November 10, By Michael Florio
Local leaders unveiled a new Astoria-themed mural today, which they hope will beautify the neighborhood and stave off illegal graffiti.
The mural, titled “Astoria Motif,” is located under the overpass on 48th Street between 25th Avenue and 28th Avenue. It contains depictions of Astoria scenery, including the Hell Gate Bridge and a ship traveling on the East River beneath it, as well as the Jackson Hole Diner.
Councilman Costa Constantinides and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley unveiled the mural this morning. The two came together to allocate roughly $2,500 to fund its painting.
The two officials said they supported the mural in part as a graffiti prevention measure.
“Street murals not only help prevent graffiti but they beautify our neighborhoods while giving our communities a sense of pride,” Crowley said.
The mural also continues Constantinides’ beautification efforts in the neighborhood, with $200,000 allocated for cleanup efforts including $21,000 specifically for graffiti removal services by the Queens Economic Development Corporation.
“These types of artistic projects also provide a meaningful and lasting response to graffiti,” Constantinides said. “This mural is a win-win for everyone in the community.”
Kenji Takabayashi, photographer and muralist, painted the mural.
“As a Queens kid, doing something I love so much for my borough meant a lot to me,” he said.
Constantinides and Crowley worked with the non-profit organization 501(See)(Streets) to coordinate the mural.
The Councilman said he is looking forward to making this mural the first of many in the neighborhood. He said areas that are constantly in need of graffiti removal would be considered for their own murals.
“We are hopeful that beatifying it and creating art in the community will create pride and prevent graffiti,” he said. “These murals can replace the constant graffiti.”
He said he is hopeful that the wall across the street from this mural on 48th Street will be the next to receive a mural, which he would like to see completed by early 2016.