RISE Brings Zaq Landsberg and Joey Castillo’s Subway Sea Serpent to the Rockaways

 RISE Brings Zaq Landsberg and Joey Castillo’s  Subway Sea Serpent to the Rockaways

RISE is pleased to present the installation of Zaq Landsberg and Joey Castillo’s Subway Sea Serpent. An opening celebration will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The multi-part, undulating subway train looks as if it’s jumped off the elevated tracks at the Beach 60th A Train station and dived underground to make its way towards the beach.

Segments of the cars break above the grass as if the train were a sea serpent swimming in the water, or an earthworm moving through the soil. It sprawls over a few hundred feet of formerly overgrown and unutilized land beside the elevated train tracks. The piece is constructed of wood, plaster-resin and plexiglass, is coated in glimmering silver paint, and features a built-in solar panel and battery which powers the glowing blue “A” and headlights at night.

The A train is an integral part of the Rockaways and waiting on the platform for that glowing blue “A” is a unifying experience of residents of all ages, races and backgrounds.

Subway Sea Serpent sits on a parcel of DOT land adjacent to the Beach 60th Street Station that had previously been overgrown and underutilized. RISE, the Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability & Equity, launched a community initiative to revitalize this land, and in addition to public art it also hosts community events, musical performances and “drive-thru” farm share pickup for low- and middle-income residents.

“This project directly addresses the Rockaways and takes a universally recognized object and twists it to put it in a new context,” says Zaq Landsberg. “I specialize in art pieces that attract viewers, children, old people and everyone else. The project would draw people toward the in-between space that is underneath the elevated and might not be permanent, but serves as a demonstration of what that space could be.”

“Using the sun’s own energy to power the lighting on this sculpture is not just a nod to sustainability, but a beacon for what’s possible for do-it-yourself makers,” says Joey Castillo. “Using parts from local suppliers, we were able to create a project that doesn’t simply draw power from the grid, but lights the way forward for small-scale sustainable and resilient technology.”

Parts for Subway Sea Serpent were sourced from Adafruit Industries, a woman-owned, New York City based electronics manufacturer with a focus on education and the arts. The electronics run on a series of custom circuit boards in Adafruit’s Feather form factor, and the solar panel, which harvests energy for the sculpture, was designed by Voltaic Systems, a Brooklyn-based provider of remote charging solutions.

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