There are four sections of the Berlin Wall in New York City. The only section I’ve visited before is on 53rd Street, but it was removed at the end of last year for renovation work – so now I’m on a mission to track down the remaining pieces (before I’m 30!).
On Saturday, I made the most of the blue skies and headed to the Financial District to find another. I hopped off the subway at Wall Street, headed west past One World Trade Center and towards the North Cove Marina, where I came across this guy sitting outside St Joseph’s Chapel:
The German Consulate gifted this section to the city on the 15th anniversary of the fall of the wall in 2004.
According to the Battery Park City Authority, the 12-foot high slab once stood in downtown Berlin between Potsdamer Platz and Leipziger Platz, and was part of the inner wall designed to prevent East Germans from escaping.
‘Today, it stands as a powerful symbol of the strength of democracy – teaching and inspiring all who visit of the importance of freedom,’ the authority explains.
Like the piece up on 53rd Street, it’s the work of Thierry Noir. He started painting the concrete in April 1984 – when no other artists had yet touched it – and ultimately painted about one kilometer’s worth. After the wall was pulled down, he restored some of his previous work that is now on show around the world.
I love that some pieces have made their way to New York.
I think you can appreciate them as art even without knowing their important history. Especially at this spot – where I love the juxtaposition of the garish, pop-like design and the stiff collars and sleek lines of the Financial District. The added history makes them even more significant, of course – and as with all of New York’s secrets, I love how you and I know it’s there, even if millions of people in the city don’t.
Here’s the other side of it:
Plus, this particular venture took me to the Esplanade (that long walkway on the west of Lower Manhattan) that overlooks New Jersey and is bizarrely peaceful, even though it’s just blocks from the Financial District. It’s one of my favorite spots in the entire city.
Now I’m on a mission to find the other sections in NYC!
Find them: Outside St Joseph’s Chapel in the Financial District; outside the U.N.; at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum in Times Square; and on 53rd Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. See the map below: