Canal-Hudson-Tunnel-Tribeca-NYC-Untapped Cities-Nasha VirataAn entrance at the intersection of Canal and Varick Streets

Canal Street ranks as one of the busiest of New York’s thoroughfares. It connects Manhattan to both Brooklyn and New Jersey, via the Manhattan Bridge on the east and the Hudson Tunnel on the west, respectively. One of the city’s functionally named streets, the area was originally occupied by (you guessed it), a canal which was built in the early 19th century to replace Collect Pond as the central sewage system. Today the street bustles with outdoor vendors, knock-off designer watches and handbags, jewelry stores and traffic jams as it runs from the Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown, SoHo and Tribeca.

Yet tucked right in the middle of Canal, Laight and Varick streets, and sandwiched between Chinatown and the Hudson Tunnel, is an oasis of calm and peace (well, for Canal anyway).


View from Dinosaur BBQ with The Cotton Club on the East side of the viaduct

We love art in public places and this weekend, as part of NYCxDesign Week, we got a sneak preview of the art installations going up underneath the 125th Street viaduct, near Twelfth Avenue in Harlem. REPURPOSE – A Public Art Intervention is the first of a three part installation curated by Savona Bailey-McClain of the West Harlem Art Fund, who is no stranger to some of our favorite art in public places. We followed her underneath the viaduct onto Twelfth Avenue, where we found a small restaurant row and a lot of activity within steps of the Hudson River Pier.  (more…)

A ballerina caught mid-leap, triathletes preparing for the next round, and a big apple. Public art fills New York, and these are three out of a seven piece temporary installation at Riverside Park South on view until May 15. The third in a five-part partnership between the Art Students League and the New York Parks Department, the theme of this year’s Model 2 Monument, also called M2M, is on “the public square: role and responsibility of the artist.”

Each piece showcases the artist’s individual point of view and style. Yet together, the exhibit works as a celebration of public space. Beginning at West 60th and continuing up to West 69th Street, the works explore themes such as environmental responsibility, the city’s diverse mix of cultural activities, and New York as a melting pot.

1. Frolicking Stray by John N. Erianne

Art Students League Ballerina Lincoln Center


Faith Ringgold's commissioned piece, 'Groovin High', for the High Line

Faith Ringgold describes herself as a painter, writer, speaker, mixed media sculptor and performance artist.  But she is probably best known for her story quilts and illustrated children’s books.  Raised in Harlem, her artistic focus and inspiration was on the fabric of her community, racial conflicts, the female view of the civil rights movement, inequality for women, and in particular, focusing on African-American women in their efforts to have their work recognized and admitted into galleries and museums.  (more…)

Keith Haring pop shop Soho NYC Untapped CitiesKeith Haring in the Pop Shop. Photo via the Keith Haring Foundation

Even now, more than twenty years after his death, Keith Haring remains a symbol of New York City’s street art scene. Haring came to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts in 1978 and quickly immersed himself in the city’s alternative art scene, befriending Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf and Andy Warhol. While he experimented with video, installation, collage and performance art, his true talent lay in his line paintings.

Over time, he came to be known for his distinctive style using bold, heavy lines, simple shapes and figures, and bright colors. In the ’80s, Haring gained international recognition, but he never stopped giving back to the community, creating many public murals around the world. Since Sunday, May 4 is his birthday, we’re looking at the work Haring left behind for New Yorkers to enjoy. Had he lived, he would have been turning 56 years old.


This year on the Park Avenue Mall is Alice Aycock’s ‘Park Avenue Paper Chase’

There are more then daffodils popping up in our parks and public spaces.  Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite public art pieces so far this season that we think you should check out this month!