Brooklyn Bridge to get a waterfall

Larry sez, "Four giant waterfalls will be erected in New York for three months this summer as part of a public arts project. The waterfalls, including one that will fall from the famed Brooklyn Bridge, are the brainchild of Danish artist Olafur Eliasson."

Three of the waterfalls will cascade into the East River and New York Harbor from free-standing scaffolding towers that Eliasson said were part of his artistic vision, mirroring the scaffolding towers that sprout up throughout New York. The falls will be in place from mid-July to mid-October.

City officials are hoping to emulate the success of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's project, "The Gates," which drew around 1.5 million visitors to the city in February 2005 to view about 7,500 saffron panels draped through Central Park.

Link (Thanks, Larry!)


  1. Sorry, but I can’t understand this kind of ‘art’.

    OK, it looks good. Not good, it looks great in fact, but… aren’t we talking of the lack of energy sources?

    Even if the water gets pumped from the same river it falls on, there’s a lot of energy wasted in pumping it, something we, as a species, can’t afford.

  2. As much as I loath Cristo’s silly brain-dead garbage, I will give him credit for this: He always pays for his exhibits himself, or at least with strictly private funds,

    This inanity, however, is being underwritten by NYC’s Public Art Fund — which, despite its boasting of being a private fund, accepts government funds seized from unwilling taxpayers.

    All this while Blooperberg warns that the city is approaching fiscal difficulties.

    A pox on all their houses … and their waterfalls.

  3. Fantastic…I would love to see more of this. When our buildings begin to incorportate natural water features, it will suggest to architects that large buildings are interesting when they do what small buildings cant; simulate a natural landscape.
    A building a mere 500 feet tall looks better as a mountain than it does as a boring slab o grids and glass, and a landscape adds to the health of the city, both in an environmental sense and a psychological one. Our inability to express our species biophilia is a prime contributor to the mental illness that living in an urban environment provokes.
    Imagine leaving one’s flat or office and walking into a vertical garden…nice exercise and great views.

  4. @2 stygyan:
    First of all, the article states that “The pumps will be powered by renewable energy sources and the falls will be lit only by low-level lighting at night”.

    But aside from this, all art takes energy to produce. Sure, in this case the energy requirements may be more up front and obvious, but without expending energy you couldn’t cast bronze, fire ceramics, produce pigments, shoot film, make music. Surely you aren’t suggesting that the human race abandon all artistic endeavors, simply to save a little energy?

  5. what a huge waste of resources. Why doesn’t Cristo cram his giant bullshit art projects. think of how many underfed kids might live a slightly better life with the amount of money wasted on this. You know there are federal dollars in this somewhere. Art on this scale is not art. It’s a cartoon parody of art imitating life. There too many people with no health care and worse not enough to eat and substandard education for this kind of criminal waste of money to be happening.

    Fuck art

  6. I’m looking forward to it. But what it really needs is pedal-powered pumps. The harder the volunteers pump the more the water falls. Exercise fanatics will flock to the bridge to take up the challenge. Heart attack waivers must be signed.

  7. #8: You seem typical of Christo-bashers everywhere, whose main complaint always goes back to bitching about paying for public art even after being informed that he finances his own projects.

    If money was really the reason people got so worked up about this stuff they would find something more substantial to complain about than public arts funding. Ever look at what percentage of the Federal Discretionary Budget is spent on the NEA? It would probably pay for about two seconds of our operations in Iraq.

  8. I hate the comments you always see saying something like, “There too many people with no health care and worse not enough to eat and substandard education for this kind of criminal waste of money to be happening.” Now I admit, something needs to be done about all that, but are we really to put everything on hold until all of the 3rd world countries are turned into 2nd world countries?

  9. I didn’t read the article really, only the short version in here, so that’s my fault if I spoke too quick.

    Now it doesn’t look so bad.

  10. In 1980 an artist in Edmonton (Canada) named Peter Lewis did a similar project called “The Great Divide Waterfall.” The waterfall is turned on for special events in the summer (when the river is not frozen). I’ve always loved this peculiar feature of our river city as it activates the bridge and river as a part of the urban environment and it challenges the mundane experience of walking, driving or otherwise commuting through the city.

