If you’ve been missing an iconic piece of artwork at the intersection at Lafayette St. and Astor Place, know that The Cube has been returned to its rightful place in the East Village
After a weekend jaunt in Southampton, at the Hamptons Fine Art Fair, the Alamo Cube is back and better than it’s been in years (a weekend in the Hamptons can do that to you).
At 8 feet tall and 1,800 pounds, the cube was created in 1967 by artist Tony Rosenthal, and became the first contemporary sculpture purchased by the city of New York. Initially, the public artwork was slated for a sixth month outdoor residency, but it was so popular that New Yorkers petitioned to keep it.
In the decades since, spinning the enormous cube sculpture has been a pastime, or even a rite of passage, for locals and tourists alike, but that all came to a halt in 2021. Turns out, countless people pushing an outdoor sculpture around isn’t a recipe for long-term sustainability, and the piece needed some work.
This May, the cube took a trip to Connecticut, where the artwork underwent $100,000 worth of rehab to get it safely spinning again. Dave Petrie, the director of the late artist’s estate, told the New York Times that the cube’s new weatherproof spinning mechanism that should “keep it turning for 20 years or so.”
The refurbished cube made its debut in Southampton (easing its way back to the chaotic city from Connecticut, naturally), where art fair attendees could indeed spin the massive sculpture. On Monday, it was transported back to its rightful place, across from the former K-Mart and soon-to-be-Wegmans, and unveiled for its next two decades of countless spins.