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Battery Park City WTC Mural Latest To Face Threat

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Above is artist Vladimir Poutchkov's mural that's adorned the lobby at Gateway Plaza's 600 building in Battery Park City since 1997. As we've just learned, it's the latest in a string of World Trade Center murals to face erasure; according to the Battery Park City Broadsheet, it's "slated to be removed and is in danger of being destroyed."

Vital background on Poutchkov's mural and its fate, from the Broadsheet:

"Yes, they're taking it down," said a Gateway employee who asked not to be named. "They're going to redecorate the lobby and they want the painting out." A visual inspection yesterday evening showed that sheetrock around the mural's edges had already been cut through, and several aluminum and wooden braces had been drilled into the upper third of the painting.

Recalling the Art Deco mural style of the 1930s, the fisheye-lens perspective was meant "to show Twin Towers like a bird see them," said Mr. Poutchkov in broken English. To emphasize the painting's verticality, Mr. Poutchkov included the image of several clouds and a single small airplane (all seen from above) zipping toward the Trade Center complex. "It not meant to hit," he explained. "I want to show how high view was, how small world is from such height."

The Lefrak Organization nearly removed the 16 x 18 foot mural following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, fearing that this reminder of the World Trade Center, then still a smoldering ruin just steps from the building's front door, would disturb residents returning to the neighborhood. But a large number of Gateway tenants disagreed, and they petitioned the landlord to preserve Mr. Poutchkov's painting. So instead of destroying it, the Lefrak Organization hired the artist to come back and edit his earlier work. "They call me at 10 o'clock night," he remembered, "and say people are upset. So I come and cover up airplane and make it one more cloud in the top."

The news comes just weeks after word that the iconic DKNY mural (featuring the World Trade Center towers in the distance) will be painted over to make room for fresh new advertising, and nearly five years since the Bowery lost a World Trade Center mural of its own in part because, it was rumored at the time, the building owners feared it could evolve into something landmarkable that would hurt the ability to sell the property for development in the future.

Given they're cutting away the sheetrock at Gateway Plaza and not just smashing through it, one might think there's plans to preserve the Poutchkov mural. But no official word as yet.
· LeFrak redecorating dooms Gateway Plaza mural [Broadsheet]
· East Village WTC Mural Gone [Curbed]
· Soho Shocker: Iconic DKNY Wall Disappearing, Going Gray [Racked]