ianrandalstrock (ianrandalstrock) wrote,

New York City Waterfalls hopes

New York City Waterfalls is an art-installation project by Olafur Eliasson, which will run from 26 June to 13 October. His concept is to build four artificial waterfalls around the area of the Brooklyn Bridge (one on Manhattan's Pier 35, one under the Brooklyn Bridge, one between Piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn, and one on Governors Island). I've had high hopes for the project.

Last night, on the way home (on the subway going over the Manhattan Bridge), I saw the Manhattan waterfall flowing. Testing it, I guess. I was kind of disappointed that the flow of water was so thin. Indeed, it was very easy to see through the water to the scaffolding from which it fell. I hoped it was merely a low-pressure test.

This morning, crossing the Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn, the waterfall under the Brooklyn Bridge was flowing. Again, the stream was kind of puny. But my view was from the side, rather than face-on, so the sight was much more impressive.

Now I'm guessing the flow-rate I saw is it, so the views of the waterfalls will probably be better from an angle than from head-on. I guess I'm spoiled by Niagara Falls, and compare every waterfall I see to the biggie. Nevertheless, I'm going to make an effort to see these waterfalls. And this time, crowds will probably be much less of a distraction. As I commented on Bill Shunn's trip to Egypt, when one thinks of tourist sights, one rarely imagines the crowds of tourists sharing the view. When we see Christo's "Gates" in Central Park, I thought it would have been a much more moving experience without people (and thus, the only sound being the wind in the Gates). When we saw the cherry blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this Spring, the place was packed with people, and again, I wondered how serene and moving the experience would be without the people, but just the plants. I'm no misanthrope, mind you, but some experiences are probably better without the incessant chatter that hundreds or thousands of people create inadvertently.

The waterfalls, however, should be something different. One of the joys of Niagara Falls is the roar of the Falls themselves; the fact that, no matter how many people are around, if you're close enough to the falling water, you can't hear the people. They're a natural experience that can be shared without lessening the impact. I hope the New York City Waterfalls will be able to provide a taste of that.
Tags: art, randomness

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