In an age of high-tech amusement parks, carousel carvers are a dying breed. Bob Yorburg is one of the last ones.
“During America’s carousel “golden age,” which lasted from the late nineteenth century until about 1930, there were more than four thousand handcrafted carousels made by famous carvers like Gustav Dentzel and Marcus Illions. In the last century, many of the period’s iconic horses, chariots and carriages have become more mechanized and technologically advanced. They’ve also drastically decreased in popularity. Yorburg says he knows of only about a half-dozen independent American carousel carvers like him. According to Patrick Wentzel, chairman of the National Carousel Association (NCA), there are just a couple dozen others employed by the few remaining companies that specialize in carousel carving and restoration. They all work to maintain the two hundred antique American carousels Wentzel monitors in an ongoing NCA census project. In fixing and sometimes recreating old carousel horses, menagerie pieces and band organs, Yorburg aims to make sure this number doesn’t drop further, preserving a sliver of Americana for generations to come.”
Read the full story about Yorburg and the evolution of the merry-go-round on Narratively.
Tony Vaccaro made a name for himself with the intimate photos he took as a soldier during WWII, and went on to photograph the likes of O’Keeffe, Picasso and Kennedy. Now, he’s organizing and preserving his life’s work.
Tony Vaccaro was one of the only Americans to photograph World War II as an infantryman, rather than a hired photojournalist. With unprecedented access, he captured some of the war’s most intimate photos, developing his negatives in soldiers’ helmets at night. After the war ended, he showed his combat portfolio to editors at magazines including Look, LIFE and Flair, and became a celebrated magazine photographer. He photographed great people — people whom he says gave something back to man kind. His celebrity subjects include cultural icons such as John F. Kennedy, Picasso and Sophia Loren.
Now, Vaccaro is 93-years-old and lives in Long Island City, Queens. He spends his days at his new studio, archiving photos with his son, Frank; telling stories from his past to guests at Manducatis Rustica, a local, Italian restaurant where a collection of his work hangs; and spending time with his twin, baby grandsons, for whom he hopes to leave a legacy.
Vaccaro has accumulated dozens of stories about the people he’s met through the years, but Vaccaro’s best story, is, in fact, his own.
See the full story on Narratively
Meet Francois, the Upper West Side’s Christmas celebrity.
Francois the tree man has traveled from Quebec to New York City to sell Christmas trees on Broadway and W. 102nd St. for the last decade. Every year, he leaves his family in Canada and spends a month — from Thanksgiving to around Christmas Eve — living out of his van named Elvis, which is parked on the sidewalk behind his tree stand. Through time, Francois has become a holiday fixture in the neighborhood and a part of the Upper West Side’s community. He defines his business, The Green Stop, by strong customer relationships, and he strives to establish meaningful connections with each and every person who comes to buy a tree from him. For some clients, buying a tree from Francois has become a yearly tradition. Customers often bring Francois and his co-workers — Jason, Nelson and Angel — coffee and hot meals on cold days. Two local film makers, who started as a couple of Francois’s clients, even made a documentary about Francois titled, Tree Man, which was recently profiled in The New York Times. The film was directed and written by Jon Reiner and Brad Rothschild. It will be screened at Symphony Space in Manhattan on December 27, 2015, and on January 3, 2016.
Read the full story about Francois and his business on DNAinfo.