1114 First Avenue | New York, NY

  • Himmel + Meringoff Properties
  • Aakash Nihalani

Situated on the east side of Manhattan surrounded by a confluence of major medical centers and teaching hospitals, this eight-story, 41,664-square-foot building is home to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University. Located on the northeast corner of 61st Street and First Ave, two blocks from the Queensboro Bridge hub, 1114 First Avenue features prominent retail on the ground floor.

When this retail location became vacant, Art Assets was hired to bring attention to the space in a creative and unique way. We brought in respected street artist Aakash Nihalani to devise an art intervention that would draw eyes from the street and into the space. Falling “bricks” made of tape and cardboard were hung throughout the interior space and against the windows, creating a dynamic and playful environment. The art intervention functioned as a calling card for the space, creating a remarkable experience for potential tenants and a memorable narrative for the brokers.

Artist’s Statement:

We all need the opportunity to see the city more playfully, as a world dominated by the interplay of very basic color and shape. My street work consists mostly of isometric rectangles and squares. I selectively place these graphics around New York to highlight the unexpected contours and elegant geometry of the city itself. All execution of a piece is done on site with little to no planning.

For however briefly, I am trying to offer people a chance to step into a different New York than they are used to seeing, and in turn, momentarily escape from routine schedules and lives. We all need the opportunity to see the city more playfully, as a world dominated by the interplay of very basic color and shape. I try to create a new space within the existing space of our everyday world for people to enter freely, and unexpectedly “disconnect” from their reality.

I’m not trying to push a certain highbrow logic or philosophy or purposefully communicate through the esoteric medium of art. I work instinctively, trying to follow my gut about the sensation of color and space, and have fun doing it.

People need to understand that how it is isn’t how it has to be. My work is created in reaction to what we readily encounter in our lives, sidewalks and doorways, buildings and bricks. I’m just connecting the dots differently to make my own picture. Others need to see that they can create too, connecting their own dots, in their own places.

– Aakash Nihalani