You might have noticed that the iconic cube sculpture is missing from Astor Place. That’s because it was removed overnight for restoration. But don’t fret, if you didn’t get to spin your goodbyes, it will return come August.
The 1,800-pound cube by Tony Rosenthal, officially titled Alamo, but more commonly referred to as “The Cube” or “The Astor Place Cube,” has remained a neighborhood landmark for the past 56 years. Known for its twirling abilities, the mechanisms responsible for the sculpture’s ability to spin are in need of much repair after not working properly for the past year.
According to the Department of Transportation, work crews removed the malfunctioning cube overnight on Monday, May 8th. It will undergo a full restoration by Versteeg Art Fabricators who will return the interactive sculpture to Astor Place by this August.
“Rosenthal’s artistic vision in the 1960s has managed to capture the imagination and spirit of the whole East Village community for decades with an iconic sculpture that is best enjoyed when it is touched and spun with friends,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “I look forward to the Cube’s return to Astor Place in time for Summer Streets 2023 in August – when New Yorkers can once again join together and spin.”
When first created, Alamo was part of a previous Sculpture and Environmentalism program established by The Office of Cultural Affairs of the City’s Parks Department, which later became The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Administration.
The cube received previous renovation from Versteeg Art Fabricators back in 2005. It was also removed in 2014 during a reconstruction of Astor Place, and reinstalled by 2016 after becoming a part of the DOT’s Permanent Art portfolio.
“Generations of New Yorkers have taken The Cube for a spin, and we’re thrilled that DOT and Tony Rosenthal’s estate have reached an agreement to refurbish the iconic sculpture so it can keep spinning for generations to come,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “Public art is integral to the vibrancy of New York’s public spaces, and the restoration of The Cube ensures that its singular presence will continue to enliven and define this bustling corner of the city.”
We couldn’t have said it better than Scott Hobbs, Executive Director of the Village Alliance Business Improvement District: “The world keeps spinning – and so will the Alamo Cube!”