Wait, What? A Wawa in New York City?

They should be so lucky — it’s art.

Alex da Corte’s “Harvest Moon” at the New Museum | Photo by Daniel Tewfik

Philly-area natives strolling through Manhattan may have done a double-take — or, perhaps, felt a flicker of hope — walking past a storefront on Bowery below Houston: In one window, there’s a familiar rising moon and loon logo, mounted on a pallet as if ready to be installed. On another, a vinyl sign featuring an extreme close-up of the interior of a hoagie is imprinted with the words “Coming Soon”.

Sadly, the storefront at 231 Bowery isn’t Wawa’s first incursion into the New York market.

The space is part of The New Museum, and the giant upside logo and sign are “Harvest Moon,” an installation by artist and Philly-area native Alex Da Corte.

Da Corte, who was born in Camden, New Jersey and attended University of the Arts here in Philly, had the honor of creating “Harvest Moon” as the inaugural installation in the museum’s Bowery space. He’s an acclaimed visual artist who recently directed St. Vincent’s “New York” music video.

His project is the first in a series that harks back to 1980s storefront installations by artists like Jeff Koons and Linda Montano.

Photo by Daniel Tewfik

According to an artist’s statement on the museum’s website, the installation “evokes the storefront of a soon-to-open Wawa, an East Coast chain of convenience stores founded outside Philadelphia.”

The name “Harvest Moon” comes, of course, from the logo, and also “references the popular 1992 song by Neil Young about an enduring love.” The logo — which is presented upside-down and backwards — “reads ‘Mama,’ a gesture that reflects the corporatization of familial devotion, sustenance, and nurture.”

I totally relate to Da Corte’s thinking here. Despite the chain’s issues, I feel a warm glow — not unlike that of a harvest moon! — when I’m heading north or east towards the city and see that first Wawa sign after miles and miles of nothing but Sheetz.

But I call lack of verisimilitude: that sandwich looks way too nice to really be a Wawa hoagie.

Alex Da Corte: Harvest Moon [Official]
Wawa [Foobooz]