New York Series Paintings    Gallery 1 Paintings

The urban landscapes in this gallery were all painted on location at an abandoned golf center in the North Bronx. I painted my first landscape here in the fall of 2013. To get into the site, I pushed my painting gear under the fence and squeezed through a break in the locked gate. I did one small painting that year but due to a detective catching me in the act of slipping through the gate and telling me I wasn’t supposed to be on the property, I did not to go back. He told me he’d looked the other way that day, but suggested it would be better if I didn’t return. Luckily that painting was almost finished.

Fast forward to February 2016, I was driving down RT 95 and caught a glimpse of a colorful structure. Later, when I explored the area, I discovered it was the same golf center that I’d painted in 2013. This time around, I found a break on the other side of the site, which allowed me access to a number of buildings I hadn’t explored before.

The Bronx Golf Center is 12 acres in total. This once vibrant family entertainment center now contains crumbling old structures that nature is slowly reclaiming: remnants of a miniature golf course, a driving range, and batting cages that are disappearing under creeping vines and weeds.

Since being abandoned, the golf center has become a refuge for graffiti artists, homeless people, and feral cats. Recently, suspicious fires destroyed several of the buildings and the property owners have repaired the fence, making access to the site difficult, if not impossible. 

Rumor has it that this site will someday be replaced by a shopping mall and with that another piece of Bronx history will be paved over and disappear.  It is, after all, what humans have been doing for centuries; we build, we destroy and we rebuild. Still it’s hard not to mourn the loss of a fun site that once gave many area residents joy. Every day sees a new condo or strip mall constructed, and too often, the architecture is cookie cutter and boring.

One of the things I noticed while spending the past year and a half painting at the golf center is the abundance of birds, butterflies, geese, raccoons and other animals that thrived there.  The overgrown setting had become a defacto nature preserve.  Surrounded by wildflowers and birds, it was easy to forget that I was painting in the midst of the busy overbuilt city.


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   Photo of Abandoned Bronx Golf Center on site by Valeri Larko
Photo of Abandoned Bronx Golf Center on site by Valeri Larko

Betting Cage Nets by Valeris Larko Batting Cage Nets by Valeri Larko

Walkway Bronx Golf Center by Valeri Larko Walkway Bronx Golf Center by Valeri Larko