In the middle of Times Square, heart-shaped hedgerows invite passersby to meander and take a moment to feel transported in this new pop-up secret garden.
"Love's h|Edge," a free public art installation, has taken over Duffy Square (46th and Broadway by the Red Steps) and will be on view through February 28. Brooklyn-based Almost Studio created the sculpture, envisioning it as "a pause, a momentary illusion, in your day, in your week, and in your life."
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Inspired by landscape design, public theater and Surrealism, Almost Studio's Dorian Booth and Anthony V. Gagliardi hope the project will encourage reflection and reformation. As you walk through the labyrinth, you'll encounter tall trellises, playful heart designs and peacefulness among the greenery—a rarity in Times Square. The heart-shaped interior spaces featuring illuminated benches and vertical trellises—endearingly called "Pitter-Patios"—offer a place to pause and reflect.
"Planting an artificial garden in Times Square is meant to be a jolt from our routines," Gagliardi said. "It is a place to look at yourself and others anew."
If you can, visit in the early afternoon, as staff from Time Square Arts will hand out fresh-cut roses every day at 1pm; you can grab one to tuck into the sculpture's trellis. As the roses accumulate over the days, the sculpture will appear to bloom.
This is the 15th year Times Square Arts has presented the Love & Design Competition, which invites architecture and design firms to submit their ideas for a public art installation that celebrates and communicates love during the month of February.
"It lets you abandon any sense of pretension or skepticism or self-seriousness which New Yorkers tend to have in spades, and quite possibly embrace a joyful and unexpected experience in one of the most public places on earth," said Jean Cooney, director of Times Square Arts.
The ADA-accessible sculpture offers opportunities for sensory engagement, from the scent of the roses to the texture of the hedges to the soft soundscape from hidden speakers.
On Valentine’s Day, couples will get engaged, renew their vows and even get married with "Love's h|Edge" as the backdrop. If you want to get in on the V-Day romance, sign up here. If you're looking for even more Valentine's Day fun, here's a list of events you don't want to miss.
"Love’s h|Edge" was made possible by presenting sponsor Minted Weddings, funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and individual donors.