Score another triumph for civilization in the Rockaways. There was a festive midday air last Saturday, September 25 as the crowd gathered at 108 street and Shore Front Parkway for the dedication of Esther Grillo’s artistic triumph, “Surf’s Up.” The stunning mural that now decorates the entire interior of the “wave” bus shelter at the parkway’s 107 street intersection is yet another reason to be proud of Rockaway and its people. Even the weather gods seemed to bring special blessings to the occasion with the most pleasant of Indian Summer sunshine and shore breezes under a flawless blue sky. The only clouds in view were those that crowned the exquisite work of art which depicts a group of Rockaway surfers “doing their thing” in the most perfect of waves on just such a gorgeous day.
A grant-funded project that incorporated the talents of many student artists, the mural embraces the viewer in a way that is reminiscent of the famed 3-screen film process, Cinerama, that was popular in the 1960’s. The painting is so full of vivid motion and the feel of surging tides that one has the sense that it is about to jump right off the wall. The artist’s signature was cleverly inserted in the banner that flies from a single engine plane that soars above the coastline and adds both realism and interest to the design. Grillo’s wonderful use of sea blue colors on the rolling breakers brings further swirling life to a work that seems more timely than ever in light of the recent surfing frenzy that has followed Hurricane Floyd’s wrath.
Those speaking from the podium in recognition of Grillo’s efforts included community activists, leaders of the Rockaway Artists Alliance, city politicians and Parks Department representatives. Perhaps Assistant Parks Commissioner Richard Murphy summed it up best when he described how “buildings should enhance the community” and called Grillo’s accomplishment’s extraordinary!”