Temporary Art Installation, Safety Improvements Come to East Side Waterfront

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There’s a new temporary public art project along the East River. City officials this morning came to the Lower East Side to unveil an installation dubbed, “We Call This Place Home.”

The installation consists of 124 abstract sculptures that have been placed in the new median on South Street between Montgomery and Rutgers streets. They were designed by artists Chat Travieso and Samuel Holleran in collaboration with local residents. The shapes represent people who live in the neighborhood. “It’s a celebration of the existing community,” Travieso explained during a brief media happening this morning.

The project was a joint effort between the Department of Transportation’s Art Program and Hester Street Collaborative, a local non-profit organization. The city selected this stretch of the waterfront at the urging of State Sen. Daniel Squadron.


Luis Sanchez, DOT’s Manhattan borough commissioner, said the installation is just one part of a safety and cosmetic improvement plan along the dangerous roadway. The new medians protect bike riders from cars, trucks and buses.  A traffic signal was added at Clinton Street, at the request of City Council member Margaret Chin.

Sen. Squadron said he sees the newly renovated stretch of South Street as an important link between two parks to be built on Pier 42 and Pier 35. Construction on Pier 42, located just above Montgomery Street, is scheduled to start early next year. Last week, officials with the Economic Development Corp. told Community Board 3 that the Pier 35 project would be complete by next fall. The mythical eco-park has been plagued with delays for years. (We’ll have more on the Pier 35 quandary this week).

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