August 2017
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The Wall

The artwork known as “The Wall” is located on the north facade of a 12-story loft structure at 599 Broadway in SoHo. The building sits at the southwest corner of the intersection of Broadway and West Houston Street, and is located within the boundaries of the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District. The artwork, created by artist Forrest “Frosty” Myers, consists of seven evenly spaced rows of aluminum L-shaped fixtures projecting perpendicularly from a painted blue background. The Wall was installed in the fall of 1973 as part of the non-profit group City Walls’ project to place works of art in public spaces and other outdoor locations throughout New York City. The current owners of 599 Broadway applied to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to remove the artwork permanently. They would prefer to display advertising on the space. The Commission denied the owners’ application, ordering “The Wall” to be replaced after certain repair work is completed. In response to the Commission’s decision, the owners have sued the City, claiming a host of constitutional violations. The lawsuit is an assault on New York City’s landmarks law, as well as the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s power. The MAS anticipates filing an amicus brief in the matter of support of the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s decision. The MAS has long supported the preservation of “The Wall.” Our efforts have included testifying in front of the Landmarks Preservation Commission and, most recently, speaking at a press conference organized by State Senator Tom Duane (click here to view the MAS’ press conference statement). “The Wall” is an irreplaceable reminder of SoHo’s roots. It is a symbol of the artists who moved into SoHo in the 1960’s and 1970’s and reused the cast-iron buildings as artists’ lofts. This artistic community created the neighborhood whose cultural vitality, vibrant streetlife and architectural grandeur we celebrate today. Tearing down the “Gateway to SoHo” would deprive SoHo of one of its most distinctive and evocative historic features.