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Seeds of Change: “Pod” Installation at Dyckman Street in Inwood (Manhattan)

The next time you’re heading to Fort Tryon Park or the Cloisters, take the A train to Dyckman street and walk the half block to the intersection of Riverside Drive, Broadway, and Dyckman to encounter a strange site.  Referencing the nearby verdant park, and flanking the RING Community garden at Lt Tighe triangle, is the public art installation Pod. Created by Pedro Villalta, it was placed onsite this past Spring by the NYC Department of Transportation.

"Pod", Villalta (close-up)

“Pod”, Villalta (close-up)

Rising like a giant Brancusi sculpture custom-made for the 90s movie Ferngully, Pedro Villalta’s minimalist sculpture has a dark green sheen and a variegated, nuanced surface. Mimicking seedpods found in nature, but blown up to an astonishing 10 feet tall, the work symbolizes the potential for blossoming transformations to occur in the neighborhood. The Washington Heights Business Improvement District worked along with the Department of Transportation to facilitate the structure’s move “uptown” from its previous West Harlem location.

Villalta's Pod, in situ

Villalta’s Pod, in situ

Pod is in a fitting location, but the message is unnecessary: the neighborhood was already blooming well enough when the piece arrived. The work flanks the nearby community garden (“RING”) at Lt Tighe plaza. A piece of deserted City street until 1990, the intersection was transformed into a vibrant community garden whose residents actively advocate for a shared green space to remain an integral part of their neighborhood. Vocalizing their support at community meetings held in the space, the various volunteers and area residents frequently convene in the tranquil oasis, even placing seasonal markers up during the holidays.

"Pod", next to the RING community garden

“Pod”, next to the RING community garden

Pod echoes transformations that area residents have seen fit to cultivate themselves. More than a symbol, Pod is a monument to the power of communities to activate and maintain the positive social change necessary for a healthy standards of living in urban environments.

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