I have to admit, I felt mildly reluctant to shlepp myself all the way to the Bronx on Saturday. But once I got myself to No Longer Empty‘s new exhibit, This Side of Paradise, my qualms of the hour long subway ride became an irrational past emotion. No Longer Empty is an organization that creates exhibitions in underused or abandoned buildings throughout New York City. This Side of Paradise is their thirteenth exhibition and is currently in the Andrew Freeman Home. The Andrew Freeman Home is a mansion which served as a residence for the once wealthy elderly couples from the 1920’s to the 1980’s. The sculptures and installations built for this project interestingly reflected on the lives of previous residents of the Andrew Freeman Home, as well as highlighted the changes the Bronx had endured since the home’s closing. As if the art was not creative and exciting enough, our tour ended in an empanada party in the reopened kitchen to showcase the new cultures presently occupying the Bronx.
One of the most memorable sculptures of tour was located in the Princess Ballroom. It was an old, weathered piano with type writers nailed to it. The piano played latin music as well as the sound of typing on a clunky type writer. This demonstrated the change from the old Bronx when the home was first opened to the neighborhood with a prominent Hispanic culture. The next room, the Executive Ballroom, showed the neighborhood as it is today. A television hung on the wall dramatically showed faces of many residents of the Bronx and displayed their powerful thoughts of their quality of life in subtitles. Lastly, we visited the kitchen that was reopened to commemorate the once active Andrew Freeman home. We were taught the art of making empanadas to aknowledge the new cultures occupying the City. Best of all, of course, we had the chance to eat them!
You can’t beat free admission to an interesting, refinished historical sight in your own city or an empanada party. Without a doubt, No longer Empty’s exhibition, Lost in Paradise, is worth that shlepp out to the Bronx and I would highly recommend it.