Allusions to the theater and to urban vernacular structures underlie this proposal for the Mini-Schubert Alley on 42nd Street in New York City. By day the density of the structure suggests the visual complexity of construction sites, compelling spaces within the city that one can look at but not enter. At night the layers of light and shadow give the space the dramatic quality of a theatrical set, as though one of the small theaters on this block of small buildings had its facade removed.
The proposal attempts to integrate this site – a 24’ x 84’ lot between Ninth and Tenth Avenues – with the city rather than set it apart. Three elevated perspective-line steel walks pass through corridors of chain link that converge on a circular steel structure containing a tank of water. The walks continue up to a higher platform which provides access to balconies from which the complete pattern of the structure is visible. In emphasizing the constant movement and procession through different spaces, the installation calls upon the viewer to perform an active role in making the connection between the street and the structure, thereby integrating the space with its urban context.
Sponsored by the Forty-second Street Development Corporation (with grants from the NEA and the New York State Council on the Arts), this project was part of the city’s program to reclaim and socially reconstitute what was considered a derelict and abandoned terrain, while at the same time commenting upon this effort.