‘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
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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.

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