Two colorful lighting installations and digital projects by local artists transform the main pedestrian passage connecting The Blanchard and The Paragon with key transit nodes. Coffee Project NY joins the growing commercial and retail community with first Queens outpost.
Related Companies today announced new artistic lighting installations and commercial additions at The Point, the growing commercial and retail community in the heart of Long Island City, already home to VaynerMedia’s 43,000-square-foot production house and office space. Two colorful lighting displays designed by local artists and fabricators were installed around the walkway that connects The Point LIC’s two marquee commercial buildings, The Paragon and The Blanchard, with key transit nodes in the Hunter’s Point section of Long Island City. The installations will transform the daily commute for the growing number of people who live and work in the Hunter’s Point corridor with a projection illumination on the pedestrian bridge at 21st Street between 50th and 51st Avenues and a dynamic LED display on a 140-foot-long fence that runs beneath the LIE. The Point, owned by Related Fund Management and GreenOak Real Estate, continues to attract leading commercial brands including the Coffee Project NY, which today announced its first location in Queens at The Blanchard Building. The popular New York City-based roastery, with locations in the East Village and Brooklyn, signed a lease for 3,725 square feet and will operate a café at the base of the building to open in November. Starbucks recently opened a new café at the base of The Paragon on the southeast corner of 49th Avenue and 21st Street.
“The community surrounding the workplace has become increasingly important to the growing number of forward-thinking companies calling Long Island City home,” said Patrick Sweeney, managing director of Related Fund Management. "The walk to the office and afternoon coffee run are central to the workplace experience, and we’re thrilled to be able to enhance those moments for the Hunter’s Point corridor through the lighting revitalization of a highly trafficked pedestrian passageway and the addition of both Coffee Project NY and Starbucks—which will quickly become part of the daily fabric for those who live and work in the neighborhood."
The lighting project was led by urban design and real estate development firm Totem, known for large-scale design installations across New York City including the holiday light displays in Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City, public furniture designs in DUMBO heights and Manhattan’s Lower East Side and the pop-up art wall in Jamaica, Queens. Totem collaborated with the Long Island City Partnership, New York City Department of Transportation, LIRR, Con Edison and local artists and fabricators to bring to life two large-scale light installations that will enhance the pedestrian experience in the neighborhood.
"These two new light installations brighten a vital pedestrian connection for residents, workers and visitors alike and help improve access between the Hunter's Point Avenue transit hub and the vibrant area to the south in LIC,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president, Long Island City Partnership. “We applaud Related and Totem for working with the community to improve the public realm for the entire neighborhood, and thank our public partners at NYC DOT for supporting the project as part of their Artervention initiative. We will continue to work with the community and partners to deliver more exciting public art projects through our LIC Arts Connection in the year ahead."
“The well-lit and colorful installation certainly adds to the transit-oriented community experience and completes a safe and accessible path to a growing and vibrant neighborhood,” said LIRR President Philip Eng. “Kudos to the Long Island City Partnership, NYC DOT, Con Edison and the community for supporting this project and realizing the needs of those who work and live in Hunter's Point.”
Totem’s in-house design studio FANTÁSTICA worked with Brooklyn-based lighting artist Todd Polenberg to develop and install a sophisticated LED neon installation along the underpass transforming the pedestrian corridor into a bright and engaging walkway. Entitled Light Speed, the installation is intended to represent the physical connection between city streets and the people that inhabit them. Seen from afar, the pulse of the urban experiences is evident in the horizontal lines of light programmed to animate in various shapes and colors, mimicking the layering of different modes of transport that flow by—cars, trains and bikes.
As part of NYC Department of Transportation’s Arterventions program, Totem also worked with Brooklyn-based lighting artist Chris Jordan to develop digital projections that further illuminate the area without affixing anything to bridge or underpass or spilling light onto the tracks beneath. Entitled Lumi Ciclo, the installation features high contrast stripes that map to the surfaces with color blends that slowly change over time.
