DOT-sponsored totem pole in Longwood represents diversity and inclusivity

Posted: Updated:

A new piece of artwork is catching people's eyes in Longwood, and it’s designed by a local artist and built by students.  

The traffic circle at Intervale Avenue and Dawson Street has a new tenant.

The South Bronx Pride Totem is a 20-foot tall sculpture sponsored by the NYC Department of Transportation.

Public artist Roy Secord was inspired by the diversity of the community.

"Drawing design elements from different totems from many different cultures and bringing them together to create a totem of unity," says Secord, about the pole.

However, taking his four-foot model and turning it into the sculpture would be a daunting task. That’s where Youth Action Youthbuild came in to play. Youth Action Youthbuild is a community organization based in East Harlem and provides youth with different opportunities.

"We want to be able to not only educate and develop the youth that I work with, but also have something meaningful for them to work on," says Youth Action Youthbuild Program Manager Alejandro Alvarez.

News 12 is told 30 young adults in two groups worked for six months from start to finish, constructing the over 2,000-pound totem that stands as a beacon of diversity and inclusion.

"Like we really did this, like I didn't think in a million years I'd be standing here next to a 20-foot statue that I put effort and time into, like, it's amazing," says Sean Washington, of Castle Hill.

The totem will be on display for the next year or two.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."