Rockefeller Center Christmas

Last December I ventured to Rockefeller Center with Audrey Hawkins to draw the skaters in the midst of the Manhattan Christmas melee. Unlike this year's balmy December weather (reported high of 66˙ today in NYC) last year was much less forgiving. The drawing below was completed in a race against time as my fingers slowly froze, and tourists jostled for a prime selfie spot in  front of the tree.

rockefeller center christmas tree

Once I got the money shot, it was way too cold to continue drawing outside. We ventured downstairs, to an area outside the rink's "VIP Hot Chocolate Lounge," where there are tables - and, most importantly, a Starbucks.

rockefeller center ice skaters nyc
Lacing up to go on the ice in the "VIP Hot Chocolate Lounge"

Lacing up to go on the ice in the "VIP Hot Chocolate Lounge"

rockefeller center skaters

 It was fun to watch and draw the skaters bumble and tumble around. Most were fairly inexperienced, with the occasional seasoned skater twirling and leaping through the crowd.

ice skaters at rockefeller center

The Corwith Cramer at Brooklyn Bridge Park

This past May, I spent the afternoon with my friend Audrey Hawkins drawing The Corwith Cramer in Brooklyn Bridge Park. (See Audrey's drawings from this day here). The Corwith Cramer is a 134-foot two-masted brigantine owned and operated by the Sea Education Association (SEA) out of Woods Hole, MA, just a few towns over from where I grew up on Cape Cod. 

carlylarsson_corwithcramer_brooklyn
Photograph © Etienne Frossard 2015

Photograph © Etienne Frossard 2015

The ship serves as a floating lab, classroom, and office for students and researchers. This particular crew was returning from a five-week voyage studying biodiversity and conservation of the Sargasso Sea region. The ship's arrival in Brooklyn marked the end of the voyage, which began April 20 in San Juan Puerto Rico. 

While we were drawing, Etienne Frossard, photographer for the Brooklyn Bridge Park, snapped our photo.

No Justice, No Peace: The Millions March for Eric Garner

Last night I attended the Millions March protest for Eric Garner at Foley Square to do some reportage illustration with friends Audrey Hawkins, Evan Turk and Chris Brody. When we arrived there were already hundreds of people gathered; the square was packed and people were spilling into the streets.

The atmosphere was peaceful but charged with a kinetic, positive energy. It was heartening to see how many different people turned out to demonstrate. There were parents with children, teenagers, college students and elderly people of every race and gender. People were chanting "Hands up don't shoot" and  "No justice no peace." I overheard a mother shout out “hands up!" and her toddler yelled "Justice!” I had to laugh.

Protestors in Foley Square in front of the United States Court House.

Protestors in Foley Square in front of the United States Court House.

Soon we began to move toward the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, with protestors chanting "Eric Garner, Michael Brown, shut it down shut it down!" and "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, NYPD go away!" Once we got to the entrance to the bridge we stopped; I heard that police had blocked entry to the bridge. I was at the very tail end of the group, behind police who had formed a line standing shoulder-to-shoulder. They started to back up as I drew; one bumped into me and apologized.

The crowd moving toward the Brooklyn Bridge

The crowd moving toward the Brooklyn Bridge

There were news crews, photographers and journalists everywhere, as well as a few different helicopters circling overhead shining spotlights down on the crowd. Some other chants I heard were "Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!" and "How do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D!" One guy even had a saxophone that he played the whole time we marched, though as I began drawing him he was lost in the crowd, so unfortunately he doesn't make a cameo here!

Protestors attempting to gain access to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Protestors attempting to gain access to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Some protestors had made large cardboard cutouts of bodies that looked like chalk outlines. Each one had a name of a black person killed by the police. Some people had megaphones, but the crowd chanting in unison seemed to be the most impactful. For a large group, the protestors marched fast. While Audrey and I said goodbye to Chris and Evan, the crowd disappeared down Centre Street. We found them again on Broadway, where they had taken over the street and traffic was at a standstill. Then we turned and marched up Canal Street.

