Mayor Bloomberg Smooches Miss Piggy to Announce Astoria Jim Henson Exhibit
ASTORIA — The Muppets are taking Queens.
The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria will soon be home to a permanent exhibit of Jim Henson's work, city officials announced Tuesday, including hundreds of his beloved puppets — Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo and the Swedish Chef among them.
The museum will open a new gallery on its second floor to display the puppets, along with costumes, sketches, storyboards, scripts and other props from the famous puppeteer's career, donated to the city by Henson's family.
"It will be one of the most comprehensive tributes to his work, anywhere," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who announced the exhibit at the museum Tuesday morning alongside Oscar the Grouch, Gobo Fraggle, and Miss Piggy.
"Miss Piggy and I go back a long way back," the mayor told the crowd, after planting a kiss on the famous pig puppet — a move he's pulled before.
Bloomberg said the exhibit, set to open in the winter of 2014-2015, will help the city maintain its recent record-breaking tourism numbers and draw more visitors to Queens.
"The Muppets Take Manhattan," was filmed in Long Island City, he said, and "Sesame Street," is in its 44th season of production at the neighborhood's Kaufman Astoria Studios.
"No city can be more fitting than New York to host this incredible tribute to Jim Henson’s legacy," he said.
Henson's daughter, Cheryl Henson, said her family has deep roots in New York City, having operated the Jim Henson Company in a townhouse on the Upper East Side for many years, and the Jim Henson Workshop is based in Queens.
"Many of the Muppets who you've come to love were made right here in New York City. They were sewn, glued, designed and built right here," she said, adding that her mother, Jane Henson — who died in April — would have been thrilled to see her beloved puppets get their own permanent space at the museum.
"It was her dream to see these dear friends find a good home where they could be seen and enjoyed," she said.
Nearly 200 puppets will be an display at the planned 2,200-square-foot Henson gallery, which is being built with $2.75 million in funds from the city.
Items from all of Henson's major works will be included in the exhibit, officials said, including "Sam and Friends," "The Muppet Show," "Sesame Street," "Fraggle Rock," "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth."
In 2012, The Museum of the Moving Image hosted a traveling exhibit of Henson's work from the Smithsonian Institute called "Jim Henson's Fantastic World," which drew large crowds of visitors.
Carl Goodman, the museum's executive director, said the Muppets have an "incredible appeal."
"When the new gallery opens, the exhibition is going to delight visitors of all ages, from New York and beyond," he said.