Tag Archives: peter woytuk

Lame Adventure 309: Eye Catchers

Every so often I hang out with my friend and fellow blogger, Natasia, from the demurely named site, Hot Femme Writing in NYC.  On this particular get-together we are walking down my block to my sanctum sanctorum when she notices the Recreational Vehicle that has been polluting my Upper West Side neighborhood for years.  It’s curbside blight that I have written about before.  Tas reacts like she’s had a celebrity sighting.

Easily confused with Angelina Jolie on a bad hair day.

Tas:  Hey, there’s that RV you hate!  It’s almost parked in front of your building.

Egging me on, she adds:

Tas:  That pisses you off, doesn’t it?

It does, but I am a self-control machine.  Therefore, I say nothing other than a low growl.  My contempt for this vehicle strikes me as ridiculous considering that I spend most of my time in one of four places – inside my apartment, inside a subway station or train, inside my office, or outside in general Gotham City.  I spend very little time on any given day standing like a doofus in front of my building hyperventilating about a legally parked eyesore.  Yet, irrationally, whenever I see that unsightly trash barge on wheels hogging space outside my door, it sets me off like a Roman Candle.  At that particular moment, I know my blood pressure is rising.

Tas:  Look, matzo!

I assume that she is firing her special brand of snark at me.  I detonate:

Me:  What are you talking about?  Why are you yammering about matzo now?  It’s out of season; it’s May!  You told me you wanted to eat a baguette!

I pause for breath half-wondering if the chest pain I feel is gas or a heart attack, and if it’s the latter, will she hesitate to call an ambulance from the iPhone that seems surgically attached to her mitt?  Ignoring my conniption Tas points at the vehicle and insists:

Tas:  Matzo!

Displaying her own level of self-control, she resists adding for emphasis:

Tas:  Look dumbass!

Window dressing matzo — move over Martha Stewart.

Me:  Huh!  How’d they do that?  Gee, good eye, Tas.

We conclude it’s probably very stale and walk on.

A few days later, I’m running an errand for dish soap.  As I wait to cross Broadway at 77th Street, I look up at a boring high-rise apartment building.

Another innocuous tall box that could have been designed by Ambien.

This is the exact kind of building I usually find invisible, but this time I do a double take.

That mannequin’s butt naked! Hide the small fry!

Logically, this naked mannequin might belong to an artist or designer, but illogically and based on nothing other than my own imagination run amuck, I make the assumption that it might belong to someone with kinky proclivites.  Hm, all roads return to artist or designer.  My next thought is I wonder if they own or rent?

My favorite eye catching sites are the Peter Woytuk bronze sculptures that dot the Upper West Side.  Three of them are in a three and four block radius of my home base.  Last year, he had a giant blue kiwi on display outside the 72nd Street subway entrance (or exit if you’re leaving instead of entering).  That big blue bloated bird (try saying that three times fast) has now been replaced with a raven standing tall atop a cluster of apples bringing to mind Edgar Allan Poe, fruit that’s available year round and an impressive balancing act.

How do you like them apples? I do! I also like the raven on top.

I admire his three fat hens planted in the median on Broadway outside Fairway.

“How dare you call us fat!”

My blood pressure appreciates all of these sculptures and I would welcome any one of them outside my building.

This might also scare away the rats and skunks.

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Lame Adventure 252: Kiwi Appreciation

I was walking up Broadway on the Upper West Side when I noticed a massive bright blue sculpture outside the 72nd Street subway station.

No inhibitions on display here.

I wondered what this enormous spread-eagled blue blob was about so I walked over to inspect it further.

Rather bottom heavy.

This exhibit is a public art program featuring the whimsical sculptures by artist Peter Woytuk currently on display in Manhattan along Broadway from Columbus Circle up to Mitchell Square Park at 168th Street in Washington Heights.

A mother exiting the subway station with her son, a boy about seven or eight, insisted to the lad:

Mother:  Look!  There’s Flipper!

Flipper through the eyes of Fernando Botero?

Lad:  Why does the sign say kiwi, Mom?  Who’s Flipper?

Sign more noticeable to people under five feet tall.

Mother looks at sign, perplexed.  Another woman exited the station and she, too, assumed aloud that she was looking at an abstract version of the TV star dolphin boomers grew up with in the Sixties.  I thought:

Me:  If that’s Flipper, he sure got morbidly obese.

To younger Lame Adventures readers, Flipper was the Lassie of the Sea; he was raised by a single father with two sons.  This was the era of TV shows featuring heroic animals and mischievous offspring raised by kind, patient and understanding single parents.   No one was divorced and the single parents never seemed stressed.  This utopian family unit almost made me wish I was a half-orphan especially when my mother was bellowing at me to clean my room, stand up straight, or when we engaged in negotiation mom-style:

Mom:  Do you want a slap?  I’m warning you, that’s where you’re headed if you keep it up!

The perfect parents on these TV shows were always widowed. They never had a financial worry and were never grieving.  The deaths of their spouses were seldom explained, so with all the wisdom I have acquired forty-odd years later, I can only assume that these cheerful single parents must have had extremely crummy marriages to show no signs of remorse.

Back to the sculpture, no way was this sculpture of a dolphin. The lad with great reading and comprehension skills that his mother lacked since she failed to read the sign next to the sculpture identifying it as a kiwi, got it right.  This blue blob in a state of ecstasy is a bird, specifically a chicken-sized flightless bird endemic to New Zealand.  It has the distinction of laying the largest egg in relation to its body size when compared to all other species of birds.  It’s also an endangered species.  Weasels, dogs and cats love to munch on them.   Apparently, on the Upper West Side, idiots with black marking pens find scribbling on them irresistible.

Is this really necessary?

This sculpture, made from aluminum and weighing 18,000 lbs stands 12 feet tall and it’s 6 feet wide, so had it fallen off its base and onto the scribblers, they would have been flattened.