‘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This image has been archived or removed.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

After Years of Vacancy, Ernesto’s Spanish Restaurant Opening on East Broadway

Way down East Broadway, at the corner of Montgomery Street, an upscale corner tenant is entering the fray. This after five years of apparent on-and-off storefront warehousing by a controversial landlord. Eater had the scoop last week, revealing that Quality Eats executive chef, Ryan Bartlow, is opening a new restaurant here at 259 East Broadway. […]

Post-It Solidarity in Chinatown for Hong Kong Protesters

The splintered plywood on the perimeter of 282-286 Grand Street is now a makeshift statement of solidarity with protesters in Hong Kong. Within the last few days, a display of colorful Post-It notes appeared atop the weather-worn flybills, each with a message in Chinese or English. The stunt includes two small baskets stocked with stickies […]

Iconic Tofu Shop Returned to Chinatown over the Weekend

Two years after Fong Inn Too closed its doors, the family that runs the iconic tofu shop is back. Albeit in a new form and location. Paul Eng, part of the family that’s run the business since 1933, debuted Fong On over the weekend at 81 Division Street, which is just a few blocks away […]

Shear Luck: FRED Salon Finds Refuge in the East Village

Another retail victim to report on upper Orchard Street. The FRED.nyc hair salon is now gone. According to signage on the shuttered security gate at 192 Orchard, the five-year-old business recently relocated to the East Village. The move to 40 East Third Street was a long time coming for eponymous owner Fred Connors, who braved […]

Grand Street Guild Files Plans for 15-Story Affordable Housing Tower

New towers are coming to Broome Street on the Lower East Side. Now we have sight of the first newcomer. Back in January of 2018, the Grand Street Guild nonprofit officially announced the imminent construction of two, as-of-right 15-story apartments on its property, plus a parking garage. All 400 of the proposed units are earmarked […]