A long-delayed Upper East Side street construction project is no longer a long term eyesore, thanks to the efforts of local students, City Council Member Julie Menin and NYC’s Department of Design and Construction.
Now in its seventh year, the formerly ugly construction site sitting along a nearly three block stretch of York Avenue between East 61st and 63rd Streets is now covered with artwork created by fifth graders from P.S. 183, located nearby on East 66th Street.
“The appearance of public spaces have a tremendous effect on our quality of life and there is no reason for children and families to continue to see a construction site in our community,”Council Member Julie Menin said Monday, announcing the art’s unveiling.
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Instead of ugly metal fencing, the construction site is now adorned with cityscapes, skylines, rainy days and even a New York Mets logo hand drawn by one of the roughly 60 fifth grade students who participated in the public art project.
The young artists were tasked with creating “Scenes from the City” or “What NYC means to you” for the showcase, which was printed and wrapped around the construction site as an aesthetic improvement for the longtime Lenox Hill eyesore.
“P.S. 183’s motto is Take Care of Each Other,” said Principal Martin Woodard, “Not only do we believe this applies to our school, we also understand the importance of taking care of our surrounding community.”
Construction began in late 2015 to repair and replace water mains and sewers in the area, according to Council Member Menin’s Office, however, 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.
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“While infrastructure projects represent progress, we recognize that they can impact communities while they’re in construction and we try to minimize those effects,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley, who added the agency was excited to beautify the site.
“My mother, who was a visual artist, instilled in me from a young age the importance of art and how it can improve people’s lives,” Menin explained, “I am thrilled to give P.S. 183 students a creative outlet to express themselves, while also helping the community.”
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