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Flatiron District artwork will shine light on burgeoning revival

A rendering of the Flatiron 23rd Street Holiday

A rendering of the Flatiron 23rd Street Holiday installation is shaped in the form of a V and is comprised of metal reflectors that span 25 feet long and 15 feet high. Credit: Jeffrey Inaba

Business leaders in the 23rd Street Flatiron neighborhood hope their first art installation -- "New York Light" -- draws shoppers and holiday cheer this winter season.

Architect Jeffrey Inaba, 51, of Brooklyn, who teaches at Columbia University, designed the metal reflector and metal tube design in hopes of attracting people to the neighborhood's plaza, where the installation will face the iconic Flatiron Building on Broadway and Fifth Avenue.

The twinkling light, which will shine a reflected beacon day or night, is the latest piece of the neighborhood's revival, and more are planned.

"It's in a V-shape like the Flatiron and its size is meant to be intimate, where people can walk into and look at it face-to-face," said Inaba, who does not expect the art piece to draw throngs of tourists, something that was never his intention.

The metal reflectors will mirror the sunlight, and at night will be illuminated by LEDs. The wind will sway the movable reflectors, creating a shimmering light. The piece will be 25 feet long and 15 feet high and will be put in place Thanksgiving week.

"The Flatiron is residential with a complement of workers, and I wanted the quality of the light to be more simple than Times Square. The light will be a pure, white light that will reflect both in the day and night," Inaba said.

"Jeffrey Inaba's design is modern and elegant," said Jennifer Brown, executive director of the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership, which plans to install art designs each year. "We love this concept and hope to do this every year by bringing new, innovative and fun installations to the neighborhood."

The partnership and nonprofit Van Alen Institute asked seven art design firms to submit proposals. The winner was selected through a jury of artists, designers and architects, including a neighborhood resident.

Inaba said he made light central to his design because "light for many religions is important.

"Like the Christmas tree or the menorah, it is a point of gathering for people who do not know each other, are family, or friends -- all coming together," he said. "It is a moment of peace."

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