Corduroy & friends

Anyone familiar with Corduroy, the title character introduced in the 1968 Don Freeman children’s book, will no doubt delight in a new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York.

After all, it’s filled with playful touches related not only to the teddy bear and his iconic green overalls but to other works created with the little ones in mind.

“A City for Corduroy: Don Freeman’s New York,” however, offers much more. It is, in fact, an exploration of the perhaps lesser-known side of Corduroy’s creator, the California-born illustrator (1908-1978), painter and lithographer who also found success through his detailed depictions of his adopted hometown.

And it’s in this aspect that the, um, more mature visitor will likely be charmed – by Freeman’s work and the way it documented the New York City he came to know and clearly love.

The exhibition offers a selection of street scenes and everyday characters, as well as examples of Freeman’s extensive theater work, from a now-poignant portrait of the legend Carol Channing – who died Jan. 15 at her home in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 97 – to a backstage, bird’s-eye-view of the Broadway production of “Carousel.”

There’s a decidedly retro feel running throughout the compact gallery show filled with drawings, paintings, publications and prints, one that as a whole provides a welcome step back in time.

The exhibition, with related events, continues through June 23. The Museum of the City of New York is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at 1220 Fifth Ave.

For more, visit mcny.org.

– Mary Shustack

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