A blog about architectural tiles, terra cotta and other ceramic surfaces, architectural glass and ornamentation in and around New York.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Wall Murals in Brooklyn: A Mini Survey

One of my favorite photographic topics is wall murals. Many murals function as both architectural ornamentation and art, even though most are ephemeral. I have already written about Richard Haas’ tegular “Immigration on the Lower East Side” mural, which totally fooled me as to what it actually was, and there are other trompe-l'œil wall murals of his in New York City to see. The one below is in Brooklyn.

110 Livingston Street (2007)

110 Livingston Street, Brooklyn. (Color photos courtesy of Michael Padwee unless otherwise noted)

“110 Livingston Street is a Beaux Arts-style building located in Downtown Brooklyn, New York... . The building was designed by the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, and was built in 1926 to serve as the headquarters for the Elks organization, including amenities such as a pool, banquet hall, and bowling alleys. The building has a limestone and terra cotta facade, with Renaissance-revival style features including balustrades, egg-and-dart ornamentation, and Corinthian columns. In 1940, the building was converted to serve as the New York City Board of Education headquarters. ...In 2003 the City of New York sold the building to Two Trees Management...for development as luxury residential apartments... . Several floors were added to the structure, and the courtyard was decorated with a trompe-l'œil mural of architectural features by muralist Richard Haas.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/110_Livingston_Street

The Haas mural depicting architectural elements is painted on the building’s interior courtyard facade, and it is only accessible through the building itself. However, parts of the mural can be seen from a nearby parking lot.

In 2007 The New York Times wrote that “No canvas is too big for Richard Haas, a Manhattan-based artist whose trompe l’oeil murals embellish the urban landscape from New York to California. Mr. Haas’s latest project is a 12-story mural at 110 Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn, a building that once housed the New York City Board of Education. Two Trees Management, which is converting the 1926 McKim, Mead & White building into a 300-unit condominium, asked Mr. Haas to dress up the walls of the courtyard in back. Mr. Haas...obliged by extending the ornate vocabulary of the facade, creating faux cornices, columns, trellises and a pediment with a giant clock and two sculptural figures... .” (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2007/05/31/garden/20070531_CURR_SLIDESHOW_1.html?_r=0)

The mural from Richard Haas’ website

188 Third Avenue (no longer exists)

Richard Haas is a very well-known artist. However, much of the street art is by lesser-known artists and the concept of "street art" has expanded and in some ways become more organized in recent years. As one writer notes, "The public display of artwork invites a myriad of reactions from its viewers. The development of the street artist has expanded greatly in the last 50 years. At another time, the term “graffiti” was the common terminology for the type of work placed throughout urban environments. The work done on the street nowadays is extremely diverse, and difficult to categorize — which can make the experience mysterious, cerebral, and of course extremely exciting." (Donny Levit, "The Public Space And Privacy Of Street Artist And Neighbor ELBOW-TOE", Park Slope Stoop, November 19, 2015; http://parkslopestoop.com/blog/art-music/public-space-privacy-street-artist-neighbor-elbow-toe/?utm_source=Park+Slope+Stoop&utm_campaign=6adc9d0700-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bbf93dbff7-6adc9d0700-64058893

The mural below--which has since been painted over--was created by the street artist “Swoon”.

188 Third Avenue, Brooklyn in 2012. The mural was originally created in 2009.

“Swoon (born 1978 in New London, Connecticut), whose real name is Caledonia Dance Curry, is a street artist who specializes in life-size wheat paste prints and paper cutouts of human figures. ...[She] regularly pastes works depicting people, often her friends and family, on the streets around the world. She usually pastes her pieces on uninhabited locations such as abandoned buildings, bridges, fire escapes, water towers and street signs. Her work is inspired by both art historical and folk sources, ranging from German Expressionist wood block prints to Indonesian shadow puppets. Swoon started her street art in 1999. At the time she was attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and studying painting. ...The majority of Swoon’s street art are portraits. She believes that we store things in our body and that a portrait can become an x-ray of those experiences. She wants her portraits to capture something essential in the subject. She tries to document something she loves about the subject and has seen in him or her. It is a way to connect with the subject. By putting the portraits on the streets she is allowing for others to witness this connection and make their own. ...Living in New York City had a great impact on her as an artist. She loved its landscape with the graffiti and the layers and the overall impute of people. She wanted to interact with the layers of the city, what she describes as ‘the naturally occurring collage of the city’.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swoon_(artist))

(Image courtesy of “djerbahood”)

