THE BOWERY’S NEW MUSEUM SONG

by Christopher Mason


Performed at gala for Museum trustees and million dollar donors to inaugurate the new building of the New Museum, Bowery, New York, November 2008.


(to “The Bowery Song”)

If you go down to the Bowery now,

Be prepared for a mighty WOW!

Formerly famous for gritty slums,

Known for its picturesque Bowery bums;

Now, with this marvel of silvery mesh,

This tired old street’s looking young and fresh!

Stacked steel boxes where crud once stood;

Ah – there goes the neighborhood!


The Bowery! The Bowery!

Once lost and lamented,

It’s now reinvented,

The Bowery! The Bowery!

With the gleam of this dazzling museum.


Now that it’s here, there’s no turning back,

Brace for an onslaught of Prada black!

Watch how the art world will now bombard,

Eagerly seeking the avant garde;

Sejima and Nishizawa’s plan

Sprang to life from remote Japan;

The building’s a triumph, and praise is due:

All of it’s here thanks to you!


(to “You Took Advantage of Me”)

This took great vision, this took guts,

Consultants said, at first, you’re nuts,

You’ll never shill for eleven mil’

And boy, you sure proved them wrong!

But it required – oh praise the lord –

A very strong, courageous board;

The dream was bold

But you struck gold

And you certainly proved them wrong!


First the goal was set at 35,

Ambitious, that’s for sure,

By the time the campaign ended, ouch!!

It cost a whole lot more!

A rational man, Saul Dennison

Was not convinced it could be done,

But on a roll to meet that goal

He somehow made it seem fun.


(to “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”)

When Charles Lazurus recruited Naomi,

She talked tough – no baloney;

She got you scared,

Said be prepared,

You’re in for quite a ride!

She told the board, don’t scoff,

“You gotta give, or get, or get off”

She was blunt,

So up-front,

And yet, despite the heft,

Not one board member left!


Toby Lewis got the ball rolling

And her challenge was kind of cajoling,

The board was smitten,

Checks were written,

The campaign grew and grew;

The city council gave it a spike,

There was lots to like from Mayor Mike,

Then like a gift from heaven,

Commissioner Kate Levin

Helped city funds accrue

To make this dream come true.


(to “Doing It For Some Doll”)

Then a wondrous gift

Gave the project a lift:

Warren, Mitzi, Leonard, Susan all waved a wand;

Twas a marvelous double-billed thing,

Their two families named the building

With a gift that was Big, Bold and, yes, Beyond!


Let us all praise please –

They named main galleries –

Eugenio Lopez, Maja Hoffman, Dakis Jouanno.

And Pauline Karpidas

Wrote a check that guaranteed us

A floor for education, Brava to you!


Marcia Tucker Hall, it is writ on the wall

Is the Luce Foundation and Allen Goldring’s gift

And the theater deserves an ovation

For the Peter Sharp Foundation

Who, when asked for support, were enthused and swift


The audacious dream

For the new New Museum,

Of presenting the best of what’s new and next

Is a mission that’s inspiring,

That folks cannot help admiring,

Which sure helps when

You’re asking your friends for checks!


Oh, the stakes were high

And you reached for the sky

The challenge was awesome, and that’s the truth

Though last week there was elation

When the Keith Haring Foundation

Gave a grant for schools and youth


(to “That’s Why the Lady Is a Tramp”)

And Skadden Arps gave legal advice

Thanks to Paul Schnell, all free, that’s nice!

If not for Skadden’s years of being so sweet

You might still be on Hudson Street!


Paul lent his boardroom, where the view inspires awe;

The board said “yes!” each time when asked to give more!

Your sheer endurance was put to the test


(to “That’s Entertainment”)

Thirty-five, the first budget rose

Forty-five kept the board on its toes

They weren’t thrilled,

But they all longed to build

The New Museum


Price of steel hit historical highs

Once again it was time to revise

64 had you popping your eyes

For the New Museum


Such relief now the campaign’s complete

And lord knows, that victory’s sweet

Look around,

This New Museum


The grand total you’ve raised is 74

Congratulations!