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Public Art in the City

Aug 20th 2014

New York City is home to some of the country’s top art galleries, artists and art museums such as the Museum of Modern Art. Every week there are new exhibits opening and artists being discovered! Of course, in the summertime most people want to soak up as much sun as possible while the warm weather lasts in the city, so the perfect solution is public art, which is often outdoors.

The city is full of art just about everywhere you look, (especially in our parks) but there are certain must see pieces for the art lover. Some are permanent while others are temporary exhibits, but here are some favorites that you can see anytime!

Commonly referred to as The Cube, this sculpture can be found at Astor Place. Easily recognizable at 8 feet long on each side, it was intended to be on display for 6 months but has remained since 1967. Located in the East village, The Cube is a popular meeting space for locals and tourists alike.

Crack is Wack
This is one of the most famous murals in the city. Painted by graffiti artist Keith Haring in 1986 the bright mural was created to send a big anti-drug message to the community. It resides at East 128th Street and Harlem River Drive.

Charging Bull
Also known as the Wall Street Bull, this is one of the most popular public art pieces in the city. In fact you will be hard pressed to find a time that there isn’t a line up of tourists waiting to pose with the famed sculpture. It made its debut illegally, when it went up overnight in 1989, however it was relocated to its current residence just north of Bowling Green Park.

Red Cube
Another famous cube is the Red Cube located in the financial district at 140 Broadway. Created by Isamu Noguchi in 1968, its bright red colour stands out amongst the skyscrapers and adds a splash of fun to otherwise work oriented area. 

Duke Ellington Memorial
Standing tall above the crowds resides a 30ft bronze statue of a grand piano and figure of Duke Ellington at the junction of Fifth Avenue and 100th Street in Central Park. Created by Robert Graham in 1997, the statue memorializes the jazz legend whose career spanned more than 50 years.

Not only is this sculpture one of the most famous in the city, but also it has been replicated on just about everything from postage stamps, to t-shirts. It’s become an international pop art image. While the original, created in 1970, resides in Indiana, New York City is home to a version, which can be found on Sixth Avenue.

Not quite sure where to begin? There are numerous walking tours offered in the city. Check in with our Theatre and Tour Desk for more information.