28-foot-tall button makes its way to the Garment District
Manhattan’s Garment District is evolving and for one block, community organizers like Barbara Blair, President of the Garment District Alliance, are hoping a new art installation, the 'Big Button,' will help.
“Originally [the district] was manufacturing - so what was in these buildings were showrooms and on the side streets it was factories. You wouldn't come to this neighborhood if you weren't working here. But since 2005, there's been 57 hotels built in Garment District [as a] result of rezoning for the Hudson Yards. There are restaurants here now and also we’re strongly lobbying the city and state for residential," says Blair.
The button is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also serves as a way to direct traffic in an area that's already very dense.
“There's literally no place to walk,” said Blair, adding, “We thought this opens up the entire corner, it allows for much more space for pedestrians – but it was five years to get to that place.”
Blair explains that efforts are underway to revamp the historic Garment District which is one of, if not the, busiest areas in all of Manhattan due to the transportation hubs nearby.
The Department of Transportation and the Garment District Alliance are working to add more light, widen sidewalks and create pedestrian plazas for the neighborhood.
As for the button’s striking yellow color? Blair says there's debate – that it either serves as a nod to the subway lines or to the iconic New York City taxi cabs.
The big button sculpture is located on 39th Street and 7th Avenue. It is a permanent art piece designed by Local Projects and Urban Art Projects, and stands 28 feet tall with a 15-foot diameter aluminum button. It was unveiled last week by the Garment District Alliance and is replacing what used to be an information kiosk.
Photo credit in video: Alexandre Ayer / @DiversityPics for the Garment District Alliance