Give Me Your Colors Yearning to Display Free

A New York icon is the repetitive subject of a new mural on the High Line.

The Statue of Liberty appears as triplets in a riot of colors on an apartment building that abuts the former train trestle turned into an urban park on Manhattan’s West Side. Their robes bear stars and stripes in shades from pink and yellow to green and blue on a white brick wall of the five-story walkup at 505 W. 22nd St. in Chelsea.

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Each Lady Liberty sheds a tear and holds a torch resembling a flashlight, although one of the lights is out. Between the trio appear the words: “I lift my lamp beside the golden door,” the last line of the 1883 sonnet “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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The poem was penned as part of a fundraiser to build a pedestal for Liberty Enlightening the World, the statue’s original name. Later, in 1903, the sonnet was engraved on a bronze plaque and displayed inside the statue’s pedestal on Liberty Island in New York Harbor.

The High Line mural, by Boston-born and Berlin-based artist Dorothy Iannone, was unveiled in March, the latest in a series by other artists that have previously graced the building’s wall. Iannone’s mural will remain on display until March 2019.

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