MANHATTAN, N.Y. – U-Haul stores are an extension of the communities they serve.
In this case, one such location served as a canvas.
Chelsea is known for its abundance of gifted artists, who helped convert an industrial area into a trendy suburban community that houses numerous galleries today. Amid the galleries, residential addresses and restaurants that inhabit Manhattan’s West Side neighborhood sits U-Haul Moving & Storage of Chelsea.
It seems unusual that a 38-year-old U-Haul store would fit into the artistic identity of Chelsea, but the building at 562 W. 23rd St. was featured as part of the New York Times Magazine project “Walking New York.”
The project – a collaboration between New York Times Magazine and the French artist known simply as JR – was a way to bring awareness to the pedestrian style of New York and produce a mindfulness of immigration.
JR is renowned for capturing and printing large scale images of subjects and then incorporating them into streetscapes of cities around the world. You can see some of JR’s works here.
“The subject of his most recent works has been immigration,” said Christine Walsh, contributing photo editor at New York Times Magazine.
“We had wanted to work with JR for a while. … Very quickly we came to the idea together of having JR photograph people who have recently arrived in NYC and then paste their images all over the city.”
U-Haul Moving & Storage of Chelsea was given the chance to be a part of this project when one of its walls was used as the canvas for the image of Thinh Hoang, a 25-year-old student who arrived in the U.S. last year from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Hoang was one of 15 immigrants featured in this project who immigrated over the past year.
To read more about each individual’s story, visit the nytimes.com.
For a map of the each posting, visit google.com/maps/
Ian Brown, general manager at the U-Haul store, was pleased to be a part of the project and said it created quite a bit of commotion. Brown added that the project enhanced his location’s artistic value by adding to the image and culture of the area.
“We like to be a part of the community here,” Brown said. “I loved it. Whenever we can do something like that, that shows we are a part of the community. I wish we could do one of these projects every month.”
Aside from its new status as a canvas for artists to display their art, U-Haul Moving & Storage of Chelsea offers trucks, trailers, storage, boxes and serves as a U-Box warehouse.
Another New York borough, Brooklyn, was recently named as the No. 6 city on the U-Haul Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2014.
Since U-Haul Moving & Storage of Chelsea has an artistic image on its building, it is the ideal spot to become U-Haul Famous. Take your picture in front of a U-Haul product, send it in and your face could land on the side of a U-Haul truck. Upload your photo to Instagram using #uhaulfamous, or go to uhaulfamous.com to submit photos and learn more.
Have you seen this artwork in the city? Tell us what your thoughts are in the comments!