Manhattan Sentinels returned to Federal Plaza

B. caught this amazing shot of Beverly Pepper’s “Manhattan Sentinels” being returned to Federal Plaza last week. Now they are installed and offering what I would say is the first glimmer of hope that this construction might actually conclude in the near future.

The federal General Services Administration, the agency rebuilding the public plaza around 26 Federal Plaza, said this past spring that the agency plans to reopen the Broadway side of the plaza to pedestrian traffic by Oct. 30. It’s been under construction for four years — all to repair the below-ground garage. (I’ve asked several times for renderings and they will not release anything.)

The sidewalk on the east side of Broadway from Worth to Reade has been closed that whole time.

“Manhattan Sentinels” were installed in 1996 by Beverly Pepper, who died in February 2020 at 97 and was described in her New York Times obit as “an acclaimed American sculptor whose work was suffused with a quicksilver lightness that belied its gargantuan scale.” I feel like I never appreciated them fully when they were on the plaza, so I can’t wait to see them up close in the plaza’s new iteration.

Plus I really didn’t think these would ever get returned to the site — the construction has been delayed for so long and it just seemed liked one of those things that they might push aside for expediency.



  1. The contractor looks so promising

  2. Ah I love the smell of wisdom in the morning.

  3. The return of the Beverly Pepper “sentinels” and , hopefully, the completion of work on the Federal Building couldn’t come soon enough. That stretch of Broadway between Worth and Duane has deteriorated badly since both the long-time street closing on Worth Street (for water main work) and the 4-year Broadway loss of access to the Federal Building cost numerous small businesses to close (including losing the huge McDonald’s and having Duane Reade shut Sat and Sunday). Several bad actors have made the darkened corner of Thomas and Broadway “home” and they can be intimadating, the front entrance on the drug store was recently smashed in, and the building grafitti is massive. I understand the building where MdD was is supposed to come down. Any idea when? It is a total eyesore and a backdrop to much mayhem.