‘History Tribute Fence’ on Delancey is Now Lined with ‘Babel Blocks’ that Celebrate Diversity of NYC

Posted on: June 30th, 2014 at 10:00 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

Once the Essex Crossing really gets going, it’ll submerge the Lower East Side in a lenghty period of construction hell. Probably for at least a decade. There’s no real way to soften the sight of the imminent blight, but the Lower East Side BID is trying nonetheless.

Exactly a year ago, the BID unveiled its plans to create a “History Tribute Fence” to line the newly-created Delancey Plaza (at Suffolk Street). It’s a high-traffic area that’s exposed to approximately 111,000 vehicles crossing the Williamsburg Bridge daily. Artist submissions were sought, and ultimately Laurene Leon Boym came out victor.

Boym’s “Babel Blocks” now decorate the fences between Suffolk and Clinton Streets. These figurines are a collection of characters that celebrate the diversity of New York City. Installation should have happened sooner, but was plagued by delays. The sidewalk was cordoned off for approximately eight months for some infrastructural work. Apparently the vaults were caving in at the old trolley station beneath the roadway. Yes, where the Lowline hopes to put a park.

The Babel Blocks have names, too – meet Moishe, Nafisa, Mary, Chen, and Jose. Personification continues with a YouTube series.

As previously reported, the BID is in contract with the city to program Delancey Plaza for five years, with one-year renewal increments.

Recent Stories

Under Presure from Chinatown, Mayor Pledges $80M to Restore 70 Mulberry Street

The fire-scorched school building at 70 Mulberry Street will see life anew, thanks to massive city funding. Mayor de Blasio announced yesterday in his morning press briefing that the new budget contains a line item for $80 million dedicated to restoration of the historic building. Hizzoner spent a solid four minutes discussing how Chinatown was […]

Fearing COVID-19 Resurgence, De Blasio Halts Indoor Dining Indefinitely

Not so fast. Phase 3 of the reopening plan is slated to launch on Monday. However, it arrives without the resumption of indoor dining at bars and restaurants, as initially conceived. Mayor de Blasio announced the news at his morning presser yesterday, citing the nationwide surges of COVID-19 cases and the elevated dangers of indoor […]

When Rivington House Wouldn’t Clean its Garbage Mess, a Neighbor Stepped In

A Good Samaritan took responsibility where a multimillion-dollar hospital system would not. As previously reported, the outside of Rivington House – future home of Mount Sinai’s future Behavioral Health facility – essentially devolved into decrepitude with the accumulation of trash at the doorstep. Untouched for days on end. But one Lower East Sider took matters […]

Chillhouse Shutters Original Essex Street Spa

The list of coronavirus-related business closures is getting longer by the week. Today brings word that an Essex Street newcomer has bitten the dust. Chillhouse, a millennials-style spa at 149 Essex Street, is the latest to fall. Ownership announced the permanent shutter in an e-mail to customers Tuesday afternoon. “As we all know too well […]

Hamilton Fish Park Pool to Reopen by August 1

In an about-face, the city announced yesterday that at least fifteen public pools will reopen across the Five Boroughs. Included in the lucky list is the Hamilton Fish Park pool, known to locals as the “Pitt Pool.” But the cooldown will have to wait another month. The reopenings are scheduled for August 1, and are […]