Giuliani started desmutting our streets 14 years ago, but he didn't ruin all of their pervy perks. Behold the city's cheapest (mostly naked) thrills.
Wed Mar 5 2008
Time Warner Center
Fernando Botero’s lobby sculptures of a naked woman and man are such a big hit with shoppers that the man’s penis has been worn to a different color from people touching it (59th St at Columbus Circle).
Grand Central Terminal
Look for the 50-foot pediment which features naked Mercury, god of commerce and trade, posing near a clock with his pals Hercules and Minerva (42nd St at Park Ave).
The Pulitzer Fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel (Fifth Ave at 59th St) has a naked statue of the great Audrey Munson, a famous nude model and muse throughout the modern period. There are also nude sculptures of her at the Manhattan Bridge and the Frick Collection. She was so hot that a man murdered his wife in hopes of marrying her; he later hung himself awaiting death by electric chair.
Let Us Beat Swords Into Plowshares, a bronze sculpture by Evgeniy Vuchetich, depicts a naked man with a sword in one hand and a hammer in the other. It represents man’s desire to end war—a desire we all know trumps greed and evangelism (Rose Garden, 1 United Nations Plaza).
The Lever House
Kooky artist Damien Hirst’s Virgin Mother, a 35-foot sculpture of a grossly anatomic pregnant woman, stands guard outside (390 Park Ave between 53rd and 54th Sts).
New York Health & Racquet Club
Get worked up while you work out. A set of bronze nude statues flank the entrance of the Chelsea location (60 W 23rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves).
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Here stands Louise Bourgeois’s sculpture of two large eyeballs. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on your POV), they look more like Pamela Anderson’s rack (Robert F. Wagner Park, South End Ave at Rector Pl).
There’s a cast of the famed sculpture The Thinker in front of Philosophy Hall (116th St at Broadway). Perhaps he’s thinking about donning some pants?
New York Public Library
Outside NYPL’s main branch stand the almost-buff male Fountain of Truth and female Figure of Beauty (Fifth Ave between 41st and 42nd Sts).
The Maine Memorial, featuring a bunch of nude guys and a child. “The child represents innocence leading the way,” says tour guide Justin Ferate (justinsnewyork.com). “And the nude men are the seas of the world.”
Café des Artistes
The legendary French restaurant features six seductive murals of naked wood nymphs. They were painted by socialite Howard Chandler Christy in 1934—and still look as ravishing as ever (1 W 67th St between Central Park West and Columbus).
That handsome, hulking, 18-foot, eight-ton gold statue overlooking the ice rink is Prometheus, an ancient Greek god who gave the gift of fire to mankind (45 Rockefeller Plaza).
Radio City Music Hall
Yep, there are even scandalous nudes here, including the Spirit of the Dance, Girl with Goose and a figure of Eve (1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St).
Onassis Cultural Center
At the atrium of the Olympic Tower, you’ll discover a buck-naked man near the entrance (641 Fifth Ave at 51st St).
Fred F. French Building
“This place has spectacular nudes,” says Ferate. “Walk inside the lobby and look at the elevator doors. There’s a male nude that represents architecture, a female nude that represents religion and another that represents harvest.” (551 Fifth Ave at 45th St).
Upper East Side
The neighborhood’s Venus in Manhattan (980 Madison Ave between 75th and 76th Sts) features a semiclad female and male duo. Lucky for us, they’re covered with minimal drapery.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Fooled you. This nude is actually across the street: Atlas is carrying the heavens of the earth on his shoulders (460 Madison Ave between E 50th and 51st Sts).
The Civic Virtue is one of the ugliest nude sculptures in New York history,” says Bret Watson, president and founder of the Watson Adventures scavenger hunts, of the statue that features a naked male standing over a woman (Queens Blvd at Union Tpke). “It was given to the city to be placed in City Hall in 1922, but it was so ugly the city banished it to Queens.”
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