This weekend starts a 4-day symposium on Scandinavian theatre, put together by Origin Theatre. So I thought this would be a good time to spotlight Nordic Culture in New York.
At the Northern Lights Symposium you’ll find free events such as a sampler of contemporary plays for Young Audiences with country-specific readings and video excerpts from all 5 Nordic countries; a roundtable on Cultural Diplomacy; and a staged reading in cultural partnership with, and produced by, Scandinavian American Theater Company. RSVP is strongly recommended for these events
Although Leif Erikson reached North America in 1001, it wasn’t until the early part of the 19th century that Scandinavians arrived New York City, often working on the docks of lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Heights, Red Hook, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge. While many of their descendants have since relocated to other parts of the country, there is still a vibrant Nordic presence in the Big Apple. Below are some of the highlights.
Scandinavia House, the Nordic Center in America, is located in the heart of Manhattan on Park Avenue at 38th Street, Scandinavia House offers art, music and film from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as lectures and staged readings of Nordic plays. They offer activities for families and kids, including language lessons. Or, you could just grab a bite at the Smörgås Chef restaurant, or stop by the shop and get some Scandinavian goods. Scandinavia House is also the home of the American Scandinavian Foundation
In the Scandinavia House gallery, through March 26th is Painting Tranquility – Masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi from SMK – The National Gallery of Denmark – a lovely small show by this Danish painter.
Also at Scandinavia House on Friday, March 4th, you can see the Icelandic film, “Paris of the North” a comedy about the relationship between a father and son, directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurosson. On March 5th is the Children’s International Film Festival featuring shorts from over 30 countries.
Here are other places where you can find information on Nordic happenings in New York:
The website of the Finnish Embassy
Finnish Cultural Institute in NY: The Institute has three principal areas of operation: It runs an artist-in-residency program in Brooklyn, New York; it produces, curates and presents both large scale touring exhibitions and smaller events in collaboration with local galleries and museums in North America; and it develops active collaboration networks with North American educational institutions and organizations within the field of visual arts.
The website of the Danish Consulate
The website of the Icelandic Consulate
Swedish Consulate’s website
You can find traces of Scandinavia at:
The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park, features productions based on classic fairy tales and offers an enriching theatrical and educational experience for young children. The Cottage is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City.
The Scandinavian East Coast Museum is a virtual museum with some interesting facts about Nordic life in Brooklyn
There’s a Vikings exhibition at Discovery at Times Square (I haven’t seen it so I have no opinion on it).