Free six-acre light installation ‘Field of Light’ opens in Midtown East

December 15, 2023

Field of Light © 2023 Bruce Munro. All rights reserved. All photography by Serena Munro

A massive installation made of thousands of twinkling lights opened this week in Midtown East. Designed by Bruce Munro, Field of Light at Freedom Plaza includes 18,750 low-light, fiber-optic stemmed spheres that change colors and create a mesmerizing landscape across more than six acres next to the United Nations headquarters. The installation is free to visit thanks to the Soloviev Group, the developer who is proposing building a casino on the vacant site. The 12-month Field of Light is open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“While I was traveling in Central Australia many years ago, I had this incredible experience of just feeling alive and connected to the landscape around me. I wanted to create a field of light that, like the dormant seed in a dry desert, would quietly wait until darkness falls and then bloom with gentle rhythms of light,” Munro said.

“A New York City installation of Field of Light has been a longtime professional aspiration. It is incredibly humbling to watch Freedom Plaza come to life with such purpose and enthusiasm.”

All fiber-optic spheres installed on the site were individually assembled and hand-placed across the installation. The assembly of the artwork was led by eight members of the Bruce Munro Studio team in collaboration with The Hope Program and many community members who volunteered to lend a helping hand.

Field of Lights is financed by the Soloviev Group, which owns the vacant plot of land and has proposed to build a mixed-use development on the property called Freedom Plaza, anchored by a casino.

“We began exploring the possibilities of an outdoor art exhibit several years ago and it has been remarkable to see our plans materialize in such a meaningful way,” Michael Hershman, CEO of Soloviev Group said. “Field of Light at Freedom Plaza has surely captured the interest and imagination of New York, and we look forward to introducing this inspirational experience to the city.”

Soloviev Group is one of many developers contending for three casino licenses up for grabs in the NYC area, as 6sqft previously reported. In February, the developer unveiled its proposal to build Freedom Plaza, consisting of a 1,200-room hotel, two residential towers with a total of 1,325 homes, more than four acres of public green space, and a human rights museum that will feature slabs from the Berlin Wall.

The development would be anchored by a partially subterranean casino operated by Mohegan. Earlier drafts of the proposal also included plans to construct a giant Ferris wheel on the site, but that idea has since been discarded.

To make its proposal even more enticing, Soloviev Group in October announced renowned architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group would design the project and the residential component would include more than 500 permanently affordable apartments. As 6sqft previously reported, the two high-rise apartment towers will include 513 studio to three-bedroom apartments priced below the market rate.

Field of Light is offering extended holiday hours on December 24, 26, and 27, as well as on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Those interested in visiting the site can find more information here.


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