A tower of laurels arrives in the middle of Times Square

A new piece of public art will take up residence in Times Square on April 8.

Photography: Courtesy of Times Square Arts

“The Poem,” by Cuban-born artist Raúl Cordero, is a 20-foot tower with a cascade of mountain laurels hiding an illuminated haiku inside. How cool is that?

“The landscape structure is designed to reduce the sensory overload of Times Square to a concentrated line of sight, drawing the eye to a patch of open sky and the words of the poem above,” reads an official description of the artwork, which will remain put through May 4th. “Playing with the architecture and energy of Times Square, Cordero offers us respite from the attention economy in the form of poetry and nature.”

Barry Schwabsky, a poet, created the haiku specifically for the installation. You will notice that the figures in the piece light up in glowing bulbs of black light set inside the foliage. Given the way each letter and word takes shape, viewers will have to linger to catch the full message, and that’s on purpose.

“[The setup] is emblematic of Cordero’s ongoing investigation into [the] effects of the digital age on the human mind, particularly our diminishing ability to concentrate and the growing urge to tirelessly multi-task,” the description read. To put it simply: the new artwork seeks to calm New Yorkers down.

In addition to the installation, the artist will present a multitude of text-based video works on the billboards that define the neighborhood, as well as free public programs that will showcase the city’s diverse poetic community. You can expect readings and live performances from artists such as LaTasha Nevada Diggs and Paolo Javier.

There’s just something about finding peace and quiet amidst the hustle and bustle of Times Square that makes the whole experience so New York. Law?

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