In 2014 artists, including Swoon, from more than thirty countries created wall murals in the town of Djerba on the Tunisian island of the same name. One Hundred Fifty street artists helped transform Djerba into an open-air art museum. At least three of Swoon’s murals graced the walls of Djerba including the one above and the mural below. (http://www.designboom.com/art/150-artists-transform-djerbahood-tunisian-village-into-an-open-air-art-museum-11-03-2014/)

(Image courtesy of “djerbahood”)

82 Degraw Street

Another Brooklyn wall mural, which was painted in 2007 and has been deteriorating since then, is Damon Ginandes’ “Degraw Street Mural” at 82 Degraw Street, an abandoned property in what is now called “Columbia Heights”. The property is situated between Columbia Street and the New York estuary.

This mural is 60’ long x 12’ high and was painted with spray paint and latex acrylic. “Much of Ginandes’ earlier work is populated by faces and figures that are ageless and anonymous. [...Their] longing stares convey a distinct self-awareness and humanity, expressing a drive to reach out beyond the isolated self. [...His] beings peer out into the city’s environment as Ginandes transforms the existing architecture into a threshold between the realm of his figures and that of the urban landscape.” (http://www.damonginandes.com/about.html)

Seven years after being painted, this mural has deteriorated considerably and is now a shadow of its former self.

These photos were taken in 2012.

During the summer of 2015 the property owner began to take the mural down. He said he hoped the space would become an art venue for the community.

Conover and Coffey Streets

An old manufacturing and port area of Brooklyn--Red Hook--has recently become an arts, shopping and eating destination--it is being gentrified. Artists such as the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists’ Coalition, and new businesses, such as the Widow Jane Distillery and Cacao Prieto Chocolate, occupy Civil War-era warehouses.   

218 Conover Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Cacao Prieto’s warehouse is on the corner of Conover and Coffey Streets and contains an exterior wrap-around mural painted on the brick walls.

The artist of these murals is Esteban del Valle, who is originally from Chicago, but now lives in Brooklyn (see below).

Union Street at Fifth Avenue

A fairly new wall mural at the northeast corner of Union Street and Fifth Avenue in Park Slope was painted in the summer of 2014 by Kate Wilkes, an artist and designer with Brooklynbelltower.com. There is a photo essay on the Brooklynbelltower website about the process of painting this mural.

The Groundswell Murals

The Park Slope/Gowanus areas of Brooklyn hosts other large-scale wall murals, three of which are within a few blocks of one another along Fourth Avenue.

”I Deal, I Dream, I Do” (2004), the 40’ x 60’ CHiPS (Christian Help in Park Slope) Mural, Sackett Street at Fourth Avenue.

“CHiPS was founded in 1971 by members of the St. Francis Xavier Church who were inspired by the spirit of the Vatican II Council and the Biblical story of the Good Samaritan. It was the first Catholic, non-profit agency for the poor, hungry, and homeless people in Park Slope. In the beginning, CHiPS offered coffee, sandwiches, free medical consultations, and legal assistance every evening out of a small storefront. In 1976, [CHiPS] began all-day operations, serving healthy, nutritious meals to all who came to the door. 

“...CHiPS joined the Partnership for the Homeless and also began putting up 12-14 homeless people each night... . [In] the late 1990’s, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor helped create the Frances Residency Program...., a shelter residency program for nine young, homeless mothers and their infants and toddlers. This marked a shift from short-term housing of homeless men to [the] current focus on developing independence for young mothers.

“CHiPS moved several times before landing in [its] current home at 200 Fourth Avenue. ...The CHiPS building was built in the late 1800’s. In 2004, the Groundswell Mural Organization commissioned a mural on the building’s south side. “Voiced Her’d: I Deal, I Dream, I Do” was painted by a team of female artists.” (http://chipsonline.org/our-story/)

Groundswell was formed in 1966 by “artists, educators, and activists [who believed] that there is something unique and powerful about the collaborative artmaking process. ...Groundswell is New York City’s premier organization dedicated to advancing the practice of public artmaking. Community-based organizations, schools, and city agencies contact us to learn how public art can raise awareness of their organization, advance their mission, build community, and visually transform public space. ...Local, established artists lead every Groundswell project.” (http://www.groundswellmural.org/our-story)

