Times Square is filled with NYC-centric souvenir shops, but never has there been one quite like this. "The Center of Something" was a two-week exhibit by artist Chris Rubino that sold merchandise highlighting a great irony of our city: that the NYC charm that tourists crave (and that feeds our economy) is actually being destroyed by NYC itself.
This NYC charm I speak of is precisely what Times Square souvenir shops advertise with their trinkets. Yet sadly it is in danger.
How is it in danger? Skyrocketing rents due to out-of-control development. Where luxury and working class once coexisted in Manhattan, the balance has long been thrown out of whack.
This imbalance is seen in Rubino's work. Above we see the storefront, featuring a cockroach contrasted with the stiletto. I'll leave the interpretation to you.
Here we see the ugly new face of the Meatpacking District: a designer purse.
The "neighborhoods" of Manhattan as designated by developers and real-estate agents.
One of the last fries sold by Florent, a 23-year-old diner going out of business next week.
Me with the artist