After more than four decades of innovative and experimental art programming, the Clocktower Gallery will leave the space at 108 Leonard Street that it has called home since 1972. “Last year we learned that Bloomberg wanted to shed a number of fiscally improbable buildings,” said Alanna Heiss, who founded the gallery as part of a larger, radical movement to use city-owned spaces for art. “He has sold it to a developer who simply didn’t choose us as the amenity that he wanted for that building.” While the loss of its historic headquarters signals the end of an era, the Clocktower and ARTonAIR, Ms. Heiss’s Internet radio station with which it shares the 13th floor, are hardly fading away.
Imagine that, in the spring, Long Island City is transformed by the artists who have for decades called the neighborhood home.
Running down Broadway, one of the Long Island City’s main axes, is a green lawn from curb to curb. It stretches from the shore to the elevated subway station three-quarters of a mile away. A High Line at street level, the refashioned road is traversable by cars and trucks, thanks to special pavers installed by Rirkrit Tiravanija. Occasionally, the east-west thoroughfare is closed, for movie nights and flea markets, all the hallmarks of a burgeoning post-bohemian neighborhood.
A few brave souls, rather than ambling along the new grassy causeway, fly over it, suspended in one of Natalie Jeremijenko’s hang-glider like Flightpaths, a project she successfully installed two years ago in Toronto. There are mechanized duck decoys floating in the channel between here and Roosevelt Island, monitoring the biodiverCITY. Visitors take in the East River from a new waterfront esplanade designed by George Trakas, stretching from the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, along the old industrial waterfront and past Socrates Sculpture Park.
From the esplanade, visitors observe the new quality-of-life indicators installed by Mary Miss on the Big Allis stacks. The red-and-white striped chimneys have dominated the Ravenswood skyline since 1965, when the power plant, then the world’s largest, opened. (As a name for the neighborhood, Ravenswood dates back almost two centuries. Ms. Miss and her collaborators are trying to revive it, setting the northern half of the neighborhood off from its condo-covered south.)