If you need something stuffed in the five boroughs, there’s only one man to call: John Youngaitis. With a majestic white beard, a body covered in tattoos, and an unmistakable old-school Brooklyn accent, Youngaitis is an artist carrying on a family tradition. His father opened Cypress Hills Taxidermy Studio in 1958, where Youngaitis lived above the shop and was always surrounded by stuffed friends. Today, he’s moved the studio from Brooklyn to Middle Village, where his display room hosts everything from monkeys to boars. Hunting season keeps Youngaitis busy, with deer heads to mount and bear rugs to assemble. He also serves bereaved pet owners and the odd request to stuff roadkill. While his work isn’t for the faint of heart, there’s a fine craftsmanship required by Youngaitis’s line of work that you can’t help but admire. And Youngaitis loves what he does, spending hours obsessively placing and perfecting each of his specimens. His services aren’t cheap — a taxidermied bear will run you $1,600 — but if New York can have only one taxidermist, be glad it’s Youngaitis.
71-01 Metropolitan Ave, Cypress Hills, Queens