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!
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.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011 is to enjoy the company of good friends while dining in fine restaurants as often as possible. No one can accuse me of not sticking to my resolutions, because last night I had an amazing meal at chef Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto Restaurant on Washington Street near the Meatpacking District. My dining companions were my longtime friend Ivy, her charming husband Rick and their adorable daughter Violet, who is the best kid you could ever hope to have, let me tell you. We’re all huge fans of Bravo’s Top Chef, and having enjoyed the most recent season of Top Chef Masters we are also admirers of Waxman’s “keep it simple” philosophy/approach to gourmet cooking. Dining out is always so much more fun, and a much richer experience, when you are accompanied by true foodies like Ivy, Rick and Violet. We had an amazing meal and a really fantastic time catching up.
When we were seated, Violet asked our server if Chef Waxman was in the restaurant that evening. She replied that he had been there earlier that afternoon, but had left to run some errands, though he might be back later. Less than five minutes passed before she returned to our table saying that the chef had come back into the restaurant and would we like to meet him? Of course, we enthusiastically confirmed that we would. Because celebrity chefs are the new Rock Stars. After our meal, Chef Waxman came over to our table, dressed casually in his signature pink polo shirt and khakis and looking very adorable. He spoke to us for several minutes and answered some of our questions about the time he spent as a contestant on Top Chef Masters. He was super cool and friendly and also very, very cute! Jonathan Waxman!
Here are some of foods we enjoyed eating:
Soft polenta with lamb ragu
Bruschetta with chickpeas and fresh mushrooms
Smoked trout salad with frise, black rice and orange (amazing!)
Barbuto’s signature roast chicken with salsa Verde
Scallops, which were delicious but I’m not sure how they were cooked
Homemade Gnocchi with walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese
Roasted Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts, to die for
Crispy fried potatoes with pecorino cheese
Two bottles of amazing red wine, which by the time I was on my third glass I could not tell you what variety it was. (Rick would know.)
Lemon Crema with coconut crisps
Chocolate pudding with whipped creme and biscotti
Two kinds of Gelato: toasted pistachio and maple cinnamon
Barbuto’s menu changes seasonally, so you never know what delicious creations Chef Waxman will be serving up. You can only rest assured that whatever you put in your mouth will blow your mind. Be prepared to throw down some serious cash, but to feel that it was totally worth it.
Barbuto is located at 775 Washington Street New York, NY 10014 @ West 12th Street. Phone 212-924-9700 for Reservations.