Button up! Garment District’s iconic button gets new threads

The iconic needle and button sculpture that sits on the heart of the Garment District has undergone a redesign.

The new structure was officially unveiled on Feb. 16 by the Garment District Alliance on 7th “Fashion” Avenue at 39th Street, replacing what was previously an information kiosk with a new public art installation that celebrates the neighborhood’s history.

“We’re thrilled to unveil the newly designed Big Button sculpture, which sits prominently in the heart of our neighborhood and serves as a welcoming symbol of the Garment District for New Yorkers and visitors,” said Barbara A. Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance said. “This is a significant moment for the Garment District, and I’m so proud to celebrate this incredible public art installation with the community and the individuals who helped bring this new vision to life.”

New Yorkers could already be seen falling in love with the new display by posing alongside it and snapping photos. Photo by Dean Moses

The 28 feet tall with a 15-foot diameter aluminum button and brushed stainless-steel needle was designed by Local Projects and Urban Art Projects and replaces an information kiosk that had stood in the area beginning in the 1970s when the original kiosk served as an industry information center for more than ten years. This has changed many times over the years, seeing new versions through the decades.

While the old button will undoubtedly be missed by locals, some New Yorkers could already be seen falling in love with the new display by posing alongside it and snapping photos.

The button is now a bright yellow and stands upon a 32-foot brushed stainless-steel needle, something the creators hope will represent the culture of the area and inspire passersby.

Photo by Dean Moses

“What is so gratifying is that the iconic Big Button remains, even as it changes color, changes support, and even changes use,” said James Biber, principal of Biber Architects. “It has moved from a curiosity to a meaningful icon of the city, reminding us of a time when racks of clothing clogged the streets and the Garment District produced nearly three-fourths of all women’s and children’s apparel in the United States. We are honored to have started a tradition, planting an iconic marker in the center of the Garment District. Symbols matter, history matters, and we hope that never changes.”

While the site has been home to numerous temporary sculptures, the Garment District Alliance, says this new statue will be the neighborhood’s first permanent one.

Photo by Dean Moses