Mayor Bloomberg And Public Art Fund Launch The New York City Waterfalls

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Public Art Fund President Susan K. Freedman, and artist Olafur Eliasson today launched The New York City Waterfalls, a major work of public art that will be on display through October 13. The exhibition of four man-made waterfalls of monumental scale are on view on the shores of the New York waterfront: one on the Brooklyn anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge; one on the Brooklyn Piers, between Piers 4 and 5 near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade; one in Lower Manhattan at Pier 35 north of the Manhattan Bridge; and one on the north shore of Governors Island. The Waterfalls, which have been designed to protect water quality and aquatic life, will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, except Tuesdays and Thursdays, when they will run from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Waterfalls will be lit after sunset. The Mayor, Deputy Mayor Harris and Ms. Freedman were joined by Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Public Art Fund Director Rochelle Steiner, and Tishman Construction Corporation Chairman and CEO Daniel Tishman.

“The Waterfalls are an unbelievable sight: four cascades ranging in height from 90 to 120 feet rising out of New York Harbor,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “And what a beautiful symbol of the energy and vitality that we are bringing back to our waterfront in all five boroughs. Congratulations to Olafur Eliasson, the Public Art Fund and the many City, State and Federal agencies, and partners who played a role in bringing us to this momentous occasion.”

“For over 30 years, the Public Art Fund has been presenting art projects in New York City’s public spaces,” said Susan K. Freedman, President of the Public Art Fund. “By commissioning Olafur Eliasson’s The New York City Waterfalls, we are redefining public art as a vital force in the city and encouraging people to stop and look at their surroundings in a whole new way.”

“In developing The New York City Waterfalls, I have tried to work with today’s complex notion of public spaces,” said Eliasson. “The Waterfalls appear in the midst of the dense social, environmental, and political tissue that makes up the heart of New York City. They will give people the possibility to reconsider their relationships to the spectacular surroundings, and I hope to evoke experiences that are both individual and enhance a sense of collectivity.”

New Yorkers and visitors from around the world can experience the Waterfalls from various vantage points and also by bike or by boat. Circle Line Downtown, the official water tour operator of The New York City Waterfalls, is offering free and specially-priced daily boat tours to view the Waterfalls. A select number of free tickets for this official 30-minute journey is available for tours each day by calling (866) 925-4631. Organized by the Public Art Fund in partnership with Circle Line Downtown, the special boat trips departing from Pier 16, South Street Seaport in Manhattan, include an audio introduction by the artist, and provide up-close views of the Waterfalls. Tickets and schedules are available on the Circle Line website, linked to the official Waterfalls website:

The always free Governors Island and Staten Island Ferries also provide views of the Waterfalls on Governors Island and at the Brooklyn Piers. The Staten Island Ferry runs daily, and the seven-minute Governor’s Island Ferry is running every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the duration of the project.

A series of suggested vantage points around the waterfront in Brooklyn and Manhattan as well as at Governors Island are outlined in a free informational brochure available on A temporary park has been specially created on Pier 1, a site of the future Brooklyn Bridge Park, for viewing this project. The Department of Transportation, in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, has created a bike route around the Waterfalls, which is marked by waterfall icons on the streets and existing bike paths. The public can also download podcasts of Eliasson’s comments about the Waterfalls from the official website, and starting tomorrow can call 311 to hear them (212-NEW-YORK). The Public Art Fund, government agencies and environmental organizations have also developed resources for young people and adults to enjoy the Waterfalls. Partners include the City’s Department of Education, Department of Environmental Protection and the US National Park Service, and environmental groups including Riverkeeper, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA), New York Restoration Project (NYRP), as well as Urban Assembly’s New York Harbor School, a public school that engages students through the study of the marine culture, history, and the environment of New York City and its surrounding waters.

The map of vantage points, the boat schedule, suggested bike routes and downloadable podcasts are available on An activity booklet for summer camp groups will be made available in July, and educational guides including classroom lessons for students will be available in August.

The Public Art Fund, working in partnership with Tishman Construction Corporation, engaged a team of almost 200 design, engineering and construction professionals to build the Waterfalls. Construction scaffolding forms the backbone of the Waterfalls, and pumps cycle water from the East River to the top of each structure before it falls back into the River. Following the de-installation of the project in October, 90% of all the materials used to build The New York City Waterfalls will be re-used in subsequent construction projects.

The Waterfalls have been designed to be sensitive to the environment and include: elements that protect fish and aquatic life, energy efficient LED lights, and energy purchased from renewable sources. The Waterfalls will be temporarily turned off in the event of extreme winds or storms, or if there is a power shortage due to hot weather.

About the Artist

Olafur Eliasson was born in Copenhagen in 1967, and grew up in both Iceland and Denmark. He attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and currently divides his time between his family home in Copenhagen and his studio in Berlin. Studio Olafur Eliasson is a laboratory for spatial research that employs a team of 30 architects, engineers, craftsmen, and assistants who work together to conceptualize, test, engineer, and construct installations, sculptures, large-scale projects and commissions. He is perhaps best known for The weather project (2003) at Tate Modern in London, a giant sun made of 200 yellow lamps, mirrors, and mist that transformed the museum’s massive Turbine Hall and drew over 2 million visitors during its five-month installation. His work is currently the subject of a major mid-career retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art and PS 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, on view through June 30.

