While running errands in the city today, I stopped by Rockefeller Center to have a look at Sky Mirror by Anish Kapoor, a temporary installation at the Fifth Avenue end of the Channel Gardens. Like his Cloud Gate, it's a big hit. Here it is viewed from about where the Christmas tree usually stands, looking toward Saks Fifth Avenue.
Naturally, the reflections change as one walks around the sculpture. Here it is from across the street, viewed from Saks. Although it was a brilliantly sunny morning, street level was still in shadow because the sun wasn't yet high enough to overtop the many tall buildings. The trompe-l'oeil reflection of the sculpture's plinth made me look twice.
My favorite view is this one, which plays with the severe rectilinear shapes of the buildings in Rockefeller Center and the ornamented spire of St. Patrick's Cathedral. I particularly like how the concave shape and tilt of the mirror emphasize the optical fact that it's difficult to take a photograph of a building without distortion. Keystoning, the tendency for vertical lines to lean in, is such a well-established visual trope that it may escape the notice of a casual viewer, but it can be the despair of photographers.
For me, no visit to Rockefeller Center is complete without a glance at this earnest allegorical figure gracing 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Titled Genius Inspiring the World, to me it looks more like Genius is yelling down, "Yoo-hoo! Anyone home?"
One hopes so. For more views of Rockefeller Plaza, try this webcam.