Crowds piled into a new Brooklyn palace as the 2014 “Made in NY” awards came to the Weylin B. Seymour Hall. No wonder Mayor Bill de Blasio moved the annual affair from Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side. He had a great spot to hold the ceremony. in a space that was clearly ready-for-its-close-up, the stunning Weylin B. Seymour temple. (Read a Times article on this miraculous rescue from ruin.)
Besides the Mayor’s introductory talk – at a much longer length than Bloomberg ever attempted – we got a peek at the new Media & Entertainment Commissioner Cynthia López, who acquitted herself well considering that our basketball player sized mayor towered over her and just beamed when he had another go at the podium.
As usual, the “Made in NY” Awards celebrated a wide range of individuals and organizations, including actor/director Steve Buscemi (who made a convincing call for putting more art classes in the public schools); Louis C.K. (he has a long list of roles besides his humorist side); Broadway and TV fave Neil Patrick Harris, activist, actor, and yes, The View co-host Rosie Perez; and… Well, the list goes on, and since it’s now early in the morning I decided that you can instead read more about the other deserving awardees at your leisure, here.
But mention has to be made about the “Made in NY” Mayor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement, which went to snowy haired Albert Maysles, who drew a standing ovation for his deserved achievements over a long activist filmmaking lifetime. With his brother David (who unfortunately died young), Albert became one of the pioneering “direct cinema” creators, turning out such important documentary films such as Salesman, Gimme Shelter, and Grey Gardens.
Albert didn’t stop there, but most recently has been behind the Harlem-based Maysles Documentary Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the exhibition and production of documentary films that inspire dialogue and action in for the many young kids still in need of an encouraging word. Pretty great stuff.