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Watch your step: 13 attractions on the sidewalks of New York


Vita Popova

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To find interesting sights in New York, you don’t have to go to the museum - just look under your feet and you will find plenty of them literally on the sidewalk. The publication told about them Untapped New York.

Here's a list of 13 of New York's most unique sidewalk installations.

  1. Bartman's watch
Photo: Shutterstock

If you lose track of time and find yourself on the corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway, leave your phone in your pocket and just look down - you will see a clock on the sidewalk. This is the creation of the New York jeweler William Bartman, created in 1925!

Bartman decided to set a clock on the sidewalk in front of his store to lure customers, and it worked. The watch instantly became a New York landmark. Over time, the news of their existence spread throughout the Atlantic and inspired an English jeweler to install such a watch in front of another shop window in 1949.

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True, the clock that you can see today is a copy of those originally installed by Bartman. The original appeared in 1899 and became a modern marvel of the time. Bartman, along with his collaborator Frank Homm, designed a watch that is illuminated at night by hidden lights and equipped with a technologically innovative backup power system.

It took Bartmann and Homm two years to design and manufacture the watch, which proved so complex that Homm was the only person who knew how to properly maintain it. When Homme died in 1917, the clock often stopped, forcing Bartmann to infamously hide the wrong time on it with a piece of cardboard.

In 1925, Bartmann replaced the watch with a more traditionally round one. The only way to access them during renovations is from under the sidewalk where the small room is located. The room is just a few meters from the metro network, and its walls tremble when train number 6 passes by.

  1. Library path

Walking down 41st Street toward the New York Public Library's Stephen Schwartzman building, pedestrians can see a sample of literary treasures before they even enter the building. The two blocks between Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue, named Library Way in 2003, are lined with 32 intricate bronze plaques inscribed with quotes from such literary geniuses as Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, William Butler Yeats and Ernest Hemingway. The citations were selected in 1996 by an eminent panel of literary experts and librarians who selected extracts from some of the most outstanding works that best reflected the importance and influence of literature.

The boards were created by sculptor Gregg LeFevre in 1998. Each one represents a unique visual interpretation of the accompanying quote.

The installation received the Excellence in Design award from the New York Arts Commission in 1998.

  1. Hess triangle

The Hess Triangle is a triangle-shaped mosaic located on the sidewalk in the West Village at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street.

The history of this facility is as follows: in the 1910s, New York seized land in the city center with the aim of expanding Seventh Avenue and the IRT-subway system. Many residents were forced to transfer their land to the city. But there were also those who refused to do it.

One of these landowners was David Hess, who owned an apartment building in Greenwich Village. Hess did not want to give up without a fight. He renounced ownership of a small piece of land of 0,3 square meters. m, located on the site of his former apartment building. And on July 27, 1922, this site was marked with a triangular mosaic of black and yellow tiles with the inscription: "Property of the Hess estate, which was never intended for public purposes." Thus, Hess stubbornly declared that he did not accept the request of the city to give him part of his possessions.

  1. "Floating subway map"

The 27m x 3,6m Floating Subway Map is located right on the sidewalk in front of 110 Green Street, south of Prince Street. This is an art installation depicting subway routes in Manhattan in 1985, the year the map was installed.

The creator of the sidewalk panel, architect Françoise Schein, had a difficult time getting permission from the city authorities to place it. Due to her perseverance, Shine has received acclaim, and her work has been awarded and loved by many New Yorkers.

  1. 1620 Channel Marker

Designing NYSE: Financial District Streetscapes + Security, Rogers Partners architects underscored the neighborhood's history with an emphasis on New York City's pedestrian safety. The project, in partnership with the Economic Development Corporation of New York, the City Planning Department and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, was to "create a vibrant street scene while providing safety in one of New York's most populous urban areas."

This is how the 1620 Canal Marker was born. Part of the project included lighting the former canal route that ran through midtown Manhattan in 1620, by marking its route with an engraved border along Broad Street.

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The Heere Gracht, as Dutch settlers called it, flowed through New York when Midtown Manhattan was more like Amsterdam than a modern financial center. In the XNUMXth century, New York stretched from the southern edge of the island to the defensive wall that stretched along ... Wall Street! On the cobbled streets, you can still see wooden plaques embedded in the cobblestone, which indicate the location of the former wall.

  1. Canyon of Heroes

What do the New York Yankees, American pilot Charles Lindbergh, and Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia have in common? Their names are found on a granite plaque along the Canyon of Heroes.

Along this route from Bowling Green to the Woolworth Building, there are 164 plaques with important names and dates. The plaques are made of granite strips 20 cm wide and 6 cm thick. They resemble strips of ribbon thrown from windows during a parade. The stripes are inlaid with silver leaf inscriptions with the date and mention of a particular parade.

The plaques were part of the $ 20 million Street Scenery Project, which added sidewalks, lamp posts, signs and trash bins to Broadway.

