Sitting on the wide, shallow, curving steps in Union Square Park, the number display and the smoking wall hold my attention as usual.

The smoking wall:
On the tall side of a building, there are narrow sheets of metal protruding, cookie cutter style, bent in a circular fashion. It looks somewhat like an electric burner, not quite spiraling because it's a series of broken lines, not contiguous. Each one either closer in or further from the center than the one before, like a mocking labyrinth with no start and no finish, just walls curving and splitting. They don't project much, although from down here it's hard to say. And the center: It spews smoke. There is a light hidden somewhere behind it, the nighttime effect is of gold metal, white light, billowing steam. Perdedor tells me it took them over two years to build, working at night. I haven't been able to find documentation or an explanation anywhere.

The lit numbers changing:
There is a display of lit numbers, moving and counting, right next to the smoking wall. Different numbers at different speeds, constantly. It looks like this:
Just numbers, no separators or anything. Many a night I've sat and watched the display. None of my friends know what it is. We figgered it was counting minutes of the millenium, but no. the 3rd - 6th placeholders counted up. The 10th - 14th counted down. At different speeds. We concluded it was random, and left it at that. Last night, watching it for over half an hour, I worked it out.

Here goes... there are 15 or 16 placeholders, some of the numbers move so fast I couldn't count.

\/\/\/   \/\/\/                                       
The first six digits show the time, hour:minute:second. The middle three digits are miliseconds, I'm assuming, because they move too fast to follow. After that comes: seconds left to the minute, minutes left to the hour, hours left to the day. Half the display counts up, the other half counts down.

It was a pity I was there myself, I was so thrilled to have worked it out. I lit another cigarette and chuckled.

Apparently I'm not the only one who's wondered about this wall, but EagleEyez sent me the URL that contained all the information I'd been missing and more.
See Metronome.
The website:

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