Hipsters Marvel at the Kind of Stuffed Animals You Don’t Want for Christmas
Grub Street’s Daniel Maurer felt pretty guilty about taking up space at last week’s third annual Carnivorous Nights taxidermy contest at Union Hall — after all, so many people were clamoring to get in to the sold-out event that bouncers had to man the door. “You have to let me in!” one girl begged. “I’ve been obsessed with taxidermy my whole life!” (Hey, it beats the usual “I know the owner.”) Nevertheless, if we had ceded our place at the bar where Wet Specimen cocktails were served, we wouldn’t have captured the mind-blowing footage you’re about to see of human-head replicas made from animal parts, mermaid rabbits with duck feet, and two-headed cat skeletons (real or fake? Not even a judge from the Museum of Natural History could say for sure). Click above to see the video. We promise that after watching, the words “Pope squirrel” will forever be lodged in your brain.
Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest [NYM Video]
PlaNYC to Be Unveiled on Earth DayPlaNYC — the catchall term Mayor Bloomberg has given both the planning document being drafted to guide New York’s development over the next 23 years and the months-long process of public meetings to gather input for it — is, it turns out, almost ready to be unveiled. The formal announcement will come next Sunday, April 22 — you know, Earth Day — at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side, a City Hall source confirmed to us today. The city has been explicit that PlaNYC is needed to help it deal successfully with an anticipated population explosion while our infrastructure ages and the environment deteriorates. So, while we’re excited to see the plan, we confess the museum’s symbolism is making us nervous: dinosaurs … carcasses … oy. —Alec Appelbaum
Hail Helvetica!The crisp Swiss typeface Helvetica turns 50 this year, and to mark that occasion it’s becoming the first typeface to enter MoMA’s permanent collection, in the shape of an original set of 36-point lead letterforms. (The museum, however maintains its own official type, “MoMA Gothic,” a variation on Franklin Gothic.) Today, MoMA opens “50 Years of Helvetica,” a design show including vintage New York City subway signs, an excerpt from Gary Hustwit’s 2007 documentary Helvetica, and, yes, an American Apparel ad. What makes this neutral font (not to be confused with Microsoft’s pale imitation, Arial) so universally beloved, showcased on everything from the Crate & Barrel catalogue to nineties house-music album covers?
the morning line
• The Times reveals that the Garden State has been regularly raiding its own state-worker pension fund, funneling billions into other government projects. Given the size of its public sector, disaster looms; New Jersey, we thought better of you. [NYT]
• Activists in East Harlem faced bulldozers in a dramatic, and failed, showdown over a community garden. The site, on 110th and Fifth, is being cleared for the future Museum for African Art — and, of course, a luxury condo tower. [amNY]
• The Giuliani campaign, God’s gift to tabloids, has turned to Rudy’s international-policy experience: “I’ve probably been in foreign lands more than any other candidate” as a private consultant, he assured New Hampshire and hinted he’ll hit Iraq next. [NYDN]
• The Knitting Factory, the Tribeca music institution, is promising not to go the way of Tonic, Sin-é, CBGB, and many others: Should the rent skyrocket when its lease runs out, the club will try buying the whole building. [MetroNY]
• And midtown’s old-money hangout/tourist trap ‘21’ Club has even longer arms than previously thought: It just stopped the Pittsburgh Pirates from naming a stadium sports bar “Club 21.” Because otherwise the two would be indistinguishable. [NYP]
the morning line
• A riot is brewing — or, more likely, the tabloids are picking up some easy populist points — over Mayor Bloomberg’s failure to lift alternate-side parking rules during this week’s snowstorm. [NYDN, amNY]
• Guess which single mayoral action is “tragic and misguided”, and will “degrade societal standards” — the smoking ban, LES rezoning, the 2012 Olympic bid? Wrong: it’s those damnable free condoms, according to Cardinal Egan and Brooklyn Bishop DiMarzio. [NYP]
• We all know about the sex-offender registry, but what does one do with homeless sex offenders? Suffolk Country found one, vaguely medieval, solution: put them in trailers that are periodically rotated around the county. [Newsday]
• MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry is even richer than we (and the IRS) knew: In addition to a jaw-dropping salary of $1.28 million a year, Lowry has been getting millions through a murky tax-exempt trust set up by the Museum’s benefactors. [NYT]
• And in parting, this, from today’s OMG-straight-men-can-cook “trend” profile in the News : “I’m constantly bringing wild game back to my apartment, and my girlfriend and I sit outside and pluck it.” Don’t we all?[NYDN]
It’s Official: Broken Angel to Live On as CondosClinton Hill: The son of the owners of the Broken Angel home says new developers will help keep his parents’ vision intact — and add an arts center on the lot next door! [Clinton Hill Blog and Gowanus Lounge]
Fort Greene: Watchdog says documents show that Empire State Development Corporation blew off Atlantic Yards enviro-impact concerns. [Atlantic Yards Report]
Midtown: Catch media artist Doug Aitkens’s film Sleepwalkers (with Donald Sutherland and Tilda Swinton, no less) on MoMA’s walls tonight. [The L Magazine]
Park Slope: High-tech activists in Greenwood have started filming potentially illegal demolitions and posting them on YouTube. [Curbed]
Upper West Side: Amid a Ben Stiller–inspired frenzy, sleepover nights at the Museum of Natural History are sold out through summer — except girls’ night on April 28. Come on, girls, embrace your inner geek! [
Patti Smith, Immaculate Young Punks, Respectful Cops Say Good-bye to CBGB
Last night hundreds of would-be farewellers packed the Bowery in the hopes of attending the Patti Smith gig that, after all that, would be the Last Show Ever at CBGB. News vans dotted the block. The line stretched around the corner. Suspiciously immaculate — and, naturally, ticket-free — young punks protested their situation loudly at the door.
Queens Latest Borough to Get New Museum; Staten Islanders Forgotten?Like so many city trends these days, it started in Brooklyn. First, in April 2004, the Brooklyn Museum of Art unveiled its $63 million renovation, complete with a new 15,000-square-foot entrance pavilion. Seven months later came — did you hear about this little thing? — Manhattan’s new MoMA, built at a cost of $858 million. And last week the Bronx Museum of the Arts unveiled a hipper façade and addition, by the Miami architects Arquitectonica. (Nicolai Ouroussoff called it “unpretentious,” which is so very outer borough). Now, not to be left out, the Queens Museum of Art has announced its own $37 million expansion plan, which includes doubling the size of the museum, building an Olympic-size indoor pool, and adding an ice-skating rink with seating for 400. (It may sound more fun than it looks; the Sun called the new design “a drab gray structure.”) Which all adds up to one question: What about art lovers in the city’s so-often-forgotten borough, Staten Island? Don’t they deserve a little newness too?