SEEING AS WE’RE JUST INTO FEBRUARY — WHAT WE CONSIDER TO BE THE CRUELEST MONTH — WE THOUGHT WE’D SHARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE WAYS TO KEEP OUT THE WINTER CHILL. TRY A PIPING HOT PASTRY FROM THE LITTLE PIE COMPANY, GO GALLERY-HOPPING — OR GET INSPIRED BY SOME IN-THE-KNOW NEW YORKERS TO PICK UP A HOT READ OR KNIT ONE, PURL TWO YOUR WAY TO SOMETHING WARM AND WOOLLY.
Byline: Bobbi Queen / Rosemary Feitelberg / Melanie Kletter / Nandini D’Souza
It’s evening, and Rivy Ng has put in a full day of work as market coordinator for Yigal-Azrouel. WWD photographer Kyle Ericksen has been running from fashion shows to shoots. Upbeat downtime for both are the hours at night, weekends or between projects when they can knit-one, purl-two into the most charming sweaters, coats and accessories. “Two and a half years ago, I saw an Ann Demeulemeester knit coat that I loved, but couldn’t afford,” said Ng, who went straight to the Encyclopedia Brittanica’s knitting section and proceeded to experiment. Although he graduated from Parsons School of Design, he insists it is a strong math background that informs the judgment and calculation needed for his knitting. Using wool and mohair, alpaca and acrylic yarns, he has created some of the most charming and wonderfully detailed sweaters, coats and vests in town: Some of his creations feature pockets that extend around the sides on tweed coats, pointed shoulders on sleeveless cable turtlenecks and a huge knitted spider stitched onto a wrapped sweater. Were Rivy to sell these items to anyone but his friends, prices would range from $250 to $600. But neither he nor Ericksen is particularly ambitious about transforming this hobby into a business.
Ericksen began knitting more recently, giving every friend and relative at least one of her creations. And while her accessories are quite polished, her sweater designs have a more unfinished, rustic appeal. Some styles are vintage in feel, others contemporary. “Often a style will take on a life of its own without forethought. Occasionally, I use a pattern or conceptualize the shape ahead of time,” said Ericksen, who has discovered lots of little yarn stores for very unusual cashmere, alpaca and mohair. Her long pullovers or vests are seamless. “If I use a complicated, multicolored yarn, I prefer a stark shape. A more involved style calls for a simpler yarn.”
Word of mouth and friends have brought in business thus far, but it’s all about having fun. And Ericksen has found a way of making all this social rather than solitary by forming a small knitting club. They meet once a month to knit, have dinner and watch a film — at least one, of course, with a knitting scene.
His Head’s In The Clouds
“Look in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane — it’s a cloud.”
That’s what Brazilian artist Vik Muniz would like to hear Manhattanites say during the week of Feb. 20, when a cropdusting plane uses his outline of a cloud to draw clouds in the city’s skyline, as a symbolic representation of the fleeting nature of images.
Muniz has also set up shop at the Whitney Museum of American Art where his exhibition, “The Things Themselves: Pictures of Dust by Vik Muniz” will be on display through May 20.
A specialist in low-tech illusions, Muniz works with such simple subjects as sugar, cotton, dust, string and chocolate — for example, he swept up dust from the Whitney’s floors and used it to make drawings based on photos of the museum’s sculptures.
“My photographs are about very little and very much simultaneously,” said Muniz. “My subjects are simple, common and almost random picked, but the processes I chose to render them make them unique and engaging.”
Mixed Greens/Sibling Entertainment will hold a special screening Feb. 20 of “Worst Possible Illusion: The Curiosity Cabinet of Vik Muniz” at Creative Time, the presenter of Clouds.
For those too swamped to step outside, there is a “Clouds” Web site at www.creativetime.org/muniz. Go on, dream.
Big Apple Pie
Tucked into a busy strip of West 43rd Street is a small place that emits large — and tantalizing — aromas.
The Little Pie Company, a neighborhood institution, has legions of fans throughout the city and beyond. Lines often snake around the corner, especially at Thanksgiving time, as patrons wait to get their hands on these delectables. Located near the theater district, Little Pie Company has large windows through which passersby can watch the bakers peeling, slicing and arranging the fruit and crusts.
“People respond to us because our pies are made from scratch, and they have a very American feel,” said co-founder Michael Deraney. “Also, pies are difficult to make, and many people just don’t have the time to bake.”
Among the offerings, which range from $34 to $39, are sour cream apple walnut, banana cream, three berry and Mississippi mud pies. Seasonal offerings such as pear apple crumb and cheddar cheese crust apple, as well as non-pie items including layer cakes, brownies and cookies, are also available.
The company, which opened its doors in 1985, recently expanded its horizons. Last year, new locations opened on 14th Street (in the meatpacking district) and at Grand Central Station. Pies can also be purchased online at littlepiecompany.com. Call 1-877-872-PIES for store locations.
Tough, loner New Yorkers really do want to belong after all. While some are joining a knitting club (see above) other Gothamites are foresaking their three-weave wools in favor of something more cerebral — book clubs. Sure, they’ve been around for years, but attendance is at an all-time high right now. And if it’s getting people to put aside their latest digital gizmos in order to talk to someone face-to-face, well, that’s a good thing. Here’s what’s on some reading lists: Philip Roth’s “The Human Strain;” Dave Eggers’s “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius;” Manil Suri’s “The Death of Vishnu;” and Michael Ondaatje’s “Anil’s Ghost.”