Project Support

This project is presented in partnership with Tishman Construction Corporation, with Water Tours provided by Circle Line Downtown, and assistance from Consolidated Edison and Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP. It is made possible in part by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is funded through Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Lead supporters include Bloomberg LP, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and The Rockefeller Foundation. Major support has been provided by The Wachovia Foundation, Carson Family Charitable Trust, Charina Endowment Fund, CIT, Forest City Ratner Companies, The Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Foundation, The Silverweed Foundation and Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee. Generous support has been provided by Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Debra and Leon D. Black, Cindy and Tom Secunda, Anonymous, Danish Ministry of Culture, The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Danielle and David Ganek, Marc Haas Foundation, Mimi and Peter Haas, Hamleys, Jennifer and Matthew Harris, Mary and Michael Jaharis, Jill and Peter Kraus, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Peter Norton Family Foundation, Steven Rattner, David Rockefeller, Judy and Michael Steinhardt, Tiffany & Co., Tishman Speyer, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, with additional funds from Vital Projects Fund, Inc., American Express, Donald A. Capoccia, Deloitte & Touche LLP, James R. Dinan and Elizabeth R. Miller, Judy and Jamie Dimon, Lauren and Martin Geller, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Robert W. Johnson IV Charitable Trust, Leonard Litwin, Nancy and Duncan MacMillan, Donald B. Marron Charitable Trust, Merrill Lynch & Co. Foundation, Inc., The New York Mets Foundation, Inc., Nancy and Morris W. Offit, Peter Peterson, Jack Resnick & Sons, Inc., The Marshall Rose Family Foundation, Aby Rosen/RFR Holding LLC, Stephen M. Ross/The Related Companies, Steven Roth, Structure Tone, David Teiger, Van Wagner Communications, LLC, The Walt Disney Company, Joan and Sanford Weill, Merryl and Charles Zegar Foundation, ICAP North America, The ABNY Foundation, Brookfield Properties, Elise and Andrew Brownstein, The Durst Organization, EMC Corporation, Eugene M. Grant & Co., LLC, Extell Development Company, Gilder Foundation, Goldman Sachs, The William and Mary Greve Foundation, IBM, International Integrated Solutions, Nastasi & Associates Inc., Anna Marie and Robert F. Shapiro, Larry A. Silverstein/Silverstein Properties, Carmen and John Thain, The Jonathan M. Tisch Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch Illuminations Fund, The Steve Tisch Foundation, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen &
Katz, Barbara J. Fife, Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Family Foundation, Melva Bucksbaum, Creative Link for the Arts, Constellation NewEnergy, Egg Electric, Fifth Floor Foundation, Nathalie and Charles de Gunzburg, Ann and Gilbert Kinney, Holly and Jonathan Lipton, Edward John Noble Foundation, Ninah and Michael Lynne, Nortel, Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen, Jonathan Sobel & Marcia Dunn, and David Wine and Michael MacElhenny. Assistance has been provided by SEAL Security LLC, A-Val Architectural Metal Corporation, AJG, BP Mechanical Corp., Cosmopolitan Decorating Co. Inc., Hugh J. Freund, Glenn Fuhrman, Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, Elizabeth S. and Steven B. Gruber, George and Mariana Kaufman, Movado Group, NBC Universal, Patty Newburger and Brad Wechsler, Red Crane Foundation, Joanne and Paul Schnell, Charles Short, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, Melissa and Robert Soros, Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, Jeanette Sarkisian Wagner, Brennan Brothers Company, Inc., Donnelly Mechanical Corp., Abby Kinsley and Richard Davison, OHM Electrical Corp, Tri-State Dismantling Corp., Randye and Gerald Blitstein, Sara Fitzmaurice and Perry Rubenstein, Anonymous, Peter and Linda Ezersky, Marilynn and Ivan Karp, Allen Kolkowitz and Christopher Kusske, The American-Scandinavian Foundation, Joan Feeney and Bruce Phillips, Beatrice and Lloyd Frank, Hilary and Peter Hatch, Jenny Dixon and John Boone, Katherine and Richard Kahan and the Frances and Jack Levy Foundation.

About Public Art Fund

Since 1977, the Public Art Fund ( has worked with over 500 emerging and established artists to produce innovative temporary exhibitions of contemporary art throughout New York City. By bringing artworks outside the traditional context of museums and galleries, the Public Art Fund provides a unique platform for an unparalleled encounter with the art of our time. Current projects presented by the Public Art Fund on view in New York include Chris Burden’s What My Dad Gave Me at Rockefeller Center though July 19; James Yamada’s Our Starry Night at Doris C. Freedman Plaza at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue, through October 28; and Everyday Eden at the MetroTech Center in Brooklyn through September 7. Recent critically acclaimed exhibitions and presentations include Rodney Graham’s The Rodney Graham Band live, featuring the amazing Rotary Psycho-Opticon at the Abrons Arts Center (April 2008); Sarah Lucas’s Perceval at Doris C. Freedman Plaza (2008); Dara Friedman’s Musical at multiple midtown Manhattan locations (2007); Alexander Calder in New York at City Hall Park (2006-7); Sarah Morris’s Robert Towne at Lever House (2006-7); Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror at Rockefeller Center (2006); and Sarah Sze’s Corner Plot at Doris C. Freedman Plaza (2006).
The Public Art Fund is a non-profit art organization supported by generous contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations, and with funds from National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.