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Fashion Center BID Fills Pedestrian Plazas with Grassy Cubes

By Mary Johnson | July 13, 2012 8:53am
The cubes vary in height, with some rising as tall as 12 feet.
The cubes vary in height, with some rising as tall as 12 feet.
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DNAinfo/Mary Johnson

GARMENT DISTRICT — The pedestrian plazas along Broadway in the Garment District are sporting some new accessories: grass-filled steel cubes towering up to 12 feet above the street.

The cubes are part of a public art installation created by Patricia Leighton and Del Geist, environmental artists based in the Garment District. The exhibit, called “Broadway Green,” will be on display until Aug. 27.

“These cubes are so beautiful, and they’ve got live matter growing out of them,” said Barbara Blair Randall, president of the Fashion Center BID. “They elevate the eye, and they bring green to the harshness of the city.”

Randall said the Fashion Center BID sifted through proposals from multiple artists before selecting “Broadway Green” as its summer showpiece for the pedestrian plazas that run along Broadway between West 35th and 41st streets.

“It’s something for the public,” Randall said. “I really think people love public art — whether they understand it or not — because it gives them pause.”

Leighton, one of the artists on the project, said the six cubes range in height from 10 to 12 feet and are filled with live vegetation that will continue growing throughout the summer.

“What we wanted to do was focus on nature,” Leighton explained. “We’re elevating nature in relation to the vertical spaces in our city.”

The installation also has strong local ties. Both Leighton and Geist have studio space on West 39th Street in the Garment District, and the cubes were constructed by Millennium Steel, located one block over on West 38th Street.

“These will bring a quiet presence into the space,” Leighton said. “We’re hoping that people just take a little time to stop and ponder, because obviously this is going to be something that’s a bit unexpected.”

The cubes will be on display in the pedestrian plazas along Broadway between West 35th and 41st streets until Aug. 27.