Nosy Neighbor: The Lights at 289 Church

At 289 Church, opposite the Tribeca Grand, there’s a building which every night has flashing colored lights in the windows. I have no idea why and I can’t see what/who belongs in the building. Any clues? —Greg

That’s the studio of Steven Rand, the artist who owns the building. There’s actually a sign in the ground-floor window directing the curious to, which in turn sends folks to In 2007, the Tribeca Trib ran a long story about Rand and his gallery next door, Apexart. (Rand owns that building—291 Chruch—too, and lives above Apexart.) The Trib article doesn’t address the question you may be thinking about the multicolored façade (Why?), other than to say that Rand worked on a similar lighting project for a building in Munich. Besides, it’s pretty, which is obviously reason enough.

By the way, I took the night photo before my partner and I ate dinner at Matsugen, and we got to talking about whether such artistic impulses have a home here anymore. Such is the price of gentrification, I pointed out, and it’s hard to have restaurants like Matsugen near artists who own buildings; he said he wasn’t arguing against gentrification so much as simply missing Tribeca’s artsy side, when quirky establishments such as El Teddy’s were the rule, not the exception. I’m not sure why I’m sharing this other than to mark the moment in time.

Got a question about something Tribeca-related? I’ll do my best to investigate it. Email me at

Previous Nosy Neighbor articles:
Dream House (275 Church)
Lucy and Desi trailers on film shoots
The words on Murray Street



  1. I too miss the quirkiness. I like things a bit more shabby chic and Tribeca is getting very glossy. But I’m glad that an artist manged to buy up two whole buildings back in the day and is still using them idiosyncratically. Way to go!

  2. Thanks Erik!
    So good to know – and I agree with Liat – that quirkiness is great! A real talking point.

  3. Erik, it’s like you read my mind. Krista and I commented on this house on the way to the Meet & Greet last night.