For centuries, animals that humans captured or killed have been preserved as prizes—testaments to hale manliness and self-sufficiency, both of which are traits that today's young urban hipster lacks. Yet, young people have always found meaning in authenticity, and what's more real than the lifeless body of a dead animal? Well, the stuffed, taxidermied body of a dead animal. Or slaughtering that animal yourself. Or picking dead animals out of the trash in Chinatown. All of which are (still) ever-evolving trends for New Yorkers, yet eerily familiar to hicks and Midwesterners. We thought the taxidermy mini-trend was dying down, but it's not!
Maybe we've all gotten so jaded and disconnected from each other via e-mail and iPhones that we can no longer feel. In that case, a Williamsburg blogger-butcher is teaching a class on "how to cut up a whole animal," reports Grub Street. (Damn! The class was last night.)
Yet, dead animals are still being appreciated for their kitsch value. The Chinatown Garbage tour features people parading through the streets at night, picking dead things out of the trash in order to make a monstrous taxidermy-thing. "You will learn how to dig in the garbage for dead animals. You can make art out of these animals... I've found everything from sharks to frogs." This often results in entries for Brooklyn bar Union Hall's taxidermy contest.
For the more traditional taxidermy experience, the following taxidermy-themed bars are still standing: Home Sweet Home on the Lower East Side, the very hip Freemans (designed by Taavo Somer, profiled in New York mag this week), Red Hook's Bait and Tackle, and the absolute hellhole of bad 3 a.m. decisions that is Duff's in Williamsburg.
Between the DIY taxidermy enthusiasts, the amateur butchers, and the dumpster-diving freegans, will the city's trash ever be safe from college grads ever again? This may be novel for New Yorkers, but some of us are still recovering from coming home from school to a draining deer carcass hanging upside-down in the garage.