NYC///ART & COMMERCE///THE “WATERFALLS OF NEW YORK CITY”…
Normally, New York City residents yearning for a glimpse of a waterfall had to head upstate to Niagara. Now the trip is as close as the New York Harbor. As of this morning, four massive waterfalls created by 41-year-old Danish-Icelandic artist OLAFUR ELIASSON went into commission there, churning 35,000 gallons of East River water per minute over their manmade precipices. Following in the footsteps of conceptual art grandstander Christo who draped Central Park in yellow fabric in 2005, Eliasson sought to create an elaborate spectacle with the installation, officially titled “New York City Waterfalls,” and in the eyes of NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, it’s bound to be a cash cow: “We estimate that the project will generate more than $55 million in economic activity for our city,” he announced this morning at the falls’ dedication ceremony. At a cost of $15.5 million (the majority of funds came from private donors, the city ponied up $2 million), that’s not a bad return on investment if ol’ Bloomie is correct in his estimation that “tens of thousands” of tourists will flock to the city to get a glimpse of Eliasson’s aesthetically spare constructions (water’s always beautiful, but the mechanisms resemble little more than elaborate scaffolding).
The waterfalls are at Pier 35 in Manhattan, near South and Rutgers Streets north of the Manhattan Bridge; at the Brooklyn tower of the Brooklyn Bridge; Piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn, west of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade; and on the north shore of Governors Island. They will be turned on every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., except on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when they will be activated at 9 a.m. After sunset, the waterfalls will be lighted by light-emitting diodes. To facilitate viewing, a temporary park has been specially created on Pier 1 (the site of the future Brooklyn Bridge Park). In a nod to current gas prices, the city’s Department of Transportation, in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, has also created a bike route around the project.
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