The Marriage of Money and Real Estate – New York, New York - Atlas Obscura

The Marriage of Money and Real Estate

A sculptural commentary on capitalism pokes up from the East River. 


Little green men stand ready to invade the west shore of Roosevelt Island in New York City. Well, not men so much as a coin and a house. And not invade so much as symbolize the struggle of wealth inequality in the city.

The artistic commentary is appropriately called “The Marriage of Money and Real Estate.” It consists of three bronze sculptures: one of a coin being attacked by what seems to be an anthropomorphized moneybag coming out of the mouth of a man in a top hat, one of a house in a skirt being attacked by a lobster with a dollar sign on its face, and one of the house and coin joined in a happy marriage.

The piece was created by Brooklyn-based artist Tom Otterness, who specializes in public art, and tends to feature such adorable figures in his sculptural work (you can see many more of his little bronze sculptures scattered all around the 14th Street/8th Avenue subway station). The figures poke up out of the East River near Roosevelt Island’s Octagon Field, just south of the ship-like performance stage known as “The Prow,” across the river from Manhattan’s John Jay Park between East 76th and East 78th streets. Depending on the tide, the figures attacking the main characters may or may not be visible above the water.

Know Before You Go

Take the Queens-bound F train or the Roosevelt Island Tram from Manhattan, or the Roosevelt Island Bridge from Queens, and head north on the west side of the island. There are a lot of other great things to see while on the island, including the lighthouse at the northern tip and the smallpox hospital ruins toward the south, near the FDR Four Freedoms Park.

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