The Transformer statues above are the crux of a controversy in Washington, DC, involving the questions of what is art, the difference between public space and private space, and historic preservation vs. property rights. In the historic and expensive Georgetown neighborhood, residents and tourists can see 10-foot statues of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee from the Transformers franchise. Dr. Newton Howard, a professor at nearby Georgetown University School of Medicine, installed the statues in January of 2021 atop two brick planters outside the front door of his $4 million home.
Tourists, and some of the neighbors, love the statues. Others neighbors don’t, and some say they don’t object to the statues as much as to the traffic and crowds they draw. Howard is in an ongoing battle with the Prospect Street Citizens’ Association, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, the Old Georgetown Board, and the D.C. Public Space Committee.
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Howard is a “mysteriously wealthy” character who’s been referred to as the real Tony Stark. His home is filled with more Transformer art and memorabilia, and there’s another large Optimus Prime visible on his roof. Read about Howard and the battle of the DC robots that are still up, but under orders to be taken down. -via Metafilter