  11. Ah just round up a few hundred homeless people, stick them on a Conan turnstile pushing the pumps, and art appreciators can toss them food. That way everyone is happy, no?

    -homeless fed and have a purpose, plus great exercise!
    -bio-friendly art project

    -more empty doorways to relieve yourself in after stumbling out of the pub, or to get a quicky from a hooker in after those snooty NYC girls snub you.

  12. Pardon my ignorance but:
    1. Are there fish in the East River/harbor?
    2. If yes, how might this waterfall affect said fish? Just wondering.

    Looks like an interesting enough project.

  13. Have they thought about putting turbines at the bottom of these “art” waterfalls so that in addition to using electricity to power them, they could create enough power to run themselves and more?
    seems like a waste if they don’t at least try to use them in a more positive way than just tourism.

    and i’m curious about how this will effect the ecology of the river as well, since it disrupts everything not to mention the added expected waste additional tourist would create??

    and how would that affect the integrity of the bridge?

    do these “artists” even think about that kind of stuff?

    it sounds pretty useless to me, certainly a big waste of money and resources, but what do i know?

  14. @ployntabs Art is more important than hungry children and health care.

    It sounds insensitive, but looking at history things that inspire are more important to our humanity than empty bellies and suppurating wounds.

  15. Loved comment #4.

    I was very surprised at how negative some people are about public art. Really grinchy, to be honest. I live on the edge of poor, but I don’t begrudge a cent that goes toward making something wild and fantastic like this. If it was the last dollar they needed, I would give my last dollar.

    Even if it doesn’t ring my bell, I think it says something great about people when we can all chip in for something COOL and magnificent and what-the-f*ck-is-that?

    Invention, non sequitur, and beauty are all part of human need. Why are you reading blogs instead of volunteering at the homeless shelter?

  16. #18 funkmachine:

    “and I’m curious about how this will effect the ecology of the river as well, since it disrupts everything not to mention the added expected waste additional tourist would create??”

    there is probably not a lot of ecology in those parts of the east and Harlem rivers since the cleaning efforts are near their end and the cleaning effects of aerating the water should improve the water quality.

    “and how would that affect the integrity of the bridge? do these “artists” even think about that kind of stuff?”

    the artist probably does, but more importantly the city engineer that has to approve the project does.

    and as far as the notion that art funds should go to feed the “hungry” the old adage “man does not live on bread alone” can be applied.


    Hi, the wikipedia article you linked to says the term “2nd world” has largely fallen out of use since the end of the Cold War. So I think now it’s safe to use it to refer to a country that has been upgraded from dirt poor to merely poor. So let it be written.

  18. re: #9 posted by GammaBlog

    Splendid idea! Exercising machines never works for me because I feel like a hamster. I prefer jogging and hiking, where I see some fruits of my labours as I go.

  19. Olafur Eliasson’s work is both mind-blowing and mind-blowingly simple. There’s a fantastic exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art right now that is well worth traveling to. Among the highlights: a yellow room that makes you see in black and white, and visual experience of pure color — no objects, nothing to focus on, no depth, just pure color.

  20. What a wonderful, funny, and interesting discussion this has sparked.

    And EVALISA- you rock. I agree. Why the hell not?

    There are a LOT of ways our government wastes its money. Public art is not one of the number one ways.

    People who get angry about its existence probably have a grudge about art in general. All that…postulating, and thinking, and making points and illuminating themes and stuff. Reminds them of their high school English teachers too much. Who they hated, for being ‘stuck-up’. It challenges them, so it makes their head hurt. They hate it.

    Thinking and imagining and creating (some of the highest elements of the human mind) are for VAGABONDS, slackers and hippies! Pshaw! Only practical things are okay to spend money on! Like war. Lots of war. And sports stadiums, and pork barrel projects. But not art. Does another pansy scarf-wearing ”smart person” really need our hard-earned tax cash!! Really now!!

  21. #29 – I just came home from that exhibit at the MOMA! The second time I’ve gone. It was cool enough to make me buy a student membership so I can stop in whenever I’m in the city.

    #30 – That made me laugh out loud.

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