From Harlem to DUMBO to the World Trade Center, Musement shares seven of the best places to admire open-air art in New York City.
New York has started to rise from its quarantine slumber. As museums start to reopen and provide a cool refuge from the sweltering summer heat, open-air art is the perfect alternative for those days when the mercury hasn’t risen too high—or even more suitable for the days of COVID, letting you admire artwork without the constraints of four walls. So, here are seven places where you can see open-air art in New York.
1. East 128th Street and Harlem River Drive, Manhattan
Keith Haring’s Crack is Whack has presided over the abandoned handball court on this street corner since 1986. Haring never received a formal commission for the anti-drug work, which showcases his signature Pop Art style, so the police arrested him for vandalism following its completion, though they eventually dropped the charges and he faced no legal ramifications.
2. The Highline, Manhattan
If you haven’t made it to the High Line yet to see Simone Leigh’s Brick House sculpture, you have until September 30. The 16-foot captivating work is the bust of a Black woman and looks magnificent as it protrudes from the former elevated train tracks over Tenth Avenue.
3. Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens
Located in Long Island City, Socrates Sculpture Park is a four-acre gem hidden in plain sight that showcases work from both emerging and established artists—the perfect place to pass an afternoon. Since it’s a park, it never formally closed, but it has upped its ante. From now through the fall, catch Monuments Now a special exhibition kicking off with works from Jeffrey Gibson, Paul Ramírez Jonas, and Xaviera Simmons.
4. DUMBO Walls, Brooklyn
Started in 2012, the DUMBO Walls art community features murals from some of the most renowned street artists. The works, which adorn the Brooklyn neighborhood’s various entry points, have become a destination in and of themselves.
5. Mural Project at the World Trade Center, Manhattan
This art project was originally in collaboration with the World Trade Gallery, a spot on the 69th floor of Two World Trade Center that displayed street works. While the gallery has shuttered, the Mural Project, which features art on 20,000 square feet of corrugated metal, remains.
6. 55th Street and Sixth Avenue
Anyone who’s visited New York before 2017 likely has fond memories of Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture, a mainstay on the corner of 55th Street and Sixth Avenue for years. It abruptly disappeared last year for cleaning and restoration and has been “temporarily” replaced with Jim Rennert’s Listen in the meantime. The 12-foot tall bronze work depicts a man with his finger of his lips in the “sssh” gesture. However, he’s telling you not to be quiet, but, rather, to listen. If you find yourself in need of a Robert Indiana fix, head to 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue to see his Hope sculpture.
7. 125th Street Metro North Station
A branch of the New Harlem East Merchants Association (NHEMA), which got its start in 2013 as a way of improving 125th Street, Uptown Grand Central is dedicated to transforming the neighborhood. They’ve implemented many initiatives, one of which is the Grand Scale Mural Project. Fifty street artists have transformed three blocks near the 125th Street Metro North Station into a visual wonder.