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Dear Mr. Mayor, Why hasn't ...

It's said that a New Yorker is never truly happy unless he (or she) is griping about something. Such as? Oh, you know: the noise, lax trash pickup, burned-out streetlights, even how poorly the Knicks have been playing, for example. In fact, so constant has been the kvetching over the centuries that conceptual artist Matthew Bakkom came up with the idea for a "New York Museum of Complaint," which would have its own newspaper. He gained access to City Hall archives to see what citizens have sought in the way of redress from the mayor's office. And did he get an eyeful: 30,000 boxes of letters. In 1797, an early environmental activist was irate over a glue factory that dumped its waste into a neighborhood pond. Fast forward to 1935, when another writer wanted Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia to call off the cops so burlesque dancers could bare more skin without being arrested. Bakkom chose 31 letters that he decided were representative – none of which indicated any evidence of a response – and reproduced them in a tabloid that he's handing out around town. "It just seemed to me ... very vital, very original, and very striking," he said. "Some are on the verge of paranoia. Others are on the verge of genius."


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