Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right Artist Maria Calandra shares her top 5 NYC spots

Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

Artist Maria Calandra shares her top 5 NYC spots

Get to know artist and Pencil in the Studio honcho Maria Calandra

By Matthew Love
Advertising

If the New York art scene ever feels too insular, too solitary or too stoic, check in with pencil-wielding 38-year-old Calandra. On a lark in April 2011, the Brooklyn artist scheduled a studio visit with an artist she knew well—her husband, Erik den Breejen—insinuated herself into his space and stayed to draw what she saw. Since then, she has expanded on her initial whim, visiting more than 60 local artists and posting reproductions of their work on her blog, Pencil in the Studio, and in doing so has helped create a community in the often closed-off art scene. “It’s lonely and hard and frustrating sometimes,” says Calandra of being an artist. “I wanted to show that, but I also come into the workspace as an enthusiastic person.” For her own gallery shows at the likes of Sardine in Bushwick, she’s also taken to reproducing pieces by Rothko and Picasso and creating her own takes on rare bookshops. As Calandra says of her charming, approachable and idiosyncratic sketches, “[My project] is indefinite. There are lots and lots of cool places to draw.”

RECOMMENDED: Meet the talents who will be shaping our city

Maria's top 5 places in NYC

1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museums Art and design Central Park

I can go to the Met endless amounts of times and discover something new or sit in front of a favorite painting. I’m drawn to the Matisses pretty quickly. It’s a place where I might get lost enough to find a painting I haven’t seen before.

2. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Museums Art and design Midtown West

I go to the MoMA for the Miros and Rothkos. It is a privilege to have them around and feels like I’m visiting friends. I could sit there all day to watch kids and adults and hear them talk about the paintings and describe them to one another.

Advertising
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nels

3. Metropolitan Opera House (at Lincoln Center)

Theater Performing arts space Upper West Side

The Met Opera has that $25 lottery, and [my husband and I] go pretty often with that lottery. “Hey, let’s go tonight, and if we get tickets, we get tickets.” I’m a huge Italian opera fan, so the Puccini operas are my favorites. Maybe we go out for pasta afterward, just to make it a really Italian evening—we like the old-school places, but we’re struggling with that right now because we went to Italy this spring and nothing compares.

4. Greenpoint

Things to do

I live in Williamsburg, but I like Greenpoint better. There are a lot of Polish people, and it’s a place people live and have lived with their families. It’s more what I sometimes imagine New York to be: Pockets of people from different countries. My pop grew up in the Lower East Side and then moved to Bay Ridge, so I feel like that’s what I imagined New York to be when he told me about it. A place where there are just people living and a market where you buy your food, which is Polish, because you’re from Poland. My dad’s Sicilian, so he’d say, "Yeah, we got meatballs on the corner, because we’re from Bay Ridge."

Advertising
Karczma

5. Karczma

[My husband and I] like to go to Karczma on Greenpoint Ave. They have a great beer selection and straight-up, good, inexpensive Polish food. After that, we go to Torst on Manhattan Avenue. It has a beautiful menu and beautiful glasses, and if you’re into beers, its selection is the best. It feels really special every time, even though we can just walk home from there.

Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising