Tag: Long Island

Big Legs and the Janey Waney

Big Legs and the Janey Waney

The first time that I ever saw Legs, the Larry Rivers piece found on a private home in Sag Harbor, we’d passed it by chance on our way out to Montauk back in 2012.

Legs by Larry Rivers in Sag Harbor on Long Island

While I was updating my list of Long Island Roadside Attractions this morning, Legs sprung to mind and I thought I would add it to the list as a sight to see.

If you’ve hung around this lil ole blog for any amount of time, the fact that I fall down weird informational rabbit holes won’t come as a surprise to you. They are often spurred on by something seen while out riding around. I guess you could say that today’s abyss is no different. What started as a simple motorcycle ride turned in to a voyage of discovery.

The Janey Waney Connection – Smith Haven Mall

Last summer, my daughter Chloe mentioned the big Legs and how they were once at our local mall as part of an art piece. Um, what’s this now? Firstly, the fact that she had this little tidbit of info in her back pocket was pretty interesting. Why would she have known that? Secondly, the weirdo apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And so thanks to Chloe, I found myself reading the Wikipedia page for the Smith Haven Mall. Rest assured, this is a phrase I never imagined typing, but it is where today’s post begins.

The mall is notable for the works of public art which it originally held, including one of the final works of noted sculptor Alexander Calder, a giant mobile Janey Waney which was made especially for the mall’s opening in 1969, and a 40-foot (12 m) mural by Larry Rivers. Calder’s piece, after being taken down in early 1970s, was refurbished and moved to the newly built food court in 1987, which was named Calder Court for the sculptor.


Okay, hold up.

Our crappy local mall once had an Alexander Calder standing mobile and a Calder-named food court in it?! Are you kidding me? The Calder Foundation website features this black and white photo showing the piece where it was installed:

Photo Source: Calder.org – Janey Waney – 1969

Knowing all too well that the sculpture wasn’t in the mall in the 20+ years that I’ve lived on Long Island, I of course wondered – what happened to it? Where did Janey Waney go? I cracked my knuckles and began Googling.

I’m obviously not an expert on anything. What follows is just what I pieced together based on social media and articles online when trying to find where Janey Waney is today.

Looking for Janey Waney

…the Calder was removed from the central pool in 1972, according to Newsday, its moving parts packed away and soon lost. For years afterward, the base of the Calder sat outside in the parking lot, badly bent, its paint peeling.

Our Towns; A Genuine Calder Was Here, at the Mall? (Psst, What’s a Calder?), David M. Halbfinger, New York Times, 2002

Can you imagine Janey Waney languishing and peeling in the parking lot of a shopping mall on Long Island? Oy.

After leaving Smith Haven Mall then where did it go?

Based on what I read, the sculpture was auctioned at Sotheby’s in 2001 for $1.76M. New York Times reporter Carol Vogel (2014) noted, the new owners David and Leslee Rogath, “had displayed “Janey Waney” in their garden before lending it to Gramercy Park.” So from 2001 to 2011, the piece was under the care of the Rogaths, apparently.

BARRY SCHLACHTUS, an optometrist in the Smith Haven Mall here, can correct your myopia and set you up with a nice pair of glasses. But he has no eye for art.

Mr. Schlachtus has worked at the Sterling Optical shop for about 10 years, taking his lunch break in the food court more often than not. But he had no idea why it was called the Calder Court. And he never looked twice at the brightly painted sheet-metal sculpture on three spindly legs that soared nearly 26 feet toward the skylight.

”I never thought that had any value at all,” said Mr. Schlachtus, told the contraption had recently been auctioned by Sotheby’s for $1,765,750.

Our Towns; A Genuine Calder Was Here, at the Mall? (Psst, What’s a Calder?), David M. Halbfinger, New York Times, 2002

Janey Waney at Gramercy Park

For a time Janey Waney called Gramercy Park, the keyed-entry private park in New York City, its temporary home. An article from The Observer (2011), offers insight into how Janey Waney ended up in the park to begin with. It suggests that Calder’s grandson Sandy Rower was a driving force behind making it happen.

Mr. Rower bought a townhouse on Gramercy Park some years ago. “I’ve been enjoying the park and all of Arlene’s hard work and I would come through and see these little patches of lawn that seemed like they needed something in them. After a number of years I guess I became bold enough to suggest, ‘Why don’t we see if the park would be interested?’”

“This loan is for a year. And after a year it might stay a little longer…”

Exclusive: Major Alexander Calder Sculpture Goes on View at Gramercy Park, Sarah Douglas, The Observer, 2011

The original term for the loan of Janey Waney was one year according to the quote by Sandy Rower. Another item I found from 2012, shows a request to Manhattan Community Board Six to extend its stay for another year. The fact that it stayed connected to Gramercy Park for a decade is interesting.

The work was in New York City from what appears to be 2011 to 2014 and then it did a bit of globetrotting. Janey Waney was on display at the Rijksmuseum in 2014 before returning back to New York. It left Gramercy Park to be shown in Paris in the Jardin des Tuileries in 2018-2019, then returned once again to Gramercy Park.

Janey Waney Rumblings Outside of the Park

The following quote was pulled from the NY Times in relation to the sculpture’s display in the Netherlands for the European Fine Art Fair:

Christophe van der Weghe, the New York dealer, organized the Calder’s installation here, although he declined to provide any details about its owner. But, this being the gossipy art world, other dealers familiar with Calder’s work said it belongs to David and Leslie Rogath, collectors from Greenwich, Conn., who had displayed “Janey Waney” in their garden before lending it to Gramercy Park. It is now for sale, several said, for about $20 million.

After Stay in Gramercy Park, Calder Sculpture Pops Up in Maastricht, Carol Vogel, New York Times, 2014

And in the same year…

When the sculpture was shown at the European Fine Arts Fair, The New York Times’ Carol Vogel raised questions about the work’s owner. Vogel wrote that she heard whispers that David and Leslie Rogath owned the work, and that they were trying to sell it for $20 million. Calder Foundation President Alexander Rower told ARTnews today that those were false rumors, adding that the sculpture will remain in the park indefinitely and that the sculpture’s installation is “one of the [the foundation’s] great successes.

Calder Sculpture Returns to Gramercy Park, Alex Greenberger, ARTNews.com, 2014

Beloved Icon

As an interesting side note, Janey Waney is so beloved that in 2016, this $14.5M real estate listing for 22 Gramercy Park South boasted a view of the work. You can see a glimpse of it in the window of the feature photo:

The residence is perfectly situated on Gramercy Park with a direct view of Alexander Calder’s 1969 monumental outdoor sculpture, Janey Waney.


While looking for information on social media, in my opinion there is a common sentiment about Janey Waney that seems prevalent, particularly by New Yorkers. People had a connection to the piece, using phrases like “my buddy”, “my Calder.” Over the years, catching a glimpse of it from outside of the Gramercy Park greenery and fencing was something of a touchstone for the public.

In a Facebook group call Hey Long Island… Do U Remember, posts about the Smith Haven Mall have many comments referencing Janey Waney, asking if others remember it. And they do. So while the previously quoted Mr. Schlachtus was aware of it but didn’t realize it had any value, others seem to suggest that if nothing else, it earned a place of nostalgic value in their memory book.

What’s Next for Janey Waney?

Looking at Instagram, this photo is from August 2021 – the caption took me by surprise:

From a video posted to Instagram in February of 2022, Janey Waney is indeed gone from Gramercy Park.

It appears that Janey Waney is on the move again. Not only did I miss it while it was in my local mall, but I also missed it while it was on view for a whole decade in Manhattan. I wonder where it is now and where it will turn up next? The piece is clearly well-loved so I hope it is publicly available once more.

