Art on the Street: Manhattan’s Outdoor Art Scene

Hidden among New York City's various neighborhoods are some amazing pieces of sculpture; artistic delights to be found on the streets of Manhattan, if you know where to look. Here are a few of the city's not-to-be-missed art pieces.

The 18-foot, 1.6 ton pink and aluminum sculpture that has found a home in front of The Standard Hotel in the heart of Downtown Manhattan has been titled, rather appropriately,  Big Kastenmann, which is German for “Big Box Man.” The huge, rectangular, behemoth-like structure, a creation of the Austrian artist Erwin Wurm, has already grabbed a lot of eyeballs from  Meatpacking District residents  and tourists. The surrealistic piece joins the ever growing list of outdoor art sculptures in New York City since, hidden amidst the city’s various neighborhoods are several artistic delights.

Erwin Kurm’s “Big Kastenmann” towers in front of the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. (Picture via The Standard)

While most of us may dismiss the notion that the statue of a communist revolutionary could exist in the bustling metropolis that is New York City, a cursory glance at the roof of the Red Square building in  the exciting and eclectic East Village neighborhood  would certainly be a surprise. Standing on the roof is an 18-foot statue of Vladimir Lenin which was built in the erstwhile Soviet Union by Yuri Gerasimov. With his arm outstretched towards the Manhattan skyline, it is quite an interesting sight as one walks around this trendy neighborhood.

From the top of the Red Square building, Lenin seems to be beckoning all those who can see him in the Lower East Side. (Picture via Flickr | bitboy)

The Upper East Side neighborhood in Manhattan  has several museums that are home to several pieces of art, but there are some pieces of artwork which don’t need a ticket to be seen. George Delacorte commissioned artist José De Creeft to create the Alice in Wonderland sculpture near the East 72nd Street entrance of Central Park, as a tribute to his wife who used to read the Lewis Carroll story to their children. Today it is a favorite haunt of both adults and children, with the latter loving the opportunity to climb over Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and other famous characters.

Alice’s antics with the Red Hatter and all of the other characters from Wonderland are captured in this sculpture in Central Park. (Picture via Flickr | Benjamin Rabe)

Also check out the Alamo, also called the Astor Place Cube in the heart of the trendy and fashionable East Village neighborhood. Made of steel and weighing about 1,800 pounds, the Alamo is a huge black cube that measures eight feet on each side. A creation of Bernard Rosenthal, the cube with its protrusions and indentations on its side is mounted on one of its corners, which continue to dazzle visitors who wonder about its unique sense of balance. However, what most people don’t know about the Alamo is that with a little effort, it can be rotated on its axis–how’s that for a neat trick to show your friends visiting the city?

Bernard Rosenthal’s “Alamo” continues to dazzle and confound New Yorkers and tourists alike with its amazing sense of balance. (Picture via Flickr | serenitbee)

These are just a few of the many fascinating sculptures that can be found in the streets of New York City. If you know of other artwork on the streets of Manhattan, let us know in the comments below.

A version of this article first appeared in Elegran Edge, a blog of Elegran Real Estate and Development.

Get in touch with the author @thisisaby.

 central park, Lenin, Lower East Side, manhattan, meatpacking district, soho, Street Art, upper east side

2 Responses
    • Thanks Sasha–that is definitely interesting! I am certainly going to look out for this building now.

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