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Hell Gate Bridge Mural to Cover Graffiti-Plagued Underpass in Astoria

 Arts group 501(See)(Streets) is tackling a wall on 48th Street that's long been a target for vandals.
Mural on 48th Street and 25th Avenue
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ASTORIA — An arts organization is painting a mural of the Hell Gate Bridge on top of a graffiti-covered wall in the 48th Street underpass that's chronically been a target for vandals.

The nonprofit 501(See)(Streets) started painting the Amtrak underpass between 25th and 28th avenues on Friday and plans to finish the mural this week, according to director Noah Sheroff, who has led similar projects in Brooklyn and The Bronx.

"Our mission is basically to beautify neighborhoods through art," he said, noting the group works with local elected officials, business improvement districts and other organizations to identify places in the neighborhood that need a facelift.

The mural was designed by Kenji Takabayashi and will feature local landmarks like the Hell Gate Bridge off Astoria Park, as well as a street scene of the intersection of Steinway Street and 30th Avenue as it looked decades ago, based off a historical photo the artist found.

It will also include a rendering of the Jackson Hole Diner in East Elmhurst and its old "Air Line Diner" sign outside, made famous in the film "Goodfellas."

The underpass wall had been recommended to 501(See)(Streets) by Councilman Costa Constantinides and Congressman Joseph Crowley, both of whose offices had removed graffiti from there in the past.

"This wall has been tagged with graffiti on multiple occasions," Sheroff said. "Local community members actually came and thanked us, and wanted to know when we were going to do the other side, saying it's such an eyesore and they're happy to have something positive go up there."