Good morning. It’s Wednesday. We’ll look at a word that’s very large (even though it’s only four letters long) and is back in New York. We’ll also look at the latest indication that this isn’t the year for most New York sports teams.
Credit… Zoonar/Andrey Kravchenko/Alamy Stock Photo
The L-O-V-E is back in New York.
The colorful sculpture of the word “love,” with two letters on top of the other two and with a bouncy, slanted O, has been refurbished and will reside in an alphanumeric display at Rockefeller Center for the next six weeks.
The numbers are “One Through Zero,” eight-foot-tall steel integers made by the same artist, Robert Indiana. The flags surrounding the skating rink will feature images from Indiana’s “Peace Paintings,” images with the peace sign as a motif. He created them after the Sept. 11 attacks, which he witnessed in New York City.
For years, “Love” was fixture at the corner of the Avenue of the Americas at West 55th Street, in front of an office building, above. “It became such a popular place, if I can use that word, with people taking photographs and so forth,” said Simon Salama-Caro of the Robert Indiana Legacy Initiative, which maintains an archive of Indiana’s art and manages the website robertindiana.com.
“We had to take it away because it needed repainting and restoration,” he said. “So many people climbed on the sculpture for photography and so forth that it was not in great condition.” He said that the paint had peeled off in places but that the metal was undamaged. The refurbishing was completed during the pandemic, and “we kept it in storage,” Salama-Caro said.
“It was crated again and ready to be installed,” he said, “and then I had second thoughts about the location.”
The owner of the building it had stood in front of — SL Green, which calls itself the city’s largest commercial landlord — was “keen to have it back,” Salama-Caro said. “But I thought maybe there is another location in the city which could be perhaps more central.”
That led to the installation at Rockefeller Center. “We thought Bob would have loved that place,” he said, referring to Indiana. A spokesman for SL Green said that the company is in love with “Love” and that it had been “lent, and it was taken back.”
Indiana’s legacy figured in a legal fight that began around the time of his death in 2018 at age 89. Simon Salama-Caro is a former gallerist and an adviser to the Morgan Art Foundation, a company that held the rights to make versions of several of Indiana’s works, among them “Love.” In 2021 Morgan — along with Indiana’s estate and his former caretaker — settled the disputes. The terms were not made public. But the courtroom tussles cost Indiana’s estate millions that could have gone toward making a museum out of Indiana’s home on a remote island off the Maine coast, a project he had referred to in his will.
Salama-Caro said that “Love” belonged in New York because it was in New York that the artist “transformed himself from Robert Clark to Robert Indiana.” Indiana grew up as Robert Clark in New Castle, Ind., and moved to Manhattan in the 1950s. He was putting a Matisse postcard in the window of the store where he was working when the painter Ellsworth Kelly passed by and noticed it — and him. Kelly went inside, they struck up a conversation and later became lovers.
“Love” will be at Rockefeller Center until Oct. 23. “After that, I don’t know,” Salama-Caro said. “I was told one of the main reasons it could not stay there longer was because of the tree,” he added, referring to the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center’s holiday look.
Prepare for heavy rain in the day and showers through the evening, with a high of 75. It will dip into the low 60s at night.
In effect until Saturday (Rosh Hashana).
The latest New York news
To stay in school: New York’s public university system is starting a program that uses simple strategies, like transportation money, to keep students enrolled and on the path to graduation.
Surrender: Eric Ulrich, New York City’s former buildings commissioner, is expected to surrender on Wednesday after a lengthy bribery investigation.
Ingenuity: The appliances might be miniature and the floor plans eccentric, but some home cooks do not mind. Here is how some New Yorkers make do — and even fall in love with — wacky kitchens.
$40 million for the Philharmonic: Oscar Tang, a financier who is co-chairman of the orchestra’s board, and his wife, Agnes Hsu-Tang, an archaeologist and art historian, made the largest endowment gift in the Philharmonic’s 181-year-history.
A new opera: The Metropolitan Opera has commissioned a new opera about Russia’s abduction and deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children, the Met’s latest effort to show support for Ukraine.
The Jets. The Mets. It’s been a dismal summer, sports fans.
Our Christopher Maag put it succinctly: All the hope and hype lasted exactly four plays.
In case you were, say, watching the Mets on Monday night — more about them later — Aaron Rodgers fell to the turf in the opening minutes of the Jets’ first regular season game. The four-time league M.V.P. left the field, and on Tuesday an M.R.I. confirmed the team’s worst fears: He had torn his left Achilles’ tendon and will miss the season.
Rodgers’s injury capped a dreadful summer for New York teams. Only the New York Liberty of the W.N.B.A. have a winning record. (They have already clinched a playoff berth.)
It brought back memories — painful memories — of Edwin Diaz, the Mets’ star closer. He missed the season because of a knee injury, and the Mets’ season had not even started when that happened. Diaz was celebrating at the World Baseball Classic two weeks before opening day. Ever since, Mets fans have been muttering “this was supposed be the year that” — and just letting the sentence trail off.
Now Jets fans are wondering if they will be saying the same thing before long. This was also supposed to be the year that their team finally broke through. Even the Super Bowl seemed possible. The Jets, and Rodgers in particular, were the stars of the HBO documentary series “Hard Knocks” during training camp.
On Tuesday the team acknowledged the injury in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Not the way any of us wanted it to go, but we know the commitment you’ve made to this team will continue to impact us moving forward.” That was followed by three words: “Get well soon.”
Baseball fans — disappointed by the Yankees (in last place in the A.L. East, at 72-72) and Mets (in next-to-last-place in the N.L. East, with a worse record) — had been looking to Week 1 of the football season for relief, said Chris Russo, a longtime New York sports talk radio personality. The Giants drubbing (a 40-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday) and the Rodgers injury were depressing, he said.
But he said that Week 1, bad as it was, was not necessarily cause for alarm. Both the Giants and Jets have 16 more regular-season games to go.
“It’s not the apocalypse yet,” he said.
leaving your apartment, speed walking to the most isolated, desolate part of the park without a second of hesitation after a breakup. the first time, second, third.
your friend telling you she’s done the same, like clockwork, with every piece of bad news or heartbreak she’s had thrust on her.
the breeze in your face, in your hair, on your skin, when you bike down the hill and past the lake. knowing that you’ll push through another lap, up that damn hill, just to feel the wind coming down again.
getting sweaty in a tank top, basking in the sun on a thin blanket on a hot day in July, rotating restlessly every few minutes like a kebab on a grill. thanking the heavens for the ever-so-slight breeze coming through the trees.
the quiet evening walks in August when the sun has just gone down, the camps have ended and the lamps have just turned on.
the night you walked a silly boy thinking he’d stumbled into the best first date of his life to the park to overhear a concert and kiss him on the grass, even though it was just so you could feel physically close to someone you loved on the other side of the fence. the night that made you laugh, cry and roll your eyes at how dumb life can be.
wondering where else in your life you’ll fall in love with a space like this, where else you’ll retreat for breath, air, perspective.
— Madi Himelfarb
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.
Glad we could get together here. See you tomorrow. — J.B.
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.
Bernard Mokam and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].