Just a couple of weeks after its return to Astor Place, Tony Rosenthal’s “Alamo” has been freed from the protective barrier that surrounded it while it awaited a final stage of restoration. As you can see, young lovers are already flocking to it and smooching under its aegis as if it’s the Summer of Love– which, by the way, is the year the Cube was installed as part of a citywide exhibition, Sculpture and the Environment.
In a press release that touted the Cube’s $180,000 renovation, Mayor de Blasio said he was “thrilled the Cube is back at Alamo Square and that we are celebrating upgrades to another pedestrian plaza in our city. Marking the heart of the East Village, Astor Place and this iconic artwork stand as a crossroads for thousands of New Yorkers.”
City officials gathered at Alamo Plaza earlier today to mark the completion of the $21 million reconstruction of the Astor Place and Cooper Square area, which has brought expanded sidewalks, 16,000-square-feet of planting areas, a new lunchtime chill zone, and over 100 new bike racks to the area. The renovation was a personal one for Department of Transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg, who said that, fresh out of college, she once sold books under the Astor Place cube.
After the politicians cleared out, we spent several minutes standing by, ready to shed a tear at the site of an NYU or Cooper Union freshman spinning the Cube for the very first time, but all of them were too busy Snapchatting on their phones to even notice the thing. Oh, well. Everyone else, the Cube is back!
Video of the Cube’s installation by Sabrina Franza.