headlines | about |

fallow real estate

No Longer Empty's The Sixth Borough on Governors Island

No Longer Empty presents The Sixth Borough
Governors Island, NYC
June 5 - October 10, 2010

June 7, 2010. No Longer Empty: non-profit arts organization, collective of curators, administrators, artists. Product of the recession, response to the downturn, creates new curatorial structures to accommodate new economic realities. Has been placing art in public spaces for a year. Eight projects thus far. Takes advantage of commercial spaces throughout city that are empty due to the economic slowdown, "liberating" them for art projects. Not squats. Rather: diverse spaces donated by landlords. An abandoned shoelace warehouse in Brooklyn. A shuttered Tower Records storefront in NoHo. A raw, never used, commercial ground floor of new residential conversion in Chelsea. In each case, there's an attempt to thematically integrate the former use/identity of the space, and the surrounding neighborhood infrastructure, with the current art project. For example, the empty Tower location was re-imagined as a music store, filled with artist projects themed to a music/commerce interface.

Miami from Afar: Buena Vista 2008

The Buena Vista rail yards used to occupy a huge swath of 56 acres, bounded by 36th and 29th Streets north and south, and by N Miami Avenue and NE Second Avenue west and east, smack in the middle of a decaying area of light manufacturing, garage industry and broken down bungalows just a bit north of downtown Miami, a neighborhood that is now called Wynwood.

The yards were a fenced-in, weed choked eyesore, not a "buena vista" at all, although certain urban archaeologists undoubtedly found it charming. And the land was available, an unused graveyard for rusting rolling stock. But since most real estate development in Miami was done in typical subdivision method, reclaiming swampland to the west and south for new tracts of homes and shopping centers, and since the inner city ghetto of Overtown abutted Wynwood, the area was left stagnant for decades. It was considered unredeemable, too funky by far.

But the healing power of art (as a battering ram for real estate speculation) started to work its magic in Wynwood about a decade ago, as galleries opened up, then private museums (Rubell, Margulies), followed by speculators buying property (both warehouses and parcels of land) all through the neighborhood. Eventually even the train yards were seen as a potential source of development, and in one fell swoop the area was rethought as "Midtown Miami". It would feature big chain stores like Target, Circuit City, Linens 'N Things, Ross Dress for Less, Marshalls, West Elm and Loehmann's, as well as high rise condos and garden apartments. A little oasis of mixed use where rusting metal, garter snakes and (who knows?) the decapitated bodies of mob hits once held sway. Also included would be lots of parking space.

Syndicate content