On Monday, Council Member Julie Menin and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Tom Foley hosted an unveiling ceremony with P.S. 183 fifth graders to celebrate the completion of a public art project which now surrounds York Avenue construction site between 61st and 63rd streets.
Thrilled to unveil w/ @NYCDDC our beautiful & creative art fence designed by @PS183NYC 5th graders. Rather than look at a blighted construction fence that has been in our community for over 4 years- we gave the students an assignment-create artwork on what NYC means to them! 🎨🖌️ pic.twitter.com/nnD2BEf5nn
— Julie Menin (@JulieMenin) February 7, 2023
The students were tasked with creating art that would be printed onto a new project barrier to bring an aesthetic improvement to the York Avenue infrastructure project, now in its seventh year of construction.
Students submitted artwork with themes “Scenes from the City” or “What NYC means to you” in November. Now, artwork from the approximately sixty students is printed on a new barrier surrounding the project. There’s also a section that explains the project to people passing by.
With an initial completion date of 2017, and after a bevy of delays as DDC continues to wait for privately-owned utilities to relocate their infrastructure, the York Avenue project is now slated to end in 2024. DDC is currently waiting for Con Edison to complete required work on local gas mains, steam mains and electrical lines before it can restart work on water mains and sewers.
Many constituents have reached out to Council Member Menin’s office asking for mitigation of the quality of life issues caused by the utility delays as well as the expedition of the completion of DDC’s project. To help address these issues, and in particular its unsightliness, P.S. 183 students stepped up.
“My mother, who was a visual artist, instilled in me from a young age the importance of art and how it can improve people’s lives. I am thrilled to give P.S. 183 students a creative outlet to express themselves, while also helping the community,” said Menin.