Flatiron gawkers couldn't miss the giant 18-foot-tall daisies being erected in the new traffic plaza next to Madison Square Park yesterday. Was this more public art, to go along with the strange bleachers and purple circles of dirt in the park? Not exactly. Turns out the daisies are a hackneyed come-on from Toyota to plug its hybrid Prius.
And a plug it is -- a big one at that. The plastic benches and overhanging white flowers are there to provide outlets and free Wi-Fi to people who like to sit on uncomfortable benches while traffic whizzes by. The flowers have solar-cells behind each petal and around the blossom that, "partially provide" the juice for on-the-go gadgetteers still whiping the juice from their Shack burgers off their fingers so they can type. New Yorkers enjoy the metallic shade and "partial" solar powered outlets until Aug 2, when the traveling Prius promotion heads to Chicago, followed by Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The plants had already set upon Boston earlier this month.
The only real problem with this little stunt is that you have to figure most of the people sitting around a park in the middle of Manhattan either don't have cars or jobs. Either way, not ideal customers for Toyota.