The storied and popular Chinatown block, Doyers Street, has once again been transformed by a vibrant mural spanning its 4,851 square feet.
The 200-foot stretch, between Pell Street and Bowery, was once known as "the Bloody Angle" from the amount of gang violence centered there in the early 20th century. Now, it's covered by "Rice Terraces" by Chilean-born street artist Dasic Fernández.
The multi-colored mural was painted across three-and-a-half days using 44 colors as part of the DOT's "Asphalt Art Activations," which works with artists and the Chinatown BID/Partnership to create large-scale murals onto pedestrianized public spaces.
The mural, which appeared to be 3D at points, draws inspiration from rice cultivation terraces—one of the most common landscapes seen throughout China.
"Dasic’s vibrant, abstract landscape helps visitors navigate through the winding street and creates a welcoming and uplifting atmosphere for local businesses and passersby utilizing the Open Street," the DOT says.
"We used the Anamorfism technique to be able to create a 3D experience. If people look from the corner of Pell Street or Bowery, one can see how the shapes transform into volumes," Fernández said. "I wanted to create a design that can be integrated into its environment."
The street was last painted in 2019 by Artist Dan Monteavaro aka #MONCHO1929, who did geometric patterns called "Connected Stories" across the street. In July of 2018, artist Chen Dongfan created a flying dragon for "A Song of Dragon and Flowers."
In the past, businesses on the street weren't happy about these murals because the street had to be closed off to traffic for garbage pickup. The DOT remedied this right away—for the past three years, Doyers Street is completely pedestrian-only in the late summer and early fall. From 10am to 9pm, it's closed to traffic, allowing for overnight and early morning deliveries. During the 2018 Seasonal Street, Doyers Street saw a 111% increase in pedestrian activity and 69% of businesses saw an increase in foot traffic, the DOT says.
"We are very impressed by the speed in which this artistic team was able to accomplish this mural, allowing that much more time for the community and the public to enjoy this great outdoor setting," said Wellington Chen, the executive director of the Chinatown BID/Partnership. "This colorful and delightful tapestry is also reflective of how food and rice have historically been grown in our culture by terracing in difficult terrains and why the greeting of 'Have you eaten yet?' is our normal way of greeting one another. Now, it is time to invite everyone to come on down!"
"Rice Terraces" will be up for the next 11 months, weather permitting.