This year’s annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition celebrates the role that immigrants have played in the development and vibrancy of New York. Called “We Were Strangers Once Too,” the winning design was created by The Office for Creative Research in order to open a dialogue about the value of immigrants in making the city what it is today, and given the current political climate, the conversation couldn’t be more timely.
The sculpture is made out of 33 metal poles in different hues of red and pink “inscribed and hued to represent the national origins and shifting populations of foreign-born NYC residents.” As visitors move around the heart, their perspective will shift from a mass of poles to an iconic heart. It is a striking visual display that forces us to confront what it means to be inclusive and as a tribute to those who have contributed historically and currently to the diverse communities of NYC.
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, said, “I am excited to add We Were Strangers Once Too to the greatest public art gallery in the world, NYC Parks. New York City is now and always will be a proud city of immigrants.”
The Office for Creative Research, the artists, said, “Now more than ever New Yorkers need to stand up and say we are proud to live in a city of immigrants. We Were Strangers Once Too is our way to acknowledge and say thank you to the diverse communities of NYC for their many contributions historically, currently and into the future.” The design was unveiled to the public on February 7 at Father Duffy Square.
Images courtesy of The Office for Creative Research