Hoboken Relationships Mural on Observer
Hoboken Relationship Mural – residents LOVE graffiti!
Here’s a bump from a story we published over six years ago – about the Hoboken Relationships Mural painted on the NJ Transit Building along Observer Highway. You can see that story (about why the “mushroom cloud” was painted over amidst “public outrage” back in 2005…)
Mushroom cloud art “bad” – rampant vandalism “no big deal”
I was thinking about this the other day. The sheer “political correctness” of today’s society is nauseating. To forever remove an artistic piece like that mushroom cloud sucks (you can’t erase history – “A-bombs” in fact blew up…)
But on the other hand – we have a glaring example of societal DECAY – in the form of graffiti. This isn’t part of an organized community art project. It’s the work of a lone degenerate, and not meant for the enjoyment of residents. WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE HERE?
How come “angry” residents aren’t petitioning City Hall to “paint over” this eyesore?
I say bring the mushroom cloud back – and restore that to it’s original glory.
Hoboken Relationships Mural
Relationships Mural originally created in 1994
Back in 1994, NJ Transit decided to infuse some “artistic expression” to give character to the rather mundane industrial look & feel of the rail yards. They hired English-born artist Andrew Maishman to create the mural you now see every day on the Hoboken Engine House Building. The project was never finished, and has even been scaled-back since it’s creation.
Not what was originally planned
NJ Transit wanted to portray a theme about commuting, but Maishman wanted to create a deeper, more socially relevant image that made a statement about human extremes. His original concept was to show images of Hitler, The Tao (Chinese for “the path”), the yin/yang symbol, and leading up to an image of Gandhi (“peace”).
They rejected the idea of showing something as provocative as Hitler, and eventually the design was replaced with an atomic bomb mushroom cloud, a peace symbol, and the phrase “Relationships” instead of “The Tao,” since it was more understandable to the average citizen.
Nuclear image eventually offended the sensitive
The summer project was worked on for about five months, and NJ Transit reimbursed about $7,000 to the artists (15 of them in total). However, the artists were unable to raise the rest of the money needed to complete the mural, and it remained un-finished. It stayed the same for over a decade until some new issues arose.
During a council meeting back in 2005, Hoboken resident Mo Degennaro said that seniors from Columbia Towers took offense to the image of the nuclear mushroom cloud and demanded that it be removed. The transit director complied and removed the image by painting over it. Some believe that it was the 9/11 incident that spurred the complaint. NJT did, however, ask the original artist for approval prior to removing it. In November 2005, the cloud was gone forever.
History and future?
The Hoboken Engine House was originally built by the Erie Lackawanna Railroad Company in the 60’s. It was initially used as a storage facility, and became an engine house in the early 80’s. The over 30,000 square foot facility used to be used for repair and maintenance of train engines and cars, and even employed over 40 employees at one point.
The building will likely be coming down before long. In the past few years, all work and maintenance inside have been transferred to another location out of town. When the mural was originally proposed, the artists were told that the building was slated to be demolished eventually. No one has made any official statements regarding the future of this location, but don’t be surprised to see towering residential condos lining Observer Highway in the next 5-10 years.
You can see some related articles about the NJ Transit Rail yards below: