Mickey Boardman Center Walk, filled with art

The living room.
Photo: Lucas Michael

I’m not exactly a hoarder,” Mickey Boardman tells me as we sit among the eccentric abundance of his living room. “I have a tendency to collect things. I can get rid of things – I just get new things faster than I can get rid of them.

Boardman has been at the epicenter of downtown’s social and cultural scene for decades, seemingly invited to a certain kind of everything (he was once named one of the city’s “Most Photographed Faces” by that magazine that endures). He moved to New York to study fashion design at Parsons, got an internship at Paper magazine in 1992 and never really left. Better known as “Mr. Mickey” — the name he took for both an advice column he wrote and his branded clothing line for Live Rocket (he’s pictured wearing his own pieces from the collection) — he remains Papereditor-in-chief of

Photo-Illustration: Curbed

The paintings The scream (1), by Oscar O’Neill; You are my ideal (2), by Nikita Gudzovsky.

The corner art Sparkling sun (3), by Tabboo!; hanging piece (4) from the National Craft Museum and Hastkala Academy in New Delhi; needle art by Negine Jasmine Sekandari (5).

The clown pillows (6) were a gift from Kim Hastreiter; the Libra pillow (7) is by Jonathan Adler.

Boardman has an extensive collection of busts (among them Gandhi, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Harriet Tubman). Next to them he keeps his collection of Staffordshire figurines (8).

The Ceramic Goddess (9) is from Pearl River Mart. The Reclining Buddha (10) is from the gift shop at Kangra Airport in Dharamshala, India.

Autographed tambourine (11) by Connie Stevens.

BLA BLA BLA (12)of Tauba Auerbach.

“The Shining Head” (13)by Monica Valentine, is Philip Stark’s gnome on the table (14).

“The couch and the rug (15) were discovered by one of my best friends, interior designer Fernando Santangelo,” says Boardman. “He also made the curtains out of fabric I bought from India.”

Tapestry pillows (16) depicting King Leopold III and Queen Astrid of the Belgians.

Since 1993, he has lived on the edge of Chinatown in a second-floor hallway that is constantly populated with the things that catch his eye, from a Connie Stevens autographed vestibule to Staffordshire figurines to books on the history of royalty. to the paintings of Phyllis Diller. It’s all in what might appear to be a jumble, but each item, he explains, is actually carefully selected, and the ebb and flow of objects and art establishes a shifting order over time.

“I don’t even think I owned a pot or pan or anything” when I moved in, Boardman recalled. “Initially I bought everything at flea markets, thrift stores – clothes and collectibles more than anything, but I’m terrible at visualizing what could end up being.”

That must be a bit much even for him, so in 2009 he called Drew Elliott, his friend and former colleague at paper, to make a makeover. “I asked him, ‘How can I make order out of this chaos and madness?'” It took Eliot two weeks to create a new lifestyle for Boardman, who gave up stacks of magazines to make room for a gallery wall with art mostly from friends, including artist Taboo! (aka Stephen Tashjian) and pin cushions (clowns by Kim Hastreiter; King Leopold III and Queen Astrid of the Belgians by interior designer Fernando Santangelo). There are also items from his travels to India and Nepal, where he helped support Citta, a non-profit organization that builds schools, hospitals and centers for women. His possessions may be added and subtracted, but they are here to stay. “It’s so cool to have a whole collection,” says Boardman. “It also focuses my shopping and browsing, so I guess I couldn’t buy anything, but at the same time, I just think the hunt is so much fun.”

Photo-Illustration: Curbed

I love you so much (17) is a watercolor by Tabboo! which he gave to Boardman for his 30th birthday.

Boardman painting (18), by Scott Lifschutz.

Boardman in a photo from the mid-1990s (19) captured by British artist Nick Waplington at a Visionaire party.

A wall of paintings by Phyllis Diller (20) includes a portrait of Boardman commissioned by Kim Hastreiter. “You’d go to Phyllis’s house and have cocktails and she’d tell jokes and then you’d look at the artwork – all of which were small prices.”

Blinded COVID mask (21), by Eric Vidmar.

The cloth dolls (22) are from Angola.

White and black bananas (23) are by Carol Joo Lee Ceramics.

Boardman’s father’s childhood desk and chair (24), which Mickey kept in his bedroom throughout his childhood.

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