If you've ever spent any time in the New York subway system, you've probably seen these little sculptures by Tom Otterness at the 8th Avenue/14th Street Station where the L train connects to the A, C, E line. These little works of art are not concentrated to one particular area, but spread throughout the station. It's one of my favorite places to wait for a train because I like to look at all of these little guys. On my way home from this part of town one night, I was feeling a little blue. Absently studying the sculptures for the umpteenth time in my commuter haze, my first thought was that someone strategically shoved a wad of garbage into the figure. When I saw the bright red shape, I realized it was a little scroll tucked into this special spot; a clever disguise hidden in plain view. I looked around to see if anyone was watching, and pulled out the scroll.
It was a little secret - like finding a message in a bottle from across the sea, or experiencing that moment of anticipation when you crack open a fortune cookie. The mini scroll was attached to a brilliant red heart made from a simple paperclip. The message felt like it was put there just for me. The arbitrary words were lilting, some lyrics from a song I knew. "I want to hold your hand - the Beatles". The memory of the song and its intent immediately brought a little smile to my face. I walked around the platform, and noticed another bronze figure bearing another note as if it were some clue to a treasure hunt. Another heart, more lyrics. And another smile. In the distance, I heard a train coming. I circled the platform quickly hoping there might be more mysteries to unravel. I found a total of five little "love notes" before my gritty steel chariot arrived. Somewhere in a recessed chamber of my brain, I wondered if the undercover emissary behind the simple goodwill gesture was watching. I hope they saw the big grin on my face for the long ride home.
My favorite one- in some small way, this little reminder is so hard to remember but so true.