New York


30
May 12

Vic Calise, athlete

Vic Calise, paralympian, Accessibility Coordinator NYC parks ©Tony Gale

Vic Calise

Vic is a paraplegic; he was injured in a mountain Biking accident almost 18 years ago in Forest Park, Queens. We became friendly about 2 years after his injury.  When you speak to Vic for about 2 minutes you forget that he is in a wheelchair and you think of him as someone who can do anything that you or I could do. And he does.  We have two young daughters, 9 and 6, and they think their Dad can do or fix anything. He is a disabled athlete who competed in the Winter Paralympics games in Nagano, Japan in 1998 and who has stayed involved in the sport of sled hockey since.  He works for NYC parks as  the ADA coordinator to make all parks accessible to people with disabilities.  He also organizes events throughout the 5 boros for kids with disabilities. He is frequently asked to speak at different events and organizations around the city.  He is also about to complete his Masters degree all while being totally involved in our daughters activities (soccer coach) and working full time.  And he has a great personality, most everyone who meets him is drawn to him in some way.

Nominated and described by Susan Calise


17
Jun 11

Josh Hadar, metal designer

Josh Hadar in his studio. ©Tony Gale

Josh Hadar

I first met Josh walking by his Broome Street shop in my neighborhood many years ago. Seeing the flashes of light in the early winter night emitted from his welding torch lite up his sculpted gate made me curious to see what was inside. Looking in I saw all of Josh’s creations, his bikes and trees all around the shop. Using solar power to provide energy to create his art and to power his bikes is a testament to him as an artist and activist in the art community. Being a new Dad has given him a different way to look at the future.

nominated and described by Tommy Flynn


27
Jan 11

Austin McCormick, artistic director

Austin McCormick, director. ©Tony Gale

Austin McCormick, director. ©Tony Gale

Austin McCormick

Wow. Austin McCormick. The multi-talented Artistic Director of the Neo-Baroque theatrical dance group, Company XIV. A one-of-a-kind dynamo. Without question, Austin’s the most wildly creative genius that I’ve met in the 21st century. He’s been establishing himself as one of the top choreographers, directors and dancers in NYC. Austin’s shows feature the most original, imaginative and over the top performances that I’ve ever seen on a NY stage. Erotic, sensuous, risqué, dramatic and sumptuous are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about a show of his. It’s no wonder that his work has been praised by the likes of The NY Times, Black Book Magazine, Dance Magazine, The NY Post, Metro NY, and many others. Austin’s name should appear as the definition of original in the Oxford American Dictionary.
For more information about Austin and Company XIV visit http://www.CompanyXIV.com

Wow. Austin McCormick. The multi-talented Artistic Director of the Neo-Baroque theatrical dance group, Company XIV. A one-of-a-kind dynamo. Without question, Austin’s the most wildly creative genius that I’ve met in the 21st century. He’s been establishing himself as one of the top choreographers, directors and dancers in NYC. Austin’s shows feature the most original, imaginative and over the top performances that I’ve ever seen on a NY stage. Erotic, sensuous, risqué, dramatic and sumptuous are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about a show of his. It’s no wonder that his work has been praised by the likes of The NY Times, Black Book Magazine, Dance Magazine, The NY Post, Metro NY, and many others. Austin’s name should appear as the definition of original in the Oxford American Dictionary.

nominated and described by David Gibbs


4
Jan 11

Heather Morgan, landscape architect and archeologist

 

Heather Morgan, in Jamaica Bay. Photo by Tony Gale.

Heather Morgan, in Jamaica Bay. Photo by Tony Gale.

 

Heather Morgan

Heather Morgan is a landscape architect and the first landscape archeologist I ever met. She is one of those people who is interesting
because she is so interested. She works for the US Army Corps of Engineers and knows amazing things about the city and its waters.  Heather is also the only person I know who works on several wetland restoration and collaborative land planning projects of the (protected) Jamaica Bay and throughout the New York City region; and sometimes rescues endangered turtles.

