Walks to Brooklyn Bridge Park will get nicer. Now if only they could get rid of that BQE on-ramp.

Dreaded Atlantic Avenue underpass gets a paintjob

Artsy helpers: Community members worked to revamp the gloomy Atlantic Avenue underpass on Aug. 1 by painting a vibrant-colored wall mural on it.
The Brooklyn Paper
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The dreariest part of the walk to Pier 6 is about to get brighter, thanks to a new mural that will transform one whole side of the Atlantic Avenue underpass into a cheery street scene.

Volunteers gathered Thursday to begin painting the tunnel, which runs for a half-block under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The highway separates Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill from Brooklyn Bridge Park, forcing parkgoers to walk a noisy, poorly lit gauntlet. Backers of the plan say that, for pedestrians, the underpass creates a rift between the world-class greenspace and Atlantic Avenue’s thriving shopping district — and that the problem is only made worse by the scary-to-cross expressway on-ramp near Columbia Street.

“The mural is the first step to creating a much better connection between [parkgoers] and the up-and-coming shops of Atlantic Avenue,” said Josef Szende, executive director of the Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District.

Borough artists Esteban Del Valle and Marc Evan are leading up the team of 17 artists and high school students who are gussying up the passageway at the foot of Atlantic Avenue, a project they say will take two weeks. The group gathered ideas for the image, a whimsical street scene, by going door-to-door and soliciting opinions from neighborhood shopkeepers.

“The common thread [from everyone we asked] was that it was a gloomy space,” Del Valle said.

The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District funded the project through a $75,000 city grant earmarked for a so-called “funderpass.”

The merchants group has scrapped the “funderpass” name, but is working with architecture firm Interboro Partners to make the underpass safer and more welcoming by installing more lighting, directional signage, and benches.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Sally from Cobble Hill says:
It looks great so far! But another problem is the bird droppings! They need to put chicken wire or something over the ceiling to keep the pigeons out.
Aug. 5, 2013, 1:45 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Urban blight has cast a powerful spell on the imagination. High and low have made it into an aesthetic value. So these bright murals forsake our eyes. They are an affront to our long romance with the rust belt. Yet I submit that you have not begun to experience the urban if all you have had of it is industrial nostalgia. To awaken to a city vigorously shaking itself off and transforming itself in space is a robust and mighty thing.
Aug. 5, 2013, 11:23 pm

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