Last week, ATZ reported that the construction fencing at Thor Equities’ Surf and Stillwell lot in Coney Island had come down to reveal a sterile-looking, one-story building. What happened to the blue boards, which were emblazoned with murals by No Longer Empty artists as part of a project sponsored by the City’s Economic Development Corporation? Coney’s eagle-eyed Captain Nemo spotted some in a botched reassembly at another Thor construction site in Brooklyn and posted on the Coney Island Message Board:
The artists who tried to remove the blight that Sitt placed upon Coney Island turning his ugly blue construction fences into canvases of art, can visit their artwork by visiting his close by Bay Parkway project. He sent in the bulldozers to clear that land, and took along his Coney Island blue plywood construction fencing to his latest blight project. The artists work is mismatched and looks like impressionist artwork of the worst order.
This slide show by photographer Bruce Handy shows jumbled sections of the Coney Island murals incorporated into construction fencing at 1752 Shore Parkway in Bensonhurst. The site is Thor Equities’ $150 million Bay Center project, where BJ’s Wholesale Club is expected to be the anchor tenant.
Nobody expects the guys who put up and take down Thor’s construction fences to be art handlers, but couldn’t they at least match up the panels? After all the work that went into the murals, it would have been nice if somebody in charge at Thor Equities–Hey, Joey!– had thought of reusing them to beautify another site.
Thor CEO Joe Sitt, whose self-proclaimed nickname is “Joey Coney Island,” likes to tell reporters “I view Coney Island as a national and international treasure.” If that’s true, why not move the murals, which were created for Coney Island, to one of his other lots in Coney? There’s an unsightly empty lot at Surf and West 12th, where the Bank of Coney Island and concession booths were demolished in 2010 to make way for nothing.
Last April, the City’s Economic Development Corporation brought in No Longer Empty, a non-profit that curates site specific art exhibitions, to dress up the fences which greeted visitors when they first exited Stillwell Terminal. The above photo shows the finished mural on Thor’s fences surrounding the then empty lot at Surf and Stillwell.
Keith Schweitzer, who founded and curates NLE’s mural project, made this wonderfully edgy video of three street artists’ 48-hour transformation of Thor’s construction fence at Surf and Stillwell. As he explains in his blog: “Beginning with the main entrances to the park and working our way inward, six artists covered more than 4,000 square feet of exterior surfaces with artwork referencing Coney Island‘s legendary iconography and the surrounding beachfront boardwalk’s imagery.” Veng, OverUnder and Ephameron, who are seen painting the boards in the vid, are among the artists whose work has turned up in a jumble on Shore Parkway.
UPDATE February 7, 2012:
As mentioned by one of the commenters on this post, the murals on the Bowery side were also taken down and a few of the mismatched panels were put up to cover the windowless wall of Thor’s new building.
Related posts on ATZ…
March 2, 2012: Coney Island Murals by Street Artists Await Their Fate
June 1, 2011: Photo Album: Street Art Down by the Coney Island Bowery
May 5, 2011: May 7: Coney Island Boardwalk Trash Can Art Contest
April 15, 2011: Photo Album: Whimsical Murals Blossom in Coney Island