Today my daughter (top on right) and I took a bus into Port Authority and walked up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a school project. The 42nd Street/Times Square area, which was dominated by hookers and dealers when I was her age, is now ruled by more benign but surprisingly more annoying hucksters: people posing as the Statue of Liberty, a variety of superheros, and other characters, even a topless pair of Brazilian carnival women wearing only headdresses, thongs, and body paint. They are all there to shake some money from tourists in exchange for photos with them.
So when we entered Central Park and saw the caricaturists, bubble-makers, magicians and musicians, and then passed by a robot box guy walking around and somewhat interacting with passersby, we simply lumped him in with the others. But there was something quirky about him, and he did not seem to be actually hustling.
Even more curious, were three other boxes, which seemed to be his dormant kin, spaced around a shady hill. So we returned to take pictures and speak to one of the people who was inside a box with an open top. She said they were Parsons students doing an art project/research about public space and privacy. When we spoke to another boxed student (below) with only one slit in the box, for her eyes, she asked us questions about the impression they made on us.
Click here to see the robot box guy in motion and a quick chat with one of the students from Parsons.
Or click here to see an artsy "robotic-edited" Magisto version with music...