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Are You High? April 15, 2010

Posted by judylobo in art, Photography.
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A few weeks ago I got a call from-my favorite NYPD Detective, Matt.  It was around three in the afternoon and he asked me if one of those sculptures was on Fifth Avenue and 29th Street?  Matt had seen my previous photos of Antony Gormley’s art instalation.  I laughed and told him yes, there was a sculpture on that corner.  The police had just received a call that there was a ‘jumper.’  I told him it was going to be a long, hot summer of false alarms because the installation was going to be up until August 15th.

–  From today’s New York Post (By KEVIN FASICK and LARRY CELONA): Cops rushed urgently to the Empire State Building yesterday on a report of a possible jumper at the notorious suicide magnet — only to discover that the man perched precariously on the ledge was made of solid cast iron.

The life-sized figure was bolted to the iconic building by the boneheaded organizers of the “Event Horizon” art installation, which has infested the city with realistic-looking metal men. They’re placed on dangerous roofs and ledges around Madison Square Park and other Midtown locales — but none in a place so linked to death plunges.

ARE YOU HIGH? Bystanders gaze up and aim cameras yesterday at a “suicide jumper” on the Empire State Building — which turns out to be an art project that has led to false-alarm 911 calls.

Police sources say the scourge has led to daily 911 calls that distract operators from assisting in real emergencies.
“It’s a pain in the ass,” said one officer of the art project. “It’s a waste of manpower. We’re short cops to begin with and we don’t have enough cops to waste answering calls of statues committing suicide.”

The cop’s frustration was shared by dumbfounded Empire State Building staff. They couldn’t figure out why management would allow a statue to be placed on a building so notorious for suicides that some believed it inspired the term “86’d” — because people jump off the 86th-floor observation deck.

Six people have jumped from the building in the last 10 years, and 34 since the building opened in 1931.

The metal man was installed on the ledge as part of artist Antony Gormley’s exhibit in late March — and was in place on March 30 when a Yale graduate student became the latest to jump to his death from the observation deck.

The chilling art project, which was also installed in London in 2007, has had the full support of Mayor Bloomberg, and sources said he has no plans to intervene.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne claimed the department has gotten only 10 calls to 911 about “Event Horizon” — including three to the Empire State Building — though police sources insist they are a daily occurrence.

Yesterday’s scare even fooled a patrol officer who was nearby on foot and rushed over, fearing the worst.

“A new cop on the block ran up to me today and said, ‘You have a jumper on the 24th floor!’ ” said an Empire State Building security guard, who remembers at least five 911 calls being made about the statue.

“I said, ‘No, honey, it’s just a freaking statue.’ ”

Officers in the 13th Precinct and Midtown South have become so used to the calls that they don’t rush to the buildings with the same speed as they would in other neighborhoods, sources said, prompting concern there could be some delay getting aid to a real jumper.

Anthony Malkin, the head of Malkin Properties Crop., the landmark building’s management group, said the company agreed to participate in the exhibit after getting “over a dozen requests from meaningful people in the arts.”

He said, “We thought it would be interesting and fun to participate in this big public art exhibit, but we only did it on the condition that we first check with the NYPD, and that they said it was OK to do.

“My taste in art is very different, but I have to believe the artist is getting the reaction he is looking for. And if the city didn’t like it, they would ask us to take it down,” and “we would take it down immediately,” Malkin said.

“Until then, it’s our intention to leave it up.”

The figures also inspired chaos 11 blocks south on Fifth Avenue yesterday, where cops sped to a false alarm at the Flatiron Building after a 911 caller mistook its rooftop statue for a jumper.

Local cops were warned that the statues — scheduled to remain in place until Aug. 15 — were so lifelike they could cause pedestrian panic.

A tourist from California in Madison Square Park admitted she almost called 911 after spotting one of the figures. “I thought he was real,” said Kimberly Compton. “Why else would a man be up there if he wasn’t going to jump?” – Additional reporting by Kirsten Fleming and Todd Venezia

Here is my photo montage of the installation:

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Comments»

1. Gloria - April 15, 2010

“The figures also inspired chaos 11 blocks south on Fifth Avenue yesterday, where cops sped to a false alarm at the Flatiron Building…”

Hmmm. Suspiciously near where someone we know hangs out. You weren’t just messing with the police for fun, were you Judy Lobo?

2. bumper sticker - April 15, 2010

Sad to say — I don’t like the exhibit. To me, it’s a little too close to the line of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Makes me uncomfortable.

3. Oh dear, it’s a New Year « Lobo's Rants - January 1, 2011

[…] My blog title “Are you high” has gotten a lot of hits – (I am sure people are disappointed when they get to the […]


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