“I Deal, I Dream, I Do” was painted in 2004 under the direction of lead artist Katie Yamasaki, a Brooklyn-based muralist and children’s book author, and assistant artists Menshahat Ebron, a muralist, and  Andrea Bernal. “Created by young women participating in Groundswell’s Voices Her’d Visionaries program, ‘I Deal, I Dream, I Do’ was designed for the side of CHiPS, a transitional housing center for homeless women and children in Gowanus, Brooklyn. ‘I Deal, I Dream, I Do’ seeks to honestly represent the struggles, hard work, and accomplishments of young women today. Although too often women encounter many obstacles in their paths to success, the mural sends a clear message to young women in the community that through study, the arts, community support, and sheer dedication, they can fulfill their dreams. And through a commitment to themselves and their community, women can far exceed their own expectations, just as the participants in this project did.” (http://www.groundswellmural.org/project/i-deal-i-dream-i-do)

”Water is the Life of NYC” (2008), 209 Fourth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Another Groundswell mural, just across Fourth Avenue from the
CHiPS mural, is “Water is the Life of NYC”. This mural was co-sponsored by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. The lead artist was Nicole Schulman, and the assistant artist was Crystal Bruno. “As part of [Groundswell’s] Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) 2008, Groundswell artists worked with a team of youth to create a monumental mural illustrating the New York water cycle. The system of delivery of water from rural New York to New York City is depicted in an effort to make New Yorkers more aware of the preciousness of their water. The allegorical figure of Mother Nature hovers over the two main reservoirs that serve as New York City’s water supply. The Sandhogs, the urban miners who maintain the tunnels which bring water to the city, are shown digging a third water tunnel. Elements of the urban and rural environments are presented together in harmony. Simultaneously, the central image and focal point of the mural encourages viewers to drink tap water in reusable bottles.” (http://www.groundswellmural.org/project/water-life-nyc)

Nicole Schulman is an artist whose illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, The Progressive and in exhibits in the United States, Greece, Israel, and South Korea. Schulman sits on the editorial board of World War 3 Illustrated, a graphics magazine. She is the co-editor of Wobblies: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World and her comics and illustrations are in the collection of the Library of Congress.” (http://www.groundswellmural.org/artist/nicole-schulman)  “In recent years, Nicole has also become a teaching artist and muralist with Groundswell, an organization that facilitates mural projects about specific social issues with NYC teens from marginalized communities.” (http://nicoleschulman.com/?page_id=74)

Crystal Bruno is an illustrator, muralist, and teaching artist born, raised, and based in New York City. Her work serves and celebrates women of color and communities of color. Her vibrant organic urban styles merge the intersections of culture, gender, spirit, and inner city life.” (http://www.groundswellmural.org/artist/crystal-bruno)

The third mural near the others is also a Groundswell project at the corner of DeGraw Street and Fourth Avenue, 648 DeGraw Street, titled “Justice Everywhere”.

”Justice Everywhere” (2004), 648 DeGraw Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn. This 132’ x 26’ mural is painted in acrylic on stucco.

The lead artists were Belle Benfield and Amy Sananman, and the assistant artist was Nora Kennedy. The sponsoring organization was the Fifth Avenue Committee. “To celebrate the opening of its new headquarters in 2003, Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) commissioned Groundswell to paint a mural on the adjacent building to help lead visitors from 4th Avenue around the corner to the doors of the new center. Groundswell began research for the mural through a series of focus groups with each of the departments that make up FAC. Each department was asked to propose a representation of its role in the FAC community and present it as a living tableau. Photographs of these tableaus were then used to develop a mural that highlights the many facets of FAC's work. FAC celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2002, and the mural also features a visual timeline of significant organization milestones. For example, a truck license plate in the image reads 1995, a nod to the year FAC incorporated Red Hook on the Road, a program that trains commercial truck drivers and helps them find employment.” (http://www.groundswellmural.org/project/justice-everywhere)

A sketch of the initial design. Included is a man breaking the chains that bind his wrists. On the chains can be found the date 2000, the year the Fifth Avenue Committee incorporated Developing Justice, a job training program for formerly incarcerated adults. (http://www.groundswellmural.org/project/justice-everywhere)

One day in 2012 I was walking along a wall that separated the Brooklyn Navy Yard from the Vinegar Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. Specifically, I was near “Building 92” on the Navy Yard side of the wall. I noticed a group of people painting the wall and stopped to talk with one of them.

