Recap: Ideas City Festival 2015 and Its Puzzling Foam Booths [PHOTOS]

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 at 10:12 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo: Lori Greenberg

This past Saturday, the Ideas City festival attempted to make “The Invisible City” visible.

Founded by the New Museum in 2011, Ideas City tries to address key challenges and opportunities facing cities around the world. This year, the theme was “Invisible Cities,” focusing on questions of transparency and surveillance, citizenship, expression and suppression, and key civic issues.

With the festival and accompanying talks taking place around the Bowery, we stopped to discuss issues such as affordable housing, climate change, the preservation of community, recycling and garbage with some thought-provoking groups who were represented at Saturday’s event. Some of our favorite conversations were with City Atlas, the Center for Urban Pedagogy, the Fixers Collective, miLES, the Manny Cantor Center and Laura Nova, CityLore, The Sketchbook Project, the Center for Genomic Gastronomy with Edible Geography, the Lower East Side Ecology Center, The Lodge Gallery, Art in Odd Places, Materials for the Arts and the Institute for Public Architecture. (Long list, but yeah, we tend to talk a lot.) We also sampled some great local foods, provided by the Hester Street Fair.

As much fun as we had, we were puzzled by the block of Bowery between Stanton and Rivington Streets (home base of the New Museum). While the other blocks had vibrant displays, and plenty of crowds, this particular area hosted bright white booths, which were nearly all empty (granted, we got there a bit late in the day – it was the weekend, after all – but we were there a good few hours before the festival ended). On closer inspection, the booths were composed of styrofoam, much to our dismay. From a creative point of view, let alone an environmental one, this was a huge miss in our eyes. With all of the talk of climate change and the environment in the air, combined with the fact that so many of the groups represented had an environmental focus, it was a pretty questionable idea to create an entire block’s worth of display booths out of one of the most toxic and non-biodegradable materials out there. Plus, the display was pretty ugly.

Although it put a damper on our mood, we did enjoy the rest of the festival, and we felt that Ideas City generally had the right, well, ideas. But guys, next time get a couple of eco experts to weigh in on the design decisions.

Gallery of images below. (All Photos: Lori Greenberg.)

This gallery has been removed.

Recent Stories

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, Hillman Houses Vandalized with Antisemitic Graffiti

Yesterday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, also marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. Here on the Lower East Side, though, it was apparently occasion for some antisemitism. Someone scrawled an antisemitic message – “fuck Jews” paired with botched swastika – inside the Hillman Houses at 500 Grand Street. The […]

Watch the First Teaser for Upcoming Beastie Boys Doc on Apple+

Yesterday, Apple unveiled the first trailer for its highly anticipated Beastie Boys documentary. It’s a teaser in the truest sense, squeaking by at about thirty seconds. Beastie Boys Story is billed as a “live documentary experience” as told by surviving members Mike D. and Adam “Ad Rock” Horovitz. It’s based on the bestselling Beastie Boys Book […]

Mount Sinai Opening Group Clinic on Delancey Street

There hasn’t been a steady tenant at 104 Delancey Street since the Chase Bank closed and consolidated with the branch across the street in 2012. Instead, eight years of pop-up players persisted, from Gagosian (2012) and Hanksy (2014) to Spirit Halloween (2015), All Leather, and Chabad LES. Now, landlord Samy Mahfar is switching it up completely. […]

Onlookers Rush to Lift SUV from Atop Pedestrian on Delancey Street [VIDEO]

Did you happen to see this clip from yesterday evening? An SUV driver purportedly hit a pedestrian on the doorstep of Essex Crossing, in the intersection of Delancey and Norfolk Street. Seeing the accident unfold, several pedestrians rush to the vehicle in order to literally lift it from atop the victim. Apparently her ankle was […]

On the ‘Ground’ with the New Madison Street Soccer Pitch

In the month-and-change since we broke the news, the large-scale indoor soccer field on Madison Street is making quick progress. Transforming a long-vacant commercial warehouse on the edge of Chinatown. Last week, The Ground, which was founded last year around the corner on Monroe, made the expansion official by whitewashing 130 Madison and imparting branded […]