On Saturday in Coney Island, we passed by the Bowery side of Thor Equities’ blue construction fence to find an artist working on a Down by the Boardwalk-themed painting. It features a friendly octopus holding a boombox and a note saying “On a blanket with my baby is where I’ll be.” Like the three street artists whose work we wrote about last month in “Photo Album: Whimsical Murals Blossom in Coney Island,” ND’A aka Nick was sent by the art organization No Longer Empty and the City’s Economic Development Corporation to beautify the streetscape.
Keith Schweitzer, who organized the mural project for No Longer Empty, told ATZ about the other new murals: “The polar bear – to the left of Nick’s octopus – is by Veng, the same artist who painted the semi-realistic faces and clown on the Stillwell wall. He’s a quiet, talented man and often full of surprises. He arrived at the wall that morning and said ‘I am going to paint a polar bear.’. It was later I found out that he & his family/friends take part in the Polar Bear Club activity at Coney Island each year. Like I said, he’s a quiet man, and I’m not sure if hearing about Rabbi Abraham Abraham’s recent passing away had anything to do with the subject of the mural.”
As for the large CONEY letters guarded by New York’s Finest in the photo below, they were painted by OverUnder, who also painted the Stillwell Avenue side of the fence with Veng. “OverUnder did the whimsical swimmers and the heart ‘Love to Sea you,’ and other elements of the wall,” says Schweitzer. “On one of the days that we were painting Stillwell Ave, a newlywed couple walked toward OverUnder from the boardwalk having just taken post-wedding photos. They were in full wedding attire and asked OverUnder if he would paint something for them. OverUnder obliged, asking their names, and painted their initials H&B inside of a heart. That was not part of the planned composition, but it developed into the wonderful ‘tattoo’ heart and I am happy to see that many people stop to be photographed in front of the heart.”
We’re happy to see these fanciful paintings bringing good vibrations to this decimated block. As previously noted, it’s a good solution to distract people’s attention from the construction fence and the empty lot at the gateway to Coney Island’s beach and boardwalk. Sad to say, the century-old Henderson Music Hall stood here until real estate speculator Joe “Blight for Spite” Sitt knocked it down in January. A pile driver was recently moved onto the lot at Surf and Stillwell. Behind the blue fence, a foundation for a high rise is being built, on top of which a placeholder one-story commercial building will be plopped next season. Nothing can quell my sorrow that we lost the zoning battle to keep high rises of up to 30 stories off the south side of Surf.
Update, June 14th…
Visit Vandalog to see photos of the latest mural on the blue wall: The street artist Radical has painted an ice-cream cone slurping hot dog!
Related posts on ATZ…
May 18, 2011: New Coney Island Freak Show Banners Pay Homage to Past
May 3, 2011: Photo of the Day: Street Art by RAE in Coney Island
April 15, 2011: Photo Album: Whimsical Murals Blossom in Coney Island