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Seward Johnson bronzes add a surreal, artistic touch to NYC's Garment District

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Seward Johnson bronzes add a surreal, artistic touch to NYC's Garment District

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Greetings from NYC. Nancy and I drove down from New Hampshire yesterday because we'll be checking out Disney Consumer Products' annual Holiday Showcase later today.

Anyway ... After checking into our hotel (i.e., The Paul. Which is located down in NYC's NoMad district), we decided to grab some dinner. Which is how we wound up at the Melt Shop.


Photo by Jim Hill

Which is this restaurant that only sells grilled cheese sandwiches. This comfort food was delicious, but kind of on the heavy side.


Photo by Jim Hill

Which is why -- given that it was a beautiful summer night -- we'd then try and walk off our meals. We started our stroll down by the Empire State Building ...


Photo by Jim Hill

... and eventually wound up just below Times Square (right behind where the Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve Ball is kept).


Photo by Jim Hill

But you know what we discovered en route? Right in the heart of Manhattan's Garment District along Broadway between 36th and 41st? This incredibly cool series of life-like and life-sized sculptures that Seward Johnson has created.


Photo by Jim Hill

And -- yes -- that is Abraham Lincoln (who seems to have slipped out of WDW's Hall of Presidents when no one was looking and is now leading tourists around Times Square). These 18 painted bronze pieces (which were just installed late this past Sunday night / early Monday morning) range from the surreal to the all-too-real.


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Some of these pieces look like typical New Yorkers. Like the business woman planning out her day ...


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... the postman delivering the mail ...


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... the hot dog vendor working at his cart ...


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... the street musician playing for tourists ...


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Not to mention the tourists themselves.


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But right alongside the bronze businessmen ...


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... and the tired grandmother hauling her groceries home ...


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... there were also statues representing people who were from out-of-town ...


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... or -- for that matter -- out-of-time.


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These were the Seward Johnson pieces that genuinely beguiled. Famous impressionist paintings brought to life in three dimensions.


Note the out-of-period water bottle that some tourist left
behind. Photo by Jim Hill 

Some of them so lifelike that you actually had to pause for a moment (especially as day gave way to night in the city) and say to yourself "Is that one of the bronzes? Or just someone pretending to be one of these bronzes?"

Mind you, for those of you who aren't big fans of the impressionists ...


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... there's also an array of American icons. Among them Marilyn Monroe ...


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... and that farmer couple from Grant Wood's "American Gothic."


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But for those of you who know your NYC history, it's hard to beat that piece which recreates Alfred Eisenstaedt's famous photograph of V-J Day in Times Square.


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By the way, a 25-foot-tall version of this particular Seward Johnson piece ( which -- FYI -- is entitled "Embracing Peace") will actually be placed in Times Square for a few days on or around  August 14th to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory Over Japan Day (V-J Day).


Photo by Jim Hill

By the way, if you'd like to check these Seward Johnson bronzes in person (which -- it should be noted -- are part of the part of the Garment District Alliance's new public art offering) -- you'd best schedule a trip to the City sometime over the next three months. For these pieces will only be on display now through September 15th. 

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  • These pieces, and MANY more like it, are available for view in a beautiful park like setting at Grounds for Sculpture in NJ.  I suggest you visit on your next trip South.  My wife and I liken the park to Disneyland if it had no rides.  GroundsForSculpture.org

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