“Navigating interstitial urban spaces created by major infrastructure like bridges and highways can present design challenges, but we viewed this as an opportunity to create something beautiful and transformative,” said J. Manuel Mansylla, principal and creative director at Totem. “Adding lighting to these spaces not only helps enhance the pedestrian environment, but also create a unique sense of place for visitors and workers in the area.”
In addition to the lighting installations, street artist Mauricio Arenas aka DeGrupo added two murals to the neighborhood, the first entitled DIVERSITY AND UNITY, located in the underpass, and the second, entitled THE POINT LIC, located at the entrance to The Paragon. An original painting entitled WELCOLORS 23 by DeGrupo also hangs in the lobby of Paragon.
“Reclaiming spaces for beautiful street art projects is increasingly important to all New Yorkers,” said Mauricio Arenas aka DeGrupo. “The two exterior walls are activated by the commuters in Hunter's Points, Long Island City, revealing a changing chromatic effect as pedestrians move through the space. The colorful braiding of the murals interact with the light designs at night commanding attention of locals and creating a work that will be instantly recognizable as LIC to viewers on social media all over the world.”
Coffee Project NY will operate a cafe with 1,600 square feet of indoor and courtyard seating at the base of The Blanchard building. The cafe will serve as both a special amenity to the building and will be open to public. The remainder of the space will be dedicated to a roasting facility, as well as a “coffee lab” and tasting room where customers will be able to taste and discover coffee from different regions, Q-graded by ChiSum Ngai, before they appear at other Coffee Project NY locations. Winick Realty Group and Related Companies oversaw the leasing of the space.
Located at 2110 51st Avenue at the heart of the Hunter’s Point section of Long Island City, The Blanchard is a seven-story, 220,000-square-foot former warehouse that has been repositioned into one of the area’s prime office buildings.
“The team behind The Point wanted to find not only an amenity for the building, but also for the neighborhood,” said Winick Realty Group Senior Director Hal Shapiro, who represented Related Companies in the lease transaction. “Having a roastery in the building not only offers an exciting service to this changing area, but it also keeps the feel of Hunter’s Point’s more industrial roots.”
“The space is easily accessible via 7 train, LIRR, bus and car via the 495 highway,” said Winick Realty Group Associate Alexander Karas, who represents Coffee Project NY. “In addition, the area gets great foot traffic from commuters utilizing the nearby pedestrian bridge. Coffee Project NY will become a destination and a much-needed amenity as the neighborhood continues to grow and evolve.”
“It was a pleasure working with Alex to find this retail space and working with a great developer like Related in building out a location that will bring a lot of excitement to the building and a great service to the neighborhood,” said Ngai, who owns Coffee Project NY with partner Kaleena Teoh. “The space is bigger, and we can work on the ergonomics of the space slightly better to accommodate more brewing technology, and ultimately, enhancing the entire training experience.”
Images of the artistic lighting installations and murals are available at https://related.box.com/s/wumbvi5of3zaudyh8sbaw3osin65yp34.
More information about The Point is available at www.ThePointLIC.com.
Related Companies is a global real estate and lifestyle company defined by innovation and the most prominent privately-owned real estate firm in the United States. Formed over 40 years ago, Related is a fully-integrated, highly diversified industry leader with experience in virtually every aspect of development, acquisitions, management, finance, marketing and sales. Headquartered in New York City, Related has offices and major developments in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, South Florida, Washington, D.C., Abu Dhabi and London, and boasts a team of approximately 4,000 professionals. With over $60 billion in assets owned or under development including the 28-acre Hudson Yards neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side, The Grand and Related Santa Clara in California and The 78 in Chicago. Related was recently named to Fast Company Magazine’s list 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World.
Related Fund Management is the investment management arm of Related, and is staffed by a seasoned team of over 40 professionals. Since inception, Related Fund Management has raised over $5 billion of capital across a variety of different investment vehicles and strategies. The platform is primarily focused on opportunistic real estate investments; the origination and acquisition of debt; multifamily housing opportunities; and investments in infrastructure-related development, management and services.
For more information about Related, please visit www.related.com.
Kathleen Anne Corless