Earlier this month, on a Friday when I was on my way to work, I saw a large construction crane outside the 73rd Street entrance of the 72nd Street 1, 2, 3 subway station. A worker, with the thankless job of directing foot traffic, was shouting repeatedly to everyone trying to enter the station, “Stay to your left away from the monument!” A defiant elderly woman shouted back at him, “Why should I?” The worker gave this (likely) native New Yorker a weary look. Grumbling about how her tax dollars are wasted, she stayed to her left.
To people exiting the station he just shouted at them to stay away from the monument. It occurred to me that he should have shouted at them to stay to their right, but surely someone who should have stayed left, would have moved right, and someone who should have stayed right, would have moved left, chaos and confusion would have reigned, and suddenly the crane operator would have been hoisting a few dumbshits along with the sculpture.
I stayed to my left and took this image:
The monument the worker was referring to is the Manolo Valdés sculpture Odalisca (2006), which has been on display as part of a public arts project up and down Broadway since May that lasts through January. For more details about her installation see Lame Adventure 46: Free Art on Broadway.
At first, I was concerned that Odalisca was being removed early. Up close she does look a tad weathered for a four year old, but she’s cast out of bronze and I know she is supposed to be out in the elements all day. I am certain she is not a wimp.
I arrived at work still thinking deeply about the fate of Odalisca. Then, I entered my department’s bathroom, and was distracted by the toilet paper. Someone, not amongst my colleagues, was pulling this idiocy for about a week.
It seems possible to me that whoever was doing this was also a member of the dim bulb club that would move left when needed to move right.
That evening, after work, when I exited the 72nd Street station on the 73rd Street side, I had the sick feeling that Odalisca had left the premises, but much to my delight I found her now perched near a newsstand. Possibly it was decided that she was hogging too much space in the area where music is performed on weekends so she was moved a little lower and to the left of the station’s entrance.
Considering that music was often played in that space outside the station on weekends all summer, and Odalisca was relocated at summer’s close struck me as rather post-mature timing. Maybe it took three months to cut through 4627 miles of bureaucratic red tape to get clearance to move her, or maybe it took three months before someone saw daylight and realized she had been positioned in the wrong place all along.