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It isn’t graffiti it is street art!

You may have noticed that Yonkers is going through lots of changes. From real estate, to beautification to technology services the city is moving at full speed ahead. There is also the art. Lots of art. Walking through downtown you will see murals depicting Yonkers’ history, art by famous street artists or just a general burst of colorful wall paint. Ernie Garcia from LoHud gives us a peek inside Dutch artist Van den Berg’s mural on North Broadway.

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Yonkers art takes a cue from Bushwick
Ernie Garcia , elgarcia@lohud.com 7:33 a.m. EDT June 13, 2016

Van den Berg’s mural features wildlife and flora native to the Saw Mill and Hudson rivers, a nod to the recent efforts to get Yonkers declared an urban wildlife refuge.

A proliferation of graffiti-inspired public art in downtown Yonkers has the city taking a cue from Bushwick, Brooklyn.

The Dutch artist Eelco van den Berg has started painting a mural on the side of 41 N. Broadway this week, the sixth mural to appear downtown in recent months. The mural sits above the new daylighted portion of the Saw Mill River at Mill Street that will be dedicated June 30.

Van den Berg’s mural features wildlife and flora native to the Saw Mill and Hudson rivers, a nod to the recent efforts to get Yonkers declared an urban wildlife refuge. Van den Berg’s mural is also part of an effort to create an urban cachet.

“He’s one of the hottest artists in the New York City area. He was just featured on the cover of Crain’s New York for a special edition on the five boroughs,” said Christopher St. Lawrence, assistant director of Yonkers’ waterfront development.

EVENTS: Yonkers’ Arts Weekend
FROM 2014: Yonkers breaks ground on Mill Street Courtyard

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St. Lawrence said he first learned about some of the artists whom the city commissioned in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a neighborhood with a large industrial sector where retail, restaurants, loft apartments, nightclubs and art galleries are opening.

St. Lawrence cited as an inspiration the Bushwick intersection of Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, where The Bushwick Collective has commissioned murals.

“They didn’t originate this idea but they definitely are one spot in New York City that really is an art destination. So in a way, yes, we are trying to emulate that idea that downtown Yonkers already has nice restaurants and already has the great things to see with the natural beauty, so why don’t we have some street art too to make people get off the train,” he said.

The city paid for van den Berg’s mural, as well as five other recently painted murals. All the works were commissioned for Yonkers Arts Weekend, but van den Berg’s work was delayed because the side of 41 N. Broadway was covered in ivy that had to be removed and the wall needed priming.

A new, $8.3 million park sits next to 41 N. Broadway and will be accessible to pedestrians from N. Broadway as well as from a pedestrian gateway on Warburton Ave. The park, called Mill Street Courtyard, is modeled after a type of vehicular-pedestrian street found in the Netherlands and called a woonerf, according to Edgewater Design, the Millburn, New Jersey-based firm that designed it.

On Tuesday, van den Berg, 42, had about finished spray-painting about a third of the mural and expected to be finished by the weekend. Van den Berg has divided his time between Bushwick and Rotterdam since 2014, and he has spray-painted since 1986.

Van den Berg said he had few contacts when he came to the United States, but his murals in Bushwick have led to commissions. He described his style as heavily influenced by graffiti because he began as a graffiti artist.

“I already drew a lot as a kid, and my mother was a hippie,” van den Berg said. “She introduced me to psychedelic rock art, so I think I’m very influenced by the old Grateful Dead, sort of alternative pop art, I would call it.”

Van den Berg has also gotten a lot of comments from passersby in Getty Square.

“They are very interested to see the park open,” he said. “I think it gives such a new dimension to the space and area. That’s why I like to work in public, to see the reactions.”

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