I’m guessing not everybody will notice that the backside of this otherwise ordinary Stop Sign, located at the corner of Gansevoort and Hudson Streets in the Meatpacking District, gives a subtle endorsement of The Green.
This summer, I’ve forgone an extended vacation away from NYC in favor of taking Fridays off from my day job, and the shortened work week / extended weekend has added immeasurable value to my life. I highly recommended it.
As tempting as it is to just stay inside with the AC blasting and stare at my iMac all day, I make sure to plan a little urban adventure each Friday so I can get outside and enjoy the lovely sun and hot hot heat. Because if you are lucky enough to live in NYC, you owe it to yourself and your surroundings to cultivate an Explorer Mentality!
This past Friday, the stars aligned and I was finally (after three unsuccessful attempts) able to get my timing right and show up at the Mr. Brainwash Life is Beautiful exhibit when it was actually open (easier said than done, as there is no information anywhere on the website nor are exhibit hours posted on the door. More about that, coming soon). And since I was already in the Meatpacking District, I took a walk.
Just a couple of blocks southeast, at the corner of Washington and West 13th Streets, I strolled past the infamous (and unmistakably filthy exterior of) Hogs & Heifers Saloon, a long-standing Biker Bar which is closing its doors in August after having its rent hiked a gazillion percent by evil bastard landlords. I had no desire to go in, but I wanted to take a couple of photos, you know, to remember what was once here on this corner after they raze it to the ground and open another designer fashion boutique that I can’t afford to shop at.
I have been in Hogs & Heifers exactly one time, and that was in the late ’90s (best guess: 1997 – 1999) at an Atlantic Records-sponsored album release party for the band Fountains of Wayne – because record companies used to throw lots of parties like that, and I used to get invited to them at a pretty steady clip.
What I recall vividly about the Hogs & Heifers party is that the bar smelled like stale sweat and the Fountains of Wayne guys acted like smug dicks. I had fun though, because soft rock heartthrob Duncan Sheik was also at the party, and I had a little crush on him at the time. Later in the evening, on the sidewalk just outside the bar, the soon-to-be famous Sandwich Photo (me posed between Duncan and his adorable publicist, Ken Weinstein) was taken. Good times.
The World is a different place now, and nothing stays the same. You can read more about the closing and learn a bit of interesting trivia about Hogs & Heifers, including their legendary Bra Collection at This Link.
Photo added November 14, 2015: This is what the space looks like right now:
Artist Chloe Wise created this sculpture of a Jewish Star (AKA Star of David) out of delicious crispy Bacon! You can see this amazing (and tasty) artwork as part of The Last Brucennial group art exhibit on now through April 4th, 2014 in a huge street level space located at the corner of 837 Washington and West 13th Streets. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 12 Noon to 6 PM. Watch for further coverage of our visit to The Last Brucennial coming to The Gig in the next few days!
Today, November 11th, 2013 marks the release of Lady Gaga’s latest CD, ArtPop. The disc is most notable not so much for its musical ear-worm dancefloor-friendly shenanigans as it is for the artwork that graces the cover: a sculpture of a nude Gaga with a Gazing Ball between her legs, which was designed by Jeff Koons, one of the wealthiest and most successful contemporary artists in America. Confession: the fact that Lady Gaga managed to collaborate with Jeff Koons is the only reason I am paying any attention to this album.
To celebrate the CD’s please, Gaga’s well-oiled Hype Machine have opened a Pop Up Store in New York’s Meat Packing District (and another one in LA) which is open today, tomorrow and Wednesday from Noon to 9 PM each day. Since today is a holiday, I was free to check out the scene on West 14th Street and take some photos so you can see what you’re missing out on. Or not.
The place was totally mobbed within 30 minutes of opening its doors and one of the guys there selling T-Shirts said it had already been “a long day.” HA! In addition to merchandise for sale, which includes a variety of Gaga T Shirts, Canvas Tote Bags, Magazines with her face on them and, of course, the ArtPop CD, the space features a few props from the ArtPop photo shoot and a selection of Gaga’s outfits, which are always fun to see.
For Fans looking for a more personalized experience, there are “interactive” kiosks, where you can virtually insert yourself yourself into one of Gaga’s videos, get your photo taken in front of some Gaga Props and a tiny room where people are leaving written homages to Gaga on its paper walls.
This is the Binary Chair from the ArtPop photo shoot. Pretty cool!
