Weird Things You've Always Seen Around NYC & The Stories Behind Them


Walk around New York City long enough and you’ll notice that among the bizarre people are many bizarre things. After five years of living in the city, I decided I had had enough and after some intense google searching, random street interviews, and deep soul-searching, I finally got to the bottom of this.

The numbers

I always loved passing these numbers, 1) because it reminds me of my past obsession with the show LOST, and 2) because when my phone is dead, which is always, these numbers give you the current time. Take a look. The first four digits are the time in military time/the 24 hour clock. 20:04 is 8:04 pm. The next few digits are seconds, and milliseconds, etc. If you go from right-to-left, you have the time until midnight. 03:55 is the amount of time in the day until midnight.

LOVE Statue


In about one thousand movies, the LOVE statue at 55th and 6th is always a nice reminder of the emotion I should be feeling while living in New York. You know, something to remind me that Manhattan is not just a ridiculously exhausting, ridiculously expensive, and ridiculously overcrowded island I chose to call home. Ignorant me thought this statue was one-of-a-kind and something that really marked New York, but ha, these things are apparently all over the world. The original, however, was created by Robert Indiana and can be found in the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Are you even surprised?

We know how to do love in Indiana (#BornAndBredHoosier).

The statues in the 14th Street/8th Ave Subway Station


After many trips through the subway station at 14th Street and 8th Ave, where the L crosses with the ACE, I started noticing these little bronze statues popping up the more I paid attention. These little guys can be found doing all sorts of things around the entire subway station – carrying money bags, reading books, transporting tools, and crawling under things. Obviously, I was intrigued and had to do some Googling. Come to find out, there are over 100 of these little guys, which are all a part of a 2002 public art installation Life Underground, by Tom Otterness.

Personally, I think more subway stations need public art installations – but on the other hand, if you give the MTA any reason to raise the metro card fare again, they for sure will jump right on that. At least for now I have Life Underground to distract me from my constant pessimistic thoughts of how the MTA is clearly ripping me off each and every fare increase. Thanks Otterness!

The naked statues in Columbus Circle

Anytime you walk into Columbus Circle, whether for the shopping center, the views from the 3rd floor, or ok, if we’z bein’ honest, the Whole Foods downstairs, you’ll notice swarms of tourists (…and locals) flocking around these big, fat, naked, bronze statues with golden…genitalia. Now there’s a word I never expected to ever write on this blog.
I was so intrigued one day that I walked over to the info desk and was surprised that they even had a one-page info sheet about the statues, explaining that they are a fun spin on the traditional views of of Adam and Eve. You got that right. I then found a New York Times article explaining that the golden genitalia is only golden due to “extensive handling.” And I’ll leave you with that.

What other statues or sculptures have you noticed around NYC?

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