As the owner of a piece whose value can be in the 10’s of millions of dollars, what is the feeling of putting something like that on display in the public? Someone once stole my halloween decorations off the lawn and I felt upset about that. Is there a sense of worry about vandalization for public artwork? Does the idea of some jerk with a Sharpie pen keep you up at night?

For me, Calder’s work in general holds a whimsical feeling that connects with child-like feelings of wonder and possibility. It is the stuff of day dreams, of seeing shapes in the clouds. The forms hold a happiness within them which is important in my life. Highbrow scholarly knowledge isn’t required for enjoyment, instead, the only requirement for appreciation is simply being willing to do it. No pretense necessary.

Hopefully, I’ll see you one day, Janey Waney!

Instagram Timeline of Janey Waney Spotting

2013: Gramercy Park

2014: Netherlands

2015: Gramercy Park

2016: Gramercy Park

2017: Gramercy Park

2018: Gramercy Park

2018: Jardin des Tuileries – Paris

2019: Gramercy Park

2020: Gramercy Park

2021: Gramercy Park

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The World of Unsolicited Advice

The World of Unsolicited Advice

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to the ICYMI podcast. The topic was related to internet advice when the conversation veered specifically towards unsolicited advice.

Jenny Desmond: And I feel I feel badly saying this because I have the privilege of giving advice. Everyone wants to be heard and be listened to and feel useful. So maybe that’s what it comes down to, is that people okay, let’s do a generous read of it, right? People want to be helpful. People want to connect with others. People want to share the knowledge they have. That said, it is incredibly, incredibly annoying. Also, a lot of people are really bad at giving advice. So if it’s going to be unsolicited, at least make it helpful. If I were to go onto Twitter right now and say, Hey guys, does anyone know where I could get a great hamburger in San Diego? I would have 50 replies saying, Well, it’s actually in Texas, but go here or actually get a taco.

ICYMI – What Makes Online Advice Good?

Oh, lawd! This particular part of the conversation resonated with me. I have felt similarly over the years but haven’t found a good way to articulate it. It is in fact incredibly annoying when you share a part of your life, or ask a specific question and someone, who likely under the guise of trying to be helpful, derails, negates, or inadvertently diminishes your experience.

Me: Hey, I saw this cool thing!

Not Me: Yeah, that’s cool, I guess, but what I saw is EVEN COOLER!

Inner Me: Okay, uh, great. So… maybe you should just go ahead and share that on your blog, or whatever.

We are all likely guilty of this to varying degrees. But man, oh, man – I am going to try my best to not continue this type of behavior towards others.

2004 Chevy Corvette C5 Convertible in Millenium Yellow

About a year ago, I experienced something similar in offline life. Admittedly I hang on too tight to some things, but this still has me scratching my head about why someone felt compelled to communicate with me in this way.

I was filling up my car at the gas station on a sunny day. I’d been out bumming around, cruising with the top down, enjoying being alive. A guy pulled up to the pump next to mine, took a business card out of his center console and threw it into the passenger seat of my car.

“When you finally replace this with a new one, give me a call.”

And tell you to go fuck yourself? Sure!

The guy was a car salesman.

Something about this exchange just rubbed me the wrong way. I still view this person as a presumptuous dick. The whole shape of the brief exchange suggested that there is something “wrong” with what I have and that I should replace it. I don’t know how to interpret the sentiment with something other than what I see as judgement, or the application of someone else’s values onto me.

I happen to love my nearly 20-year old car! When I look at it, I think it’s beautiful, and ridiculously colored, and I feel quietly proud of it within myself. Plus, it’s super fun to drive. And perhaps most importantly it has immense sentimental value to me. (And gives me rockstar hair.)

Nikki Sixx called. He wants his hair back.

This exchange at the gas station seemed adjacent to unsolicited advice. I didn’t ask if anyone in the gas station was a car salesman who could help me in the future. Instead someone else’s unwelcome agenda was foisted on me.

