Someone has been working by night in my neighborhood putting up words on what was until recently just an unsightly parking deck.
Today is an anniversary of an infamous day, but I've reached saturation point on that subject (and yet still keep watching the documentaries, and then having to turn the channel away to something cleansing and dopey like It's a Mad, Mad Mad Mad World).
I was reminded today that (almost) everyone alive is fortunate to be here. And when I walk to the subway in the morning, I pass at the building seen in the above right foreground, the NYC Job Center, a line of grim faces and momentarily feel lucky to be going to a job, however much I may not have wanted to deal until then. But a different reason to stop and assess appeared in my morning walk to the subway recently.
Up on the parking garage across from the Downtown Brooklyn Macy's it says: BORN BUSY AS A BROOKLYN BOUND B / I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN / I WAS NURTURED HERE.
I stopped to think about this, still pre-coffee. No one was noticing what to me was quite noticable. Even when only the first words were visible in white without their black contrast layer, this project had already improved an eyesore.
Each day since since, I've watched new lines or lyrics appear. The Livingston Street face of the deck got its own lyrics, plus a guy on the corner of the structure.
I am especially enjoying how much less of my mind is now used for thinking about how hideous that Fulton Closeout Center banner is, and how much more of it is now thinking about the words and who might have written them and put them up there and so on.
And the words are still spreading onto other contiguous areas, including inter-building walkways over Hoyt street: a slow reveal of rhymes.
Today the artists of this installment were out working in daylight, and passerby were finally stopping to take notice. People previously concerned with Zales or queuing up for the debut of a new sneaker at Foot Locker:
Now they're thinking about poetry.
Right, creators of this mysterious installation?
Walking through this Fulton Mall area, it seems everything is changing, with blue wood panels around construction areas. This building, the former Martin's department store, is being turned into condos.
Next to it, behind more blue board, is a hole where an H&M will rise. The site of the former Albee Square Mall has given rise to the future "first class retail" of City Point.
For now, businesses here are mall and discount stores. But I still notice remnants of the previous, rather more grand version of this shopping district, like the top of the old J.W. May's discount department store. (True, it was discount, but still probably nicer than say the mayhem of modern Conway.)
Or this ghost sign on a brick wall for a grander era of parking: Majestic Parking, offering permanent or "transient" spots for your motor-coach.
I'm reminded that New York is never finished. It's an ongoing work. It can look messy and non-uniform. We're shedding off some old skins, and editing out what doesn't work, and trying on new things.
So this unexpected art project is kind of making me love my neighborhood right now. I now start each weekday walking beneath the word EUPHORIA. I just hope it doesn't turn out to be sponsored by Pepsi™©.