Monday, June 7, 2010

Unlock a Piece of Bryant Park

New York City visitors and residents have no shortage of public artwork to enjoy this summer. Artist Paul Ramirez Jonas' latest project, Key to the City, launched last week, joining the ranks of Antony Gormley's Event Horizon and Eleven Heavy Things by Miranda July, two popular public installations currently on view in Manhattan.

In Key to the City, presented by Creative Time, Jonas invites members of the public to visit a temporary kiosk in Times Square where they can bestow keys to the city upon each other, for reasons great or small, in a ritual traditionally reserved for heroes or dignitaries. However, in Jonas' ceremonies the keys are both symbolic and literal. Participants each receive a key that can unlock 24 special sites across all five boroughs of New York City.

Key holders then embark upon a one-of-a-kind scavenger hunt to unlock the new spaces they have access to. Jonas explains, "with this new key, we gain an opportunity to step back and reflect on common space in the city. For not only does the key open up specific sites, but it can also make us aware that the city is a series of spaces that are locked or unlocked."

At this point you may have guessed: Bryant Park is playing host to a special locked box on the Fountain Terrace, accessible only to Key to the City key holders. It's just a short walk from the ceremony site, so pick up your key then head over to unlock a piece of the park.

Two hints for enjoying our site: 1) it's more exciting at night; 2) once you've completed the "task" inside the box, you may need to wait a minute to get the full effect.

Keys are available through June 27 and can be used with the 24 locks through September 6. Visit the Key to the City website for all the project details.

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