Chinatown's Doyers Street 'Rice Terraces' Mural


Three years have passed since this street alley, then a vibrant canvas of explosive colors, first dazzled our social media feeds in 2021. At that time, its striking transformation evolved into a visual symphony that captures the essence of urban artistry. As I finally share my photographs and reflections on this phenomenon, it's evident that New York City should embrace more of these expressive and entertaining artistic endeavors. Such projects not only captivate but also inspire countless individuals to witness their splendor firsthand.

Art holds an indispensable role in society, particularly in times that call for deeper introspection, love, community, and openness. Amid the backdrop of global upheavals—chaotic uprisings, protests, political coups, inflation, joblessness, xenophobia, mass migration, and endless wars—the need for art becomes even more pronounced. In these turbulent times, we all need a moment to pause, breathe, and internalize the transformative power of art, offering a refreshing antidote to the ceaseless stream of trivial distractions.

Walking through this alley, one cannot help but be struck by the dynamic interplay of colors and forms that dance across the walls. Each mural tells a story, inviting onlookers to ponder, reflect, and engage. This artistic sanctuary amidst the urban hustle serves as a reminder of the importance of creativity in public spaces. It beckons us to slow down and appreciate the beauty that often goes unnoticed in our hurried lives.

New York City's decision to support and promote such artistic ventures speaks volumes about the power of public art. These initiatives create not just visual appeal but foster a sense of community and belonging. They transform mundane alleyways into vibrant cultural hubs, where people from all walks of life can connect over a shared appreciation of beauty and creativity.

In the grand tapestry of urban life, these murals and artistic expressions are not mere embellishments; they are vital threads that weave together the fabric of a diverse and dynamic community. They encourage dialogue, spark inspiration, and, most importantly, remind us of our shared humanity.

As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, let us champion more of these artistic projects. They are not just an escape from reality but a necessary pause that allows us to see the world through a different lens—one that is filled with color, meaning, and hope.

Please be aware the rice terrace mural is no longer a part of Doyers Street today as of June 2024.

A once notorious alley, it had undergone a metamorphosis, symbolizing the transformative power of art. It was the latest chapter at the time, in the ongoing collaboration between the Asphalt Art Activations and the acclaimed Chilean-born artist Dasic Fernandez, culminating in the breathtaking 2021 Season Street art mural.

This striking mural was sprawled across 4,851 square feet of pavement, an expansive canvas that was once known as "Murder Alley." Since 2017, this grim moniker has been replaced by vibrant displays of creativity and hope. Each year, the alley became a new masterpiece, a testament to the evolving story of community and artistic expression.

In 2018, the space was brought to life by Chen Dongfan’s evocative "The Song of Dragons and Flowers." This piece infused the alley with a burst of color and symbolism, reflecting the intricate tapestry of human experience and nature’s beauty. The following year, artist Dan Monteavaro turned the alley into a poignant narrative of Asian immigration to the United States. His mural was not just art, but a powerful statement on identity, belonging, and the journey of countless immigrants.

However, post-2019, the alley saw a lull in creations that garnered significant attention. This hiatus made the return of the Asphalt Art Activations in 2021 even more anticipated. Fernandez’s work did not disappoint. His mural, with its dynamic hues and profound themes, has reignited the cultural conversation surrounding this urban space.

To truly appreciate the transformation, one must see the mural from above. The aerial view reveals the full grandeur of Fernandez’s design, turning an ordinary street into an extraordinary spectacle. The vivid patterns and bold lines capture the eye and the imagination, transforming the alley into a symbol of artistic renewal.

The initiative was more than just a series of murals; it was a revitalization of community spirit. Each artwork tells a story, fostering a deeper connection among residents, tourists, and visitors alike. Through these murals, the alley has become a vibrant tapestry of collective memory and shared dreams.

In the end, what was once "Murder Alley" has been reborn as a beacon of creativity and hope. It stands as a testament to the power of art to heal, inspire, and unite. The journey of this alley from a place of fear to a canvas of beauty and expression is a reminder that even the most unlikely spaces can become the heart of a community.


1. Leaden, Claire, "This Incredible Technicolor Street Mural Has Taken Over Doyers St. In Chinatown" June 21, 2021, Secret NYC

2. Liberman, Lynn, "Get Ready for 2019 #SeasonalStreet on Doyers Street in Chinatown NYC, July 25, 2019, GothamToGo

3. Liberman, Lynn, "Rice Terraces by Dasic Fernandez the 2021 Doyers Street NYC DOT Asphalt Art Activations Street Mural, June 25, 2021, GothamToGo

4. Weaver, Shaye, "See the incredible mural covering an entire Chinatown street right now", June 23, 2021, TimeOut


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