New City Mural Has 'Too Much Pink,' Gripe Kips Bay Residents

By Heather Holland on April 25, 2013 8:43am 

KIPS BAY — Local residents say there is such a thing as too much pink.

The Department of Transportation recently installed a bright pink mural on a bike-lane barrier at Waterside Plaza in the hopes of beautifying the neighborhood — but residents say they should've been consulted about the project before the blocks-long piece was installed.

"We find...the colors very disconcerting," said Janet Handal, president of the Waterside Tenants Association. “This is our front yard. Neither the residents of Waterside nor the general manager were consulted or notified about this painting, yet we have to live with it every day.”

Peter Davis, general manager of Waterside Plaza, confirmed that management hadn't received prior notice from the city before the mural was installed.

The barrier — a 400-foot concrete strip that runs from 25th to 27th street between the FDR Drive and Waterside Plaza — was given a paint job over the past weekend, as a part of the DOT’s Urban Art program, according to a spokeswoman for the agency.

The barrier was painted solid pink on Friday morning, and then an intricate scene of ducks swimming in front of a pink skyline appeared on top of it the next day, Handal explained.

In reaction to the change of scenery, many Waterside resident said they were confused about the color choice.

“I don’t like it,” said Amita Agarwal, a 29-year-old resident of the complex. “It’s too much pink. There should be some reason for it, but there just isn’t.”

Residents get the best glimpse of the overall design from a footbridge that leads from Asser Levy Place to the complex, but the details of the design can't be seen from far away, Handal noted.

“When you cross the footbridge, you see this is very prominent,” she said. “But the scale is wrong, and you can’t make out what it is [from the footbridge]. The colors are discordant. Artistically, it is not a good choice.”

The design, titled Damsgård and created by international artists Oyvind Renberg and Miho Shimzu, was installed by the artists and a number of volunteers on Saturday, according to a DOT statement.

The work depicts a residential area of Bergen, Norway, that is known for beautiful mountain views and the rococo Damsgård manor, the statement said.

The DOT’s Urban Art program works with artists to bring their designs to unexpected places, the DOT spokeswoman said.

"DOT's Barrier Beautification program transforms these structures from standard traffic safety elements into vibrant canvases for art that help reinvigorate the city's in-between spaces," according to DOT's description of the project on its website.

Aside from the design, residents said the color choices could've represented the local neighborhood better.

“I wouldn’t have picked pink," said Anthony Polcino, a 27-year-old resident of Waterside. "[I might have picked] blue for waterside. That makes more sense."

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