There Will Come Soft Rains, 2021, 30 X 24.5″. Photo courtesy of the artist JoAnne Lobotsky.

Dear Neighbor,

We hope you enjoyed the long weekend. This week, our “Last Word” section, where we feature locals artists becomes our first words. While we’re certainly optimistic, we know it’s possible not every subscriber reads our newsletter end-to-end each week, and we don’t want you to miss the wonderful work we receive from local artists like Raquib Abdal KhabirAmy ChengMeena HasanHeidi Howard and Firoz Mahmud, among dozens of others.

Deep Dive, 2011, 44 X 44″. Photo courtesy of the artist JoAnne Lobotsky.

This week we are featuring work from JoAnne Lobotsky, a Bronx-based artist who grew up in a working-class family on a small farm in upstate New York. She graduated with a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in NYC with honors and also studied at the Art Students League in NYC. She has been a practicing artist for over three decades. Imperfection, abjectness and roughness coinciding with beauty and a kind of humble elegance are the main goals for her work. She often uses non-traditional materials in her work to achieve texture and the element of surprise.

The Reunion, 2021, 31 X 19″. Photo courtesy of the artist JoAnne Lobotsky.

Lobotsky’s work also, in the manner of construction and materials, feels to her like a rebellion against economic entitlement and our class system (which can seem like an exclusive club to those of less fortunate backgrounds), and strives to become accepted on its own terms within its own limitations and imperfections. In this way, art-making becomes a transcendence of her personal history.

Rescued, 2021, 30.5 X 25.5″. Photo courtesy of the artist JoAnne Lobotsky.

Lobotsky has exhibited in the United States and Europe and her work is in private collections. Currently, some of her work is displayed on Odetta Digital: Spring 2021 Page Turner show, which is featuring works on paper on Artsy through June 10. In August, she will have a solo show at Atlantic Gallery in Manhattan. See more of her work on her website and Instagram page.

Are you an artist? We would love to see what you have been up to, particularly work that has been inspired by the last 14 months. To submit a poem, short story, artwork or any shareable experienceemail us some samples of your work, plus a bio and personal statement.  If your work is selected, we will pay you $100, and you’ll become part of our growing network of artists.

You’ve probably gathered by now that we launched a podcast. You can listen here. Make sure you’re subscribed on your favorite platform, and if you enjoy it, please leave a review — we will be forever grateful. Stay tuned for episode four, which premiers tomorrow and features the story of Anthony, a lawyer-turned-street-vendor from Ecuador.

Lovely readers, please help us grow our community:


Contact-free dumplings
While dining sans service staff may seem futuristic, automats are actually a throwback to simpler times; the first appeared in the U.S. in 1902. While automats all but disappeared, everything comes back in style eventually, and NYC restauranteur Stratis Morfogen recently reintroduced the concept with Brooklyn Dumpling Shop. The automatic, which is actually located in the East Village, boasts the tagline, “dumplings reimagined,” and offers diners 32 flavors to choose from (three dumplings per order), including pastrami ($4.95), peanut butter and jelly ($3.95) and garlic Alaskan king crab ($19.95). Draft beer and wine are also available. Learn more and check out the complete menu here.

Photo courtesy of @bedstuystrong

Brooklyn block party
 `Tis the season for outdoor gatherings, and mutual aid group Bed-Stuy Strong will be holding its first block party this Sunday, June 6, from 2 to 6 p.m. in Herbert Von King Park. There will be food, music, a free store and more. Don’t live in Bed-Stuy? No problem, all are welcome.

Drag queen story hour
Join local drag queen Bella Noche for story hour Wednesday, June 2, at 4 p.m. The event will take place at Sunnyside Open Streets at the intersection of Skillman Avenue and 42nd Street.

Hot Honey Sundays
Do you miss being around strangers? Dancing? Sunsets and skyline views? All of the above? Enter: Hot Honey Sundays, a free weekly dance party for all ages at Greenpoint Terminal (2 Noble St.) hosted by DJs @jkriv@deo.jorge and @anna_collecta and creative director @rogo.castro. The event calls itself “a safe space where people can get back together, share their passion for good music, dance away, get weird, feel sexy, enjoy the sunset, spread love and celebrate life above all.” Follow its Instagram page for updates.

Sun and sand
New York City’s beaches are officially open as of Memorial Day. Need some inspo? We’ve written guides on Brighton Beach and Rockaway Beach, two of our favorites.

