Arts & Cultural Sites
Davis tells us that when she meets young couples and families who have relocated to New Rochelle, the reasons they cite for relocating here are walkability, the character of the city’s downtown, the character of the city’s neighborhoods, and the arts scene. “We’ve always been a strong arts community,” says Davis, starting from painter Frederick Remington in the 19th century to pop artist Charles Fazzino today, whose main studio is located in New Rochelle just off Huguenot Street. In between, New Rochelle attracted actors, musicians, and many illustrators connected to Terry Toons, a rival company of Disney in animation. Historically, there has been a “groundswell of artists working here,” says Davis, “There’s a very good sense of the arts and support of the arts.”
“Stacked!” NRNY Sculptures
Earlier this year, the City of New Rochelle’s Municipal Arts Commission and Department of Development unveiled “Stacked!”, a series of fifteen fiberglass sculptures in the the shape of the “Ideally Yours” city logo which features the letters NRNY stacked atop each other.
Each NRNY sculpture was painted by different artists, selected through an open call around the country. The first two sculptures to be installed were by Charles Fazzino and his daughter Heather Fazzino at the intersection of North Avenue and Huguenot Street. Charles Fazzino’s piece looks at the history of artists in New Rochelle, featuring characters like Mighty Mouse and Woody the Woodpecker, which were created here at Terry Toons, as well as references to artists like Norman Rockwell, who lived in New Rochelle for 25 years. Heather Fazzino’s piece looks forward, using graffiti to portray some of the city’s main thoroughfares.
The “Stacked!” sculptures are part of the city’s self guided narration app on Otocast. You can hear the artists, including the Fazzinos talk about their work, through the app.
New Rochelle Walk of Fame
In Ruby Dee Park, the green space right in front of the New Rochelle Public Library, is the Walk of Fame. Here, you can find plaques of New Rochelle’s notable residents, including Lou Gehrig, Jay Leno, Norman Rockwell, film director Elia Kazan, Don Hewitt of “60 Minutes,” novelist E.L. Doctorow, Don Mclean (singer-songwriter, known for “American Pie”), composer Alan Menken, Walter Lanz (creator of Woody Woodpecker), and many more.
The interpretive signs have biographical information that showcase the illustrious history of New Rochelle’s famous residents. The park is named after actress and activist Ruby Dee, who is also featured in the Walk of Fame, along with her husband Ossie Davis, for whom the theater inside the New Rochelle Public Library is named after. They were two of the many Civil Rights activists that made New Rochelle home in the 1960s.
New Rochelle Post Office Murals
Built in the Art Moderne style, the New Rochelle Post Office features two large WPA-era murals by David Hutchinson, a New York City-based artist that tell the history of New Rochelle. One mural depicts the arrival of the Huguenots and the other shows the sale of the New Rochelle land tract from John Pell of Pelham Manor to the Huguenots. The post office is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, although its original terra cotta exterior (a rare material in United State post offices) was replaced with brick in the mid-20th century.