Grub has been helping to provide a large feast for this event:
Arthur Wood has been living in the Broken Angel House for thirty four years. It is a piece of art, a labor of love, and a neighborhood institution. Now, at the age of eighty two, he is scheduled be evicted by a developer after fighting a six-year legal battle to keep his home.
This is a pair of events to raise funds for Arthur’s legal fees and to help put him in a new home. Those who can’t make it are invited to contribute to the Broken Angel fund at http://bit.ly/BRKAngel
From 4 to 8pm, the back yard and stoop of the Broken Angel House will be host to a peaceful, ***sober*** DIY afternoon gathering of individuals who wish to give support to Arthur as he peacefully moves on to a new life outside of his building. It is a kid-friendly community gathering and display of creativity. There will be musicians, dancers, an auction of some of Arthur’s art, dancing, sign making, a brass band, costume wearing, a couple celebrity guests, food, non-boozy drinks, and surprises. Hats will be passed.
After the block party ends at 8, adults aged 21 and older are invited to join us for a rousing dance party fundraiser at the Irondale Center, located at 85 S Oxford St– a fifteen minute walk from Broken Angel House, near Barclay’s center and lots of trains. Admission is ten dollars, and the party will end at one AM. The bands and DJ’s will be excellent, the drinks will be delicious and reasonably priced. Door by Guncle. Wear a costume or not, come dance. Special thanks go to Irondale Center for hosting us in their beautiful, historical venue on short notice at a charity rate.
Please bring food, costumes, and creative energy to share. A pot of soup, a crust of bread, a thermos of hot tea, some morsel of goodness to bbq! Bring your own bowl, fork. n’ mug. Please do not drink in the streets. Please do not litter. Please help clean up on your way out. Please be nice to everybody and leave peacefully and quickly if asked to do so.
This is not a protest. We are here to raise money for an elder of the Brooklyn DIY arts community who is in a situation that hundreds of our peers who have had difficulties with DIY housing in Brooklyn sympathize with. We are also here to have a conversation about the role of large real estate developers, such as Madison Realty Capital, in the radical inflation of Brooklyn housing prices and the displacement of long-time residents. Should the authorities ask us to disperse from our peaceful assembly, we will do so without resistance or issue.
Musicians and Performers, with many more to be confirmed: Ali Luminescent, Arielle of Aftermath’s Shitty Carricatures, Bettie Chaoskaos, DJ 2Melo, DJ Mojo, DJ Reaganomics, DJ Tinseltown, Doctor Adventure’s Death Defying Feats of Science, Freddy Price, Georgio Carpet, Jack O’Somebody the Political Clown, Jah Jah Brown, Maynard and the Musties, Meg Keys with an insane pinata, Renata Bergen, Reverend Billy, Rude Mechanical Orchestra Marching Band, Several Dozen Tall Bikes, Shanimal, Toys & Tiny Instruments, Veronica Dougherty, and many surprises.
More about Arthur and the building:
Arthur Wood purchased the 4-story brick tenement building at 4-8 Downing Street in 1979 for $2,000. He lived in the house with his wife Cynthia and raised their son Christopher who is now a stone carver. The artist explored ideas about design and vernacular architecture with improvised construction to add new floors and rooms to the original building, to the point where the structure reaches 104 feet, or about 9 stories above the sidewalk. The site has been compared to Watts Towers in Los Angeles for the ad hoc construction and is acknowledged for its value as folk art and as part of the cultural heritage.
This beautiful artistic landmark has inspired many people with it’s intricate arches, stunning, gravity defying angles and it’s sheer asymmetry in a landscape which is all too dull and predictable. Much of the material it was built from was sourced from the garbage and dumps of NYC, showing the truth in the old maxim; “One Man’s Garbage is Another Man’s Treasure”
Artists Arthur and Cynthia Wood built the top part of the structure in the twenty seven years that they were guardians of the building. Arthur had a camera obscura on the top area and a room that looked like it floated in the air. The inside was like a huge cathedral with gorgeous arches and colorful “stained glass windows” that were made from the remains of bottles and glass. As a result of a fire on October 10, 2006, Bryan Winters of the New York City Department of Buildings declared the building dangerous, telling Arthur and Cynthia that they had to go. A couple of days later police arrived, cordoned off Downing Street and had battering rams ready to strike down the door. When Arthur defied the vacate order by staying in the building, he was arrested. The police also arrested Cynthia who was outside with their dog Jack. Arthur and Cynthia were taken away in handcuffs and kept at the precinct for many hours. Arthur and his wife and pets lived in a car outside their own building during the cold winter months that followed.
On January 11th, 2007 it was announced that Arthur Wood had partnered with local real estate developer Shahn Andersen to renovate Broken Angel, build a new addition to its side, and convert the building to residential condominiums and artist space.
Despite the Woods’ efforts the house is now a square box and the plans to renovate it under the direction of Shahn Anderson were never completed. Faced with a foreclosure from Madison Realty Bank, and Cynthia being diagnosed with cancer, the Woods struggled to fight the foreclosure and get their house back. Cynthia Wood died at the age of 72.
“Despite the loan and the developer who set up that loan and promised to save the building by making condos, there were stop work orders constantly by the Department of Buildings. Nothing was really done in the building despite the Loan company pretending that Arthur borrowed 2 million dollars. The actual cost was more like a few hundred thousand. Arthur did not make but 45 thousand for working on the dismantling of his own building. As per the available information, The developer was making over 10K a week and was also his partner, meaning he would have possession of half the building with Arthur and Cynthia. He ran the operation. Letitia James introduced the developer to Arthur as per her admission and that of the developer. Tony Avella, then a councilman was brought to the building by myself to meet Arthur and to see about the claims Arthur had as per fraud. Senator Avella wrote to the DA to have the incidents investigated. I visited the DA office with Arthur and they appeared appalled by what they saw in documents however nothing happened. I have been filming the situation since 2007. I know one thing, Forced Eviction is a violation of Human Rights.” ~Tyler A Chase (the Filmmaker of “A Castle in Brooklyn.”)
The Broken Angel has been the subject of countless articles over the years, in sources as widely read as the NYTimes and DailyNews to the Gothamist and Brownstoner web blogs. This architectural sculpture has drawn individual admirers by the hundreds every week, without fail, up to and including the present day.
Arthur Wood is a prolific artist, continuing his art through years of battling for his home with subjects as varied as paintings of Mother Eve and Frida Kahlo, a bench that sits three sets of butt cheeks, and astronomical tools with innovative woodwork. He is also the coolest eighty two year old of all time and tells amazing stories.
4-8 Downing St. at Quincy Brooklyn, NY