A giant sex toy is enraging Paris, high rents are challenging Brooklyn's churches, and one mayoral candidate has a rather interesting idea for tackling Oakland's transportation crisis. It's What's Ruining Our Cities!

A butt plug sculpture is ruining Paris (and then it got ruined, too)

Artist Paul McCarthy is well-known for exploring the dark underside of contemporary culture, including a recurring sculpture that looks like a poofy pine tree—or a giant green butt plug. Christmas came early for Paris when McCarthy installed the 80-foot sculpture at the Place Vendôme last week, but immediately there was trouble, according to the LA Times: First, McCarthy was punched in the face several times by a man screaming "You dirty American!" during the installation, then vandals punctured the sculpture, which deflated into a green plastic mass in the plaza. Not to worry, however: McCarthy is incorporating all the controversy into his show at the Paris Mint, which opened Friday. [Los Angeles Times, New York Times]

High rents are ruining Brooklyn churches

The wave of gentrification sweeping through Brooklyn has not left many corners of the borough unscathed, but it's been particularly unkind to houses of worship. More than 20 churches in the borough have been torn down or converted into condos and other projects in recent years. Last week, 50 churches met with Borough President Eric Adams to learn how to navigate the brave new world of Brooklyn real estate, including how to develop their underused buildings into projects that align with their missions, like affordable housing projects. This "faith-based property development" could result in some interesting new building typologies, for sure—who doesn't want more cathedral-themed nightclubs?—but it also will almost certainly cause these churches to lose their spiritual footholds in the communities as well, which is not a good thing. [Brooklyn Magazine]

Horses will ruin Oakland (if you vote for this dude)

Every year, there's one wacky local election to watch, and this year Oakland seems to be the place, where several colorful candidates are running for office, including a dog. But for the most entertaining viewpoints, look no further than candidate Peter Liu, who gained attention this week for his transit platform which is centered around... horses:

"An alternative form of transportation I support is horses. I am an animal lover and those ponies are cute. With my trusty horse sidekick, HORSEY, I'll ride like a western cowboy slinging revolvers and my horse shit all over Oakland grass patches as natural fertilizer for the trees and flowers. I am an environmentalist too... Having more horses means it'll create more businesses in Oakland, such as horse shoe making, romantic horse carriage rides around Lake Merritt, urban stables, pony salons, most beautiful horse show and urban street horse races. I rather watch an illegal gambling of home-grown horses racing through the streets than lame pro sports. Really. Just imagine yourself riding a horse, running pass an obnoxious Segway scooter ride, you can literally trample on his ass and bounce at the same time. I like that feeling. We must get more horses. Vote Liu."

[Oakland Mayor via Reddit]

Photo by @HauserWirth