The Two Faces of New York

A dynamic and fascinating city, but also one full of challenges. This is how Massimiliano Di Battista, co-founder of the international agency Management + Artists, sees his adoptive city

  • The Two Faces of New York
  • The Two Faces of New York
  • The Two Faces of New York

It was the year 1999 when Massimiliano di Battista, an art enthusiast and public relations businessman, co-founded the innovative photographic agency Management + Artists + Organization in New York with his partner Marco Fincato. Specializing in fashion and born to drive and support artists in creative terms as well, today the agency is an international reality with offices in London, Paris and Milan, but Massimiliano has remained faithful to "his" adoptive New York City, where he has now been living for almost twenty years not as an "expat", but as a true New Yorker.
What’s it like to live in New York for an Italian-born individual?
MDB:Personally, I tried to adapt to the city ever since the very beginning, and this led to creating my own family and friend circle to make the experience fulfilling.New York is a very fascinating citybecause it can surprise you every day, it is always on the move and is the only place in the world where so many different ethnic groups coexist peacefully.
But it is also a complex and hard city, where the quality of life – by which I mean the quality of human relationships - is rather poor, even when you have reached your goals professionally and financially. It is extremely difficult to have and develop human relationshipsthat are profound, honest and authentic.
Have you ever wondered why?
MDB:Sure. And the explanation I gave myself is this: real New Yorkers, born and raised in the city, are a minority. Most people come here with a definite project: to achieve a dream, success, financial independence, power, to gain recognition. New York is a city based much more on work and success than it is on human relationships. So, if you manage to develop authentic relationships, it is very important to invest in these people.
To what extent does New York embody the whole nation, and what distinguishes it profoundly from the rest of the country?
MDB:This a very complicated question, but to sum it all up I would say that New York is at the same time the mirror and the antithesis of the rest of America. The mirror, because of its huge contradictions, which are similar to those of the entire country. The antithesis, for its sense of belonging, for the lack of racial tensions, for a dynamism and a desire to create and to succeed that are absent in many other parts of the United States.
What is it that you love most about New York?
MDB:My ideal places in New York are those that somehow make me feel "at home" and give me some kind of emotion. Take the subway, for instance: I love traveling on the trains to observe the people, imagine their lives, their desires, their dreams. The subway is possibly the most "democratic" place in the city, the one where there is the greatest integration between different social classes. Or Broadway, and of course the off-Broadway scene: while it may in a sense be considered too touristy and corny, it also offers the unique opportunity to admire some of the greatest Hollywood stars live. Another New York classic of which I am particularly fond, is the so-called “restaurant date”: in a city where friends are hardly ever invited at home, where there are very few bars and the whole aperitivoconcept is missing, restaurants are where most people meet and socialize. My favorite restaurants are EN Brasserie and O-ya (for Japanese cuisine), The Pool Room and The Polo Bar (for an elegant and somewhat formal situation), and the "farm to table" restaurants in Brooklyn or Queens, where you can taste dishes based on local products. 
Finally, shopping in New Yorkis definitely an exciting experience. I like to discover small shops even in the lesser-known neighborhoods or unexpected places, where new businesses are born on a daily basis. I recommend the Lower East Side, Madison Square Park, Chinatown and Chelsea West.
Do you believe that being based in NYC is still a unique opportunity for a photographer or a creative professional in the year 2018?
MDB:Living in New York is not crucial for a fashion creative professional, at least not any more. Actually, it may even be a bad idea. Most of the customers are super commercial brands, and very few newspapers offer creative opportunities to photographers.
The situation is more suited to the new creative digital generation– multidisciplinary and digital artist, and professionals with skills mixing technology and creativity. These days, in the US it’s all about mobile content. Printed media have become merely accessory. For a fashion photographer or a stylist, it makes probably more sense to live in London or Hong Kong.

Author : The Slowear Journal

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