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Madison Square Park Art Installation Sparks Controversy In Flatiron

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Controversy has sprouted over a sprawling sculpture going up in Madison Square Park.

As CBS2's Cindy Hsu reported, the grey scaffolding over nearly 500 feet of walkway in the park, at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, is part of an art installation by Teresita Fernandez.

The mirrored golden design creates a canopy over head.

"I really enjoy it," Barbara Seniawski said.

"Well it's kind of interesting. It's nice and it stimulates greenery," Ben Hader added.

But some say the park is supposed to be about open space.

"It'll be blocking the sun. Look at all the people in the park trying to get the sun. It was a bad winter. No, I'm a fan of the sun this year," Marge Architetto said.

"I said, 'Oh God, that's awful,'" Anthony Stanhope said.

The park is completely surrounded by buildings and the view from the 19th floor of the Flatiron building offers a different perspective.

"I see steel girders and not much happening. And from up here you can't see the artwork that's underneath it, so it's kind of an eyesore," Steve Cohen said.

The installation was funded by the Madison Square Park Conservancy whose executive director said it's a balanced design only covering one walkway in the park.

"We've made sure that the playground and the dog run and the fountains are sort of untouched by it," Keats Myer explained.

Neighborhood residents also pointed out that if art isn't controversial, then what's the point?

"You know it's supposed to make people think. It's supposed to make people feel something. If it's bland or it's too vanilla what's the point?" Rik Neslo said.

The sculpture is still being installed and will be finished next month. It will be in place through January of 2016.

The Conservancy wouldn't say how much the installation costs, but said funding came from corporate and private donations.


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