Inspired by the City’s resiliency and ongoing recovery, Good Day New York honored GFP Real Estate (GFPRE) as its "Hero of the Day" for its #GFPRECares campaign across its NYC portfolio, featuring a series of murals by award-winning illustrator Anthony Russo.
GFPRE commissioned Russo—whose work is regularly featured in the New Yorker and The New York Times—to create a series of five original murals to be displayed at three GFPRE-owned properties across Manhattan, including 10 Astor Pl., 200 Varick St. and 80 Eighth Avenue.
“We wanted to celebrate the beginning of New York’s gradual return from the worst days of the pandemic by bringing some positivity and inspiration directly to the streets,” said Jeffrey Gural, Chairman and Principal of GFPRE. “Anthony’s poignant, yet uplifting illustrations perfectly express the importance of empathy, connectivity and creativity that make New York the greatest city on Earth. More importantly, the work also recognizes that while we’re not out of the woods yet—and that we need to continue to look out for and take care of one another.”
The illustrations, which feature uplifting, encouraging phrases such as, “We rise by lifting others,” “Be kind, it powers the world,” “If you light the lamp for somebody it will brighten your path,” “Stop and contemplate just how amazing life is,” and, “Look out for each other, it’s important,” were inspired by the ‘positivity, energy and optimism powering the city’s ongoing recovery.’ The illustrations are also meant to provide an opportunity to reflect on this emotional and difficult time for New York’s residents and businesses.
“The theme of the illustrations revolves around hope, though it was important to simultaneously recognize the challenges we’ve (all) faced over the past year and a half. This has been a major event in everyone’s lives,” said Russo. “I wanted to provide passersby with encouragement and positivity, both in the drawings but also in the phrases used in each mural. My hope is that people will see the works and feel encouraged as we continue to move forward.”
In addition to the oversized window murals, more than 100 of GFPRE’s retail tenants will display large posters containing information about the campaign in their storefront windows to create additional awareness of the unique art. Passersby are encouraged to participate on social media by tagging images of Russo’s work with the hashtag #GFPRECARES.
“The #GFPRECARES campaign is our way of helping to keep New Yorkers feeling positive about the city—and its future—as we carefully make our way past the pandemic towards a brighter and more positive future for all,” said Eric Gural, Co-CEO and Principal of GFPRE. “As a landlord, GFPRE did its best to assist its tenants throughout the pandemic. We understood that the City would be a very different place to come back to if everyone went out of business.”
Since its inception, GFPRE and the Gural family have worked tirelessly to support its tenants, employees, and the communities in which is resides. Founded in 1952 and spanning three generations, the Gural family has long been a major supporter of local arts and the businesses serving the arts community.
Throughout the pandemic, GFPRE assisted businesses and organizations whenever possible, and has continued to offer its ongoing support to its tenants and neighbors as needed, offering reduced, percentage or in some cases, free rent to its tenants to ensure their survival. In total, GFPRE assisted more than half of its 2500-plus office and retail tenants in 2020, providing rent relief worth some tens/hundreds of millions of dollars.
“It was about doing the right thing when businesses needed it most. The problems faced by these businesses were a direct result of the pandemic, not due to any failure on their part. We knew we had to step in and help them stay in business,” said Jeffrey Gural. “Whenever a tenant reached out, we sat down and reviewed their finances to see how we might be able to assist them. Having experienced several sharp downturns over the years, we understood that it’s always better to help people in their time of need. The result is that many of our tenants were able to pull through, which is better than seeing scores of empty office and retail spaces sitting vacant when people come back to work.”