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Waterfront Gets Waterfalls
Artist Olafur Eliasson brings waterfall installations to New York Harbor
Courtesy of Public Art Fund


Four installations will turn flowage into artworks along New York City’s waterfront in mid-July. Conceived by Berlin- and Copenhagen-based artist Olafur Eliasson and commissioned by The Public Art Fund, the New York City Waterfalls are meant to reorient an inward-facing populace back towards the natural beauty of the city’s waterways. As an added bonus, the Economic Development Corporation is hoping that increased tourism to the waterfront could bring an additional $55 million to the city’s economy.

Eliasson chose everyday New York City building materials such as metal scaffolding, concrete, and steel to construct the 90- to 120-foot-tall installations, which will be on view through mid-October. He wanted the waterfalls to be experienced as a journey, said curator Rochelle Steiner of The Public Art Fund, locating them at four carefully chosen sites around New York Harbor: Governors Island, Pier 35, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn (above). After sundown, LED lights will illuminate the waterfalls from above, adding a curious touch to the city’s skyline. 

The $15 million price tag includes construction, operation, demolition, and on-going educational programs that examine the waterfront through various activities for students and families. Construction is set to begin in March.


Audrey Jaynes