In reality someone else’s opinions about my things, or my posts, or my rockstar hair really don’t matter. But, it doesn’t mean I won’t relish being annoyed 🙂

Long Island Motorcycle Ride Photo Inspiration: Phetus88 Mural

Long Island Motorcycle Ride Photo Inspiration: Phetus88 Mural

Now that I’ve been a Long Islander for just about 20 years, I find that it can be challenging to keep the local Long Island motorcycle ride excitement fires stoked.

Having ridden motorcycles in many different states, and places like the Alps, the American West, the mountains of the south, what I have found over time is that “fun” is all about mindset.

So, when I don’t leave Long Island for a day ride on my motorcycle, it is common for me to go out and do a bit of local exploring. I seek out things like interesting roadside attractions, historical points, or photogenic views.

With this frame of mind, the old adage it’s not the destination, it’s the journey is turned on its head. The ride becomes about the destination. Sure, the ride itself is enjoyable, it is riding after all, but the big payoff is often what’s waiting for me at my planned stop.

Long Island Motorcycle Ride – Photo Inspo

While not typically known for its street art or murals to the same degree as our 5 borough neighbors, Long Island does have some excellent pieces.

In my local travels around the Island over the last few months I’ve been seeking out inspiring works both for myself to enjoy, and with the hope of sharing them.

This collection of photos is of a mural found in the town of Huntington by Long Island artist Phetus88. His monsterous expressionism is such an explosion of color and character you simply can’t tear your eyes away from it.

The first time I saw this wall, my eyes lit up. I just love it!

yamaha fz07 and phetus88 mural in huntington new york - long island motorcycle ride inspiration
phetus88 mural in huntington ny
long island motorcycle ride inspiration: phetus88 mural on the back of the huntington arts council building
phetus88 in huntington ny
phetus88 mural on garage door huntongton arts council building
long island motorcycle ride instagram-worthy stop - phetus88 mural huntington, ny

Visit this Phetus88 Mural in Huntington, NY

If you’d like to visit this awesome Phetus88 mural yourself, it is located on the back side of the Huntington Arts Council building. You won’t be disappointed!

Huntington Arts Council
213 Main St
Huntington, NY 11743
Google Maps

Follow phetus88: web | Instagram

Ride to Eat: Tuesday Night Supper Club – Burgerology

Ride to Eat: Tuesday Night Supper Club – Burgerology

Burgerology – My Favorite Degree!

On Tuesday nights, I try to meet up with friends to get out and get some air on the bikes. This usually involves a little riding, a little eating, lots of laughing and shit-talking. Burgerology in Huntington was a perfect fit.

yamaha fz07 in huntington new york

Here on Long Island, we have tons of places that now offer outside dining. It’s unfortunate that it took a pandemic to push us in this direction, but I’m happy we’re here. We’ve been sorely lacking a thriving outdoor cafe culture for far too long.

Burgerology now offers sidewalk seating!

burgerology huntington new york

Now, I’m not usually one for posting food photos (donuts don’t count) but this mac & cheese bacon burger on a pretzel bun with truffle fries was really good and I thought you should know about it 🙂

burgerology mac and cheese burger huntington new york

The burger was so good in fact, that when I spotted it on the menu and said so out loud, someone immediately copied me and ordered the same thing.

As is my right by the ancient laws of restaurant dining, I made sure to tell the waiter that I saw it first and that I was indeed being copied. The waiter, caring deeply with every fiber in his soul, looked at me sympathetically. Or, it might have been the look of who gives a shit? It was dark out.

baby yoda mural in huntington new york

As if the Mac & Cheese burger weren’t enough of a reason to hit this place up ~ on the back-side of the Burgerology building, there is a knockout mural painted by Andaluz the Artist, featuring Baby Yoda holding a cheeseburger. Does it get any better than this?

Amazing food, great artwork and a ride on your motorcycle? A win all the way around!

baby yoda burgerology yamaha fz07 in huntington

Not only did my order get copied, but this guy cockblocked my photo opportunity! Man, with friends like this… 😀