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Massive 'We're No. 1' Finger to Rise at Entrance to Brooklyn Bridge

By Rosa Goldensohn | October 21, 2015 3:30pm
 DCA presented a rendering of the proposed sculpture to Community Board 2 last week.
DCA presented a rendering of the proposed sculpture to Community Board 2 last week.
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courtesty of the Department of Cultural Affairs

Is it a giant "We're No. 1" finger? The arm of a Harlem Globetrotter spinning a basketball — minus the basketball? Or a testament to the skyrocketing cost of Brooklyn real estate?

An enigmatic, larger-than-life bronze arm, index finger extended into the sky, has been commissioned by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs to rise at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, greeting all who enter the borough, officials said.

Sculptor Hank Willis Thomas — who was picked as part of a competition to contribute the public art component to the Department of Transportation's Tillary Street capital project — said his design "can be interpreted in a variety of ways."

"You could read that we are all one, you could read that someone’s checking the wind. You could read that someone's getting our attention and telling us to look up," he said, adding that he intended his artwork to be "simple and complex all at once."

While the exact size and design of the statue has yet to be finalized, it's going to be "at least 12 feet" tall, Thomas told DNAinfo.

DCA did not release cost or size details on the project, but said it will be "an homage to and celebration of the unique and multi-faceted character of the borough of Brooklyn." Officials added the design process is still underway and emphasized that details could change.

"The large-scale sculpture of an arm pointing toward the sky is meant to connote a myriad of ideas about individual and collective identity, ambition and perseverance," a DCA spokesman said in a statement.

Thomas — whose installation of talk bubbles, called "The Truth Is I See You," is currently on display in Metrotech — lives in Downtown Brooklyn right near where his work will be permanently displayed.

"I'm super excited, I cannot wait," he said.

Hopefully, one of the interpretations of the meaning of the sculpture: that Brooklyn's median and average real estate prices have hit a record high, surpassing even parts of Manhattan — won't mean the end of Thomas' time as a resident.

"I hope I get to stay in the neighborhood," Thomas said.