Someone Else's (Very Large) Clock, in Union Square

Just above the Best Buy in Union Square, giant digital numbers tick by. Behold:

Union Square Numbers from Katie Peek on Vimeo.

I walk past these numbers once a week, at least, and wonder. So I filmed them today, and then looked into what they are. Contrary to popular (read: my) belief, they do NOT display the national debt. They are, instead, an elaborate clock. An investigation into the nature of time, if you will. The piece is titled Metronome, by Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel, and it includes the other beautiful elements of the building face.

Reading from the left, the digits display the hours, minutes, seconds elapsed since midnight (6 digits). Reading from the right, they display the hours, minutes, seconds remaining before midnight (6 digits). And in the middle the numbers just scroll (3 digits). So I made my video at 18:15:18, when the time until midnight was 05:44:41. And indeed, the middle number runs so quickly it interacts weirdly with the frame rate of my camera and displays more than one number at once.

Pretty cool.

About this site

    Katie Peek is a science writer and astronomer who is figuring out how to give voice to information and data. This web site is a log of her voyage.