Posted by: David Giacalone | December 27, 2019

the East Front Street trestle mural

4 Wash Av rear

This posting is for people who’ve been wondering what the mural welcoming folks to the East Front Street Neighborhood looks like and who want a little background. The mural is being paid for with grant money from the Schenectady Foundation, through the city’s Thriving Neighborhoods Challenge.  The first half of the project is painted on the north-side underpass wall of the Front Street C&P train trestle, and celebrates the immigrants who came to Schenectady to build great locomotives at the American Locomotive Company [ALCO].

  • EastFrontGoogleMapSat FYI: The East Front Street Neighborhood is located along a stretch of Schenectady’s Front Street just east of the Stockade district and the Front Street railroad trestle, and west of Mohawk Harbor, and includes the six adjoining streets [John St., River St., Madison St. Monroe St., and Jefferson St. and Mohawk Avenue], between Erie Boulevard and the Mohawk River.

Last month, a Gazette article told the story of the mural. “Big changes take place in tiny neighborhood: New mural and paving buoy neighborhood” (Daily Gazette, by Pete DeMola, Nov. 19, 2019). The article explains:

The completed portion depicts a locomotive and commemorates the neighborhood as a magnet for immigrants from Italy and Poland.

“A neighborhood established in the 1800s by immigrants who came to build the railroad,” reads the text.

The second phase will pay homage to the community’s home as a boxing hotbed and home to local legends like Tony Barone and Joe “Pep” Casillo, who mentored and trained generations of athletes.

. . . Additional neighborhood fixtures will be painted by the artist, who prefers to remain anonymous, including the former Mastrianni’s Bakery on Mohawk Avenue and Perreca’s, which was previously located on John Street before relocating to its present location on North Jay Street.

The mural artist is Donna Wojcik, of Schenectady. Because her name has been hard to keep secret, she has kindly allowed me to give her credit for the project, despite originally hoping for anonymity.

The photos in the following mosaic were taken yesterday, December 26, 2019. Click on an image for a full and larger version of it.

 

An earlier Gazette webpost, “East Front Street Neighborhood has new logo” (ELECTRIC CITY ARCHIVES, by Bill Buell, May 31, 2019), explained that:

EastFrontLogoMary Ann Ruscitto, who has lived her entire life in the neighborhood, said the project will get started as soon as some construction work in the area is complete. She has created a new logo for the East Front Street Neighborhood, which features the image of a streaming locomotive.

“We are going to use the logo on our welcome to the East Front St. banners, and we’re going to use it on our new trash cans,” said Ruscitto, who has spearheaded the project named Reawakening East Front Street.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the muralist presents key elements of the East Front Street Neighborhood and its history for the second half of this project.

. . here is an East Front Street version of my 2020 Downtown Calendar . . 

2020Downtown-EastFrontF

. . formatted for a 10″ by 8″ print; click on Calendar to download the full file . .

DSCF5444P.S. My photoshoot on December 26 was momentarily stymied when I came upon this frozen reminder of the infamous December 1, 2019 Not-So-Smart-City snowstorm (photo on the right), and its aftermath and uproar, with its unplowed streets, plow-created obstacles, and un-shoveled sidewalks. This particular sidewalk runs along City property (the Front Street Pool lot). I ended up crossing the street and shooting from the opposite side of the underpass. Today, Dec. 27, I sent a photo and a plea for help to Paul Lafond, General Services Commissioner. Twelve minutes later, Mr. Lafond wrote back that he sent out a crew to handle the problem. I appreciate the quick reply, of course, but do not believe residents should have to report problems that City workers and City Smart Cameras must have seen for three weeks.


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