Stroll Past All “Walks of Life” in Lower Manhattan
Who are the faces of Lower Manhattan? Come find out at 37 Warren Street, where the Alliance for Downtown New York unveiled its thirtieth Re:Construction installation, Walks of Life, which illustrates the countless faces found around the streets of Lower Manhattan.
“As part of our program to recast construction sites as canvasses for innovative public art and architecture. Walks of Life reflects the many distinct faces of Lower Manhattan’s 56,000 residents, 309,000 workers and 9 million annual visitors,” said Elizabeth H. Berger, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York.
Walks of Life, by Claire Johnson, captures the diverse faces of Lower Manhattan and portrays the mix of cultures, ages, genders and styles that can be seen at any given time at the intersection of Church Street and Warren Street. In this collection of moments frozen in time, the viewer can feel the vivaciousness and energy of New York City presented as a single snapshot. The project is located at 37 Warren Street, an 18-unit luxury residential condominium development.
“The inspiration for Walks of Life came from the unique mix of people who live in downtown Manhattan, specifically in Tribeca,” said artist Claire Johnson. “I wanted to represent an extended community of people from all different walks of life in an image that layers them together with each other and with art, fashion and nature — a representation of how we as New Yorkers are layered together into communities, neighborhoods and the city itself.”
Claire Johnson is a UK designer based in New York City. Influenced by the cultures and aesthetics from her travels throughout Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia, Claire is first and foremost a collector of interesting people and places. Her work exhibits a global sensitivity and optimism on the urban environment. Exploring the interaction between culture and place in an urban setting has led Claire into the realms of advertising, branding, graphic design, and web design. Kurt Langer of Colab Projects is the curator for Walks of Life.
Last week, the Downtown Alliance installed its 29th Re:Construction piece, Water Movements, at the site of the future Pearl Street Playground. Located at Fulton and Pearl Streets, this piece was previously installed last year across the street at the now completed Titanic Park, but had to be removed due to high winds.
In Water Movements, artist Lordy Rodriguez uses the language and pattern of cartography to make drawings of imaginary terrain. He explores a body of water’s ever-changing relationship to its environment, inventing a river that snakes around frozen lakes with tributaries that look like capillaries over a variety of topographies.
Water Movements at Pearl Street Playground
In June 2010, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation began the reconstruction of Pearl Street playground, the area’s third park along the transformative Fulton Street Corridor. This new playground is one of several downtown public spaces and parks being rebuilt thanks to funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC).
Also funded by a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Re:Construction is a public art program produced by the Downtown Alliance. Engaging, thoughtful and whimsical, the temporary artworks are creating colorful landmarks and brightened streetscapes as they help mitigate the impact of Downtown’s numerous building projects. The program began in 2007 and has produced now 30 installations, including Walks of Life and Water Movements. Approximately half of these pieces are still up for viewing.
Previous Re:Construction projects – which you can learn more about at http://www.downtownny.com/programs/reconstruction – have been installed at:
- Liberty and Church Streets: Men at Work*
- Broadway and John Street: Corbin Building Architectural Rendering*
- Canal and Varick Streets, LentSpace: half awake, half asleep*
- 55 Liberty Street: Monk Parakeets with Mourning Doves and Red Wings*
- Nassau and Fulton Streets: Sour Gum Tree: Seasonal Glory*
- 24 John Street: Drift*
- Hubert Street between Washington and Hudson Street: Aquatic Dream
- Grand and Lafayette streets: Downtown Dogs*
- 50 West Street: Life, Actually*
- Hudson Street between Franklin Street and Ericsson Place: Star Sun Burst*
- W Hotel New York – Downtown: Hours of the Day
- Chambers Street: Secret Gardens*
- Fiterman Hall: Restore the View*
- Titanic Park, Fulton and Pearl streets: Water Movements
- East River Waterfront Esplanade, South Street: Fence Embroidery with Embellishment*
- 99 Church Street: Walking Men 99*
- 56 Leonard Street: Rendering Leonard
- West Thames Park, Battery Park City: It Takes Time to Turn a Space Around
- Hudson River Park: Botanizing on the Asphalt*
- 99 Washington Street: Flying Animals*
- 50 Trinity Place: Poster Project at 50 Trinity
- Louise Nevelson Plaza, Maiden Lane and William Street: Rainbow Conversation
- AIG building, 175 Water Street: Green Gate, Summer
- Street reconstruction site at Houston and Broadway: Houston Fence
- Goldman Sachs headquarters, 200 West Street: Untitled
- Fulton Street Transit Center, John Street at Broadway: Best Pedestrian Route
- Fulton Street reconstruction site, between Broadway and Nassau: Fulton Fence
Fulton Street Transit Center, Broadway between Ann and John streets:
* Currently up for viewing
The Downtown Alliance additionally is installing temporary signage— also funded through the LMDC as part of the Re:Construction program– to help visitors to Lower Manhattan navigate around construction sites. In the last several weeks, such wayfinding – featuring Downtown Alliance maps – has been installed at 26 Federal Plaza and 50 Trinity Place. The Downtown Alliance previously has installed wayfinding at Broadway and Dey Street, and Broadway and Fulton Street.
Re:Construction is just one of the ways the Downtown Alliance is promoting the area. Recently, the non-profit issued the State of Lower Manhattan 2011 report – www.downtownny.com/solm – to provide a comprehensive review of the district’s remarkable economic and demographic changes, leasing, development, and market trends over the last decade.