Author Archives: Beth Botshon

About Beth Botshon

Beth Botshon Director: Inquiline, Jerrybuild, Moffette Segment Director: Audile, Culminant, Diglot Beth Miranda Botshon recently completed a Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Media Arts at the City University of New York, Hunter College. Over the past several years, she has been teaching, traveling and shooting extensively in New York City, Mexico, and Central America. Beth’s documentaries advocate for local and global change by giving voice to individuals who are marginalized and face various challenges within their communities. Her videos range from intimate explorations of her own relationships, to in-depth portraits of the immigrant experience. In addition to working on her films, Beth is the Director of Production at Rainlake Productions, and teaches in the Media Communications Department at the States University of New York at Old Westbury. She lives in Brooklyn. www.nannydocumentary.com www.rainlake.com

Mofette Moment, Manhattan by Beth Botshon

BY Beth Botshon | FILED UNDER Manhattan, Mofette
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It was a humid summer evening in late August. I was strolling around Manhattan in no rush to get to my subway stop, when a vanilla ice-cream craving overtook me. To my delight, I turned a corner and found one of the many infamous Mr. Softee trucks sitting idly. I smiled at the man, and scoured the various sprinkle and dip combinations available to me, when my legs suddenly became immersed in a dense heat. I lost concentration, and looked down to find two wafts of toxic grey vapor, one from the sewer a foot away, and one from Mr. Softee’s tailpipe, morphing into a big noxious cloud at my feet. I decided against the cone, and instead took out my camera to dance with the emanations all around New York that night.  (Beth Botshon)

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Jerry Build: South Park Slope, Brooklyn by Beth Botshon

BY Beth Botshon | FILED UNDER Brooklyn, Jerry-Build
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I’ve lived in South Park Slope for 12 years now. Over the time I’ve been here, the neighborhood has changed drastically. When I arrived, there were only dollar stores, local laundry spots, and little salvadorian and mexican restaurants. The markets held tons of specialty goods for the many latino families who lived in the area.

But now – everything is changing. Two coffee shops, a bagel place, a wine bar and an organic health food store have moved in within the past year – and now that Bloomberg has helped his developer friends to rezone this area of Brooklyn, what used to be a low-rise little town, has become the final frontier for 6 story and higher apartment buildings.

The structures go up in record time with shoddy materials. Most contractors pay undocumented workers 10 bucks an hour for hard labor – some of the men go without hard hats.

One of my friends bought an apartment in one of the newly constructed buildings. Within a year, she ripped out her cheaply made bathroom, and had the whole thing redone (to her standards.)

Besides pushing rent rates up, the haphazard construction of 20 unit buildings clogs up the area with more traffic. It also pushes out lower-income families who have called this area home for over 20 years. I look forward to the day when there are no more lots left, and the noise of drills and hammers moves further down 4th avenue which I know it inevitably will…  (Beth Botshon)

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Culm: Wave Hill, The Bronx

BY Beth Botshon | FILED UNDER Bronx, Culminant

The tippity top of The Bronx? no problem. Fieldston hill here I come.

First, i did a little research here: http://americasroof.com/nyc-bronx.shtml, then i discovered that, for some grand reason, a few members of the bourgeoisie have decided that the tippity top, the culmination, the highest point of the Bronx (with what I imagine will be the best view of the borough and beyond) –will be gated. Off limits. Inaccessible to proles like myself.

I found it ironic, but strangely typical. i debated risking what could have been my second trespassing conviction, (the first was a blueberry patch in upstate New York when i was 16) but my colleagues convinced me that there were other safer, legal alternatives…

I headed to the second highest point in the Bronx, Wave Hill: http://www.wavehill.org/about/history.html

It was beautiful, serene, and far enough away from the city to really feel outside of it (and only a half an hour north from grand central!). I had to keep reminding myself that it was the Bronx.

Before I arrived at Wave Hill park, I had to walk a bit from the train through a little town, which i thought of as a mini-suburbia, but not in that cookie cutter way. The trees were tall and each house was different.

At the park, the gardens were breathtaking, and the staff were helpful and informative. A young gardener pointed me to the highest point in the park – at the wild garden. In between shooting, I admired plant life I’d never encountered, watched bees do their busywork, and contemplated whether i could live this far outside of “the city.” In the end, i think i was sold…

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