Pimp My Plaza

Pimp My Plaza
Miguel Luciano’s “Pimp My Piragua” in Corona Plaza combines youth culture with nostalgia as the humble piragua pushcart, a common sight selling tropically flavored shaved ice in Latino neighborhoods in New York, gets an over-the-top makeover in the style of MTV’s popular show “Pimp My Ride.”
By Priscilla Aviles

Authentic foods from many different cultures, the Lemon Ice King, music playing on seemingly every block, loads of people walking and hurrying around. These are all the things that go hand in hand with Corona. Art? Not as popular a thought.

Don't be too hasty, though, because “Corona Plaza, Center of Everywhere v2” may change your mind. Located at the Queens Museum of Art and in four temporary locations around Corona Plaza, a small park located under the No. 7 train at Roosevelt Avenue and 103rd Street, this exhibition features four art installations that aim to foster a more conscious artistic sensibility in the area.

The artists Miguel Luciano, Lin + Lam, Mike Estabrook, and Vydavy Sindikat were chosen from among dozens of applicants to capture a piece of Corona and present it concretely to members of the community who may not be able to experience what they've done otherwise. Each unique installation is sure to catch the attention of those in the neighborhood.

In fact, according to artist Luciano, his project, “Pimp my Piragua,” is sure to be more than an attention-grabber — it will be understood. He explained, “I knew the community would get [the project] right away; they wouldn't even need an explanation. The whole idea of this project is that it's a homage to the immigrations of Latino street vendors.”

The installation, a piragua pushcart (piraguas are shaved ice with flavored colorful liquids, and very well-known among Latinos), is a play on the popular MTV show “Pimp My Ride.” The cart will not only be modeled after a car that's been “pimped out,” or flamboyantly redesigned, but will also have a mock music video that will be played and shown at La Placita Ice Cream at 104-04 Roosevelt Ave. and Urena's Jewelry at 40-04 National St.

Mike Estabrook's art installation, “The Adventures of La Coronita,” is meant to make people stop, take note and reflect. La Coronita is a cartoon character — imagine a more fantastical version of “Dora the Explorer” — intended as a new mascot for Corona. Videos with La Coronita traveling around Corona will be playing at La Rosa Nautica at 90-16 Corona Ave., Mitad de Mundo Bar y Restaurant at 104-10 Roosevelt Ave. and near the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“Just having a figure of her would activate the location, and people would become aware of where they are because of the fact that this strange cartoon character is there,” Estabrook said. “Hopefully, it'll inspire people to stop and be aware of where they are.”

“Unisex” by Lin + Lam (Lana Lin and Lan Thao Lam) clearly fits in with this area's landscape: It's video from different salons and barbershops. Anyone who's walked around Corona knows that on every block there's at least one place for someone to get his or her hair done, but what makes this project unique is the angle of the shots.

As Lam explained, “It's seen from the perspective of the stylists.” Everything you see is from the viewpoint of the person cutting or washing hair, or giving facials and massages, anything that you can get done at a beauty salon. Serving as more than just an installation, “Unisex” weaves a narrative that touches on issues that local residents deal with, such as aging and beauty or family and migration.

“Unisex” can be seen upon request at Doble R Barber Shop at 37-20 103rd St., Peluqueria Unisex Mexicana at 41-05 National St., Catherine's Unisex at 37-56 103rd St. and Rizo's Hair Salon at 41-23 National St.

“Spectacle Path” by the collective Vydavy Sindikat (meaning “you collective” in Russian) uses mirrors and lenses in different ways to change, enhance, or multiply the things you see to give a new perspective. With all the hustle and bustle that is Corona, it is fitting that the artists have chosen this project to help make people freeze as they pass by these mirrors that alter their appearances.

“Spectacle Path” is on view at Linden Park, between 103rd and 104th streets and 41st and 42nd avenues; Tulcingo Restaurant at 40-19 National St.; Western Union at 103-16 Roosevelt Ave.; and Antioqueña Bakery at 40-07 National St.

This project is meant to interact with passersby, so make sure to take a walk around Corona, see what these artists have done and, most importantly see the beauty and diversity of Corona, Queens.

For additional information please visit: www.queensmuseum.org/exhibitions/coronaplaza.htm

If You Go:

Corona Plaza, Center of Everything v2 — Four site-specific projects

When: Various times through Oct. 12

Where: Various locations around Corona Plaza, Roosevelt Avenue & National Street (under the 103 St.-Corona Plaza stop on the No. 7), and Queens Museum of Art, Flushing Meadows Corona Park

For More: https://www.queensmuseum.org/exhibitions/coronaplaza.htm

More from Around New York