WAYNE, NJ – Richie Esquiche is an artist who lives here in Wayne. One of his latest pieces has been chosen to be a part of the “Flag Project: Celebrating New York” and will be hung as a flag along with several other chosen pieces surrounding the iconic skating rink at Rockefeller Center.

The flags of the world that usually encircle the skating rink will be taken down and replaced temporarily by flags designed by artists from all over the world.

The Flag Project website says, “We invited artists of all abilities to help us dream up new ways to celebrate the diverse culture, vibrant energy, and strength of New York City.

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The Rockefeller Center Flag Project has generated an incredible response with well over a thousand responses. Your flag designs show that New York City is stronger than ever. With themes that celebrate love, unity, diversity, and designs that are as unique as they are vibrant.”

Esquiche, a former Prospect Park Councilman and President, says he began his art early in life.

“I’ve been an artist since I drew a smiley face in Kindergarten, and the teacher said it looked beautiful,” he said with a laugh. “Ever since then.”

Although he enjoys using charcoal and graphite, Esquiche uses many techniques to create his art including painting, photography and wood carving. However, his winning piece was done in a more modern fashion.

“It was something I designed on Photoshop,” he said.

“I sketched something out first. I wanted it to be iconic, as a tribute to New York City,” Esquiche explained. “I always liked the photo of the men eating lunch out on that beam, and coincidentally, they were building Rockefeller Center in that photo.”

His design is a detailed grey and black silhouette of eleven men sitting out on a steel beam, having lunch high above Manhattan. Behind, the colors range from a dark brown umber that stretches up into the shape of the Manhattan skyline. Behind this are large arcs of red, orange, a dark yellow and yellow representing the rising or setting of the sun.  

This is the description of the design he wrote for the Flag Project website: “My flag design is a tribute to the dawn of the industrial era; fueled by the labor of many, resulting in the metropolis that is the NYC we love.”

Kat Esquiche, Richie’s sister is very proud of her talented brother. “Famous artists from all over the world submitted, and his was chosen!” she said in excitement. 

The Wayne artist went into Manhattan on Saturday, the first of the sixteen days that the flags will be hung around the rink, and saw his piece hanging in one of the most iconic places in the world.  “It’s just surreal,” he said later on and repeated it in awe. “It’s just surreal.”

Esquiche spent a lot of time in Manhattan when he was a student at Rutgers and has always held the Big Apple in his heart.  Art comes from the heart, so his love for New York will literally be on display at Rockefeller Center between August 1 and August 16.

“The Flag Project helped us usher in a new era of togetherness and human connection amidst a difficult time,” it read on the Flag Project Website. “We’re proud to fly these beautiful works of art for all to see, in the heart of New York.