Citizen M Hotel at 189 Bowery is one of the newer additions to the neighborhood. A new art installation, “Citizens of the Bowery,” seeks to showcase the people who make up the neighborhood that the building has become a part of.
The development of the Citizen M Hotel has been steeped in controversy since building began in the Bowery. The 22 story hotel now dominates what was once a tight knit community and with it’s development have sprung various conversations about gentrification in the area.
In attempts to integrate into the neighborhood, the hotel has contracted photographer and activist, Christelle de Castro to create a spectacular installation, highlighting everyday people from the block.
An executive with the Dutch hotel brand, explained how the Bowery art exhibition came about in an interview. “We were looking forward to entering the neighborhood, looking for the best ways to connect into a community that’s quite close-knit and also protective, in a way, and also sensitive about who’s coming onto the block. We were thinking about, ‘What makes Bowery special?’ So, of course, there’s art and music and so much rich history here, but there’s also a lot of characters and people who are kind of local heroes.” Hotel executives have said that the project is meant to, “pay our respect” to what the neighborhood is all about.
Naturally, there was some apprehension towards the project. However de Castro said most people were receptive once they realized she was serious about capturing what was authentic in the neighborhood. When asked about her aspirations for the project, de Castro said in an interview, “I just hope that it adds some sort of beauty to the neighborhood, and I hope it inspires people to take photographs. I’m really excited about younger people seeing it. And for the people who are in it, I hope they feel empowered and know that they are important members of the community.”
Check it out in all it’s glory:
Footage from @realmp ✨ I am completely and utterly speechless and I am so humbled. My first art show was back in 2005 in San Francisco. I used my financial aid money to produce 4 commercial grade light boxes which I used to showcase my street photography. It was my thing, every exhibition I had, those light boxes went with. 2018 marks my 10th year in New York City, my chosen home where I’ve been blessed to build the most loving chosen family. Last night we unveiled my new public art installation, Citizens of the Bowery, with the new downtown @citizenm. This body of work features 62 portraits of people that make this community so colorful & progressive. I want to thank @citizenm & @kesselskramerlondon for this incredible platform and for giving me and my studio #Stoneman full control over this project. Thank you to Dave, Jen, & Tash at KK, Thank you to Noreen & Maurice at citizenM, Thank you to my support system Felix, Curt, Margaux, Steven, and Sky at @imglens. A HUGE thanks to my team, Ashely, Cynthia, Duck, Kat, Victoria, Cathryn, Jovany & Katherine. Thank you to my family & friends for carrying me to this point in my life. Remember it was just 4 light boxes in 2005. Today it’s 180 light boxes standing 22 stories high for the city I love. My heart is full. Grandma I know you were there. Blessings to you all! ??????❤️?????❤️? #citizensofthebowery #christelledecastro #publicinstallation #exhibition #citizenm #newyorkcity #bowery For anyone with pics or vids from this night, pls hit me thru WhatsApp! ❤️
Take a look at some of the portraits from “Citizens of the Bowery” up close:
Featured image: Chris Cooper