Observation Deck

Michael Musto’s NYC Culture Predictions for 2019

Bensonhurst chic? Aughts nostalgia? Here are several dramatic twists we could encounter next year.

Let me drag out my dusty old crystal ball and start predicting the future of NYC culture, a landscape that I happen to know better than my own personality. My guesses will certainly be more accurate than anything said by that old con artist Miss Cleo. So here come six of my startling forecasts for 2019. Brace yourselves—and wear galoshes.

A Great Tony Awards Category

By time the Broadway season sprawls to a close at the end of April, 2019 will bring Nathan Lane in Taylor Mac’s Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus; Tracy Letts in a revival of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons; John Lithgow in a new play about you-know-who called Hillary and Clinton; Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano in the Sam Shepard classic True West; Adam Driver in Burn This; and Chuck Cooper in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy. That’s a lot of star power, and presumably a lot of nomination-bound actors. Does that make best actor in a drama the winner of the best Tony category of 2019? I’d say yes, with all the new competition giving the presumed slam-dunk winner—Bryan Cranston, who is great as the unraveling messiah of the airwaves in Network—a run for his moolah. The guys are lucky Glenda Jackson won’t be eligible for this category: She’s playing King Lear, but is most certainly female.

new york events
Photo by Joan Marcus/Courtesy of Choir Boy

Aughts Nostalgia

The mass lust for anything ’90s is getting so overdone and sickening, I’m almost expecting Vanilla Ice to hit the charts again. It’s time to move on to the aughts. And so, the smart money says there will be an upsurge in Paris Hilton’s visibility in New York hot spots, which means Lindsay Lohan can’t be far behind, thermos in tow. Also, there will surely be a rise in celebrity offspring deejaying at bottle-service parties, where everyone will wear branded tracksuits (for the guys) and aviator glasses, low-rise jeans, and fishnets (for the gals). And I just can’t wait for the inevitable stage musicals based on A Beautiful Mind, Million Dollar Baby, Crash, The Departed, No Country for Old Men, and The Hurt Locker. Well, on second thought…

Gays Will Revolt Again

Sunday, June 30, is Pride Day—capping off a whole month of Pride—but this one is going to be extra special because it marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion, which galvanized the modern gay movement. The problem is, there’s another rebellion coming, and it’s gay on gay. The Heritage of Pride’s annual parade has become way too corporate, say critics, who feel companies pay for visibility and TV airtime in the parade, while the actual community and its grassroots organizations, activists, and survivors get short shrift. So Reclaim Pride is organizing a march that will run counter to the NYC Pride/World Pride parade on the same day, and it vows to be closer to the spirit of the original celebrations that came out of Stonewall. I will probably be frantically running between both, which at least will provide good cardio.

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A Flop for Faye?

I’ve enjoyed many of Faye Dunaway’s performances through the years, and when I heard she was playing a fellow Oscar winner on Broadway next summer, I thought, Mommie Dearest: The Musical? Hooray! But instead, she’s playing Katharine Hepburn in a revamped version of the play Tea at Five. Hooray? The trouble is, Cate Blanchett already won an Oscar for playing Hepburn. And Hepburn won four Oscars for playing Hepburn. And the author of this play, Matthew Lombardo, wrote two flops (High and Looped). And Dunaway, alas, is not big box office anymore—not like in the ’90s, when her Sunset Boulevard production was canceled before she could sing a note, lol. Katharine Hepburn probably isn’t big box office anymore either. Could this be the theatrical year’s biggest mistake? Of course I’m hoping for the best—but prepared for something short of that.

Bensonhurst Chic

I grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn—a perfectly nice but rather dullsville residential area—and couldn’t wait to get over the bridge to Manhattan and taste some excitement. So many years later, when Brooklyn suddenly became fabulous and everyone started whining, “You have to go there for the nightlife,” I was horrified. Go back?! I’d sooner chew cut glass! But the reality, of course, is that Brooklyn is so fabulous now that nabes like Williamsburg and Bushwick are becoming overly trendy and expensive—and almost starting to mirror Manhattan in that respect. Someone’s going to get the bright idea to open some cabarets and clubs down in Bensonhurst, and people will have to just spend the extra 15 or 20 minutes on the train to get there. And when that happens, I’m going to wish I had kept the house.

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D train in Bensonhurst. / Photo via Wikimedia Commons

More Store Closings

Speaking of corporations, very single remaining establishment in the city will shutter except for Bank of America, Duane Reade, and the occasional 7-Eleven. For me, that would be just fine. You already know I have a thing for cheap lunches (let’s call them affordable). But really all I need is some cash, a bunch of groceries, and a Slurpee.

See more from Musto here!