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To everyone’s relief, yesterday’s scattered storms all through central New York finally washed away the last sweaty remnants of summer. To celebrate the crisp new weather, we’re bringing you a few weird and wonderful snippets of life in the city.

Andre Zucca Photograph of German-Occupied ParisLovers in Paris under Vichy rule for a German propaganda magazine. Image courtesy Jo Teeuwisse.

PARIS

For those World War II history buffs among you, the Historical Library of the city of Paris now has a wartime photo series on display, showing a Paris “thriving” under German occupation. The series may contrast with the image of wartime France you’re used to: French photographer Andre Zucca shot this series for Signal, a German propaganda magazine.

Zucca was given rare, then-cutting-edge Agfacolor film to shoot his scenes in rich color. Their goal, on orders from Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, was to portray Paris as undiminished from its prewar self: bustling, bright, and crowded with happy lovers and family. Bizarre, controversial, and deliberately misleading? Absolutely. But they certainly accomplish their goal of capturing the most picturesque and cheery moments of occupied Paris.

NYC

Gracie Mansion, the 1799 Federal style home of Archibald Gracie overlooking the East River, has been the official residence of New York City’s mayors for over 75 years. But Mayor Bloomberg has only used it for tours and public events, and Mayor Giuliani before him lived elsewhere as well (in his case, because his girlfriend was prohibited by state law from even visiting the mansion).

But more likely than not, the city’s next mayor will break that pattern. Democrat Bill de Blasio, first place in the Democratic primary, called the mansion a “tempting” upgrade from his current home in Brooklyn. Republican Joe Lhota, Democrat Bill Thompson, and Democratic frontrunner Christine Quinn seemed excited about Gracie as well––”It’s where people expect the mayor to live,” Thompson explained.

Quinn added that she would bring her dogs to the mansion if they won. You can’t help but smile when imagining her lab mixes, Justin and Sadie, romping around Gracie’s sweeping lawns.

Gracie Mansion front lawnThe Crayola-colored picnic tables of Gracie Mansion’s lawn, perfect for an intimate mayoral get-together. Image via Flickr by Harry Bizzarro

Pigeons have become all the rage recently. We reported on a walking tour of pigeon-related landmarks taking place next week in Lower Manhattan and Messy Nessy Chic showed photographs by Aaron Wojack who has documented the semi-secret avian sub-culture of pigeon breeding in New York City.

Aaron Wojack-Pigeon Culture-NYC Photography

LOS ANGELES

Ciabnormalarts-Los Angeles

The California Institute of Abnormalarts in NoHo, a “nightclub” that might be better described as a carnival sideshow, is as wonderfully weird as it sounds. Dead clowns, the conjoined-animal mummies of an “Alligator boy” and “Octopus girl,” and alleged fairy corpses give you a good idea of their neat-but-disturbing atmosphere. CIA also provides a groovy venue for local “bands, acts, freak shows, puppet shows, and strangeness.” Check them out at 11334 Burbank Blvd.

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