Nosy Neighbor: Who hung this painting in Cortlandt Alley?

Z. is wondering who hung this fab reproduction of Frederic Edwin Church’s “Niagara Falls, from the American Side” in Cortlandt Alley — and so am I. Anyone want to cop to it?

The real painting — a prime example of the Hudson River School — hangs in the National Galleries Scotland, since it was purchased in 1887 by the Scottish-born American businessman, financier and philanthropist John Stewart Kennedy and gifted to his native land. It is the only major example of Church’s work in a European public collection. The painting was originally commissioned by the New York art dealer Michael Knoedler in 1866 and completed in 1857, based on a drawing Church made at Niagara as well as a sepia photograph of the scene touched with color. In real life it is huge: 7.5 feet by 8.5 feet.

I was trying to connect some dots here (James?) to see if there’s a Church/Van Cortlandt connection, but the Van Cortlandts pre-date the Hudson River School painters by about two hundred years, so you would have to go pretty far down the line to find a Cortlandt art collector. So instead I will leave you with Vampire Weekend singing “Cousins” in the alley in 2009, since, well, it’s awesome, and they are a desert-island band in our house.



  1. I’ve walked by this painting a couple times and was also surprised that a painting would be hanging outdoors on the brick wall.

    The ground floor commercial area of the building that the painting is hanging on is getting renovated currently. I just assumed that the new owners/tenants were the ones who hung up the painting?

  2. Hand painted and hung on the street for all the elements/vandals, etc… to transform it. Never seen street art quite like this one!