“Here Goes Something” and “Here Goes Something (Part 2)” were painted under the direction of “Tanya Linn Albrigtsen-Frable (Mensen)...an educator, public artist and community facilitator. In addition to her work with Voices UnBroken, she is the Program Administrator and a Youth Advocate for the Parsons Scholars Program, a member of the Without Walls radical educator collective, and a teaching artist with Girls for Gender Equity's Urban Leaders Academy. Her artistic practice is driven by collaboration, community-building, individual healing and transformation of public space. Her work alongside young people is rooted in her early experience as a youth organizer and is driven by respect, dignity and solidarity.” (http://www.voicesunbroken.org/#!staff/c148p

Tanya Linn Albrigtsen-Frable’s assistant for Part I was Esteban del Valle and for Part 2 was Joel Bergner.

“Esteban del Valle is an interdisciplinary artist currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. ...Esteban has produced murals throughout various parts of the USA, such as New York, NY, Chicago, IL, San Antonio, TX, Kansas City, MO, Spartanburg, SC, and Provincetown, MA. He has been in numerous publications and his mural work has been featured on HGTV, NY1 News, News 12 Brooklyn, and the New York Times.” (http://estebandelvalle.com/about/) 

“Joel Bergner’s street paintings can be spotted across the globe, from the U.S. to Brazil, Cuba, Kenya, Poland, Mexico, Mozambique, El Salvador, Cape Verde and most recently in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. Joel’s murals and canvases feature his trademark eclectic mix of vibrant colors and intense imagery, exploring social topics and presenting the stories of those who are marginalized by society. ...Joel’s work features a combination of acrylic and spray paint, stencil art, and mosaics, which are layered in a way that allows his many artistic influences to blend seamlessly; Abstract Art, current Graffiti and Street Art styles, Mexican Muralism, tribal and traditional art forms from around the world, among others. He immerses himself in the cultural fabric from which many of his artistic topics are derived, regularly spending long periods of time living and working in the communities where his projects take place.” (http://joelartista.com/about/)

“'Here Goes Something' celebrates the rich and vibrant history of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The mural was created by 19 fourth and fifth grade students from PS 307. At the start of the mural design process, the group received a tour of the Navy Yard from its education staff and participated in in-depth discussions about its history. The mural tells the story of the Navy Yard from right to left. It begins with the indigenous Lenape people who inhabited the land before the Yard existed; it then travels through the industrial revolution and ends with a broadcast tower. Interspersed throughout the mural are hints to the different types of ships that have docked there over the years. Many of the youth live across the street from the Navy Yard but had never been inside this modern industrial park, and they were excited to paint a wall that they and their community would see everyday.”

“[’Here Goes Something (Part 2)’ is the] work of 16 youth participants in [Groundswell’s] 2012 Summer Leadership Institute [and] completes the mural first begun in spring 2012 by elementary school students from PS 307. Together, the two mural sections visually transform a monumental wall along the outside of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and introduce viewers to the legacy and innovation of this modern industrial park... . During the mural design process, Groundswell’s youth artists conducted intensive archival research and gathered oral histories from community members and workers who shaped the Yard over time and who now are creating its future. 'Here Goes Something' illustrates a timeline of the Navy Yard and incorporates influences from social realism, WPA-era murals, and street art. Key moments in the Navy Yard’s history are presented through a series of vignettes visually connected by a motif of ship portholes. The mural culminates in a vision of a bright economic future based on sustainable industry.” (http://www.groundswellmural.org/project/here-goes-something-part-2-0)

Groundswell has an interactive map on its website that contains information about all of its public art projects in the metropolitan area.

There are similar interactive maps for public mural art projects in other cities such as Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh reporter Sally Kalson wrote that “Pittsburgh is not only a city of rivers and bridges, it's also a city of murals. There are 376 (excluding graffiti), according to PghMurals.com, a website that keeps track of the artwork that has popped up on walls and houses around town. These works run the gamut from abstract to representational, political to whimsical. 

“Pittsburgh-Burma House” by Than Htay Maung, 324 Sampsonia Street, Central North Side. (http://pghmurals.com/Central-North-Side-Mexican-War-Streets-PA-murals-public-art.cfm)

”Some are based on famous paintings, others came from the artists' experience and imagination. Many were group projects by young people, intended to beautify hard-hit neighborhoods and give the participants a sense of ownership.” (Sally Kalson, “Pittsburgh is a city of murals”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 18, 2013; http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/art-architecture/2013/08/17/Pittsburgh-is-a-city-of-murals/stories/201308170185)

