A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 04, 2005
Metronome
"Metronome" is that hideous thing of smoke and numbers and a needle on the Virgin Megastore building on Union Square South. It was installed in 1999 and perhaps we should give it time, but no one seems to like it.

10 February 1999, New York Times, pg. E1:
When finished, it should be visible for 28 blocks, punctuating the southern terminus of Park Avenue South as Grand Central Terminal and its clock punctuate the northern. It's ''Metronome,'' exploring the relationship between the city and time, and billed as one of the largest private commissions of public art in the city's history. Construction of this so-called artwall, with a 100-foot-high, 60-foot-wide central component, on the facade of One Union Square South, a residential and commercial complex on 14th Street between Fourth Avenue and Broadway, began this week and is expected to end in mid-May. Costing $3 million, ''Metronome'' was designed by Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel, chosen in a national competition organized by the Public Art Fund for the Related Companies, developers of the complex. LAWRENCE VAN GELDER

1 March 1999, ARTnews, pg. 32:
Without missing a beat, Jones and Ginzel have continued to work on Metronome-the $1.5 million giant interactive timepiece for the facade of Union Square South, a building designed by Davis Brody Jones. Slated for completion in the fall, not only will the clock keep track of the "New York minute" into the next millennium but each time Metronome strikes noon, it will sigh and emit a huge cloud of steam.

11 October 1999, New York Observer, "Citizens Panic! Art Eats Building on Union Square!" by James Gaynor:
The hole in the wall is a five-foot-wide circle called "the Infinity." It is designed to emit steam as a symbol of the city's internal energy and of the earth itself. I see it as something for those of us who miss the puffing Lucky Strike billboard in Times Square. The Kong-size hand-"the Relic"-is an enlarged replica of the right hand of the equestrian statue of George Washington in Union Square Park. To me it still looks like a sculptural evocation of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

The gold leaf applied around "the Infinity" is "the Source." It symbolizes the ultimate source of energy. The black-and-gold billiard ball-shaped protrusion is a rotating sphere which will keep us up to date on the phases of the moon (an urban necessity if ever there was one).

The needle in the eye of God is called "the Focus"; it's a half-inch in diameter at its top, but widens to 18 inches at its base 67 feet below. It will produce a low tone at noon and midnight. The 15 windows will display how many past- and pre-midnight hours exist, and are collectively entitled "the Passage." I liked it better when I thought it was a huge electronic I Ching.

"Anything requiring this much exegesis can't possibly be good artistically," pronounced one of the more intellectual of our group. "Amen," said the needle-in-the-eye-of-God lady.

6 October 2002, New York Times, City, section 14, pg. 14:
That creation at Union Square with the smoke and numbers. What were they thinking?
ELLEN S. BAUMRITTER
West Village

1 May 2005, New York Times, CIty, section 14, pg. 6:
A few weeks ago, passers-by began to notice a change in the Metronome, the enormous public art project on the facade of One Union Square South. Instead of telling time in its usual way, by counting the hours while simultaneously subtracting the remaining time left in the day, the artwork's digital clock seemed to be counting down to some future date. Last Tuesday, the clock had 70 days remaining, which would place Day 0 at July 6.
(...)
It turns out that July 6 is the day the International Olympic Committee will announce the host city of the 2012 Olympics. According to Jay Carson, a spokesman for NYC2012, the group spearheading New York's Olympic bid, the clock countdown is a joint venture between NYC2012 and the Related Companies, which manages the building and commissioned the Metronome, and was created so that ''thousands each day would feel the urgency.'' After July 6, the clock will return to its old form.
Posted by Barry Popik
Public Sculpture • (2) Comments • Wednesday, May 04, 2005 • Permalink


where is the metronome now?

Posted by metronomo  on  03/15  at  03:57 AM

worst public art of all time.

Posted by rew  on  04/28  at  07:20 PM

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