040908forty.jpgYou didn’t forget about New York Magazine’s 40th Anniversary did you? Quick, it’s not too late to make it up to them by buying their hefty, back-slapping issue and acting like you give a shit. Nestled among the ads for shoes, perfume, and luxury handbags you'll find descriptions of the most “unmistakably New Yorky” cultural events since 1968, as determined by the magazine’s critics, who’ve gone so far as to declare this The New York Canon. (Trumpet flourish!)

The Theater Canon’s hit list is pretty much a joke. With the exception of Fragments of a Greek Trilogy at La MaMa, it's heavily skewed toward Broadway, despite the fact that the most exciting theater during the past four decades has happened Off and Off Off Broadway. And though we realize former New York critic John Simon doesn’t 'get' Wallace Shawn, anyone else who saw his play The Designated Mourner performed in 2000 at that decaying financial district gentleman’s club knows it was as “unmistakably New Yorky” – and unforgettable – as theater gets.

040908moby.jpgIf you don't mind the near-total omission of jazz, the “Pop & Jazz Canon” is pretty solid, rounding bases from Velvet Underground to old school hip hop artists like Busy Bee, and onto, um, Moby. On the classical tip, Justin Davidson gives proper weight to the Philharmonic’s post-9/11 performance of Brahms’s devastating Ein Deutches Requiem, as well as Laurie Anderson’s United States I-V at BAM in ’83 and the annual Bang-On-A-Can Marathon. Jazz at least gets a nod in the “Books Canon,” with light shed on Charles Mingus’s memoir Beneath the Underdog; attention’s also paid to Caro's exhaustive Robert Moses biography The Power Broker; Woody Allen’s indispensable Without Feathers; and, of course, Phillip Roth and Tom Wolfe.

Art critic Jerry Saltz admits that “a canon is antithetical to everything the New York art world has been about for the past 40 years, during which we went from being the center of the art world to being one of many centers,” but the man doesn’t get paid to shirk assignments, so he hat-tips Warhol’s ‘86 self-portrait, Jeff Koons’s photos of himself banging his porn star wife, and Gordon Matta-Clark’s ‘75 project at Pier 52 that got him arrested.

And now onward to the “TV Canon!” Oh the hell with it, any readers with this much time on their hands can just follow the link. There’s also an Architecture and Movie Canon; as well as little Q&As with New Yorkers like Tony Kushner and Spike Lee, who says he cast Rosie Perez in Do the Right Thing after she cursed him out for asking her to stop dancing on the speakers at his birthday party.

Photo: Jennacide’s 40th Birthday Cake