Street Barriers Get Colorful Makeover

April 24, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Tillary Street Bumblebees Out, Abstract Design In

By Mary Frost

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

BROOKLYN — Volunteers painted concrete street barriers Saturday at three locations in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan as part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) third annual “Barrier Beautification” event.

Each year, bland concrete barrier sites are selected for eye-catching makeovers as part of New York Cares Day. This year, DOT’s Urban Art Program received 77 design applications from hopeful barrier artists. The list was narrowed down to four, who were selected to brighten up 2,500 feet of pedestrian and bike paths.

“These creative designs instantly transform streetscapes into vibrant, welcoming spaces for New Yorkers,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in a release. This year’s designs are by Brooklyn-based artists Abby Goldstein and Marcie Paper, and Manhattan-based artists Sam Holleran and Carla Torres.

Design Replaces Flowers and Bumblebees

On Tillary Street between Cadman Plaza West and Adams Street in Downtown Brooklyn, artist Marcie Paper is transferring her design onto 340 feet of Jersey barriers (common concrete barriers) along the bike lane. According to the Urban Art Program, the artist’s design is an “abstract and delicate pattern derived from short-term memories of ground textures in the urban environment.”
The final Tillary Street barrier design. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

Paper’s abstract work replaces a mural of flowers and bumblebees painted in 2009 by high school artists as part of the Groundswell Community Mural Project, a development that saddened some passersby.

Groundswell’s Director of Development Sharon Polli was philosophical. “It was always intended to be a temporary installation,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle. “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with the Department of Transportation and the Urban Arts Program.”

Nature, Chocolate and Energy Themes

Approximately 600 feet of concrete wall along the Manhattan Bridge bike lane approach in Brooklyn will feature Abby Goldstein’s design of “botanical silhouettes against a background of repeated and staggered pattern of blues and greens [that] reflect the natural world and the rhythm of the built environment.”

On Columbia Street in Brooklyn, part of the Brooklyn Greenway, picture-book impressions of nature by Sam Holleran will cover 660 feet of concrete barriers. In his design, “trees resemble spherical street lighting and rocky outcroppings resemble chunks of baking chocolate.” This mural is co-presented with the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.

In Manhattan’s Hudson River Park, images by Carla Torres will be painted onto 715 feet of concrete barriers along the Hudson River Greenway near Pier 25. Torres’ work reflects “a longing for the vibrancy of spring and the energy of the pedestrians and bicyclists who use the park daily.” This mural is co-presented with the Hudson River Park Trust.

The DOT’s Urban Art Program in partnership with the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and New York Cares produces the barrier project.

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