The mural above is part of a dream of Khet Mar of Burma, the third exiled writer in the City of Asylum residency program.* Khet Mar “came to Pittsburgh in March of 2009, and she immediately planted a flower garden. When the flowers bloomed, her creativity also re-surged. After coming to Pittsburgh, Khet Mar had a dream, in which her home in rural Burma and her new home in Pittsburgh began to merge. She wrote a story in which she floated in some blended nowhere, shapeless, unable to shake off a deep anxiety rooted in suffering. Then she awoke to singing birds. Her husband, visual artist Than Htay Maung, interpreted her dream-story in a mural covering the front and side of 324 Sampsonia Way. On the front façade is a sparkling vision of an almost ethereal Pittsburgh; on the side [pictured above] is a terrifying image of Burmese peasants working behind a landscape trapped inside prison walls, with birds of prey overhead. At the corner of the house, the Irrawaddy River of Burma meets the Allegheny River of Pittsburgh.” (http://cityofasylum.org/portfolio/pittsburgh-burma-house/)

*[The City of Asylum (COA) is an organization that offers sanctuary to writers in exile from their home countries due to their writing. In the Mexican War Streets area of the Central North Side you'll find several houses where these writers are able to start their new lives free of persecution while they continue to write. The exterior of these houses are adorned with public art that includes text. COA calls them “house publishing”. Right now there are four published houses on Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh.]

Atlantic Avenue view of the Empire State/Borden’s Dairy building in 2012.

Wall murals can be created in many media, and have been around for many decades. One in particular is my favorite, and is the logo of the "Tiles in New York" blog. These are the two ceramic tile wall murals that decorate the exterior of the Empire State Dairy building (now Royal Plastics) in the East New York section of Brooklyn.

For seventeen years I have been trying to get the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the large, exterior tile panels on the building in the hope that the murals would be protected. The LPC has been totally unresponsive over the years. These murals are probably the largest still-existing majolica tile panels created by the American Encaustic Tiling Company and its artistic director, Leon Solon. They are over one-hundred years old, and have survived in good condition probably because of their position on the building.

Two 1913 elevation drawings of the Empire State Dairy building showing the tile panels in the top drawing. (Photo taken by Michael Padwee and courtesy of the Royal Plastic Company)

The building is not exceptional in and of itself; it is an early-20th-century dairy distribution plant. It once did have a clocktower, according to the 1913 architectural drawings, and the tile panels were also part of the original drawings. The building’s address is 2840-44 Atlantic Avenue, and it is between Barbey Street and Schenck Avenue. The architect was Otto Strack*, who was well-known by the time he moved to New York from Milwaukee.

*[Otto Strack (d. 1935) was born in Roebel, Germany, near Hamburg. While in Germany Strack “learned the blacksmith and mason trades. [He] studied architecture in Berlin and Vienna. In 1881 he immigrated to Chicago, and [...in 1886] he opened his own office.” (Melanie Anke and Zlatko Sadikovic, eds., “Germans Build Milwaukee” in Jennifer Watson Schumacher, German Milwaukee, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC, 2009, p. 22)  Strack “...came to Milwaukee in 1888... . [...His] greatest achievement in [Milwaukee was] the Pabst Theater[, then known as the Stadt Theater]. Funded by Frederick Pabst, Strack created a theater reminiscent of the German Renaissance Revival style with apparent baroque influence.” Other Strack-designed buildings in Milwaukee were the Blatz Hotel and the Kalvelage mansion. (Melanie Anke and Zlatko Sadikovic, eds., “Germans Build Milwaukee” in Jennifer Watson Schumacher, German Milwaukee, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC, 2009, pp. 9, 27)  He left Milwaukee to pursue his career in New York City. In New York he designed the nine-story Pabst Hotel in Times Square with Henry Kilburn, the Pabst Grand Central, a restaurant on Columbus Circle, and the Pabst Harlem, another restaurant, among other buildings. Strack was the President of the Strack Realty Corporation when he died. (“Otto Strack Dies; A Noted Architect”, The New York Times, October 12, 1935, p. L17 and Christopher Gray, “Streetscapes/Readers Questions”, The New York Times, December 1, 1996; http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/01/realestate/a-small-hotel-a-mock-battleship-and-the-titanic.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A11%22%7D)]

A much smaller building on the Southwest corner of Atlantic and Schenck Avenues housed the Empire State Dairy up until 1912-13. The new Empire State Dairy building added to the dairy by spanning “...the length of Atlantic Avenue between Schenck [Avenue] and Barbey Street, [and] is really a series of buildings, not one. There are four separate buildings facing Atlantic, as well as one other block spanning building just behind these. It’s quite a large complex.” (Montrose Morris, “Building of the Day: 2840 Atlantic Avenue”; http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2012/07/building-of-the-day-2840-atlantic-avenue/)

