Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cupcake Trash

As the city creaks and groans in a shift to something like its former life, fighting off the culture of the last decade, listen closely. In all that creaking you can also hear the death rattle of the cupcake as it prepares to jump the shark.

Two years ago, TIME branded them as "fake happiness...the dessert of a civilization in decline." One year ago, the Times called attention to the growing war on cupcakes, and Blog Chelsea celebrated the death of "the hideous and disgusting" Burgers & Cupcakes after previously begging New York to "Send the Chelsea cupcake to Hell!"

More recently, Jennifer 8. Lee proposed the cupcake might be at a tipping point, and Grub Street responded by declaring themselves "cupmudgeons," wondering, "Is there no place for gloom and doom in this happy world of pink frosting and Day-Glo sprinkles?" Performance art troupe Unison Fetish uses song and dance to critique the Magnolia cupcake as a "cultural fetish object" and symbol of mass consumerism.

If Magnolia is the epicenter of the cupcake contagion, then Greenwich Village must be ground zero for cupmudgeonism.

One Village resident told the Villager that the Bleecker Playground is “an absolute hellhole,” thanks to Sex & the City fans throwing their Magnolia trash on the ground. “It is completely a mess and littered with little cupcake holders,” she said, and "Magnolia Bakery is also to blame for doing nothing to keep the park clean."

I went by to check it out and found the park packed with dozens of SATC tourists munching, licking fingers, scattering crumbs for birds, and clamoring around stacks of cupcakes served in plastic tiers on a bench. The garbage cans overflowed with icing-smeared boxes and paper cupcake wrappers. A flurry of napkins and wrappers were tossed on the ground--perfect snacks for the pigeons and rats.

While I managed to spot a rare red velvet, chocolate was by far the most frequent wrapper found.

I didn't see anyone from the bakery in the park, but they do have a little "urban etiquette" sign in their window.


Anonymous said...

Agree with this. I live in the brick building overlooking the park and am constantly walking over trash. It is especially bad when it is windy, with napkins and cupcake wrappers flying all over the place.

Anonymous said...

Listen, I've actually had a Magnolia cupcake. It requires no special hatred of SATC to note that the thing was profoundly ordinary and a little on the dry side.

Do yourself a favor...go have a "truffle button" at Something Sweet in the East Village.

Anonymous said...

Well at least the pigeons and the rats (all native New Yorkers I am assuming) are happy.

Anonymous said...

I'll forever mourn the long ago days when one could actually go inside Magnolia Bakery for a late night treat, and imagine this, sit down at a table! Or during the day, sit at the park across the street and watch the guys play games at the tables.

Pre-park renovation my friend and I enjoyed sitting in the park to watch for the tour-bus-person would to place the trey of cupcakes on a bench, and then the hordes of Sarah Jessica Parker wanna-bes would swarm like a flock of pigeons over a bread crumb.

Pat said...

This afternoon saw Magnolia closed by order of Department of Health. Note from Magnolia on door said there was an issue with their physical plant and closure was temporary. I guess we can take the pins out of the cupcake shaped voodoo doll for awhile.