Press Releases

Press Release #10-021

Seth Solomonow or Nicole Garcia (212) 839-4850

NYC DOT Announces Streetscape Enhancements as Part Of "Hands On New York Day"

Jersey barriers become canvases for colorful designs, making in-between spaces come to life

New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the kickoff for the Urban Art Program's Jersey barrier design initiative—hosted in partnership with the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit (CAU) and New York Cares (NY Cares)—to improve the appearance of concrete structures at select locations citywide. As part of NY Cares' 16th annual "Hands On New York Day" on Saturday, April 24, more than 300 volunteers will paint murals on 150 individual barriers lining pedestrian paths and bicycle lanes in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. The colorful, vibrant designs used for this sweeping public-art project were created by Otis Berkin with Sage and Coombe Architects, Niko Courtelis, Lucy Kalian and Brenda Zlamany—artists selected through a design competition sponsored by DOT. To view the winning designs, visit

"New York City's streets and sidewalks are our front yards, and with imaginative designs we're making these in-between places more inviting and vibrant," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "By using ordinary streetscape elements like Jersey barriers and construction fences for canvases, we're transforming these utilitarian places into bright, colorful, celebrated spaces that everyone in the community can enjoy."

The painting of the Jersey barriers will happen simultaneously in each borough thanks to the help of CAU and NY Cares. Both enlisted numerous volunteers, local neighborhood associations and corporate and civic groups to help the artists paint onsite. Earlier this month, the barriers were prepped by teams of NY Cares volunteers. For their designs and efforts to transfer them onto the structures, artists received a $2,000 honorarium. Materials to prime and paint the barriers were provided by NY Cares with support from DOT. NY Cares volunteers and DOT staff will paint Jersey barriers at the locations listed below between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The Bronx: Bartow and Baychester Avenues
Artist: Sage and Coombe Architects
Onsite support also provided by Montefiore Mosholu Teen Center

Brooklyn: Williamsburg West between Kent and Flushing Avenues
Artist: Lucy Kalian
Onsite support also provided by Brooklyn Greenway Initiative

Manhattan: FDR Service Drive between 25th and 27th Streets
Artist: Brenda Zlamany

Queens: Queens Boulevard between Jackson and Skillman Avenues
Artist: Niko Courtelis
Onsite support was provided by the High School for Arts and Business, Corona, earlier this week

The Jersey barrier design initiative adds to a growing roster of projects by DOT's Urban Art Program to enhance public space through art and improved street design and streetscapes. Launched in October 2008, the Urban Art Program brings the vision of the agency's World Class Streets initiative to life by partnering with artists and community organizations to install murals, sculptures and other art forms in plazas and on medians, triangles, sidewalks, Jersey barriers and construction fences for up to 11 months on DOT properties citywide. Organizations or organization-artist teams are invited to apply to one of three Urban Art Program tracks—pARTners, Site to Site and Arterventions—that offer the public new ways to view and experience City streets through art. Examples of these pieces can be found throughout the city, including "Horsing Around With The Arrows of Time," a sculpture in DUMBO, Brooklyn, and "New York is a Roller Coaster," a mural in Washington Heights, Manhattan.

For more information about DOT's Urban Art Program and World Class Streets initiatives, visit