Every day people flock to the corner of 55th Street and Sixth Avenue looking for it.
“We were expecting the LOVE sign. We passed through a lot of times and we didn’t find it. It’s our last day, so I want that picture,” Lole Ayerca, who was visiting from Argentina, told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock on Tuesday.
“I’ve known about it for a long time and I said, this trip, I’m taking a picture, because every time we come, it’s very crowded with people taking pictures and so I never want to wait. This time I said, ‘I’m doing it,’” added Darlene Layman of Albany.
But it’s too late. Back in May, Midtown’s LOVE sculpture was taken down without any warning or explanation. CBS2 later learned that it was removed for cleaning and repair work.
Where is the love? The iconic Midtown LOVE statue was taken down for a cleaning in May… but then was suddenly replaced with this one called “Listen”. Tourists are not too pleased. @CBSNewYork pic.twitter.com/c3tQOkoaTC
— Nina Kapur (@ninakapur1) October 1, 2019
Now, a new statue — of a towering man with his finger over his mouth — is standing in its place, and it’s getting mixed reviews.
“I don’t like it very much. It’s not as colorful as the other one,” said Argentinian tourist Josefina Rodriguez.
“It’s always kind of nice to mix things up. It’s the first day I’ve seen this, so I’m enjoying it,” added Barbara Porteus of Hell’s Kitchen. “I think it’s designed to make you think, so I was just standing here when you stopped me and I was just thinking about, you know, what it is.”
The statue is called “Listen,” and was created by a local artist to encourage passersby to pause and reflect. However, it’s actually leaving many confused, wondering if the LOVE sculpture will ever return. On Tuesday, the property owners confirmed it will by the end of the year, but one employee wasn’t so convinced. He told CBS2 the owners didn’t like people climbing all over the sculpture, so he’s not sure if it will in fact come back.
“I think [“Listen”] a good temporary solution, but it would be nice for [the LOVE sculpture] to come back,” Porteus said.
You can find the sculpture in other major cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia. It has been a tourist destination and New York City icon since the 1900s.
In the meantime, just a few blocks away on 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue, you can find a similar sculpture reading, “HOPE.” Both were created by artist Robert Indiana, who passed away last year.