Last Monday I walked from 53rd and Sixth (where the Limoliner from Boston lets passengers off) across town to 53rd and Third Avenue. It was a beautiful day and after I passed the Museum of Modern Art I became fascinated with the reflections in the glass-sided skyscrapers.
It was like a hall of mirrors in a carnival. You couldn’t tell where the reflections left off and the real buildings began.
I’ve said it before—when you’re in Manhattan, you have to keep looking up, or you’ll miss a lot… stone gargoyles, trompe l’oeil walls leading nowhere, kamikaze pigeons.
When I got to Park and 53rd, I encountered this skinny fellow in the middle of the avenue, where public art is often on display.
Here’s what he was looking up at.
Here’s a view of him from the other side of Park. Behind him is Lever House, one of the first famous glass-sided skyscrapers. That’s where, fresh out of Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, I had my first real job (in public relations) fifty-two years ago. I had to be at my desk at 8:00 a.m., carrying five New York newspapers that I would read and summarize for the Lever executives—anything that related to the company. Then I would type the news-sheet, mimeograph it, and circulate it within the building. I was on the 21st floor. When the subway went through underground, you could feel the building sway. I quit after six months.
Now Lever House has details of masterpiece paintings on its façade. One of those things you’d miss if you didn’t look up.
When I got back to the apartment, I googled and learned that the statue at 53rd and Park is a 33.3-feet-tall stainless-steel sculpture by American artist Tom Friedman. It will be there until mid-July. The name of it is “Looking Up.”