  1. Handprints of stars
Photo: Shutterstock

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, 80 Saint Marks Place has hosted both stars and villains. Before art took over and turned 80 Saint Marks into Theater 80, it was a restaurant called Schieb's Place. After the ban was lifted, 80 Saint Marks debuted in the East Village art scene as a jazz club featuring Thelonious Monk, Harry "Sweets" Edison, John Coltrane and Frank Sinatra. In the 1970s and 1980s, the site became the home of a film renaissance featuring vintage films. The theater currently offers a variety of performances - from Shakespeare's plays to flamenco dances.

Over the years, many stars have literally left their mark on this theater. On the sidewalk in front of the building, you'll find handprints of stars such as Joan Crawford, Ruby Keeler, Vinnie Shaw, Fifi D'Orsay and Joan Rivers, who recently added their names to this Manhattan Walk of Fame.

  1. Walk of fame for Jewish actors

In the early twentieth century, Second Avenue on the Lower East Side was known as Yiddish Broadway. The area was full of theaters that performed all kinds of Yiddish plays. To preserve this history, Second Avenue Deli owner Abe Lebewohl created the Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame on the sidewalk in front of his restaurant in 1984.

The object consists of two rows of granite stars, on which such celebrities as Molly Picon, Tomashevskys, Sisters Barry, Faivush Finkel, Moishe Oysher, Joseph Rumshinsky, Maurice Schwartz and others are mentioned. In total, 32 stars are mentioned here.

Lebevall sadly passed away in 1996, and in 2007 Second Avenue Deli moved to the city center. Since then, the Walk of Fame has fallen into disrepair. Fortunately, the Greenwich Village Historic Preservation Society has formed a coalition to protect and preserve the site. They plan to raise enough money to recreate the original memorial tiles and install them somewhere in an appropriate location and nearby.

  1. Remains of a XNUMXth century tavern

On Broad Street, 85, walking through the modern streets of the Financial District, you can see part of the colonial past of New York. Here you'll find the remains of Governor Lovelace's Tavern, covered in glass and surrounded by brass railings. The tavern dates back to around 1670 and was discovered during excavations in 1979. The business was owned by the then Governor, Colonel Francis Lovelace. For several years the tavern functioned as a second town hall until a new one was built in 1700. Unfortunately, like most buildings of that time, the tavern burned down and the land became the property of a growing merchant district.

Today, the foundation walls of the former building are still preserved here - they can be seen through a glazed hole in the sidewalk.

  1. Fashion Walk of Fame
Photo: Shutterstock

Strolling through New York's Sewing District, you will find yourself among the world's most influential fashion designers. On the east side of Seventh Avenue, 35th to 41st Streets, next to the Fashion Institute, there are 26 plaques that make up the Fashion Walk of Fame. Each board is dedicated to a designer who "made a significant and lasting impact on the fashion world." Among them are Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta and Betsey Johnson.

The laureates were selected by a group of 143 industry professionals. Each piece is engraved with a sketch of the designer and a description of his contribution to the world of fashion.

  1. Original coastline marker

The historic Ear Inn is conveniently located one and a half blocks from the Hudson River. However, until 1825, the building was located just a few meters from the rocky coast, at the very edge of the water. After the opening of the Erie Canal, making the Hudson River an integral trade route, land in this area of ​​Manhattan was expanded with a landfill. Docks for ships were created here, and the coastline was extended to the west.

The memorial plaque was installed in the place on the sidewalk, where the river bank line, which existed here since 1766, began. This line did not cross until 2012, when Hurricane Sandy moved the waters of the Hudson River nearly a quarter of a mile inland.

  1. Sculpture Terrazzo

The sidewalk at 1014-1018 Madison Avenue between 78th and 79th Streets is unlike any other in the city. Here, instead of gray asphalt, there is a fancy sidewalk created by the famous sculptor Alexander Calder.

Calder is famous for his large-scale statues and traveling sculptures, but commissioned by the owners of the three buildings in the block, all of whom were gallery owners, he designed the project.

Three different patterns can be seen on the sidewalk, consisting of curves, straight squares and sunbeams, made of terrazzo, a building material that consists of pieces of stone, marble and glass poured into a single canvas with cement. The tile was created by Foscato Bros. from Huntington, LI The company specifically recruited Italian Americans with experience with this material.

Calder donated the project, but at the time of completion in 1970, the cost was $ 15.

  1. Memorial plaques in honor of the famous Peter

Memorial plaques in honor of famous Peters (Famous Peter Plaques) are located between 20th and 21st streets, as well as First and Second Avenues. The place takes its name from two of the city's most prominent historical figures, Peter Stuyvesant and Peter Cooper. However, they share the spotlight with several other famous Peters in the park.

During the renovation of the playground and tennis courts in 1998, a series of cast concrete signs were installed, placed in pairs along Second Avenue. They depict other famous Peters. For example, such children's fairy tale characters as Peter Pan, Peter the Pumpkin Eater, Peter Rabbit and, of course, Peter Piper collecting pickled peppers.

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