Park Slope

St. Francis Covers Up Beloved Dixon’s Bike Shop Mural

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Photo by Anton Klepikov via Facebook

[Updated: Monday, June 12, 5:45pm] A representative of St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights has confirmed that the college is not merging with St. Francis Xavier School in Park Slope as previously reported, and has no involvement with the mural’s removal. See full update here.

After more than 40 years, the vibrant mural directing the way to neighborhood institution, Dixon’s Bicycle Shop, is no more.

St. Francis Xavier School, located around the corner at 763 President Street, owns the wall on Union Street which displayed the mural. The wall, which closes off the school’s backyard, was painted white late last week, covering up the beloved artwork.

The wall that formerly displayed the Dixon Bicycle Shop mural (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

The school recently merged with St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights and wants to put an advertisement on the wall in place of the mural. Despite the Dixon family’s efforts—meetings with the school’s new administration, a petition, etc.—they were not able to save the mural.

A sign on the door of Dixon’s Bicycle Shop asking neighbors to sign a petition to save the mural

“The new school administration want[s] to advertise their school and college which have merged together and they want to put up an advertisement for their school,” David Dixon, the Manager of Dixon’s Bicycle Shop told BKLYNER. “I feel after 40 years of having the mural there, either it could be a shared wall or maybe we could do something else…the wall was definitely a part of the neighborhood, a part of the community.”

Dixon says that the idea for the mural came about decades ago when the wall had been a neighborhood eyesore. “That wall was all graffiti,” Dixon explains. “My dad, going back and forth from the house to the shop, he saw that kids would constantly graffiti the wall, so he told the principal, ‘If I put a mural on this wall, I’ll stop the kids from graffiti-ing [it].'”

Dixon’s Bicycle Shop, 792 Union Street (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)

The principal at the time agreed and the senior Dixon’s idea worked. The mural had been a mainstay in the area since, getting an update regularly over the years.

Dixon’s mother is hoping to attend an upcoming meeting at St. Francis to discuss with school officials a compromise or the possibility of painting a new mural.

“It was a nice mural. People grew up, moved away, came back, and the mural was always there.” Dixon says. “It’s shocking not to see it now.”

 

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14 COMMENTS

  1. How short-sighted and stupid if St.Francis to erase that icon of the neighborhood. Shame on them.

  2. One more example of dehumanizing a neighborhood.
    That was a lovely sign. Senseless destruction saddens me — especially in established, historically rich venues — and my regard for both St. Xavier School and St. Francis College is diminished. A lapsed Roman catholic myself, I wish that Roman catholic institutions would exhibit more catholic attitudes and good will towards their neighbors, especially in this political climate.
    The damage cannot be reversed.
    Such a pity.

  3. They could have printed a temporary sign and hung it over the wall for the summer. I love that mural! Nice way to announce your presence in the neighborhood, destroy a beloved landmark. Hopefully they will put it back.

  4. How devastating. I loved that mural! I honestly wouldn’t be mad at anyone who chose to graffiti it after this.

  5. I passed this lovely mural for 40 years. I’m furious at St. Francis for this totally unnecessary destruction and callous disregard for the neighborhood! In a fairer world, the school would be required to (if this would even be physically possible) hire specialists to painstakingly remove the paint and restore the mural. Of course, even if it could be done, it ain’t gonna happen. They could easily have hung a temporary sign over the wall for a few months! Deborah, I agree, not a catholic attitude toward the neighborhood at all.

  6. The disregard and disrespect is amazing. The newbies are destroying our community piece by piece and are use to inconsiderate city life, not park slope communities. That painting was legendary. It’s a crime!

  7. I agree it’s sad, great piece of neighborhood art. Hate to see things like this go.

    “But maybe…” that space has an economic value to its owner, and if people wanted to keep the mural unfort. they’d have to pay for the space. Regarding the notion that this is not the “christian” thing to do, I’d say that the church could do far more “clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, etc” by using the advertising revenue to support those efforts.

  8. To the people saying we should vandalize whatever they put there: why stop with just a mural when they have two schools within walking distance that also deserve to be vandalized and damaged?

  9. FYI Joe,
    An offer WAS made to pay for the space.
    I agree that advertising revenue should be used productively, however since they will be promoting themselves, I don’t think any revenue will be generated. It is sad, as it was a great piece.

  10. The city has rules for advertisements; someone should check that an advertising sign of that size would be legal in that location. St. Francis could have just incorporated a small “sponsored by” or other sign into the mural. That probably would have done them more good than a large sign that everyone will ignore.

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