Protestors march down Canal Street toward the Holland Tunnel.

Protestors march down Canal Street toward the Holland Tunnel.

This adorable little girl riding on her dad's shoulders had made her own sign. It was a bit scribbly and hard to read, but I think it said something about paying reparations to the families of those killed by police. While a few motorists/commuters seemed irritated, most were actually cheering on the protestors. A few cars and trucks beeped their horns to the beat of the chants, some people put their hands up as we walked by, and a few work crews had made signs saying "Ferguson is everywhere" that they hung in the windows of their trucks! As the crowd moved toward the Holland Tunnel, Audrey and I decided to hang back and draw some of the scary-looking cops in riot gear. They were standing shoulder-to-shoulder holding their batons out in front of them, and had economy packs of plastic handcuffs at the ready. The leftmost cop in the drawing below said I made him look fat.

NYPD in riot gear lined up along Canal Street.

NYPD in riot gear lined up along Canal Street.

In addition to the hundreds of cops on the streets, there were hundreds more in vans following the protestors. It seemed like overkill for such a peaceful protest, and I definitely noticed that many of the cops were treating bystanders/commuters (and us, with our sketchbooks) with more respect than they showed the protestors. While we were there, it seemed like the police were, for the most part, standing back and letting the protestors do their thing. However, just after I left I saw photographs and reports of police indiscriminately arresting and pepper-spraying people, including children and elderly women. Not exactly the best PR move for them, considering the protest was for ending police brutality, but I guess they got bored of standing around. In all, it was a wonderful and moving experience. It was so inspiring to see all the different people that came out on such a cold night to demand reform and an end to police violence!

Bethesda Fountain

Well, my daily blogging has officially become a thing of the past. Due to this hectic thing called life, I'm afraid I must slow the posts to a minimum of one per week. Monday I visited Central Park with my friend Audrey to draw at the Bethesda Fountain. There is so much going on in the park. While we drew, there was an opera singer performing behind us, and at least three pairs of models/photographers doing their thing. When I first arrived, there was a guy in a spiffy suit and nifty red socks playing the saxophone, but the opera performance behind us was apparently too much competition for him and, regrettably, he left before I had the chance to draw him. 

The Bethesda Fountain in Central Park NYC © Carly Larsson 2014

The Bethesda Fountain in Central Park NYC © Carly Larsson 2014

The fountain sculpture was designed by Emma Stebbins in 1868. Stebbins was the first woman to receive a commission for a major public work of art in NYC. Pretty cool! The sculpture is also known as "Angel of the Waters" and refers to the Gospel of John where an angel blesses the pool of Bethesda, giving it healing powers. The four cherubs below the angel are supposed to represent temperance, purity, health and peace. I can get behind three of those symbols (hint: none of them are temperance). 

Brooklyn Bridge Park

One of my favorite places to go draw lately has been Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO. It's a short train ride from my apartment, there are great views of the bridges and the city, there's a carousel, lots of people, etc. etc. Here are a couple of drawings from one of the first times I drew there in August.

The Manhattan Bridge as seen from Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO. © Carly Larsson 2014.

The Manhattan Bridge as seen from Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO. © Carly Larsson 2014.

The Brooklyn Bridge with the Freedom Tower in the back, as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO. © Carly Larsson 2014.

The Brooklyn Bridge with the Freedom Tower in the back, as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. © Carly Larsson 2014.

Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. © Carly Larsson 2014.

This is Jane's Carousel, formerly known as the Idora Park Merry-Go-Round, created in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and originally installed in Youngstown Ohio. The carousel features 3 rows of 48 hand-carved and painted wooden horses as well as 2 chariots. When Idora Park closed in 1984 the carousel was sold at auction and brought to Brooklyn for restoration. It opened at its new location on the East River in Brooklyn September 16, 2011.