Former precinct stationhouse becomes gallery for graffiti writers

A former police precinct stationhouse located at 327 East 22nd Street became home to an exhibit of graffiti and street art that opened last Thursday. Fifty artists participated in the show, which will be open again this weekend. (Photo by Jowy Romano.)

A former police precinct stationhouse located at 327 East 22nd Street became home to an exhibit of graffiti and street art that opened last Thursday. Fifty artists participated in the show, which will be open again this weekend. (Work by Pesu/Photo by Jowy Romano.)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A former police precinct is probably the last place one would expect to find rooms plastered in graffiti and street art, but one local organization took to the walls of the former 21st Precinct at 327 East 22nd Street and covered the space in art.

Art collective Outlaw Arts collaborated with a group of about 50 graffiti writers and street artists who have been tagging, spraying and wheatpasting inside the four floors of the building for the previous three weeks.

Curated by Rob Aloia of Outlaw Arts and street art publication VNA Mag, the show features work from Elle, Pixote, RAE, Smells, Ghost, RAMBO, Sheryo and The Yok, Lexi Bella, Esteban del Valle, Li Hill, Vexta, Never, Mr. Toll, Faust and others. The work debuted in a private opening last Thursday and was open to the public on both days last weekend.

According to New York-based blog Daytonian in Manhattan, the East 22nd Street building was the former home of the neighborhood’s police precinct in the late 1800s before the area was renumbered the 13th and moved to East 21st Street. It has, until recently, functioned as a foster care group residence for LGBTQ young people.

The building’s current developer, Suzuki Capital, is planning to demolish the building at the end of the month but in the meantime, allowed the artists to freely decorate the walls, like an indoor version of Five Points. Unfortunately, as is also the case with Five Points, the art will soon be gone when the building is torn down to make way for more luxury condos.

The exhibit will be open one final weekend, August 30 to 31, from 1 to 6 p.m. both days.

Click through for more photos from the exhibit. (All photos by Jowy Romano.)

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 21

That moment when you’re hit by a Citi Bike

After a visit to Chinatown on a recent Sunday afternoon, I was walking north along the river to Waterside, my home. I stayed close to the railing since I am 77 years of age and wanted to avoid being hit by distractions: bikes, skateboarders, etc.

I was enjoying the estuary’s sea air when something hit the back of my left knee with a bang and sent me flying into the air. My glasses flew off, my shoulder bag left my body and I landed with a heavy thud on my lower back and thought, “It is over, I will never walk again.”

I have osteoporosis, arthritis and all the muscular ailments that beset 77-year-olds. As I lay on the ground, I slowly turned my head to my left and saw the wheels of a bicycle. After the initial shock, I began to slowly move my body as I had learned to do as a fitness/health instructor. I saw a bicycle lying beside me and then saw a bicyclist, a young man, standing beside his bike looking shaken.

He said, “I am so sorry, I am so sorry.”

I slowly managed to get up off the ground and when I was on my knees, I groped around for my glasses. He waited until I had my glasses and again apologized. I told him I had to call the police to report the accident since I was afraid I had really damaged my body. He said, “Do not do that. I was not looking and did not see you. I am sorry.”

When I asked him his name he began to shake and said, “I am from Hong Kong.” He then picked the bike off the ground and took off on his Citi Bike. I knew the bike had a number so I looked at the back of the bike for its number. There wasn’t any. I later learned the bike numbers are on the sides of the bike and not the back.

The incident happened near the toilets along the East River esplanade so I slowly, like a beaten animal, limped over, washed up and very slowly, psychologically and physically, limped towards home. At home, I took all the precautionary measures to help my body heal.

The following day, I called Citi Bike to tell them about the incident. They informed me that they are not responsible. If I had a police report and the bicycle number, Citi Bike would then contact the cardholder of the Citi Bike.

I suggested to Citi Bike: the bicycle numbers should be placed on the backs of the bikes as well as the sides so one could follow through if one is accidentally hit by a Citi Bike, especially if the bicyclist takes off.

Arpine Dod,
Waterside Plaza

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