The new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge bicycle and pedestrian path is being touted as the “Highline of the Hudson Valley,” thanks to 10 monumental artworks by eight emerging New York State artists, chosen through a statewide competitive process led by grassroots arts organizations in partnership with the New York Thruway Authority.
“The impressive works of art installed at each terminus of the bridge’s shared use path transform this twin crossing into a compelling destination for travelers to engage with the arts,” says Janet T. Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester, which served as administrator of the public art projects. “This public art walk is an opportunity for art-starved New Yorkers to enjoy new public art outdoors during the current pandemic.” The bridge’s 3.6-mile shared use path opened June 15 and is graced on the Westchester County entrance by the steel arches of Manhattan sculptor Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong’s “Current,” a sculptural installation that echoes the architecture of the bridge itself and references, in the design of its base, the decommissioned Tappan Zee Bridge.
The thruway authority made Bethlehem Steel reclaimed from the Tappan Zee available to artists. The steel is both a defining aesthetic and a symbolic ode to the bridge, which served the region from 1955 to 2017. According to Kathleen Reckling, ArtsWestchester’s project manager for the bridge art, “The collection of artworks pays homage to the past, elevates our collective progress towards the future and celebrates the unique stories of our region.” “Leaping Sturgeon” by Brooklyn artist Wendy Klemperer gives a nod to the mighty sturgeon that were once threatened with extinction from the river but were saved by conservation efforts. “Tappan Zee,” by Long Island City artist Ilan Averbuch, which consists of a stone canoe carried by seven abstracted figures, references the Hudson Valley’s indigenous peoples.
The vision to include public art on the pedestrian and bike path alongside the six creatively designed overlooks was seeded by ArtsWestchester, a leading proponent of creative placemaking and embraced by the thruway authority. Langsam noted, “This partnership demonstrates the power of public agencies working with grassroots arts organizations on infrastructure projects in their local communities.”
Artists commissioned for the project include Chris Soria, Nyack, whose “The Flux of Being” mural celebrates the rich biodiversity of the Hudson River Valley; Fitzhugh Karol, Brooklyn, whose sculpture “Approach” incorporates steel from the Cuomo and Tappan Zee bridges; Thomas Lendvai, Ronkonkoma, whose “Untitled, For Imre Lendvai” is an abstract tribute to his father. Christopher Flick, Bronx, whose bike rack, “Converging Vistas,” reflects the Palisades and the New York City skyline; and David Greenberg, Brooklyn, whose “Bike Racks” is informed by marine mooring bollards and alludes to the historic importance of the Hudson River as a commercial transportation artery.
For more, visit artsw.org.