Beside being an interesting person she’s also funny as hell.

Nominated and described by Elizabeth Felicella


12
Dec 10

Matt DeMatt, New York Character

Matt DeMatt, in the Meat Packing District. ©Tony Gale

Matt DeMatt, in the Meat Packing District. ©Tony Gale

Matt DeMatt

Matt DeMatt is quite a character. He grew up in Queens, became the one of the first nightclub doormen in NYC and has led a very colorful life. He has been an actor, an ECW announcer know as Matty in the House, he owns one of the first and still successful bars in the Meat Packing District, Gaslight. Matt knows more people than I ever thought possible and everyone only has the kindest things to say about him.

Steve Lewis from BlackBook Magazine calls Matt a ‘Character with Character’ http://www.blackbookmag.com/article/good-night-mr-lewis-matt-de-matt/8565.

Beyond the fact that Matt is my boyfriend and best friend and past all the “cool” stuff he has done, Matt is loved and respected by his friends both old and new – he is a big, crazy, New York character that also happens to be a very good person.
Matt DeMatt is quite a character. He grew up in Queens, became the one of the first nightclub doormen in NYC and has led a very colorful life. He has been an actor, an ECW announcer know as Matty in the House, he owns one of the first and still successful bars in the Meat Packing District, Gaslight. Matt knows more people than I ever thought possible and everyone only has the kindest things to say about him.
Steve Lewis from BlackBook Magazine calls Matt a ‘Character with Character’
Beyond the fact that Matt is my boyfriend and best friend and past all the “cool” stuff he has done, Matt is loved and respected by his friends both old and new – he is a big, crazy, New York character that also happens to be a very good person.

Nominated and described by Kimberly Rosenhaus

16
Oct 10

Robert Ripps, Mr. New York

Robert Ripps, photographed in TriBeCa. ©Tony Gale

Robert Ripps, photographed in TriBeCa. ©Tony Gale

Robert Ripps

He has an insatiable curiosity about the world around him.

He has a witty, quirky and fun sense of humor.

He’s able to make the family next door or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Lady Margaret Thatcher or Mikhail Gorbachev or the 1,000 other celebrities feel equally comfortable in front of his lens.

He loves a good meal whether he is in Kyoto, Paris or whipping one up in his own kitchen.

His love of travel, desire to share his experiences and views of the world around him has brought him around the world as a professional photographer.

But no matter where he has gone, one thing is for certain.

Robert A. Ripps always comes home to his native New York.

This love of Gotham has lead Robert, or Bob as he is known to his friends, to take an avid interest in the history of the City of New York. While walking, or preferably biking around the streets of the Big Apple, Bob can tell you pretty much the history of any neighborhood in the 5 boroughs.  He is often at every major museum in the city and regularly attends exhibits, especially if they relate to the subway, architecture or NYC history. His passion for the history of the subway and his knowledge of its vast network is unmatched by anyone I’ve ever met.  In fact, Bob knows the city and the history of its architecture so well, he is able to point out historical inaccuracies in TV shows or films that take place or are filmed here (much to the annoyance of his friends).

It is this love of New York that has also lead him to document life in the city, whether it is the streets of his beloved Tribeca or the underground culture of New York’s craziest night club Webster Hall.

Robert A. Ripps, he’s definitely Mr. New York.

