Public art: Sights & Blights

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Sights

Cleopatra’s Needle
Sure, it’s ancient, it’s Egyptian and it’s really got nothing to do with Cleopatra, but the 3,500-year-old red-granite obelisk, just outside of the Met in Central Park, is pretty cool. Off Fifth Ave and 82nd St

Joseph Beuys, 7000 Oaks
You may have noticed those stones paired with trees sticking up out of sidewalks all around Chelsea. They’re part of an ongoing “global” earthwork begun in 1982 by the late German artist Joseph Beuys. The ones in Chelsea are sponsored by the Dia Foundation. W 22nd St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves

The Astor Place Cube
Technically called The Alamo, and created by artist Bernard “Tony” Rosenthal, it’s been a New York fixture since 1968—except for when it was removed for renovation in 2005. Astor Pl at Lafayette St

Blights

Metronome
According to Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel, the artists who created this sculptural atrocity for the facade of the building at Broadway and 14th Street, the work symbolizes the “intangibility of time.” We think it looks like a giant sphincter. 1 Union Sq South

Good Defeats Evil
This hybrid horror of a bronze St. George on horseback slaying a “nuclear” dragon made out of actual U.S. and Russian missile parts was a 1990 gift to the U.N. from the former Soviet Union—revenge for having lost the Cold War. E 47th St at First Ave

NYU’s Picasso sculpture
An enlargement of Picasso’s Bust of Sylvette, this concrete eyesore was meant to enliven the Brutalist environs of NYU’s Silver Towers. Instead, it only makes the place look even more like a high-rise prison. Bleecker St at Houston St

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