Photo: Roving Rube
03 February 27

Metronome Clock, 3:09 PM
Metronome, 3:09 PM, Union Square 

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Photographer's notes: The Rube had been calling this the Milllenium clock, as it appeared in 1999 and seemed to him to be counting down the amount of seconds left to the year 2000. Then, still seeing it afterwards, he thought they must have found something else for it to count. Also he remembered there used to be steam coming out of the golden hole at upper right; perhaps it was shut off because of this year's drought or else just wasn't working any more.

In fact, this is a combination clock and art wall designed by Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel, called "Metronome".

Artists' Statement: "Metronome is an investigation into the nature of time. The work references the multiple measures of time that simultaneously inform and confound our consciousness of the moment within the continuum. This composite work intends to evoke contemplation on the dynamic flux of the city. The elements suggest the instant and infinity, astronomical sequence, geological epoch and ephemerality. Metronome is meant to be integral to the very history, architectural fabric, spirit and vitality of the city. Ultimately, the work is an ode to mortality and the impossibility of knowing time."

Factsheet: Visible for twenty-eight blocks, Metronome will punctuate the southern terminus of Park Avenue South - just as Grand Central Station, with its south-facing clock, punctuates the street's northern terminus. (Source:

The way to read the clock is: the first four digits tell the hour of the day here it is 15: 09. The last four digits on the right, reading backwards in pairs, count off the time remaining in the day: 08:50. Then the next two on each side, working inwards, tell the seconds. The sixth one in from each side, you can just barely tell is counting up or down, depending on what side you are on. The middle one moves so quickly that it is impossible to tell which way it is going.

The Rube wants to go back and take another picture in which the middle numbers are motion-blurred, because that is a blatant flaw in the above picture -- the middle digits are in constant motion.

He also totally failed to notice the massive third panel of the sculpture, partially obscured on the right of the above picture, which contains a lunar timepieces. For the complete explanation of Fig. 1 and 2, and of the steam, as well as another picture which the Rube hopes to re-create as a future Fig. 3 that of George Washington reaching out across Union Square towards his own disembodied hand go to's press release page.

The Rube would also like to check the statement that implies the Metronome can be seen from Grand Central's clock, and to capture this clock exactly at noon, when it reads 120000000000012.

The Vortex Restore original The Infinity In Context