By Alex Robinson
Business owners, elected officials and residents gathered in downtown Flushing Saturday to celebrate the completion of a community mural.
The mural, called “Flushing’s World Fair,” was unveiled at the 40th Road entrance to the Flushing-Main Street Long Island Rail Road station. John Choe, director of One Flushing, a community-based economic development center, said that in addition to beautifying the surrounding area, he hopes the mural will encourage the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to clean up the mess outside the station.
“If that was a local business, they would be fined thousands of dollars a day for all the trash and graffiti, but because the MTA is a state agency, they can get away with anything,” he said. “Our message to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was you need to take responsibility to clean up your mess.”
World-renowned artist Lady Pink designed and oversaw the production of the mural, which celebrates the diversity of Flushing. Lady Pink, who has 30 years experience as a street artist, is originally from Ecuador but lived in Queens for decades before moving on.
“We called our mural ‘Flushing’s World Fair.’ That’s both a reference to the World’s Fairs of old, but also that Flushing is this community of people coming from all parts of the world,” Choe said. “And we’re now sharing our cultures here and celebrating what makes us unique as a community. If you want to see the world, come to Flushing.”
The New York Hung Sing Kwoon Kung Fu School performed a traditional “Lion Dance” at the ceremony, while volunteers cleaned up the surrounding area using a donated pressure washer and applied a protective coating to the mural.
The second phase of the project will include the installation of LED lights, which will shine on the mural at night.
“People who use the station will feel safer and it will hopefully deter crime,” Choe said about the lights. “That’s really something the MTA should be initiating — not a group of volunteers.”
Community members and local businesses funded the project. Businesses and organizations that had representatives attend the event included Asian Americans for Equality, Regen Acupuncture, New Inspiration Care, Yumcha Yoga, Korea Taekwondo and Yumcha Studio.
“The Flushing LIRR mural is a symbol of what is possible when community leaders, public officials and businesses come together to improve the quality of life in downtown Flushing,” said state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), who attended the event. “I am hopeful that we will see more of these community-based collaborations in the near future.”
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.