Stroll kicks off
From on high Art Stroll launches
Story and photos by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer
Distinguished figures are not strangers to Morris-JumelMansion, the stately white house on Coogan’s Bluff.
George Washington stayed there during the Revolutionary War, and Aaron Burr also was an occupant.
On Fri., May 31st, another set of accomplished individuals graced the grounds of the Mansion: artists, leaders and community members, and founders of the Uptown Arts Stroll who gathered to launch its tenth anniversary.
Among the honorees was Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría-Hudes; United Palace of Cultural Arts Program Director (and former The Manhattan Times’ Associate Publisher) Mike Fitelson; Community Board 12 and The Manhattan Times.
“This was really something that was an idea that was ready to take hold in this neighborhood,” said Fitelson.
Beyond commemorating the Stroll’s history and progress in the past decade, the kick-off reception also pointed to what will be another exciting month of art exhibits, performances, shows and presentations.
Photographer Emmanuel “Dj Boy” Abreu’s multi-facility exhibit, “Observe the Heights,” will be on display at a number of Northern Manhattan locales.The body of work will feature photographs from every intersection of WashingtonHeights and Inwood.
While his work is a regular feature on the Uptown Collective blog, among other outlets, and he is a stalwart supporter of all things creative uptown, it is his first time participating in the Art Stroll.
Abreu even made valiant attempts to try to photograph every one else’s work during the Stroll a couple of years ago.
“I wanted to be ‘that guy’ who covered everyone,” Abreu recalled with laughter. “It probably would have killed me if I got to everything.”
This time, with the spotlight on his own work, he is enthused – to put it mildly.
“It feels freaking awesome. It’s a huge relief after a year and a half of work,” said Abreu, a NoMAA grant recipient.
The Stroll has long counted on the support of local business owners.
Robert Forkosh, owner of newly established Royal Drugs at 5030 Broadway, marveled at the Mansion, as the crowd gathered on its grounds.
“I never imagined a place like this existed in New York City,” he said.
It was Forkosh’s first Art Stroll; he will be hosting three artists’ work at Royal.
While Forkosh, a Brooklyn native, is still discovering the gems of Northern Manhattan, Walt Fitelson, Mike’s father, has been long acquainted with the neighborhood. He was looking forward to revisiting a few sites.
“I haven’t been below 170th Street in years,” he said, as the last splashes of sun dappled the lawn of the Mansion. “I really have a good time here.”
For more photos from the Stroll kick-off reception, please visit www.manhattantimesnews.com.
For a full listing of all Stroll events, please visit www.artstroll.com.