Here you can see Jeff Koons styling and photographing Gaga for the cover sculpture.
This is probably from the CD booklet, but will give you an idea of what Koons’ Gazing Ball exhibit at the David Zwirner gallery looked like.
Here are some masks Gaga wears on stage.
They had lots of T-Shirts for sale!
Sadly, these Gazing Balls, which are props left over from the MTV Music Awards are not for sale.
I enjoyed my visit!
I’m going to go ahead and own the fact that on weeknights when I am at home, and also coherent, I’ll turn on TMZ and watch their low rent “news” on celebrity has-beens and wannabes that I’ve either never heard of before, or wish I hadn’t. I’m probably the least Star Struck blogger on the planet, but I consider TMZ to be my primary source of worthless celebrity pandering so that I can stay in the loop about what is “popular” – you know, for the kids. TMZ is also completely hilarious and boasts the least self-aware staff of any celebrity news program, so in that way it seems very down to earth and makes you feel like you’re hearing these crazy stories from people you know pretty well. That’s probably why the show is so popular.
Fans of the show will be excited to find out that TMZ, in association with On Location Tours, now has a daily, two-hour bus tour you can sign up for that will take you all around the city from midtown to the tip of the island and back again, and point out dozens of places where celebrities hangout, pass out, get wasted, film their shows, actually live, used to live, got beat up, or were deeply embarrassed about something or other. It’s pretty fun!
You’ll board your luxury, air conditioned coach at the corner of 51st St. and Broadway, across the street from this diner:
Our awesome tour guide was Matt Chadwick, an extremely friendly and equally hilarious and knowledgeable young man who cracked jokes incessantly but also revealed fascinating information such as:
- Jim Carrey has an art Studio on Perry Street
- Ed Burns is married to Christie Turlington
- Macy’s not only has the oldest working escalators in the country (I’ve seen them!) but also the largest collection of shoes under one roof
- Chris Brown beat up Drake at some club near the Holland Tunnel that I already forgot the name of, because I could care less about those two. Seriously who cares?
- Columbus Circle is the spot from which all distances to NYC are measured
What I enjoyed most about the tour was getting to see neighborhoods in Manhattan that I honestly never go to and driving down streets that I’ve never seen before in my life. And I’ve lived in Manhattan over 20 years! But, while I was on the TMZ Tour, I felt like I was visiting a foreign land, and it made me want to go to these neighborhoods on my own, and explore.
The entire time that the bus is cruising around and your tour guide, who will be Matt if you’re very lucky, is pointing out places where Lady Gaga used to do burlesque, the loft where Beyoncé and Jay Z live, the apartment above the now closed Daffy’s (RIP) where Heath Ledger overdosed, and most recently, the park on lower 6th Ave. where Jonah Hill was recently spotted taking a photograph of a placenta (don’t ask), you will be entertained by hilarious and clever TMZ-produced video clips, that will further the action with additional graphics, interviews and explanations of what you’re seeing. It seems like the whole TMZ staff gets involved, so you will get to see all of your favorites, including Harvey.
During our tour, Matt hosted few rounds of fun trivia guessing games such as “Celebrity or Homeless Person?” and “The Finger or a Wave?” where the correct answer was awarded with a rare TMZ T-Shirt. So, Free Stuff! Matt really kept things rolling, and our driver was exceptionally skilled at taking very tight corners, and not killing anyone – because you know that pedestrians in New York City don’t stop crossing the street for anyone! The TMZ Tour is a fun way to spend two hours for locals who just want to get out of the house and also a good thing to take your out-of-town friends to. Despite the fact that we saw no celebrities, I had a great time!
Where: 51st St & Broadway (exact location given upon purchase)
When: Weekdays & Sundays at 10:00 AM & 1:00 PM, Saturdays at 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM.
Cost: $49 + $3 ticket fee (Adult), $39 + $3 ticket fee (Children 11 & under)
Duration: Approximately 2 hours
Advance Ticket Purchase is Required so buy tickets at This Link!
Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s latest sculpture is titled Big Kastenmann, which translates to “big box man” in English. This 18-foot-tall sculpture of a headless businessman is made of cast aluminum partially covered in pink enamel paint. The figure wears a long suit jacket without pants. This 1.6 ton corporate sentry guards the area outside of the Standard Hotel in NYC’s Meat Packing District as part of its public art program, so take a trip to the High Line if you’d like to see it up close.