Grand arm-y plaza! City plans two-story bronze arm statue for Tillary Street

Grand arm-y plaza! City plans two-story bronze arm statue for Tillary Street

We already know Brooklyn is number one — and this is the artwork to prove it!

The city wants to install a giant bronze sculpture of a forearm and fist with its index finger pointed up to the sky at a Downtown intersection, which the artist says is both an affirmation of Brooklyn’s status as the best of the five boroughs as well as a warm, fuzzy message of togetherness.

“It can be read as we are number one, but also that we are all one,” said Hank Willis Thomas, who designed the 20-foot limb at the behest of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

The two-story metal appendage will burst forth from a median on Tillary Street at Adams Street — between the Cadman Plaza post office and the Federal Courthouse building — greeting visitors to Kings County and welcoming back residents as they come off the Brooklyn Bridge.

But the sculpture is not set in stone yet. The city is currently in the middle of the first phase of a $19.5-million make-over of the Adams Street entrance to the bridge, and the sculpture is part of a still-up-in-the-air second phase that would further spruce-up Tillary Street.

If the sequel goes ahead, a law that requires all city-funded capital projects over $20 million to include a visual arts component will kick in and the arm will rise.

Many locals who have already seen the design for the giant finger have given it a big thumbs up, said a community leader.

“Overall people seemed to like the idea,” said Robert Perris, district manager of Community Board 2, which approved the design 22–8 with four abstentions last Wednesday. “It’s a giant bronze arm — it’s certainly going to be eye-catching if nothing else.”

But some residents are concerned the gleaming arm will prove a little too eye-catching for passing motorists, he said.

“Folks were concerned that drivers coming off the bridge would suddenly get distracted by a giant bronze arm sticking out of the median,” said Perris.

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at hmaccormack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @HMacBKPaper.