If Banksy was looking for someplace to place his work where it would not be covered/painted over, tagged, rented out, vilified, hated or loved, he came to the right place, Staten Island, where it would simply be ignored! Banksy, (if you indeed exist..) you get the Christopher Columbus award for discovering the obvious, you found Staten Island, something, even most New Yorkers are apparently incapable of doing. But did you have to do it with a vagina anthill? On the other hand, Staten Islanders are pretty clueless, too, as they pass by dear Marilyn without a second glance. She is a little street art gem, located along the parking lot wall on Hyatt Street, just a few steps before the intersection with St. Marks Place in St. George, three blocks from the ferry. She is just about at the spot of the street where the elderly anti-abortion lady had been on Monday, handing out her leaflets about murder. The elderly lady is an occasional feature of that section of Hyatt Street, but if she had turned up on Wednesday, and stood in the same spot, she would have been facing Marilyn, enjoying a somewhat compromising position. Marilyn Monroe adjusts her skirts next to a vestigial set of stone steps at the decidedly unpicturesque parking lot on Hyatt Street. She is only about two feet tall, by the way and she is apparently made up partially of an old subway map, which Banksy or whoever, had to consult several times in order to find this spot in the first place. I noticed it when I was coming up the street and saw three teenagers crouching down and examining it. I said, “Is that Banksy?” and they said that that’s what everybody was saying. So I guess the high schoolers found it! Long live Curtis and McKee High Schools! Well, what do you think? Is it Banksy or is it not? And if a tree falls in forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? And if this is not Banksy, then who is it? And is it any less interesting or “artistic” because of that? Certainly it is less valuable in terms of dollars, but that has little to with the real value of art…. (snark, sarcasm, ahem.)
Just outside the East gate of Snug Harbor Cultural Center stands a little know historic home that bears witness to the rich history of this fascinating institution. Barely seen behind high iron gates and vegetation is the Judge Jacob Tysen house, where the physician to the (Sailor’s) Snug Harbor institution once lived.
During Open House New York, 2013 it was possible to tour the house with its curator. The exterior does not bode well, but the interior is exceptionally well preserved, retaining its architectural integrity and decorations from a century ago. It is owned by the Historic Richmondtown organization. Several decades ago there were plans to move it to Richmondtown, but fortunately, that plan was never realized. However, the house has seemingly dropped down in Richmondtown’s list of priorities, and completely dropped off the radar of Staten Island’s attractions promoters. Now that the Snug Harbor Cultural Center is becoming an important home to cultural institutions, Isn’t it time to restore this magnificent house more carefully and open it to the public?