Queens is kind of an unknown quantity for many people, even for those who live in other boroughs of New York City. And when visitors to Queens finally discover the charm of the borough, such as its unparalleled culinary diversity, they usually end up walking away with another unavoidable impression: its ugly buildings. A friend of mine even runs a blog devoted to Astoria’s homely architectural specimens.
Recently, something has begun to stir in this terrain of utilitarian construction. For the past year, on a block of 38th Street, free of attractions and heavy foot traffic, a pocket of street art has begun dressing up those nondescript postwar walls. The efficient flatness of the buildings and the monotony of closed metal grates have become large canvases, free of Victorian turrets and detailed, molded façades that would have limited the usable space. I will share the fruits of this pocket below. But first, is ‘pocket’ the correct zoological term for a cluster of street art? Should it be a gaggle? Herd? Clash? Congregation?
I think I’ll go with scene.