Fifty years ago today, the musical Hair premiered at The Public Theater. The first rock musical, it would go on to become a pacifist symbol throughout the world and bring groundbreaking innovations to the American musical theater genre. As we remember this 50th Anniversary, we are preparing to celebrate another 50th that’s right up the street from The Public — the unveiling of Tony Rosenthal’s Alamo Sculpture on Astor Place, more commonly known as the Astor Place Cube.
On November 1st, GVSHP, in conjunction with the Village Alliance, will be hosting a street festival to celebrate and honor the cube’s 50th. “The Alamo” was installed in 1967 as part of the “Sculpture and the Environment” project organized by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Since its installation, the Cube has become an essential fixture on Astor Place, serving as a monument that both activates and defines the area. As we had previously said,
“The sculpture’s minimalist form offers a chance for the public to reinterpret it as they see fit. It’s a place to meet (particularly in the days before second-by-second cell phone location updates). It’s a place to hang out as a youth and compare the new color of your hair, the size of your wallet chain, or the design of your fishnets with your compatriots. It’s the hungover memory of spinning a huge dark block after stumbling out of a bar. It’s an underdeveloped piece that only makes its presence known by its monumental size. It’s a sheltered place to read. It’s a sheltered place to text. It’s the kinetic dividing point between East and West. It’s a place to watch and be watched. It’s also one of my favorite things.”
We are also glad to see the cube back in the square after its most recent removal for both Astor Place’s reconstruction and a restoration of the kinetic monument. So please, come out and join us on the 1st as we “share your birthday wishes, celebrate on the sidewalk, create and collage mini-spinning cubes, fold origami cubes, learn the history of the Cube with mini-walking tours around the square, keep the cube spinning for charity, and much more!” The event is free and open to the public, and fully accessible as it is on Astor Place. We encourage you though to RSVP on the GVSHP website when the event becomes open and available.