got to try!” She chose Chelsea, the world-renowned gallery district. A large number of her collectors were from New York and she had always been told that her gallery had a “New York collection,” so it seemed like a logical move. JoAnne thought she would never find anything in this neighborhood and that it was crazy to try, but happily she found her current space inside an 1893 manufacturing building. She had to fight for it in the cutthroat world of New York real estate, but was overjoyed when it ended up in her hands. “This is a jewel of a location,” she told me. “It even reminds me of my gallery in Laguna.” Even though the California gallery is three times the size, the two have a similar staircase and layout. “It feels like home – we’re so comfortable in this space.”JoAnne decided to “start big” and open in 2015 with her most successful artist, the Columbian-American painter and sculptor America Martin. I learned that JoAnne represents seventeen to eighteen artists (“It would be overwhelming to have more!”) and that they are all ages and ethnicities. As an example, she listed Marjorie Strider, who had just passed away at the age of eighty-three. She was a female pop artist who had been a contemporary of Warhol, and JoAnne had shown a lot of her work in California. “I only show artists that I love, collect, and have a passion for,” She said, adding, “I love color.” Her fondness for bright hues can be seen all over the gallery, from the bright yellow water pipes running along the ceiling to the sunflower-colored back wall. “I wanted to bring California sunshine to New York,” JoAnne stated. She pointed out the graffiti on the air conditioning unit that she had asked one of the gallery installers to do after learning that he was a renegade graffiti artist. The bright, bubbly “J” was a surprise, situated so high up on the wall. “I like to do things that are unexpected,” JoAnne admitted.I returned to the gallery with Tom, our photographer, when a show was opening by the artist Suzanne Heintz. The exhibit was the culmination of a fifteen year body of work in which Suzanne traveled the world with her “daughter” and “husband,” two mannequins. The “daughter” stood as part of the exhibit, staring out the window at passersby. I had the opportunity to speak to Suzanne, who was like a piece of art, herself, perfectly coifed and sporting a bright red dress. We spoke about how her project redefines the idea of identity and the strange looks she would get on the street, dragging around her well-dressed dolls. She told me about the consistent energy behind the project, saying “I was raised as an endurance runner. Now I’m an endurance artist.” We talked about how her photos and accompanying documentary included many forms of shorthand for how we define success and romance, but that “romance can occur in your life without a label.” I then asked her what she thought of the relationship she had formed with JoAnne, to which she replied, “It’s a perfect fit.” JoAnne and Suzanne then finished each other’s sentences, sharing how they knew they were meant to work together before they even met face to face. When JoAnne mentioned her bright yellow wall on the phone, Suzanne could not believe it. “I’m shooting sunflowers!” she said, referring to her photographs of her "family" frolicking through a field of flowers. Sure enough, the picture hung on the yellow wall above the yellow coach. “I also love that a woman is representing me,” Suzanne added. Seeing JoAnne smiling as Suzanne described her work, I was reminded of something she had said in our earlier interview: “As much as we love the artists’ work, we love them.”
“By accident,” answered Olga Blanco when I asked her how she got her start in the printing business. Her husband started Nobel Printing in 1979, and Olga took over a short while later when he became ill. “I learned and I kept going,” she smiled, remembering a time when the business was new to her. She, in turn, has taught her son, who works for a printing company in Florida. Olga shared with me that when her son's business decided to use the traditional printing press in an effort to distinguish themselves from others, his knowledge of the machine lead to a promotion. “No one else knows how to use these,” she gushed, “so they increased his pay.”Originally from Columbia, Olga journeyed to the States in 1969 at the age of seventeen. Since living here, she has seen a lot of changes, many of which have had an negative impact on her custom printing company. “Everything is digital these days,” she rationalized, "And everyone thinks they are a designer.” With so many people in possession of a computer and the means to make their own digital copies, her fears are not unwarranted. Topped off with rising rents, Olga is not sure her business will operate for longer than a few more years. Indeed, she has seen many others pushed out of the neighborhood for similar reasons. “The real estate business is hungry for money,” she said, shaking her head.Despite the obstacles, Olga remains quite confident in the product, itself. She happily deals solely in custom printing, taking on any job no matter the size and “creating something beautiful.” When I visited in the summer of 2016, Olga was working on a wedding order of 2000 invites and could not conceal her passion for the project. She showed me her early drafts, pulling out the quality card stock and brushing her fingertips over a soft design that depicted a tree just in bloom. There is no replacement for “that human touch.”
Co-founded in 1994 by former number one middleweight boxer, Michael Olajide, and Leila Fazel, a former ballerina, Aerospace claims to offer “a revolutionary new fitness that engages body, mind, and spirit.” Leila explained that the Aerospace workout is “revolutionary” in two ways: first, it does not involve any machines, and second, it has its foundation in athlete-level boxing to engage cardio, muscle endurance, and core strength. The company has its own boxing ring and jump rope line.We had the pleasure of seeing Michael, who lost vision in one of his eyes in the early 1990s, guide a student through some boxing combinations as part of the Aerospace workout. Although Michael and Leila intend to maintain the “authenticity of boxing” in their program, Aerospace is open to everyone, with or without boxing experience. While some learn to hit bags on the second floor, others in a more advanced program spar in the boxing ring on the first floor. Leila also runs a workout that combines shadow boxing with ballet.
Jon Eisen is not only one of the partners of Between the Bread and its director of strategic growth, but he is also heir to one of the pioneers of the venture, which has delivered sandwiches to office workers since 1979. Ricky Eisen, Jon’s mother and the company’s president - who was born on the outskirts of Tel Aviv - decided to use large-scale catering to bring healthy meals to her clients in a more efficient way. Jon claims that the result was the first catering company in New York City. Ricky’s idea to use only healthy and local ingredients proved to be a pivotal moment in the way catering to corporate clients is done today.In 2013, Ricky put her son in charge of the retail and café side of the business, which up until that point had been secondary to catering. Recognizing the recent popular trend of eating healthy and local, Jon quickly began streamlining the production process, including installing digital cash registers to track customer orders. This lead to a doubling of revenue. His success prompted Ricky to name him partner in 2015. Despite these changes, the core of the business is still the same: using organic, fresh, and seasonal to serve “high quality meals.” And to hear it from Jon and the head of brand strategy, Victoria Rolandelli, this core seems to resonate well with customers. Between the Bread opened two more locations in October 2015 and has plans to have a total of twelve locations throughout the city.Located in the Chelsea Terminal Warehouse, the 27th Street Between the Bread is in a massive space that was previously an unloading station for trains. In the not-too-distant future, once Hudson Yards is complete, it is Jon's hope that they will become the "new Chelsea Market."
Originally constructed in 1905, this building became the home of the beloved Gershwin Hotel in 1992. In 2014, Triumph Hotels took over the space and invested a good deal in renovations, renaming it The Evelyn. As an homage to building’s artful and musical past, the guest rooms feature music note-tiled bathrooms, trombone-shaped chandeliers, and decorations inspired by the Art Nouveau style of the 1900s.