This rare postcard view comes from the Brian Merlis archives. (http://www.brooklynpix.com) It shows the southwest corner of Atlantic and Schenck Avenues, with Schenck on the right hand side of this view. The postcard was used as part of “The East New York Project” (http://www.tapeshare.com) started by Riccardo Gomes. (Photo from Tapeshare's East New York Community)

There are two tile panels consisting of 68, 9” or 12” polychromed, high relief, majolica tiles; 5 tiles across by 13 down with 3 tiles in a bottom 14th row; manufactured by the American Encaustic Tiling Co. of Zanesville, OH. The panels are situated near the top of the building and are separated by three large window bays.

The tile with the company signature is the bottom left tile in the panel above and reads:

1st line: possibly "Made by"
2nd line: "the A E Tile Co"
3rd line: "__ E 4_ St"
4th line: "New York"

A 1912 American Encaustic Tiling Co. catalog places the offices of the company at 16 East 41st Street, Manhattan. (In the 1920s the facade of this building was covered with polychrome AET Company tiles and faience. Last year the remaining tiles and faience were stripped off by the current owners, possibly to avoid becoming a City landmarked site.)

It looks like this building and its murals are now facing a crisis. A local Brooklyn real estate blog reported the following in late January:

"Two of East New York’s Historic Structures Threatened by Rezoning, City Report Reveals

As city agencies and community members continue to weigh the pros and cons of the East New York rezoning plan, the New York City Department of City Planning earlier this month released the final environmental impact statement, shedding light on the proposal’s potential effects on some of the area’s most landmark-eligible structures.

City Planning voted 12 to 1 Wednesday to approve the rezoning plan. Next, the matter will come for a vote by the City Council.

While a rezoning of East New York concerns neighborhood residents who value threatened landmarks and fear their rents will rise post-development, it would allow the mayor to create thousands of new residential units and neighborhood amenities.

Released on February 12, this Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) details various consequences of implementing the plan. Overall, the FEIS found that no overwhelmingly negative impacts would result from the proposed rezoning — there would be an increase in residential, commercial, and community space without displacing existing land uses.

However, the nabe could see a temporary shortage of school seats and childcare facilities, and a few important historic structures could be affected.

...the Empire State Dairy Building at 2840 Atlantic Avenue — a Medieval German-inspired factory building completed in 1915 — could be “demolished or substantially altered” if the structure is not soon designated as a landmark. The site has already been deemed eligible for landmarking, but it is not yet protected.

These two structures — the Empire State Dairy Building and the Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church — face the greatest threat of any historic buildings in the area... ." (Hannah Frishberg, "Two of East New York’s Historic Structures Threatened by Rezoning, City Report Reveals", Brownstonerhttp://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2016/02/east-new-york-rezoning-historic-landmark-402-glenmore-2840-atlantic-avenue/?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=02-25-2016&utm_source=Brownstoner+Daily&utm_campaign=580930121e-BrownstonerV3_Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e1fdd038e1-580930121e-16621605&mc_cid=580930121e&mc_eid=c162dcab64)

"The mural[, painted in 1988, destroyed in 1996,] covers the entire south wall - 70 feet high and 85 feet wide -of the building at 410 West Street owned by the Pathfinder Press, whose policy is to publish the writings of 'outstanding working-class and revolutionary leaders.'" (Quote from: http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/07/arts/7-story-village-mural-of-stars-of-the-left.html; Photo from: http://www.lalutta.org/images/alewitz/8.html)

As noted above, there are many more wall murals throughout Brooklyn, as well as throughout the larger city. They probably cannot all be known to us because many disappear so quickly--such as the "Pathfinder" mural. Those created by community groups are likely to be known more widely and protected from vandalism and predatory developers. We hope that photographic and documentary records are being made of as many murals as possible.

For a truly international taste of wall murals, Robbie Hood, an Australian who has an excellent blog which I follow--Ceramics and Pottery Arts and Resources, just posted an article about wall art, titled "Mural Street Art". I highly recommend it, as well as his blog.

My thanks to Joni Rabinowitz and John Haer for the tour of the wall art of Pittsburgh. Also, my thanks to the owner and workers at Royal Plastics in Brooklyn for allowing me to photograph (in about 2000 and again in 2012) and publish the architectural drawings of the Empire State Dairy building.

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