NYC. The 15 best public art pieces in New York City.

unisphere queens

1. The Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens

The Unisphere was built by the United States Steel Cooperation for the World’s Fair in 1964/65. It’s “dedicated to man’s aspirations toward peace through mutual understanding and symbolizing his achievements in an expanding universe”

A smaller version of it can be found at Columbus Circle in Manhattan.

love robert indiana

2. Robert Indiana “Love, Red Blue” at 6th Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan

The American artist created the sign originally in 1964 as a christmas card for the Museum of Modern Art. Today many versions of the sculpture can be found around the world and even another one in New York: at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

His similar red and blue HOPE sculpture is just around the corner at 7th Avenue and 57th Street.

Bowery mural Maya Hayduk

3. The Bowery Mural at the corner of East Houston Street and Bowery

The wall at Bowery and E Houston gets repainted about every six month. Previously artists like Maya Hayuk (pictured), Lady Aiko, Shepard Fairey, JR, Retna and Kenny Scharf were invited to paint the wall.

george segal gay liberation

4. George Segals “Gay Liberation Monument” at Christopher Park in the West Village

The Gay Liberation Monument is located next to the famous Stonewall Inn where the gay rights movement started. It consists of four sculptures -a male and a female couple- which were created by pop artist George Segal, who is best known for this kind of life-sized plaster cast sculptures. Another one of his sculptures, “The commuters“, can be found at Port Authority.

isamu noguchi's red cube at 140 broadway

5. “Red Cube” by Isamu Noguchi at 140 Broadway in the Financial District

The bright red sculpture was installed in 1968 in front of the HSBC building in the Financial District and is – despite its name – not a cube but a rectangular box. To see more of Isamu Noguchis art head to the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, Queens.

koons 2

6. Jeff Koons: “Balloon Flower (red)” at 250 Greenwich Street, Financial District

Close to the new WTC site is a stainless-steel sculpture that looks like a balloon twisted into the shape of a flower, a part of Jeff Koons’ “Celebration” series. There are water jets around the the sculpture which make it a beautiful fountain in summer.

His “Balloon Rabbit (Red)” can be seen in the lobby of 51 Astor Place.

Comandante Biggie mural in Brooklyn7. Brooklyn Love Building at  Fulton & South Portland Streets, Brooklyn

Located on a busy corner in Fort Greene, this triangle-shaped house was the canvas for Cern One’s mural of one of the neighborhoods biggest star: Notorious BIG. Additionally there are pigeons painted all over this side of the building; on the other side – facing Fulton Street – a line from one of Biggies songs is painted: “Spread Love, It’s The Brooklyn Way”.

union 18. Kristin Jones & Andrew Ginzel – “The Passage” at Union Square

At the southern end of Union Square is a large clock made of 15 orange LED digits that makes people passing by wonder “What does it actually count?”. The answer is this: The seven leftmost digits show the time in conventional 24-hour format, as hours, minutes, seconds, tenths of a second. The seven rightmost digits display the amount of time remaining in a 24-hour day, as tenths of a second, seconds, minutes, hours. The center digit represents hundredths of a second. In the above picture it’s 05.47 pm and 10.3 seconds and 6 hours 12 minutes and 49.6 seconds left in the day.

"Adam and Eve" sculptures by Fernando Botero at the shops at Columbus Circle/Time Warner Center

9. Adam & Eve by Fernando Botero at Time Warner Center

Two 12-foot-tall bronze sculptures greet visitors in the entry hall of the TWC at Columbus Circle: Adam and Eve by Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The statues are typical Botero: corpulent and naked.

Tom Otterness Life Underground NYC Subway 169

10. “Life Underground” by Tom Otterness at 14th Street / 8 Ave station

“Life Underground” is an assembly of little bronze sculptures within the 14th Street / Eight Avenue station (A,C,E,L trains) in Manhattan, created in 1998 by Tom Otterness and purchased by the MTA’s Arts for Transit program. Bronze statues by Tom Otterness can be found all over the city, for example at Penny Park in Battery Park City.

the wall soho nyc11. “The Wall” in SoHo aka “Gateway to SoHo” at Houston and Broadway

The Wall is a huge piece of public art on the corner of West Houston Street and Broadway. The artwork of sculptor Forrest Myers, consisting of 42 green steel braces on a blue background, was installed in 1973.

42nd street mural12. Roy Lichtenstein “Times Square Mural” at 42nd Street Subway Station

The huge mural was fabricated in 1994 and installed in 2002 at the Times Square Subway Station, commissioned by MTA Arts for Transit.

alamo - bernard rosanthal's cube at astor place

13. “Alamo” by Tony Rosenthal at Astor Place in the East Village

This cube is probably one of the most beloved pieces of public art in New York. It was removed from the square for 2 years during works nearby but has recently returned. The cubed can be spinned around and that’s exactly what passersby did when somebody dressed up as the cube on Halloween.

zucotti marc di suvero14. Mark di Suvero “Joie de Vivre” at Zucotti Park in the Financial District

The bright red sculpture is located in Zucotti Park, home of the Occupy Wall Street Movement in 2011. With its steel beams rising to the sky it does its name “Joie de vivre” (Joy of life) justice.

... or climb atop the nearby Alice in Wonderland statue.

15. Alice in Wonderland in Central Park

Children love to climb atop this statue near the Conservatory Water in Central Park. In 1959 philanthropist George Delacorte commissioned this bronze statue – created by José de Creeft –  as a gift to the children of NYC.


Related: 15 thing to do and see in Central Park

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