If it ever feels like construction never ends here in New York City, that’s because sometimes it really doesn’t— like what started out as a much-needed infrastructure upgrade along a busy Upper East Side avenue and has turned into a longtime eyesore as the project delays mount. Now, the site is set to get a glow up thanks to some UES students.
“I am excited to give local students an opportunity to give back to their community and ameliorate an eyesore sight for many residents in our area,” said Council Member Julie Menin, announcing the new neighborhood beautification initiative.
Construction has been underway on the nearly three block stretch of York Avenue between East 61st and 63rd Streets for almost seven years, according to Upper East Side City Council Member Julie Menin, starting in late 2015 to repair and replace water mains and sewers in that area.
Unfortunately, Menin says delays from private utility companies— which need to relocate their infrastructure for the project to proceed— have caused the project to languish, pushing the completion date back to 2024.
Since the eyesore has at least another two years in the neighborhood, Council Member Menin’s Office has teamed up with the NYC Department of Design and Construction, or DDC, who is in charge of the project and public school students at PS 183, located on East 66th Street, not far from the construction site.
“Giving these students a public arts project is a constructive way for our youth to express their imagination and to be creative,” Menin explained.
About 50 fifth graders from PS 183 will create panels of artwork with the theme ‘Scenes from the City,’ Menin says, which will be used to surround the ugly construction fencing and tarps occupying a traffic lane and half of the sidewalk on York Avenue between East 61st and 63rd Streets.
“We encourage students to think hard about New York City and what it means to them,” said DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley, “the values it represents and the healthy lifestyle choices it promotes for both for personal and environmental health.”
“It is exciting to have a city council member who has the foresight to turn an eyesore into an enriching learning experience,” said Judy Schneider, East Sixties Neighborhood Association Executive Vice President.
The student artwork will be unveiled during a ceremony later this fall, however, a date has not yet been set.
“I can’t wait for the community to see this project,” Menin added.