Throughout this year we’ve been following the progress of the 100 Gates Program. It’s a city-funded initiative being coordinated by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District to transform the metal roll-down gates across the neighborhood. Dozens of artists have partnered up with local businesses for the creative undertaking. This afternoon we check in on the latest work-in-progress.
This is the facade of Jodamo, the men’s clothing store that’s called 321 Grand St. home since the 1980s. New York City illustrator Marcellus Hall, a LES resident, designed a mural that pays tribute both to the historically-rich community and to this storied building on the southwest corner of Grand and Orchard streets.
Hall was out painting the gate in the bitter wind this past Saturday, since Jodamo was closed for the Jewish Sabbath. He’s got some more work to do in the next week or two to complete the mural. Recently he took a few minutes to talk with us about the project. You may very well have seen Hall’s illustrations on the cover of the New Yorker, or in the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic or Time Magazine. We spoke in Seward Park, a stone’s throw from his apartment in the Grand Street cooperatives, where Hall has lived since 2002.
One day he just happened to be talking with a worker setting up chairs in the Division Street Triangle, another space that the Lower East Side BID transformed with a neighborhood public art program. The guy happened to mention that the organization was still looking for artists interested in the 100 Gates Project. Hall turned out to be a great partner for Jodamo.
He ‘s always had a strong interest in the history of the neighborhood. The Grand Street storefront, located in the former Ridley Department Store building is a New York City historic landmark. The mural, Hall explained, is “a montage of flat images from photographs that I drew in my own style.” There’s a depiction of the building, as well as various people walking through the neighborhood, a push cart, a horse and the elevated train station that once ran along Allen Street. “I’m fascinated by photos from 100 years ago,” said Hall. “Those people are just beyond our grasp.”
The 100 Gates Project is being curated by Natalie Raben from the LES BID. It was made possible through a grant from the NYC Department of Small Business Services. You can see other murals that have been completed by clicking here.