By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership debuted new public art installation “Ziggy” on Tuesday during a preview of its eighth-annual “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” season. The glowing, kaleidoscopic installation, which is on view on the North Public Plaza across from the Flatiron building, was selected through the sixth-annual Flatiron Plaza Holiday Design Competition with the Van Alen Institute and DOT Art.
The Partnership’s “23 Days” officially begins on December 1, running through December 23, and offers free performances, holiday recipes, hot beverage giveaways, fitness classes and prizes.
The launch event on Tuesday included a music performance by Kengchakaj & Niall Cade from The Jazz Gallery, pizza from Eataly, hot chocolate from Shake Shack and a prize wheel with a line spreading down the plaza, despite the misting rain and raw temperatures throughout the event.
Ziggy, which will be on view through New Year’s Day, was designed by New York-based architecture studio Hou de Sousa. The installation is composed of painted rebar and 27,000 feet of iridescent cord lit from the bottom by black light. The structure creates a winding form of 30-inch see-through walls and bench structures that passersby are encouraged to use.
“Ziggy is a polyvalent creature that strings together gateways, apertures and seating,” said Josh de Sousa, principal and co-founder of Hou de Sousa. “This porous wall will welcome folks arriving from all directions while ringing in the holiday season with a flourish of color and light.”
The roster of events for the “23 Days of Flatiron Cheer” includes Flatiron Foodies every Monday, when the Partnership will share holiday recipes from Flatiron restaurants. The recipes will also be available on the BID’s website at flatirondistrict.nyc and in the Partnership’s weekly newsletter.
During “Winter Wellness Wednesday,” fitness studios in the neighborhood will offer free classes through December 18, including at Broadway Bodies, Exhale and Jane DO.
The Partnership will also be holding a food drive as it has in previous years, although instead of supporting the Food Bank, donations will be collected for Urban Pathways, a nonprofit that works with the BID to help individuals living without shelter in the Flatiron District with the aim of placement in permanent housing. Drop-offs of on-perishable food donations are encouraged at the Flatiron North Public Plaza during “Live on the Plaza” events, which take place on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.
“Live on the Flatiron Public Plaza” includes a number of festive holiday activities, including a chance to spin the Flatiron prize wheel offering discounts a local businesses, winter-themed cornhole, tote bags with discounts and free hot beverages.
Also part of the holiday festivities next month will be a celebration of the winter solstice with the Museum of Mathematics on Tuesday, December 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. The Museum and the Partnership will celebrate the changing of the seasons with the new art installation and hot beverages and snacks will also be available.
Holiday-themed walking tours will be available every Sunday at 11 a.m. hosted by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, which will be led by professional guides taking in the neighborhood’s notable landmarks.