Seriously, what's the deal with that "clock" in Union Square with all the numbers? No one I know has ever been able to puzzle out. I can see the time in it, but the other numbers don't seem to make any sense!


The Metronome

Things every New Yorker contemplates at least once: Is that purse real or a knock off? Who makes the best burger? Does the G train really exist? What's up with those numbers on the side of that wacky building south of Union Square?

We know the answer to at least one of these questions.

The short answer is that those numbers are part of an art installation. It was designed in 1999 by Kristen Jones and Andrew Ginzel, and it's called The Metronome. And the numbers are a clock, and we, too, have wasted a lot of time staring at it, trying to figure it out.

The artists say it's "an investigation into the nature of time."

From the official Union Square website:

How to read the clock – the Metronome -- on the art wall at 1 Union Square South? The 15 numbers of the digital clock display time going and coming relative to midnight. Read time going left to right and time coming in the opposite direction. So, if the clock reads 070437000235616 it means that it is 7:04 A.M. (7 hours and 04 minutes since midnight) and that there are 16 hours, 56 minutes and 23 seconds remaining until midnight. The three numbers in between are a blur of moving numbers.

Mystery solved! For more pictures and information, check out the artists' website. We can't really help you with the G train, though.

Photo by Kristen Jones and Andrew Ginzel