BY LUIS GRONDA
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan will be watching over commuters on the “Boulevard of Death” for one week beginning on May 1.
A giant 13-by-18 foot mural of Reagan will be displayed on Queens Boulevard between 57th Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard as part of a traveling tour of the work of art throughout New York City.
The mural is the work of artist, Scott LoBaido, who has done other patriotic pieces of art in the past, including “Flags Across America,” in which he painted an American flag on a rooftop in all 50 states, and “Flags for Sandy,” which was American flags in honor of victims of Superstorm Sandy.
The new mural features a muscular Reagan with a white t-shirt reading “Dear God, let me go back for just a day,” and a Gipper tattoo on his right bicep. The tattoo is a reference to his role as George Gipp in the movie “Knute Rockne, All American.”
LoBaido, a Staten Island native, said the mural is a tribute to a president who he says had “love and passion” for America.
“He revitalized patriotism and made people fall back in love with their country. That is what this piece represents. Something we need now more then ever,” he said.
LoBaido credits Reagan with creating the “patriotic beast” within him more than 20 years ago and has served as an inspiration to many of his pieces of art.
He said many men and women died fighting in wars the past two centuries and he uses that as an inspiration for many of his works, including the Reagan mural.
“Part of what struck me 20 years ago was that I as an artist have the freedom to express myself as I see fit. That is a most wonderful gift. Men and woman died horrible deaths for the last 200-plus years as they defended my freedom and I pay them homage by painting these flags throughout every single state,” LoBaido said.
The mural was first presented in his native Staten Island and Queens is its second stop. He plans to showcase it in the remaining three boroughs, but he has not hammered out those details yet.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.