The Sacred Food Court

Seats of imperial power are often regarded with a certain reverence — they provoke admiration, astonishment, even fear. That’s certainly the case in New Delhi, where British colonialists built a series of massive, belittling monuments to their rule, or in Washington, DC, where the Mall is increasingly seen by its National Park Service administrators not […]

Photos of the Week: Burning Chametz

Hassidic Jews burning chametz — leavened foods — for Passover, on April 7, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This week’s photos were taken by triebensee. These are just some of the striking images in our Urbanphoto group on Flickr. Want to see your photos here? Join the group.

Posted in: Public Space, Society and Culture, United States by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Photos of the Week: Burning Chametz , , , ,

Nizamuddin’s Tomb

In the central courtyard of Nizamuddin’s Tomb, in Delhi, stands a beautiful white building. Pillars support an ornate canopy with an onion shaped dome. Its underside is finely painted with swirling greens and reds: a floral pattern. Crowds push between the pillars, straining to reach the golden chamber at the centre. Inside is a bed-like marble platform, […]

Posted in: Public Space, Society and Culture, South Asia by Nicholas Olczak Comments Off on Nizamuddin’s Tomb , , ,

Catholic Shrines of Carroll Gardens

At Court Street and Fourth Place is the Van Westerhout Cittadini Molesi Social Club’s Madonna Addolorata Jesus has risen again on Brooklyn’s Wyckoff Street. His hand outstretched toward passersby, Christ silently sermonizes from a lightbox that both protects him from the elements and casts a holy aura around his colorfully-painted, ceramic torso. He’s also a […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Demographics, Society and Culture, United States by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Catholic Shrines of Carroll Gardens , , , , ,

Judaism with a Hong Kong Flavour

Rabbi Asher Oser opens the heavy doors to Ohel Leah and steps inside, pausing for a moment to consider its vaulted ceiling, intricate woodwork and marble floors. As the door closes behind him, the sound of traffic fades, replaced by the quietude of Hong Kong’s oldest synagogue. “It’s a building of such history and gravitas, […]

Saint-Sauveur Needs a Saviour

“Sauvons l’église Saint-Sauveur!” I wrote three years ago on Spacing Montreal. And for three years, it seemed vaguely possible that the 145-year-old church on lower Saint-Denis Street wouldn’t be demolished. The huge hospital for which it was supposed to make way, the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montreal (CHUM), has been stalled for years, and […]

Prayer Time in Dhaka

Sitara Masjid (Star Mosque) in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Posted in: Architecture, Society and Culture, South Asia by Patrick Donovan Comments Off on Prayer Time in Dhaka , ,

A Window into Kuala Lumpur

Two weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were celebrating Malaysia’s national holiday at a street party in Bangsar, an upscale neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur. We had just walked there along broken sidewalks, the sun beating down on us — Kuala Lumpur is not the most pedestrian-friendly place — and we were in desperate need of […]

Mosque Street’s Other Name

In contrast to the bland apartment buildings on its south side, the northern side of Mosque Street is lined by a crumbling stone wall and vegetation spilling over from the lush grounds of the Jamia Mosque. If you peek over the wall, there’s a nice view of the mosque, which is the oldest in Hong […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Mosque Street’s Other Name , , , , ,

The Altars at the End of the Street

Like the mosaic depictions of Catholic saints that adorn the front entrances of many Portuguese houses, the small altars found in every corner of Hong Kong are an everyday expression of faith, more humble than that of a temple or church, but in some ways more authentic. I came across these small altars in a […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on The Altars at the End of the Street , , , ,

Bus Station Feng Shui

[vimeo][/vimeo] One of the things that makes Hong Kong’s incessant concrete and frequently bland architecture so bearable is that public spaces attract a kind of cultural detritus the way a bookshelf attracts dust. It only takes a few years for newly-built spaces to feel well-used and lived-in. Bus stations are a good example. Often built […]

A Hasidic Exodus from Park Avenue?

The Montreal Gazette reported this weekend that the Hasidic community in Outremont and Mile End is suffering from a housing shortage. In 2002, there were about 4,200 Hasidim in the neighbourhood; today there are more than 6,000. Rising property values mean that many new Hasidic families are finding themselves priced out of their own Montreal […]

Hipster-Hasid Bike War in Brooklyn

[youtube][/youtube] The tensions had to bubble to the surface at some point. That’s the consensus that has emerged since underground cylcing activists literally took their fight to the streets, reclaiming a fourteen block stretch of bike lane that had been removed in Brooklyn earlier this year — at the possible behest of the area’s ultra-Orthodox […]

Posted in: Public Space, Society and Culture, Transportation, United States, Video by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Hipster-Hasid Bike War in Brooklyn , , , , , ,

Asia’s Only Jewish Film Festival

Howard Elias, founder of the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival There aren’t a lot of Jews in Hong Kong, but that hasn’t stopped the city from becoming the centre of Jewish life in Asia, with one of the continent’s oldest synagogues, an active community centre and the only Jewish film festival on this side of […]