Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project
NYC Parks partnered with local community organizations and City agencies to paint jersey barriers that were placed on Shore Front Parkway from Beach 74th to Beach 107th Streets to protect pedestrians and bicyclists in the absence of the Rockaway boardwalk, which was significantly damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
About the Project
The Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project is the longest mural in New York City, covering a 1.5 mile stretch of road along the beach in Rockaway, Queens. NYC Parks invited artists and designers to envision the surface of these ordinary barriers as canvases for art. Members of the community helped to select the top three designs that grace the surface of these barriers and paint the murals.
This project was made possible thanks to a partnership between NYC Parks and the NYC Department of Transportation, the Community Affairs Unit (CAU) of the Office of the Mayor, NYC Service, and community groups, including the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, Rockaway Artists Alliance, and Friends of Rockaway Beach. Benjamin Moore generously donated 420 gallons of paint to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City for this initiative.
Volunteer and Staff Support
The murals were painted by over 250 volunteers and NYC Parks Staff, including members of the Jamaica Bay / Rockaway Parks Restoration Corps. The murals – more than 37,000-square feet – were painted by hand over a 12-day period in July 2013.
NYC Parks received over submissions from more than 50 artists for the Rockaway Barrier Beautification Project. The Rockaway community selected the three winning designs, each of which is inspired by the beachfront, including the waves and ocean, surfers, and seagulls.
Jade Chan, In Flight
Jade Chan’s piece for the Rockaway barrier is called In Flight. When she visited Rockaway Beach, she was inspired by the warmth, the sun and the colors that jumped out at her from the sky, water and sand. The sound of the surf and the breeze upon her skin was exhilarating. She observed the birds in flight and thought how free and liberating this vision was. In Flight represents the freedom and strength of the human spirit.
John Garcia, Untitled
As a surf regular of Rockaway beach, John Garcia hopes to pay tribute to Rockaway beach’s surf culture for his barrier project. He plans to paint images of Rockaway surfers riding waves, along with the birds that often keep us company on the water and on the shore. These images of birds and surfers will sit on top of an aquatic abstract back drop that captures the mystery and beauty of the ocean. The barrier will also include the text “welcome to rockaway” as an invitation for others to experience the waves and serenity of Rockaway Beach.
Patty Harris, Ride the Wave
Patty Harris has created animations of floods and is fascinated by the way water moves. From this experience of looking closely at the sea, she has pulled a few simple forms that suggest the movement and pattern of a wave. For the Shore Parkway, Patty would like to paint the bike barriers with shapes that express the undulating movement of a wave. She would add curved shapes that hold water of a slightly different color—just as actual water displays a range of hues. To this rhythmical simple pattern, she would add the silhouetted forms of surfers at the crest of the wave.