Groundswell Mural

Brooklyn Queens Expressway Overpass

One of the AABID's goals from its inception in 2012 has been to improve the pedestrian connection between Brooklyn Bridge Park and the shops and restaurants on its commercial strip. The obvious impediment is the elevated BQE that has bridged Atlantic Avenue since the 1950s. In late 2012, the AABID was awarded the BID Challenge Award to fund a re-design of the highway bridge and re-imagine it as a gateway. As a first step during the summer of 2013, the AABID worked with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to fund a mural produced by the Summer Leadership Institute youth from Brooklyn-based Groundswell on the bridge’s north wall. The mural has added vibrancy and humanity to a previously foreboding space. The youth artists truly reflected the history and culture of Atlantic Avenue in their design. Its background vertical lines provide a clue to the pre-BQE past: these represent the lot lines of the buildings torn down for the highway’s construction. The large space in the center represents where Columbia Street veered slightly to the right going north, connecting Willowtown and South Brooklyn.