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Times Square's Valentine's Day installation honors NYC's immigrants

See how designers mined census data to highlight NYC’s vibrant immigrant community

Justin Bettman for @TSqArts

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Times Square Arts unveiled the latest sculpture to go up in one of the most visited sites in the world. This newest sculpture, designed by the Office for Creative Research, and the winner of this year’s Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, is an ode to immigrants. We Were Strangers Once Too, as the sculpture is known, takes its name from a 2014 address by President Barack Obama on immigration, and uses data to represent all the different places NYC’s immigrants come from.

If you don’t get a chance to stop by and check it out in person before it’s taken down in about a month, here’s a little peek:

This year’s celebration of Valentine’s Day in Times Square will also be a celebration of the city’s immigrants. Now in its ninth year, the Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition has revealed this year’s winner as We Were Strangers Once Too. Designed by the multidisciplinary research firm the Office for Creative Research, this particular sculpture used data mined from the 2015 American Census Survey and represented it in the form of 33 metal poles.

These red and pink metal poles are “inscribed and hued to represent the national origins and shifting populations of foreign-born NYC residents,” according to a press release. From a particular observation point, these poles come together to represent a heart.

The sculpture will go on display for a month beginning February 7 at Times Square’s Father Duffy Square, which is located between 46th and 47th Streets. Last year’s winner was a sculpture made up of twelve, mirrored golden hearts titled Heart of Hearts, and gave visitors a kaleidoscopic view of Times Square.

Immigrants were one of the groups that came under attack during President-Elect Donald Trump’s divisive election campaign, and the designers behind this year’s competition said that in light of what transpired, they wanted to highlight immigrants’ contributions to the city.

“Now more than ever New Yorkers need to stand up and say we are proud to live in a city of immigrants,” the artists said in a statement. “We Were Strangers Once Too is our way to acknowledge and say thank you to the diverse communities of NYC for their many contributions historically, currently and into the future.”

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