The Health Department today announced the completion of 22 storefront murals in East Harlem, concentrated along the 116th Street and 125th Street corridors. The murals are part of the 100 Gates Project, an initiative that pairs local artists and merchants to collaborate on original murals on roll-down security gates. By adding colorful murals to storefronts within the neighborhood, the project aims to promote walking, cycling, and increased physical activity. East Harlem has disproportionately poor health outcomes with regards to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. In East Harlem more than 1 in 4 adults have obesity; nearly 1 in 6 residents have diabetes; 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure; and heart disease is the leading cause of death. This project was produced by the Health Department in partnership with 100 Gates Project and the Fund for Public Health in New York City and made possible with funding provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“These murals turn the sidewalk into an unexpected gallery and encourage people to go outside and explore their neighborhood,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “By creating appealing streetscapes, we can increase walking and biking and advance more equitable environmental and health outcomes.”
“Taking small steps can make big differences in our health. In NYC almost 1 in 4 adults have obesity, and more than 1 in 4 have high blood pressure,” said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Sonia Angell. “The 100 Gates project is a great addition to East Harlem, encouraging individuals to have fun on foot, discovering neighborhood art; each step supporting the community will also support personal health.”
“The vibrant new murals on 116th Street and 125th Street will encourage residents throughout our community to be out and about in their neighborhoods while getting exercise and staying healthy,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “According to the latest reports, more than 700,000 adult New Yorkers have been told they have diabetes and the rate of diabetes in East Harlem is higher than the New York City average. It remains critical that we continue our work to help improve and promote health awareness throughout our community, and the addition of these 22 artistic murals on local storefronts is a step in the right direction I commend the New York City Department of Health on this latest initiative to help keep residents healthy.”
“The 100 Gates Project beautifies East Harlem, provides local artists with platforms, and most importantly – works to address the neighborhood’s health inequities by encouraging exercise. I thank the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, participating artists, and all business owners for working together to complete this initiative,” said Council Member Diana Ayala.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the NYC Health Department in expanding the 100 Gates Project in East Harlem and are excited about its reach across the city,” said Tim Laughlin, President of the Lower East Side Partnership. “The project originated here on the Lower East Side as an economic development initiative to activate underutilized gates, and now we’re able to see the potential for its much broader and positive impact on public health.”
A well-maintained streetscape can contribute to walkability and improve residential quality of life. The 100 Gates Project encourages people to walk and be more physically active in their neighborhood. Increased physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic disease, such as heart disease and diabetes. For health benefits, adults should do at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, spread throughout the week. Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.
The Health Department’s Active Design Program has funded several other projects to promote physical activity:
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- Art projects in parks in East Harlem, the South Bronx, Eastern Queens, and Central Brooklyn in 2018 and in 2017.
- Murals to promote play in 11 schools.
- Murals on stairwells in the South Bronx.
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