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NYC is getting its own Chicago “Bean,” except that it’s squashed under a building

Written by
Howard Halle

When 56 Leonard, a luxury high-rise in Tribeca that’s been compared to a tower of Jenga blocks, was completed in 2016, it was missing one of it’s promised amenities: An outdoor sculpture by internationally acclaimed British artist Anish Kapoor. Now, after a nearly four-year delay, Kapoor’s piece is nearing installation. According to reports, a sprayed-painted outline of the piece has appeared on the sidewalk in front of the address, a sure sign of its impending arrival. Unlike Kapoor’s previous project for NYC—a churning whirlpool at Brooklyn Bridge Park that was on view for four months in 2017—his effort for 56 Leonard will be permanently in place.

Clad in the artist’s signature stainless steel finish polished to mirror-like perfection, the sculpture has the same legume-like shape as the his landmark Bean (or Cloud Gate as it’s officially called) in Chicago. Except that, here, it’s been rudely shoved into a bottom corner of the tower, making it look like it’s squashed under 56 Leonard’s weight. Still, though the object’s distressed appearance is far more edgy than the serene Bean, it's more in sync with living in New York, a city known for putting you under pressure.

The sculpture’s design—conceived in collaboration with building architects Herzog & de Meuron—was first unveiled in 2008, but it’s tardy completion was due to the difficulty of buffing out the seams left over from welding together the steel plates necessary for construction. Meanwhile, though one of 56 Leonard’s units will set you back anywhere from $3 to $24.5 million, you won’t need money to catch a selfie with Kapoor’s flattened Bean.

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