in the Public Realm
Harlem River Park Mural 'Estuary'

Janet Braun-Reinitz
Sites at this Tour Stop...


About this Tour Stop...

An estuary is a river or stream that connects to an open sea or ocean. It flows both ways with seawater and fresh water. Harlem River is an estuary, as is the Hudson River, in this mural, this fact is used as a metaphor to the flowing diversity and life of Harlem. This mural features various fish and sea creatures both native to New York and from around the world, be it in the Caribbean, Mexico, West Africa or Indonesia. Together they represent the dynamic cultures of Harlem. The humpback whale is a reference to the whale that visited New York waters in April 2009 before returning to the Atlantic. The whale and the fish in the mural also symbolize the dreams of a greener neighborhood, city and planet where rare aquatic and land creatures can inhibit our Earth more freely. The quote "Life is a big sea/ full of many fish" is from Langston Hughes's 1940 autobiography entitled The Big Sea. By citing Hughes as an important inspiration for this mural, the heritage of Harlem is celebrated as well as sharing a universal message about life's infinite possibilities. The image of the fisherman have been added, which also appears in the banners as a tribute to those who fish in the Harlem River Park.