By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It started as storm debris and ended up as a Valentine to New York City.
Boardwalk lumber from Long Beach, Sea Girt and Atlantic City -- salvaged after Superstorm Sandy – was used to create the 30-foot heart-shaped art installation “Heartwalk,” on view now at the Pearl Street Triangle in DUMBO.
Situ Studio, a DUMBO art studio at 20 Jay Street, was originally commissioned to create the piece for Times Square as the winner of the annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design.
After gathering wreckage from the storm, Situ Studio removed screws and nails, trimmed off splintered chunks, planed the boards and assembled the artwork.
Moved to DUMBO on Monday, Heartwalk sits right on top of another artwork –- a colorful mural created last year by the artist David Ellis entitled “PST.”
The DUMBO Improvement District and the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) brought the work to an artsy neighborhood that experienced significant devastation from Superstorm Sandy.
More than a dozen businesses and art spaces suffered more than $4 million in damages, according to DUMBO Improvement District, and several families saw their apartments washed out by the surge. Afterwards, DUMBO residents and businesses participated in community clean-ups and fundraising spearheaded by the DUMBO Improvement District, which raised more than $60,000 for local grants.
Almondine, a popular French bakery that suffered more than $300,000 in damages became the latest shop to reopen last week.
"We're so thrilled to host Heartwalk,” Alexandria Sica, Executive Director of the DUMBO Improvement District said in a statement. “As DUMBO continues to get back on its feet from Sandy, Heartwalk is a beautiful reminder of all of the support and love that embodied this community in the aftermath of the storm. Remarkable public art. Created locally. With a message of post-Sandy hope and healing.”
Wes Rozen of Situ Studio said, “It’s exciting to see Heartwalk set in another dynamic public space and the center of a neighborhood we’ve proudly called home for the past 10 years. Since Sandy we’ve closely watched our community rebuild and hope the installation will complement the spirited recovery.”
“Heartwalk may have debuted on a major ‘artery’ of Times Square, but now ‘leaves its heart’ right here in DUMBO,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz.
Heartwalk will be on view through April 30, and can be seen from the Manhattan Bridge bicycle lane. The DUMBO Improvement District is encouraging visitors to stand in the center of the heart – and couples are asked to tweet and instagram pictures using #DUMBOHeartwalk @DUMBOBID.
For more about Heartwalk, see http://dumbo.is/blog_posts/heartwalk-spreads-the-love-at-the-pearl-street-triangle
Denizens of DUMBO are watching as Brooklyn artist David Ellis transforms the famously green swath of art and benches into a multi-colored mural. Thursday was Day 1 of a four- or five-day art project.