One of the most beloved public works of art was reinstalled in our community yesterday, after a two year hiatus.
According to the NYC Department of Design and Construction, The Alamo Sculpture was originally installed in 1967 as part of “Sculpture and the Environment”. The Cube by Bernard “Tony” Rosenthal was one of 25 temporary art installations that were intended to remain for only a few months. But local residents petitioned the City to keep the Alamo, and in 1968 the sculpture became a permanent gift to New York City and the East Village. “Alamo” was the first permanent contemporary outdoor Sculpture installed in the City of New York. Before the recent work, the Cube was last restored in 2005.
The cube was removed in November 2014 to make way for an extensive reconstruction of Astor Place, including a new pedestrian plaza, greenery, and lighting. It had been slated for a June return, but was delayed.
The reconstruction of the space is almost completed. Importantly, three of the Mosaic poles by Jim Power are now standing in the plaza, with five more slated to be re-installed. GVSHP (and many others) consistently raised the need to preserve and restore the mosaics by world renowned local artist Jim Power. Since the 1980’s, Mr. Power has decorated dozens of lampposts with brightly colored, often recycled tile and glass, serving as an ever evolving local history of the neighborhood. Mr. Power has also been commissioned to enhance the entries and doorways of local buildings.
Businesses and local non-profit organizations can also commission Mr Power to include their logo or design as an element on the poles, which hundreds of thousands of people walk by every year. The needed fund is already at 25% of it’s goal, and you can help here. Contact Will Lewis at Village Alliance to learn more about that affordable and exciting sponsorship opportunity at 212.777.2173 firstname.lastname@example.org
Besides the Mosaics, in 2011 GVSHP asked that any changes to Astor Place and Stuyvesant Street respect and preserve the historic street patterns as they are pedestrianized and reworked as part of this project. GVSHP recommended that their former routes should be made plainly clear in the design. We are glad to report that the historic street patterns are now recognized with granite inlays in curb markings that reflect the previous path of the streets. We are glad to have played a role in that successful outcome. Now we need to complete the Mosaic Poles!
And this video by Man in a Cube is not why the cube was refurbished.