Saturday, April 10, 2010

Charles Addams's New York

Smart, Very New York Humor

New Yorker magazine articles tend to be long. Sometimes, perhaps, your mind needs a break. You take your relief in the form of a glance at the cartoons. Refreshed you're ready to tackle that article again. Now imagine rooms filled with these moments of relief, those smart quick laughs, the very New York humor that is a New Yorker cartoon. You want to go to there, don't you? Well, you should.

An exhibit of Charles Addams's cartoons is up at the Museum of the City of New York until May 16th. He is the most well-know New Yorker cartoonists -- starting his work for the magazine in the 1930s. He is also famous for creating the Addams Family, and it is very interesting to see the Addams Family become the iconic ghouls they are today throughout his drawings.

The exhibit is curated with thoughtfulness and humor. When the stories that Addams told in his cartoons are placed side by side on the museum walls they lead to even more laughs and smiles. The cutouts of Addams's characters frolicking on the walls add to the whimsy and fun.

Seeing so many of the illustrations together you realize what a great commentary these cartoons were, and in many cases still are, on society, specifically New York City's society. My favorite is the one with the barricades around a banana peel on a city street. Smart, fun humor. Go see for yourself.

Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St.
New York, NY 10029
Remember East Harlem residents get in for free.

All images © Charles Addams
Permission of Tee and Charles Addams Foundatio

Local Stop: East Harlem

Earlier this week the New York Times covered East Harlem in their Local Stop section. They visited El Paso Restaurant, the Graffiti Hall of Fame, Metropolis Studios and the RaĆ­ces Latin Music Museum, among other stops. I think I would have chosen the Museum of the City of New York and a more off-the-beaten-path restaurant, but nonetheless it's great to see the hood getting some coverage.

What East Harlem stops would you have covered?

Take a look at their slide show of East Harlem haunts.

Photo: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

Hat Tip: Levi