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New York Today: Why Do New Yorkers Wear Black?

Email sent: May 1, 2018 6:15 am

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Why Do New Yorkers Wear Black?
By JONATHAN WOLFE
A very New York look.

A very New York look. John Taggart for The New York Times

Good morning.
Today you may retire yourwinter coat.
With bright, sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s, and even warmer temperatures later this week, you can also feel free to throw on a few bold colors and bright pastels.
Or not. This is New York, so no matter the weather, youre sure to look stunning in our citysunofficialuniform: head-to-toe black.
Curious about New Yorkers obsession with a muted palette,we turned to Valerie Steele, the director of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the author of The Black Dress.
Do New Yorkersactuallywear more black?
Yes, said Ms. Steele, but not everyone.
Its only some New Yorkers who wear black, but its the kind of people popularly identified with this city fashion people, artists and hipsters, Ms. Steele said. You dont need to be the majority, you just need to be a visible minority to become associated with a particular city style. At fashion shows, New Yorkerswear black much moreoftenthan their counterparts in Paris and Milando,she said,which has also helped popularize the idea that people from our city wear black.
When did wearing black become our thing?
New Yorkers start to become associated with wearing black in the late70s and early80s, Ms. Steele said. Thats when you get a sort of perfect storm of different style tribes wearing black.
Artists and cool kids downtown were wearing black for its edgy and sinister vibes, while uptown, Donna Karan was designing with black for its practical applications the color is flattering, slimmingand easy to mix and match.
But one of the most important style tribes was the one associated with avant-garde art,saidMs. Steele, who adopted the all-black, baggy designs of the Japanese designers Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo. People were at first mostly horrified by it, but then very rapidly, people in New York started wearing these all-black avant-garde Japanese fashions. It was like a secretMasonic handshake.
Whyis it we love black so much?
People dress a certain way because they want to project a particular image of themselves, Ms. Steele said. Colors help us achieve that.
Think about navy blue,which Ms. Steele says is authoritarian and preppy, or pink, which some see as girlie or queer. Black connotes power, elegance and eroticism, characteristics that many people New Yorkers included wish to identifywith. It started outinitially symbolizing downtown New Yorkers, and this kind of hip quality, she said.Everyone wanted to be cool and dangerous and hip looking.
Plus,we look good in it.
New York City is also a city of stone, Ms. Steele said, and black looks good in this environment. It wouldnt look the same in a sunny Los Angeles milieu.
Heres what else is happening:
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In the News
Marchers supporting DACA in February walked up Broadway. A ruling by a federal judge found that President Trump's campaign comments on immigrants were within the scope of the case.

Marchers supporting DACA in February walked up Broadway. A ruling by a federal judge found that President Trump's campaign comments on immigrants were within the scope of the case. Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

District courts are split over whether President Trumps campaign-trail statements are based on an animus toward Latinos that violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution. [New York Times]
The retrial of Sheldon Silver, the former New York State Assembly speaker, on public corruption charges began in Federal District Court. [New York Times]
Judith Leiber, known for her whimsical handbag creations, died at her home in Springs, N.Y., hours after her husband,Gerson Leiber,a painter and sculptor died. They were 97 and 96, respectively.
A Long Island community mourns the loss of a house known for its historical significance. [New York Times]
Airlines will be prohibited from sending planes to Kennedy Airport during winter stormsunless they have received assurances that gates will be available on landing. [New York Times]
Kew Gardens, Queens,is known as Crew Gardens because of its popularity with airline workers who like its location near bothKennedy and La Guardia Airports. [New York Times]
A lawsuit filed by three Newark residents claims Mayor Ras Baraka misused city funds by having police escorttheD.J.Funkmaster Flex toMr.Barakas birthday. [CBS Philly]
Cynthia Nixon has landed her first endorsement from a Democratic elected official, Brooklyn City Council member Carlos Menchaca. [New York Post]
House flipping is diminishing the citys last remaining affordable housing stock, a new report revealed. [Curbed]
Coming Up
Learn Tai Chiin Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. [Free]
Food, drumming and a ribbon dance around a maypole are part of theMay Day Beltaine celebrationat Le Petit Versailles in the East Village. Noon to 6 p.m. [Free]
Inside the Male Brain: Toxic Masculinity and #MeToo, a discussion among psychology and sociology professors, at the Brooklyn Historical Society in Brooklyn Heights. 6:30p.m. [$5]
A screening of the documentary One Track Mind: Drawing the New York Subway, about a man who sketches the subway system, at the New York Transit Museum in DowntownBrooklyn. 6:30 p.m. [$10]
Vote for your favorite new play atthe New Short Play Festival,a showcase of 10-minute plays, atthe American Theaterof Actors in Midtown Manhattan.6 p.m. and8:30 p.m. [$20]
Mets host Braves, 7:10 p.m. (SNY). Yankees at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (YES).
Alternate-side parking remainsin effectuntil May 10.
For more events, see The New York TimessArts & Entertainment guide.
And Finally ...
Running free on Governors Island.

Running free on Governors Island. Hilary Swift for The New York Times

For those coming down with a case of spring fever, we know a great place to convalesce: the gentlyswaying hammocks on Governors Island, now open for the season.
And duringthe islandsinaugural week, theres lot more to explore:
Visit the artwork Rock, Mosquito and Hummingbird, which tells the story of the prehistory of Governors Island. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Beginning this weekend, play with light, make your own hologramand visit an exhibit ofworks by artists who use lightas their medium, at theHoloCenter. Noon to 5 p.m.
ExploreRare AIR, an experimental neon sculpture gallery. Weekends,11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Childrencan get creativewritingsongs, performing dancesor solving mysteriesattheDysfunctional Collective. Weekends,noon to 5 p.m.
Or join a bird walk and get to know the wildlife on the island. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (No tours on Mondays and Tuesdays.)
All ferries to the island are free through Sunday. You can see thefull schedule here.
Metropolitan Diary
God Save the Q
By LOU CRAFT
Dear Diary:
So long ago the plans were flimsy,
But thanks now Bloomie, Blazie, Lindsay,
Dinkins, Koch for wheels and whimsy.
God Save the Q.
Few lines elicit more affection,
Uptown, downtown, each direction
Go wherever, your selection.
God Save the Q.
Twisting, turning, westly, eastly,
Other routes are brutish, beastly,
But this ones regal, pure and priestly.
God Save the Q.
Those moving stairs the escalation,
The artwork too earns adulation.
Clean and bright, what transportation!
God Save the Q.
And if the N or R get grumpy,
Compared to the Q theyre drab and dumpy.
Easy guys, the rides still bumpy
God Save the Q
On Second Avenue.
New York Today is a weekday roundup that publishes at 6 a.m. If you dont get it in your inbox already, you can sign up to receive it by emailhere.
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Follow the New York Today columnists,Alexandra LevineandJonathan Wolfe,on Twitter.
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