Ghost Forest
If you visit Madison Square, you’re likely to come across 49 dead Atlantic white cedar trees, which look haunting amid the greenery. The trees are part of artist Maya Lin’s “Ghost Forest” exhibit, which is meant to highlight the impacts of climate change. In nature, a ghost forest is a relic of what was once healthy. The trees Lin used are from the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, and were going to be cleared to help regenerate the area. She also created a Ghost Forest Soundscape, which highlights sounds of some of the native species of animals once common to the city. Learn more and listen here.

Madison Square Park Conservancy is also holding a public art symposium, Greening Public Art, Friday, June 4, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The event will explore how art today addresses the urgent crises facing our environment, including climate change, global migration, political turmoil and food insecurity. You can register here.

Kara Walker at New Museum. Photo by Nitin Mukul for Epicenter-NYC.

Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America
Catch the last few days of this exhibit at the New Museum, which features 37 artists whose work addresses the concept of mourning, commemoration and loss as a direct response to the racist violence being experienced by Black communities throughout the country. The exhibit runs through this Sunday, June 6. Get tickets here.


Photo courtesy of the Bronx Documentary Center

Bronx Junior Photo League
The Bronx Documentary Center is accepting applications for its free summer programs for 7-12th graders. The photobook program, which is offered virtually or in-person, teaches students different ways of storytelling through the process of designing their own unique photobook. Participants of the community newspaper program will photograph for and design a community newspaper focused on a five-block radius of the Bronx Documentary Center. For more more information visit the Bronx Documentary Center’s website, or attend a virtual open house on Monday, June 7, from 4 to 7 p.m. The application deadline is Sunday, June 13.

Moving? Old furniture wanted
Bushwick Ayuda Mutua is looking for household items for neighborhood families in need, specifically chairs, dressers, AC units, tables, desks and beds. Fill out this form to donate.

Don’t know who to vote for
The mayoral primary is on June 22. If you’re still deciding who to cast your (ranked choice) vote for, consider attending a candidate forum being hosted by the 92nd Street Y, City & State NY and WPIX-TVand  Monday, June 7, at 7 p.m. Maya Wiley, Kathryn Garcia, Dianne Morales, Shaun Donovan, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Ray McGuire are confirmed and additional candidates will be announced. Register here to attend both online and in-person.

Sign up for our weekly education-focused newsletter, The Unmuted, here

The end of AP classes
LaGuardia High School administrators broke it to parents that they plan to get rid of some Advanced Placement (AP) courses to expand college-level classes during a series of virtual presentations last week. Officials say the change will give teachers more freedom in their curriculum and take pressure off of students. Some parents and students criticized the change, saying AP courses are challenging, diversify course options and distinguish transcripts for college applications.

More money, more problems
“NY Schools Have Money! Now What?” is a virtual event where families can learn about how New York’s $600 million in education funding impacts New York City’s public schools. Where do you think the money should go? Join Chalkbeat NYC schools reporter Reema Amin, Alliance for Equality Education Campaigns Director Maria Bautista and Citywide Council for Special Education Secretary Paulette Healy tonight from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to share your thoughts. Register here.

High school waitlist info sessions
High school applications are closed, but waitlists open early this month. The Department of Education (DOE) is holding a series of virtual offers and waitlist info sessions this month, teaching parents and students about the process. The first session is tonight from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in English with interpretation in Spanish, Cantonese and Urdu. No registration is required. Parents and students will get email reminders 24 hours before the event on how to participate and access language interpretation support.


This week we are taking you about 2.5 hours north to Chatham. We (obviously) love a good day trip, but there is something extra satisfying about escaping the city’s summer humidity and stickiness; a way to reset, if you will.

Start your day with breakfast at local favorite Main Street Goodness. Arriving in the afternoon? No worries, it’s a breakfast-all-day kind of place. Or, a pie-for-breakfast kind of place, your choice.

Spend some time perusing the stores around Main Street like Bimi’s Cheese Shop, the Chatham Bookstore and the Warm Ewe, which sells yarn and fabric. In the afternoon, we recommend heading to the Ooms Conservation Area, which features 2.9 miles of trails on 180 acres of land. Fishing is allowed with a permit in the 35-acre Sutherland Pond. There are benches and a gazebo, making it a great place for a picnic lunch (perhaps with some fancy cheese from Bimi’s?)

In the evening, see what’s playing at Crandell Theatre, the county’s oldest independent, classic single-screen theatre, which will reopen on July 1.

Cap off your day with a pint of local goodness and some home-style barbecue at Chatham Brewing.

What are some of your favorite day trips for escaping sticky summer days in the city? Let us know!

This newsletter was written by Danielle Hyams and Jade Stepeney. Photographs and design by Nitin Mukul and editing by Robin Cabana. Did you like it or find it useful? Tell a friend to sign up. Support our vendors, freelancers and efforts by making a donation to our tip jar.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.