By Mark Hallum
Forest Hills Stadium had two new murals added to the 71th Avenue underpass beneath the LIRR right-of-way last week.
Non-profit organization 501 See Street, local artists and state Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) were behind the beautification project, which was sponsored by the stadium. It features illustrations of professional tennis players significant to the venue’s history on one mural and the punk rock group The Ramones on another.
Bronx-based artist Andre Trenier completed the tennis mural June 16, which depicts sports greats Althea Gibson, John McEnroe, Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King.
“I like the idea of people living with the work on a daily basis. Art in general inspires us, it enhances our mood. That is the general purpose of street art,” Trenier said. “I think it should make people feel better about their lives.”
Trenier attended the University of Arts in Philadelphia, where he studied illustration, and has been hired by 501 See Street for mural projects in the past.
501 See Street Executive Direct Noah Sheroff said Hevesi’s office connected the non-profit with the stadium to have the project approved. Sheroff operates the non-profit out of Auburndale and arranges for donors’ support and hires artists. The process of organizing mural projects is long and difficult, he said.
“The planning stage is like the Smiths’ song, ‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.’ Then finishing up it’s like ‘Ante Up’ by MOP,” Sheroff said. “It’s such a good feeling to actually complete it and knowing that this is for the betterment of the community, especially when people are so complimentary.”
The mural cost $3,000 and measures about 60 feet, according to Sheroff.
“The new mural underneath the overpass to the Forest Hills Long Island Rail Road station, depicting the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, Station Square, and the Ramones demonstrates the rich history and cultural significance of our neighborhood,” Hevesi said. “I look forward to continuing to work with artists in our community and efforts to help further beautify our district.”
A second mural depicting the Ramones across the street is part of the same project and in keeping with the role the stadium has played in the history of Forest Hills. The Ramones came from Forest Hills.The street artists behind this piece are an Australian living in Colombia known by the name of Crisp and a Colombian living in Brooklyn known only as Praxis.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall