Uraeus by Anselm Kiefer at Rockefeller Center

Public Art Fund is an independent, non-profit arts organization founded in 1977 that presents contemporary art in New York City's public spaces.
Tishman Speyer Properties is a company, founded in in 1978 by Robert Tishman and Jerry Speyer, that invests in real estate.
Lawrence Gilbert "Larry" Gagosian  is an Armenian American art dealer who owns the Gagosian Gallery chain of art galleries.
Together with Gagosian, Tishman Speyer, and the Public Art Fund, German artist Anselm Kiefer  unveiled a site-specific commission for Rockefeller Center.
Anselm Kiefer  is the German artist known for his monumental paintings and installations layering history, culture, religion and mythology. He has achieved critical acclaim for his monumental body of work, which directly addresses questions of collective memory and national identity in Germany after World War II.  

Kiefer lives with his teenage children outside Paris in what used to be a department store warehouse.  He moved there  after running out of space at his 200-acre estate in the south of France ,  transformed into a dystopian landscape of teetering towers and tunnels to nowhere.  One day, after his death, Kiefer hopes it will open to the public as a museum.
Throughout his nearly fifty-year career, the German artist Anselm Kiefer (born 1945) has never been afraid to wrestle with the past.

Kiefer’s first major work was 1969's Occupations: a series of still controversial photographs depicting the artist in his father’s military uniform and performing the Nazi salute, a gesture banned in Germany since 1945. Kiefer visited places across Europe that had experienced blitzkrieg operations by the Panzer divisions of the German armed forces, and captured himself saluting the scenery.
One of Kiefer  best-known works, Margarete deals with themes related to memory, loss, and German history.  As the culminating piece in a series, the painting is inspired by Romanian poet Paul Celan's searing work "Death Fugue," which recounts his incarceration in a Nazi concentration camp.
Kiefer first visited New York    in 1971 when he was a student.    Later he said:  “I’ve always been a builder. For me, a painting is never finished It changes all the time  Kind of like the New York skyline—proof that all that glitters is not gold.

" Provocations: Anselm Kiefer"   at The Met Breuer  that featured    34 works on paper and one painting  closed a month ago,  on  April 8, 2018.
Uraeus, the artist’s first site-specific outdoor public sculpture in the United States  is installed  at the top of Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens, facing Fifth Avenue.  Tremendous wings span 30 feet; at their epicenter, an open book sits atop a soaring column. A snake is wrapped around the supporting post, at the base of which more books lie.  

Originally, the uraeus is the symbol of the Lower Egypt patron goddess, Wadjet. She is believed to take the form of the cobra on land and having her on the crown of the king would signify her protection from enemies. It is usually seen on headdresses, crowns and the brow of statues of kings and queens . The Uraeus rearing cobra symbol was  one of the most potent symbols of ancient Egypt symbolizing the absolute power and authority of the gods and the Egyptian monarchy. The snake also bring  to mind the myth of the phoenix emerging from the ashes, as well as the Biblical snake, the medical symbol and other iconography.

Many readings are possible,” the artist agreed at the opening preview, though his actual inspiration for the sculpture was a passage from Nietsche’s description of Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “This book, with a voice bridging centuries, is not only the highest book there is, the book that is truly characterized by the air of heights—the whole fact of man lies beneath it at a tremendous distance.”

Influential German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is known for his writings on good and evil, the end of religion in modern society and the concept of a "super-man." Certain aspects of Nietzsche's work were used by the Nazi Party of the 1930s–'40s as justification for its activities; this selective and misleading use of his work has somewhat darkened his reputation for later audiences.

 " Thus Spoke Zarathustra: " is one of the most explosive books ever published, filled with radical ideas and vivid imagery, it takes the form of a prose poem, recounting the story of a prophet, who descends from the mountains to preach to mankind. Among the many philosophers, thinkers and writers who drew on the work were Heidegger, Freud, Jung, Kafka and D. H. Lawrence, while Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Frederick Delius all composed music using text from the book.

Vessel, 365-day Christmas tree in Hudson Yards

There’s only one developer in New York currently tasked with building an entire city neighborhood, and that’s the Related.    In 2008, Related embarked on Hudson Yards, a type of project never before tackled  in New York.    Stephen M. Ross,  real estate developer,  is the chairman and majority owner of The Related Companies.     Related is best known for developing the Time Warner   Center, where Ross lives and works.    Hudson Yards , spanning seven   city  blocks,  is   a new frontier in the live-work-play ideal of New York City. 

A model of Hudson Yards  in Times Warner center
Hudson Yards is billed as the largest private real estate project in the nation.  The mega development is expected to take 10 years of construction and cost more than $20 billion. 
When built  Hudson Yards  will ultimately offer 14 acres of open space, a one-million-square-foot mall with 16 restaurants, and the Shed, an arts center that will be physically connected to 15 Hudson Yards.

But Hudson Yards isn’t just about new skyscrapers. Stephen Ross and Jeff Blau, the impresarios of the Hudson Yards project wanted to create a new New-York Icon.  

Two years ago Related Companies chairman Stephen Ross promised New York Times reporter Charles Bagli that the firm would install an iconic sculpture at Hudson Yards that would rival the Eiffel Tower.  Stephen Ross made the plaza’s centerpiece a personal project, and started with the wise observation that “(...)every visitor, and every New Yorker, wants to go to Rockefeller Center during Christmas season, to see the tree.” He continued, “So I said, ‘I need a three-hundred-and-sixty-five-day tree, O.K.?’ ”
Now the work is almost complete on   British designer Thomas Heatherwick's giant honeycomb of interlinked staircases, placed at the centre of the Hudson Yards. 

Vanity Fair named Thomas Heatherwick  "by almost any measure the hottest designer in the world today". NewYorker published an article about  Heatherwick
Heatherwick was known in Britain for three striking but impermanent designs. His Shanghai Expo pavilion had a scheduled life of only six months. In 2002, for a site in Manchester, Heatherwick Studio had created B of the Bang, a two-hundred-foot-tall cluster of metal spikes emanating from the top of a column, to suggest a midair explosion.   
Heatherwick designed  the cauldron for  Olympic Games 2012 , and he made a sensation out of it. Discounting a recommendation from officials that it should have no moving parts, he provided the opening ceremony with a moment of high emotion. The cauldron looked like something that should malfunction, yet it worked. Today, the Museum of London has a permanent exhibition celebrating the design. 

 Heatherwick's Vessel ,   the centerpiece of Hudson Yards,   rises 16 stories and consists of 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings.
Vessel will eventually be surrounded by a public plaza and gardens, and visitors will be able to climb its metal-clad staircases for better views of the area. The steps are arranged in layers that widen from a hexagonal base that measures 50 feet (15 metres) in diameter to a top layer that is 150 feet (46 metres) across.

Heatherwick who built Vessel  said the idea for the structure, which resembles an endless stair by Dutch graphic artist M C Escher, came from when he found an abandoned flight of wooden stairs as a student.  Heatherwick  also  said  that his monumental honeycomb was inspired by the ancient stepwells of India—gargantuan wells built with staircases zigzagging down their sides to allow access to deep water.

What he did, in effect, was to turn the stepwell inside out, lifting it above ground and making it into vertical public space.
“I fell in love instantly,” Ross told the New Yorker. “My guys around here thought I was out of my goddamn mind. It was too big, too this, too that. ‘How are we going to build it?’ ‘What’s it going to cost?’ I said, ‘I don’t care.’”

The Astor Place Cube,formally, named Alamo

The New York City parks department lists 843 permanent artworks on its sites, including monuments, fountains, mosaics and other styles. Astor Place’s cube   named  "Alamo"  was the first permanent contemporary outdoor sculpture installed in New York City. It was created by American  artist Tony Rosenthal, best known for his monumental public art  sculptures. His art dealer Sam Kootz, who also represented Pablo Picasso, not only  convinced  to use the nickname "Tony" instead of his real name Bernard. Koots also   recommended  the artist name to concentrate on creating abstract geometric sculptures.
  Alamo was originally created  for a citywide exhibit, put on by the New York City Parks Department, called “Sculpture in Environment.” The sculpture's name, Alamo was selected by the artist's wife because its scale and mass reminded her of the Alamo Mission.

