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Ocean Parkway Viaduct

Deborah Masters

Coney Island Reliefs, 2010


Sculptor Deborah Masters created the Coney Island Reliefs in cast concrete. The 1260 sq. ft. of relief panels fit within existing recesses in the viaduct. Tinted a terracotta color to harmonize with the sandstone color of the Ocean Parkway viaduct, a massive structure that carries the subway across six lanes of traffic and an Olmstead parkway, the reliefs portray scenes from the history and legends of Coney Island, including Neptune, a mermaid, beach, boardwalk, and amusement park scenes. The designs are based upon photographs, drawings, and interviews by the artist with local residents and visitors to the famed amusement park. On the north and south facing facades, there are six triangular shapes in which Neptune and the Mermaid repeat in paired groupings, as well as large rectangular panels at either end of the viaduct facade that feature scenes of Coney Island.

The work is a visual gateway into Coney Island, and a major accomplishment that met many technical challenges. The figures and images are modelled with expression, reflective of the large-scale sculpture for which the artist is known and has exhibited widely. The work seems an integral part of the historic structure and indeed, the recessed areas may have been intended for artwork that was never provided to the community, until now.

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