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Phillip Lopate describes the shape of Manhattan Island as‘a luxury liner, permanently docked, going nowhere’. This feeling of being tethered to the land, unable to get to sea, was a feature of New York life for much of the twentieth century. New York was an island without a coast. The West Side piers that once welcomed the Lusitania spent most of the twentieth century crumbling or behind barbed wire, while the East Side’s coves and points were cut off from pedestrians by six lanes of the Robert Moses-designed Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive. It wasn’t much easier to reach the shores of Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx, either: with a few exceptions, they were largely reserved for municipal or industrial use, and easiest to see from the Staten Island Ferry (en route to the borough with the most beaches). Now, slowly, the city is reclaiming its shoreline, with some spectacular results.

Mosholu by Maya Ciarrocchi

This work was created during the WoW/UNY Governors Island Residency. Maya Ciarrocchi was in residence on Governors Island from August 20-September 16, 2018.


Artist Statement: Mosholu is an in-progress series of drawings that map Tibbetts Brook in the Bronx, a waterway which has been directed underground, rerouted and renamed over time. To create this work, I presented these questions:

How does a city whose landscape is in flux affect the identity of its residents?

What is the relationship of urban dwellers to water in poorer neighborhoods versus those in affluent ones?

Who is granted access?

I will continue to add drawings to this series and eventually create a walk which follows the trajectory of the brook from Westchester to the Harlem River.


Maya Ciarrocchi is a Bronx-based interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses identity and the body as a site of history. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and in New York at: Abrons Arts Center, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Chocolate Factory, Kinescope Gallery, and Smack Mellon. Ciarrocchi is a 2017 Bronx Museum of the Arts Artist in the Marketplace alum and has received residencies from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Millay Colony and the UCross Foundation. She received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, a Film/Video Grant from The Jerome Foundation and funding from The Puffin Foundation. In addition to her art-making practice, Ciarrocchi has created award winning projection design for dance and theater including the TONY-award winning Broadway musical The Band's Visit. She is currently a LABA Fellow in the Laboratory for Jewish Culture at the 14th Street Y and a fellow in the inaugural Moving Towards Justice Dance Art as Activism program at Gibney Dance.