Client: NYC Dept of Parks and Recreation & Storefront for Art and Architecture
Location: New York, NY, United States
Completion date: 1998
Artwork budget: $100,000
Public Art Agent
New York Dept. of Parks & Recreation
The existing 7000 square foot park is located at the intersection of Lafayette and Kenmare streets at the threshold between Chinatown, Little Italy and Soho. The proposed framework of cables and columns provides an ideal structure for a variety of community interventions.
The design creates a programmatic, cultural and spatial connection between Lt. Petrosino Park and its surroundings. A hanging garden extends from the facades of the surrounding buildings to a series of columns within the park. Neighboring residents are invited to participate directly from their windows in selecting, growing and planting the flowering vines and ivy which constitute the garden.
The Italian community may decorate the columns and cables with shimmering lights during the San Gennaro Festival or Christmas, while the Chinese could use the park for hanging elaborately colored lanterns or dragons during the Chinese New Year festivities. During the summer local artists may hang projection screens for film and video festivals or create sculptural works that use the columns as a structural base.
By using the sky plane as a garden, the design reduces noise and air pollution to the surrounding residences, puts planting out of the reach of vandals and adds a whole new level of interest from the ground level. Spatially the pergola serves to integrate the streets, sidewalks and building facades into the park, creating a kind of giant exterior room whose walls, floor, and ceiling are alive with the energy of the community. This is a living park, transformed each season by the imagination of its users.