July 16, 2014
Meet our 2014 Commissioned Artists!
Please tell us of an artist, curator, activist, or project that has influenced you or inspired you?
Danny Hoch is a quintessential New York artist with a multicultural polyglot upbringing that influences all his work. His play “Taking Over,” which deals with gentrification in NYC, was transformative for me when I saw it in 2008 (not that long ago, but gentrification was much less of a hot topic then). “Taking Over” expressed frustration with how some New Yorkers are marginalized, and how their voices count for less than those who are more affluent. I was feeling the things that he spoke about it, but that was the first time I heard them publicly expressed. He blew me away.
Please tell us about a place in your neighborhood that is personally meaningful to you, and why?
The corner of 113th Street & Liberty Avenue in South Richmond Hill, Queens. This is the corner near our family home, where my grandparents lived and where my mom now lives. This is my favorite corner in the whole world. When I went away to college in Ohio and lived in Japan, I’d endure these 10-hour bus rides and 14-hour flights to get back home. I’d come to my mom’s house and sleep and be fed. And the next day, I’d set out to see my friends—which meant a trip on the A train and a walk to Liberty Ave. Whenever I walked down 113th Street and turned down Liberty Avenue, I’d breathe in that South Richmond Hill air and be filled with the happiness of being home.
I love that corner so much that I made a carving of it while I was at school in Ohio!
What is your favorite book, film or song about NYC?
Spike Lee’s film “The 25th Hour” really beautifully captures post-911 New York and the protagonist’s mixed feelings about his city—a place riddled with brutality, racial tensions and inequity. The protagonist goes on a rant at the end about all the people and things he hates in NYC, but nevertheless, you know he’d never leave it. This scene chokes me up. NYC is far from perfect, but it’s the perfect place for me. And that’s the sentiment that I take from this film.
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