New York is proud of its hustle and bustle. Lovingly nicknamed “the city that never sleeps,” it’s not unusual to find people out and about at all hours. The vibrant pace of the city thrives on the paved sidewalks, where visitors and residents alike rush excitedly to Broadway shows, award-winning restaurants and world-renowned museums.
Spending time in New York can make you feel like you’re in the center of the world, but it can be tricky to find quiet, public spaces in the heart of the urban jungle. Luckily, this year’s newest art installation in Madison Square Park, entitled Full Steam Ahead, creates the perfect environment for connection and contemplation in the city.
Commissioned by the Park Conservancy, artist Arlene Shechet has erected a series of new sculptures in and around and the emptied circular reflecting pool in the north of the park. The sculptures, made of porcelain, wood, steel, and cast iron, are placed to invite every visitor into a space of familiar conversation. In fact, the artist Shechet was inspired by childhood memories of her grandparents’ living room when arranging the sculptures in the space.
When describing her vision, Shechet said: “My hope has been to reimagine the hardscape of the Park with delight and surprise. New Yorkers rely on the sidewalks, the pavement, and the street as the core of their urban lives. Full Steam Ahead becomes a lively and human amphitheater, softening the hardscape through sculptural intervention evocative of 18th-century garden landscapes.”
As Shechet’s first major public art project, Full Steam Ahead promises to bring peaceful moments of reflection to our belovedly busy city.