Spanish Mission
This Spanish mission complex, originally known as Misión San Antonio de Valero, was the first of six San Antonio missions founded by Catholic missionaries along the San Antonio River in the early 1700s. Spanish soldiers used the mission church as a fort during Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain.

In the same year, 1967,  Rosental also created cube in  Detroit.
 These two cubes were the first ones but not the last ones created by the sculptor.  A year later in 1968 a cube in   Ann Harbor, Michigan was created.  In 1972  similar cube appeared in New London, Connecticut.

Cube in Michigan
The cube has been the subject of numerous pranks and hoaxes, from being covered in yarn to being converted to a Rubik’s cube. In 2013, a fake documentary claimed a 37-year-old writer named Dave lived inside the sculpture.  There was even a legend that kissing the cube ensured a relationship would last forever.

Cube in Detroit
 The cube was  made out of weathering steel ( trade name Cor-ten). Weathering steel is a high strength low alloy steel that was originally developed by United States Steel in the 1930s to resist corrosion and abrasion.
The Cube was removed from its spot in 2014 in order to facilitate the renovation of the public space, including the addition of seating and more pedestrian plazas. The cube returned to its place in 2016.

Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States

Hudson Yards is the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States.   It is  the largest development in New York city since Rockefeller Center.  John D. Rockefeller Jr. spent $250 million (more than $3 billion in today’s terms) to create the 22-acre Rockefeller Center in the 1930s, expanding  America’s largest and densest city.The Hudson Yards development will consist of 16 skyscrapers on the west side, running from the corner of 30th Street and 12th Avenue to 34th Street and 10th Avenue.

Hudson Yards in 2025
The complex will be constructed on 28- acres over a working rail yard, two “platforms” bridge over 30 active train tracks, three rail tunnels and the new Gateway Tunnel. Hudson Yards  was rezoned  in  2005  from manufacturing to commercial and residential.   The same rezoning was done for  the Western Rail Yard.  Construction     began in 2012.  This rezoning allowed   to build  24 million square feet of new office space, 13,500 new housing units, including almost 4,000 affordable units, 1 million square feet of new retail space and 2 million square feet of new hotels, including a new headquarters hotel for the Javits Convention Center.

 When it is complete in 2025, there will be more than 18 million square feet of commercial and residential space, more than 100 shops and restaurants, and 14 acres of public open space.  Most of the first phase will be commercial office and retail, while the future 6.2-million-sq-ft western phase will be primarily residential.  According to  Wall Street Journal,  Santiago Calatrava and Frank Gehry will both design new residential towers for the second phase of the 28-acre complex.

Hudson Yards is bounded by West 42nd and 43rd Streets, 7th and 8th Avenues, West 28th and 30th Streets, and Hudson River Park.  This neighborhood has been known as various names throughout its storied history from Clinton and Hell’s Kitchen to Midtown West.The area’s history dates back generations to the arrival of railroads in the middle of the 19th century. The area developed into a thriving industrial district, crisscrossed by various railroads and adjacent to the bustling Hudson River docks. The area fell into decline after World War II.  Javits Center  opened in 1986 but the neighborhood remained too isolated.

Hudson Yards Subway Station
A major component of the Far West Side redevelopment was the extension of the No. 7 subway line west and south from Times Square.   New York City's 469th   subway station "Hudson Yards"   ,  125 feet below street level,  opened for business  September  2017. 

Mega-developer Stephen Ross,   the chairman and majority owner of The Related Companies, a global real estate development firm, is behind the project.     Related Cos. was founded in 1972 by   Ross with a $10,000 loan from his mother. 

