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! ”
With its entire front opened to the street, serving signature cocktails alongside thin crust pizzas, Ovest is a charming spot for an after-work drink or a hearty Italian meal. In a neighborhood full of hotels and galleries, this low-key ristorante certainly fills a niche. The food is simple and tasty, Neopolitan pizzas topped with fresh fixins of all sorts. The "Martha, " sporting prosciutto and truffle oil, is a house favorite, as is the old-fashioned square buffala pizza. We stopped in for an afternoon snack and came away sated with bellies full of rich fried artichokes and a tre-colore pizza. The drinks are designed and served by a "published" mixologist – we can vouch that the Ulan Bator Sling is delicious. The mangapeño also comes highly recommended. Cocktails and white wine begin to be poured during the 5: 00-8: 00 happy hour, but in traditional Italian style they are accompanied by complimentary small plates of food constantly being prepared by the kitchen. This is certainly a tradition everyone can get behind.
There are two floors to the David Zwirner Gallery on 20th Street, often showcasing different artists. When I visited in May of 2015, downstairs showcased an installation by Richard Serra with large, three-dimensional black blocks of forged weatherproof steel, highly distinguished against the blank white walls. In contrast, upstairs were some two-dimensional, colourful paintings and sketches selected from the Kramarsky Collection. I was particularly drawn to a series of incomplete circles sketched by Robert Mangold.
Rei Kawakubo’s internationally-acclaimed, Tokyo-based clothing line for men and women has its own, fantastically designed storefront in the art gallery district of Chelsea. The store itself and the clothing inside are so unique, aesthetically precise, and avant-garde that it all constitutes art in itself, helping it to fit appropriately as a store amongst the elegant galleries. The space, an irregular labyrinth of futuristic, curved white walls, is entered through a long, fluted metal tube that punctures a brightly colored, graffiti-covered brick wall. Once inside, racks of delicately designed pieces of clothing-art hang in and around large gold geometric structures. To Manhattan Sideways member Megan, many of the articles sported by the saleswomen or draped over hangers bore a resemblance to something Lady Gaga may have worn. Because Kawakubo’s collection includes work by several designers, no two pieces are alike, making it truly an adventure to peruse.
Michael Angelo’s Wonderland Beauty Parlor is true to its name. Michael’s unique designs and inspirations are evident throughout the space, from the beautiful chandelier hanging above the cash registers to the underwater-themed sinks, complete with figurine mermaids. Burlesque shows projected onto the walls and the top of a Coney Island carousel help transport customers into an eccentric world. Above the salon, Michael’s office overlooks the space, acting as a “bird cage” from which he and his staff can look out. The original windows from when the building was a warehouse have been installed in the office, providing vibrant colors to brighten up the white walls. As David Benjamin, the salon’s general manager explained, “if you get to know Michael, it all makes sense. ” Michael opened the salon in 2005, hoping to bring the Meatpacking District’s authenticity to life in the parlor. “I don’t want people to take themselves too seriously, ” Michael said. He shared with us that he began coming to the area as a teenager, using Chelsea and the Meatpacking District as an escape from everyday life in New Jersey, where he grew up. Michael became a regular figure in the area's night scene, joining those who simply wanted to freely express themselves. When the Manhattan Sideways team spoke to him in 2017, Michael reflected that Wonderland had been a staple on 13th Street for over a decade and had seen the street's evolution from a grittier neighborhood into a high-end district, complete with tourist attractions and restaurants. The salon is a testament to the district's previously thriving club scene, but continues to prosper in the area's newest incarnation. Michael hopes to be the “Florent of salons. ” Florent, a popular diner where all walks of life were welcome and people could freely express themselves, has since closed, but Michael hopes to carry on its legacy.
Pinch Food Design is dedicated to top-quality, unexpected, and unconventional catering. The chefs at Pinch seek to “redefine the art of celebration” with an interesting food presentation and “unpredictable” dishes. Events hosted by Pinch are notable for their open chef’s tables where guests can watch and taste the caterer’s creations, interactive food stations, bite-sized buffets, and beautiful plating. Some examples are their unique p-shaped plates, which are designed to rest atop cocktail glasses, so that diners can use a fork while holding their drink; custom designed utensils that combine the “shallow bowl of a spoon” on one end “with the pin-like end of a skewer” on the other.