Soggy Kick-Off to First Park’s First Season

Photos: Lori Greenberg/Bergworks GBM (final photo courtesy Robert Sestok)

Yesterday’s rain washed out the dance performances and children’s events that were to kick off the inaugural season of programming at the former home of the BMW Guggenheim Museum. But that didn’t stop a few die-hard supporters of First Park from clustering around a newly installed sculpture by Robert Sestok.

The Detroit artist was in high spirits as he unveiled First Street Iron, a ten-foot-tall work of welded steel that he said was a “tribute to the city” he often visited. It will remain on display at the plaza between First and Houston Streets, near Second Avenue, until Oct. 22.

As The Local previously reported, Mr. Sestok first became aware of the restoration at 33 First Street well over two years ago because a close friend lived on the block. He was asked to create something for the park before the BMW Guggenheim opened in the once rat-infested lot.

“This has more of an aspect of a grown-up park, where people can see current pieces of art being displayed,” he said of the lot’s new incarnation. “I think that’s really nice for the Lower East Side and the cultural development that’s happening here.”

FSG_RobertSestokCourtesy Ann Shostrom Robert Sestok with sculpture.

Yesterday’s event kicked off six months of cultural events organized by First Street Green, a group that has been committed to building support for renovating the space on First Street since 2008.

This weekend, First Park will be one of the sites featured in “The Bowery Wars,” a two-part outdoor rock musical that traces the lives of an immigrant Romeo and Juliet through the Lower East Side.

Also this Sunday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Brooklyn-based artist Sergei Tcherepnin, known for experiments with sound and objects, will have a solo exhibition in the park.

A representative of First Street Green said the group is currently talking to cultural institutions such as Cooper Union and Downtown Art in hopes of putting together a calendar of music, dance, poetry and possibly art classes for children.

Update: The Sergei Tcherepnin event on April 29 has been cancelled.