Grand Central Terminal Dining Concourse West
Grand Central Revealed: Photographs of the west façade
In a new series of eight photographs commissioned by MTA Arts & Design for the Lightbox program, fine-art photographer and NYU SPS Instructor Lynn Saville captures a unique moment at 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue in New York’s ever-changing architectural landscape. For the first time in nearly a century, the western façade of Grand Central Terminal has been revealed to uninterrupted, sweeping view. Five buildings spanning an acre-size city block were demolished to prepare for the construction of One Vanderbilt, a 1,401 foot office tower due to be completed in 2020. The new building makes several concessions to Grand Central Station, including setting back its foundation by a few feet to allow a better view of the station, and mimicking some of its materials and patterns in its construction.
Lynn Saville specializes in photographing “the boundary times between night and day” such as early morning or in the evening. The images in this series show dappled light refracted from nearby glass skyscrapers, creating patterns of light on stone and pedestrians passing by. The train terminal juxtaposed with the Chrysler building creates iconic imagery of historic Beaux Arts and Art Deco monuments, underlined by the One Vanderbilt foundation site, the architecture of the future. Visiting multiple times at dawn, midday, and dusk, from different heights in nearby buildings and on the ground, Saville skillfully captures the changing light across the western face of the terminal, and the humans that that activate the space during classic New York City rush hour, as well as at quiet moments of everyday life. Saville’s photographs are published in three monographs, and her newest book, Dark City: Urban America at Night, was published in 2015.
Dates of Public Art Exhibition: June 2017 – June 2020
Whatever happened to 5Pointz in Queens? A Surprise Decision in a Landmark Case
New Yorkers may remember the industrial complex called 5Pointz in Long Island City that was covered in over 50 colorful spray-painted murals. The graffiti attracted tourists and local residents alike, helping to transform the neighborhood into a cultural destination. The murals were suddenly whitewashed before being torn down in 2014 to make way for new luxury apartments. In November, a Brooklyn jury decided that real estate developer Jerry Wolkoff broke the law by violating the Visual Artists Rights Act, which protects public art of “recognized stature” on someone’s property. The suit was filed by the 21 artists who painted at 5pointz and who claimed the developer failed to give them a 90-day notice and thus took away any opportunity to salvage the artwork. They made the case that the work street artists create has the right to be appreciated and treated like any other art. Art adviser and SPS instructor Renee Vara, who was an expert witness in the case, said “This is a win for artists’ rights all across the country. This is a win for the visual artists and their protection under VARA… This is a clear message by the people that the whitewash was a cruel willful act and Jerry Wolkoff was held accountable.” The jury’s decision addresses an important debate about whether graffiti should be protected by federal law and has important implications for other murals, street art, and development projects.
Resources for Historic Preservation-Related News
Historic Districts Council: http://hdc.org/
New York Preservation Archive Project: http://www.nypap.org/
New York Landmarks Conservancy: http://www.nylandmarks.org/
Washington Square Blog: http://www.washingtonsquareparkblog.com/
Art Deco Society of New York: http://artdeco.org/