Parks Department Installs Fence at Allen Mall Bathhouse in Response to Nadja Rose Madder
Earlier this week, the city began assembling an eight-foot chain-link enclosure to (partially) fence in the sidewalk plaza. It is on this spot that transgender artist Nadja Rose Madder has been transforming the brickwork and sidewalk into sweeping murals since early summer.
Apparently this latest action is meant to contain Nadja’s art and piles of belongings in the name of “safety.”
“This fencing is a safety mechanism, and wasn’t installed to keep anyone out,” a Parks spokesperson told us. “It’s to prevent materials the artist brings to the space from spilling into the street traffic and bike lane.”
The long-dormant building itself – erected as a bathroom for Second Avenue El passengers in the 1930s – has been a target of taggers and graffiti artists for years. Along came Nadja Rose Madder, whose work struck a chord with the community, and her presence apparently became the proverbial red line.
The squatting mentality – non-commissioned artwork and piles of stuff – sparked battles with the Parks Department, Sanitation, and the 7th Precinct almost from the get-go. We’re told that more than once Nadja’s been removed and/or arrested from the premises and her possessions cleared away. At least one such altercation allegedly ended with a trip to Mount Sinai for psych evaluation.