An Outdoor Sculpture Tour in SoHo, NYC
Come along and delight with me in the outdoor sculptures to be found in the SoHo neighbourhood of NYC.
It wouldn’t be a proper sculpture tour without beginning with our Crosby the Cat, standing proud and playful in front of Crosby Street Hotel. This iconic 12 ft bronze Botero sculpture draws adoration from passers-by and guests with his monumental scale and presence.
After saying hello to Crosby the Cat, walk east along buzzing Prince Street. Just a short three blocks away, you’ll turn down Elizabeth Street and find one of SoHo’s hidden gems. The Elizabeth Street Garden could be easily missed if you were marching by, but this special place is a wonderful respite among locals.
Among blossoming trees and flowers, you’ll find limestone carved lions, Greek goddesses, ornate bird baths, and a sphinx among other things.
Alan Reiver, the owner of the fabulous antiques shop, Elizabeth Street Gallery, which is located next door to the garden, began leasing the space in 1990 as an overflow storage for 18th century busts and towering sculptural pieces that couldn’t fit in the gallery. Over time, Reiver planted perennials, flowering trees and shrubs, and added seating throughout. Since then, it has become a community space which hosts regular events.
Although for years plans have threatened to build housing over the Elizabeth Street Garden, locals have fought hard to keep this from happening. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, this is a must see stop on our tour.
If you continue down Elizabeth Street and take a right on Spring, keep strolling until you reach Greene Street. Keep your eyes down, and you’ll find Francoise Schein’s Subway Map Floating on a NY Sidewalk.
This art piece is made from stainless steel, concrete, and glass rounds with lights embedded into the ground. This model of the Manhattan Subway map shows the 156 stops that existed in 1985 when it was installed.
Schein received the Award for Excellence in Design from the Art Commission of the city of New York in 1985 after its completion.
If you continue north on Greene Street and take a right on Houston, look up and you’ll see “The Wall (The Gateway to SoHo)”. Forrest Myers constructed The Wall in 1973 with 42 evenly spaced green aluminium bars attached to 42 steel braces. These pieces are set against a blue background covering about three quarters of the building’s wall.
The legal troubles of this particular piece are representative of the struggle between art and commerce. In 1997, the building’s new owner wanted to remove the piece and profit from the façade by having advertisements. After years of back and forth and compromising, the art piece was moved higher so that the lower part of the building could still be profitable.
This bold and historic artwork marks the entrance to the neighbourhood where art and commerce meet, representative of its own story.
Walk another block east on Houston to get back to Crosby Street, and let’s take our final stop on the tour.
Head into our lobby and walk through to our leafy Sculpture Garden. Have a seat, enjoy a drink, and relax in the quiet, away from the bustling streets of SoHo. Let our organic tree sculptures bring your eyes upward and take in the wonderful greenery, hanging lanterns, and lush gardens of the Meadow Suite above.
Crosby Street Hotel is home to an impressive collection of art and sculpture, with our beloved Crosby the Cat in good company alongside works by Anselm Kiefer, Justine Smith and Francois Bard. This summer, guests are invited to enjoy a private guided tour of Crosby Street Hotel’s renowned art collection, which has been carefully curated by Kit Kemp. Look out for our Firmdale Art Walks returning for members of the public to join on weekends from September.
We hope that next time you’re in SoHo you will explore these special places, and remember to always keep your eyes open when wandering the streets of your city – you’ll be surprised by how much art and inspiration is living around you!