Related is the largest owner of luxury residential rental properties in New York with over 5,000 units in its portfolio and has developed mixed-use projects such as Time Warner Center in New York,  where    Stephen Ross  now lives and works.
Stephen Ross says: " Only two New Yorkers have homes and offices in the same building,  Donald Trump and me.” On March  2012 Forbes published an article about  Ross with the  title" Stephen Ross: The Billionaire Who Is Rebuilding New York". “Look, it’s a lot of fun,” says Ross about Hudson Yards. “Because it’s not all about the money, really, it’s about transforming something and what you leave behind. This is a legacy.”

Hudson Yards is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Jay Cross, the president of Related Hudson Yards. “Not only are we creating a new neighborhood at Hudson Yards, right in the middle of Manhattan, but we are linking together all of the neighborhoods on the West Side of Manhattan. Hudson Yards will serve as the nexus for all parks on Manhattan’s West Side. The High Line, Hudson River Park and the city’s new Hudson Park & Boulevard will be seamlessly connected, creating the largest network of public spaces to be developed in Manhattan since Central Park.”

The first complete tower on the site is 10 Hudson Yards, which opened in May 2016.    30 Hudson Yards with 2.6 million square feet is under construction.  At 1,296 feet high, it will be completed in 2019 as the second tallest office building in New York. It will be the tallest   tower in the development and will be home to the highest outdoor observation deck in New York City, and global media and entertainment company. 

44th Annual Macy' Flower Show Once Upon a Springtime

Staten Island Chuck, NYC's resident groundhog at the Staten Island Zoo, predicted early spring. Chuck was wrong! The official  groundhog  Phil  declared on February : a slow transition to spring is in store for most of the United States this year.    Mixed rain and snow events for New York City  will take place into April.

If you really want to embrace Spring, then you just might want to head to the Macy's Flower Show. Every March dozens of wonderful blooming flowers declare the arrival of spring.

The show is a two-week long event. It's held on the 1st & mezzanine floor of the east side of Macy's. There are free guided tours every 15 minutes.  Thousands of blooms decorate the Herald Square store, plus Square store, plus seminars on flower arranging, fashion shows, events for kids including breakfast with the Easter Bunny, and more.

This year theme is  "Once Upon a Springtime".  The grand entrance to this year’s show invites you to enter the castle tower.  If you  are tired of an endless winter  and love classic fairytales, princesses, evil queens, fairy godmothers, and noble knights,  my advice is : go To Macys! 

The Orchid Show 2018

The Orchid Show celebrates its 16th year at The New York Botanical Garden. Each year, The Orchid Show transforms The New York Botanical Garden  with thousands of orchids on display. Held in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the display features blooming orchids by the hundreds in lush tropical environments. This year all installations are  crafted by Daniel Ost, Belgian floral artist, floral designer and garden architect.

60-year-old Belgian owns flower shops in both Brussels and his home town of Sint-Niklaas, close to the Dutch border. He provides arrangements for prestigious individuals, events and occasions. Ost   has received numerous awards and accolades in both Europe and in the Far East.
 Ost trained in Belgium and the Netherlands before visiting Japan for the first time in 1983 when he befriended Noboru Kurisaki, one of the most prominent grand masters of ikebana, who became his mentor and teacher. He taught Ost that a single flower used the right way can have more impact than thousands of flowers used en masse.

  The artist said:  “I get lots of e-mails and letters from people saying that my work makes them emotional.   They’re nice, but I’m also afraid of reading them because I always want to keep my feet on the ground, like a child who is playing. The title on my card is bloembinder. It’s an old Flemish word that’s hard to translate. It refers to what you do to bind flowers together, but it’s not like ‘florist’ in English or ‘fleuriste’ in French. It’s much more beautiful than that." 

Orchid Show visitors may select from thousands of top-quality orchids, from exotic, hard-tofind specimens for connoisseurs to elegant yet easy-to-grow varieties for beginners, available for purchase at NYBG Shop.   The Orchid Show is on view from Saturday, March 3 through Sunday, April 22.