Nominated and described by Michelle Kawka


6
Oct 10

Liza Binkley, Actress

Liza Binkley, photographed in Union Square. ©Tony Gale

Liza Binkley, photographed in Union Square. ©Tony Gale

Liza Binkley

Liza has the exuberance and vibrancy pointing to a youthful spirit that you know will be last her a lifetime.
But don’t let the positive energy fool you.  This horseback riding, rock climbing, French speaking talent from the Great State of Texas has worked steadily since arriving in New York and has added Television, Theater and Indie Film credits to her resume.
Liza has the exuberance and vibrancy pointing to a youthful spirit that you know will  last her a lifetime.
But don’t let the positive energy fool you.  This horseback riding, rock climbing, French speaking talent from the Great State of Texas has worked steadily since arriving in New York and has added Television, Theater and Indie Film credits to her resume.
Nominated and described by Jerome Butler


25
May 10

Michelle Kawka, attracting attention

Michelle Kawka, photographed in Queens, NY. © Tony Gale

Michelle Kawka, photographed in Queens, NY. © Tony Gale

Michelle Kawka

Michelle once said to me, “I always seem to attract attention when I travel abroad, I don’t know why.”
I should have told her, “Darling! The French aren’t the only ones who appreciate your appeal!”
Her high heels leave a clicking echo behind her as she enters an art gallery and people can’t help but stare at this American beauty with a dash of a European flare that was certainly acquired during her six months in Italy where she perfected her flawless Venetian accent over a glass of Chianti. Of course, the gallery I’m referring to is the one displaying her own photography in New York City (or was it Paris? I can’t keep track).

Michelle had her privileged future mapped out for her, having grown up with a summer residence in the Hamptons and obtained her bachelor’s degree from prestigious Weselyan University in Connecticut. This did not stop her from rolling up her sleeves in an attempt to pierce through the very closed knit circle of photography in the Manhattan. This attempt turned into success after 6 years of hard work built over a solid foundation of pure talent. I could only imagine her mother’s reaction when she came home with the news that her work was now being displayed in museums (and that she had a pair of angel wings tattooed on her back).

If you speak to Michelle during her well-attended photography exhibits, make sure to put down your coupe de champagne, and take a close look into her eyes, and tell her what you see. She’s quite used to it. Some call it sectoral heterochromia. However, most just say, “You have two different colour eyes! “ Maybe it’s a vestige of her former life as a mermaid, of which she is very fond. Michelle could even make an atheist believe in Karma.

As our friendship reached the 15 year mark from across the Atlantic ocean, I am proud have Michelle as my friend and look forward to another 15 years (at least!) of good times.

Nominated and described by Al Vareau


23
Sep 09

Kate Cusack, Costume Designer and Artist

Kate Cusack, photographer in her studio. © Tony Gale

Kate Cusack, photographer in her studio. © Tony Gale

Kate Cusack

There are many beautiful qualities and interesting things I could say about Kate Cusack. One of the aspects of her personality that I find most admirable is her honesty. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, what you see is what you get with Kate. She is who she is and does not waste time pretending to be otherwise. She is more true to herself than anyone I have ever known and I admire her greatly for that. She is driven and focused and believes in herself and her creativity to an impressive degree. As well she should! She has been carving out an impressive career in the Arts from a young age and there’s no sign of her slowing down.

Kate studied fine Art in undergrad and completed her graduate degree in theater, specifically, costume design. Currently she is focusing on her ever-expanding Art jewelry collection, made entirely out of zippers. She has always had a knack for turning humble materials into beautiful works of Art and her zipper jewelry is an amazing example of her talent.

Nominated and described by Margaux Lange


19
Aug 09

Yvonne Lynch, inimitable

Yvonne Lynch, photographed on the Upper West Side, © Tony Gale

Yvonne Lynch, photographed on the Upper West Side, © Tony Gale

Yvonne Lynch

Yvonne Lynch is inimitable. And though we each possess several innate qualities forming our uniqueness, Yvonne’s compelling nature is experienced within a group setting. Those curious enough to witness her ability to warm a room, to provoke a smile, to enliven a friend, and on a larger scale, to lift everyone’s temperaments– like keeping time to an orchestral melody– will find their own mood’s harmonize with her own. She is productive, light-hearted, and funny. She’s talented, yes. Worldly and versatile, of course. She is many things to many people. Yet, I call her my friend. Maybe you’ll meet her; then you can do likewise.

Nominated and described by Tai Odunsi