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New Yorkers can enjoy unique sidewalk installations while museums and galleries are closed due to quarantine. Among them is the Bartman’s watch located on the corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway which draws shoppers in. It was created in 1925 by jeweler William Bartman who wanted to advertise his store. The watch was illuminated at night and had a backup power system. The only way to access it during renovations is through a small room located under the sidewalk. Other notable installations include a Jewish Actors Walk of Fame and 32 bronze plaques inscribed with literary quotes on Library Way.
13 attractions on the sidewalks of New York
Today, many museums and galleries are closed due to quarantine, but in New York you can find many interesting sights right under your feet – literally on the sidewalk. The publication told about them Untapped New York.
We offer a list of 13 of the most unique New York sidewalk installations.
- Bartman’s watch
If you’ve lost track of time and find yourself on the corner of Maiden Lane and Broadway, leave your phone in your pocket and just look down. Right on the sidewalk you will see a clock. This is the creation of the New York jeweler William Bartman, created in 1925!
Bartman decided to install a sidewalk clock in front of his store to lure in shoppers, and it worked. The clock instantly became a New York landmark. Over time, news of their existence spread across the Atlantic and inspired an English jeweler to install a similar 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 clock that was illuminated at night by hidden bulbs and equipped with a technologically innovative backup power system.
It took Bartmann and Homm two years to design and manufacture the watch, which proved to be so complex that Homm was the only person who knew how to properly maintain it. When Homme died in 1917, the clock stopped frequently, forcing Bartmann to shamefully cover up the wrong time on it with a piece of cardboard.
In 1925, Bartmann replaced the clock with a more traditionally round one. The only way to access them during renovations is from under the sidewalk, where a small room is located. The room is only a few meters from the metro network, and its walls tremble when the number 6 train passes by.
- 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 passages from some of the most important works of literature that best reflected the importance and influence of literature.
The boards were created by sculptor Gregg LeFevre in 1998. Each one is a unique visual interpretation of the accompanying quote.
The installation received the Excellence in Design Award from the New York Art Commission in 1998.
- 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 City seized land in the center of the city in order to expand the Seventh Avenue and the IRT subway system. Many residents were forced to transfer their lands into the possession of the city. But there were those who refused to do so.
One such landowner was David Hess, who owned an apartment building in Greenwich Village. Hess did not want to give up without a fight. He gave up ownership of a small piece of land with an area 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.
- “Floating metro map”
The Floating Subway Map, measuring 27 meters by 3.6 meters, 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 pavement panel, architect Françoise Schein, had a hard time getting permission from the city authorities to place it. Through her perseverance, Schein has been acclaimed, and her work has won awards and is loved by many New Yorkers.
- 1620 Canal Marker
Designing NYSE: Financial District Streetscapes + Security, architects Rogers Partners highlighted the district’s history with a focus on New York’s pedestrian safety. The goal of the project, implemented in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the City Planning Department, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, was to “create a vibrant streetscape while providing security in one of New York City’s most densely populated metropolitan areas.”
This is how the 1620 Canal Marker was born. Part of the project included highlighting the former canal route that ran through midtown Manhattan in 1620 by marking its route with an engraved curb along Broad Street.
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The Heere Gracht, as the Dutch settlers called it, flowed through New York City when downtown Manhattan looked more like Amsterdam than a modern financial center. In the 17th century, New York stretched from the southern edge of the island to a defensive wall that stretched along … Wall Street! On the cobbled streets, you can still see wooden signs embedded in the cobblestones, which indicate the location of the former wall.
- Canyon of Heroes
What do New York Yankees, American aviator Charles Lindbergh and Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia have in common? Their names are written on a granite plaque along the Canyon of Heroes.
Along this route from Bowling Green to the Woolworth Building, there are 164 plaques bearing 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 bands are inlaid with silver leaf inscriptions indicating the date and mentioning one or another parade.
The plaques were part of the $20 million Street Landscape Project, which added new sidewalks, lampposts, signage, and trash cans to Broadway.
- Star handprints
Since the beginning of the 20th 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 repeal of the ban, 80 Saint Marks debuted on 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 place became the home of a cinema revival that showed vintage films. Currently, the theater offers a variety of productions – from Shakespeare’s plays to flamenco dances.
Over the years, many stars have literally left their mark on this theatre. On the sidewalk in front of the building, you’ll find the handprints of stars such as Joan Crawford, Ruby Keeler, Winnie Shaw, Fifi D’Orse, and Joan Rivers, who recently added their names to this Manhattan Walk of Fame.
- Jewish Actors Walk of Fame
In the early 20th century, Second Avenue on the Lower East Side was known as Yiddish Broadway. The area was full of theaters that put on all sorts of plays in Yiddish. 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 Pikon, Tomashevsky, the Barry Sisters, Fivush Finkel, Moishe Oisher, Joseph Rumshinsky, Maurice Schwartz and others are mentioned. A total of 32 stars are mentioned here.
Lebewall sadly passed away in 1996, and in 2007 Second Avenue Deli moved downtown. Since then, the Walk of Fame has fallen into disrepair. Luckily, the Greenwich Village Historic Preservation Society has formed a coalition to protect the site and preserve it. They plan to raise enough money to recreate the original memorial tiles and install them somewhere in the appropriate area and nearby.
- Remains of a 17th century tavern
At 85 Broad Street, 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.
- Fashion Walk of Fame
Walking through the Sewing District in New York, you will find yourself among the world’s most influential fashion designers. On the east side of Seventh Avenue, from 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 has “made a significant and lasting impact on the fashion world”. Among them are Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta and Betsy Johnson.
The winners were selected by a panel of 143 industry professionals. Each item is engraved with a sketch of the designer and a description of his contribution to the world of fashion.
- Original coastline marker
The historic Ear Inn is conveniently located a block and a half from the Hudson River. However, until 1825 the building was located just a few meters from the rocky shore, at the very edge of the water. After the opening of the Erie Canal, which made the Hudson River an integral trade route, land in this area of Manhattan was expanded to include landfill. Here they created marinas for ships, and the coastline was extended to the west.
The memorial plaque is installed in the place on the sidewalk where the river bank line, which existed here since 1766, used to begin. This line did not cross until 2012, when Hurricane Sandy carried the waters of the Hudson almost a quarter of a mile inland.
- 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 bizarre sidewalk created by the famous sculptor Alexander Calder.
Calder is famous for his large-scale statues and movable sculptures, but commissioned by the owners of the three buildings on the block, all of whom were gallery owners, he designed this project.
On the pavement, you can see three different patterns, consisting of curves, straight squares and sunbeams, made of terrazzo – a building material that is pieces of stone, marble and glass, poured into a single canvas with cement. The tile was created by Foscato Bros. of Huntington, LI The company specifically hired Italian Americans who had experience with this material.
Calder donated the project, but when it was completed in 1970, the cost was $15,000.
- Memorial plaques in honor of famous Peters
Memorial plaques in honor of the famous Peters (Famous Peter Plaques), 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 reconstruction of the playground and tennis courts in 1998, a series of cast concrete signs were installed, placed in pairs along Second Avenue, which depict other famous St. Petersburg. 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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