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What If? 8 Places Christo Could Let New Yorkers Walk on Water

I was one of many who celebrated with a happy dance when I saw the news that Christo is building The Floating Piers, a floating walkway in Lake Iseo allowing visitors to amble seemingly on the surface of the water for nearly two miles. The grand vistas of Lombardy’s lake region, complete with majestic mountains, is certainly well suited for a two mile summer jaunt. It got me to thinking though: where in NYC would be well suited for a floating walkway spanning bodies of water which would give New Yorkers and tourists alike a new vision of their majestic metropolis?

Eight Proposals below, but think it over and let me know what, or where, is missing.


#1: The Reservoir, Central Park

Since The Lake is used for romantic boat rides, and it would be more than awkward to have a water-walker peering over the top of your picnic basket, a Christo-pier should span the Reservoir in Central Park. A chance to view the ducks up close and personal? Check. Viewing the park from a part of it no one gets to step foot on (or dive into)? Check again. What’s not to love. The fact that the reservoir is so historic is just icing on the cake.


image looking West on Governor's Island (credit Governor's Island blog)

image looking West on Governor’s Island (credit Governor’s Island blog)

#2: Around Governor’s Island

Apart from the ferries docking at the northern end of Governor’s Island in the summer, it would be truly amazing for the floating pier to make it’s way to Governor’s Island, expanding the summer visitor’s footpath out into the New York Bay (and honestly, let’s not pretend the idea hasn’t been, um, floated before.)  As a key unlocking New York Bay’s natural beauty, it would be remiss not to extend Governor’s Island’s vantage point farther out into the water.

#3: Prospect Park Lake to Duck Island

Prospect Park Lake is so lovely already that this might be a hard one to place–the walkway might spoil the verdant summer scene a bit. But does anyone really know what’s on Duck Island? Is it really just a bunch of ducks? We need a Christo-designed walkway to find out the truth.

#4: Harlem River meeting the East River

I once had the pleasure of taking a boat ride to do some urban spelunking during Frieze with artist and New York marine aficionado Marie Lorenz and encountering the confluence of the East and Harlem Rivers has been one of the most breathtaking adventures of my eight years in NYC. There’s absolutely no reason why everyone else couldn’t take a few steps off Randall’s island and follow the branch of the East river reaching up and over to the Bronx. There are some interesting corners to peruse in that section of the meeting between Manhattan, the Bronx, and Randall’s.

View on City Island (credit: NYC Dept Parks & Recreation)

View on City Island (credit: NYC Dept Parks & Recreation)

#5: City Island in the Bronx

City Island is gorgeous and still relatively underexposed, even in the summer months. After enjoying some delicious seafood delivered fresh on the docks, nothing could be more perfect that a walk out from the island on a Christo walkway to view the Bronx and the other natural islands nearby as sun sets over New York City. Kinda hard to beat that for a unique date night!

#6: Brighton Beach to Far Rockaway

Tell me you haven’t been out on Far Rockaway looking back towards Coney Island or on Coney looking out to the barrier island and wondered whether you could swim that distance or if there couldn’t be a quicker way from one beach to the other? For a few short months, boats could be directed away at least from Brighton Beach near Far Rockaway to allow for a bright orange pedestrian bridge during the summer. And with the relative distance psychologically of Brighton’s Slavic vibe and Rockaway’s summer hippie jungle, this could be a fabulous social experiment as well as a play on the natural environment (your move, Christo!)

#7: Shore at Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City

Socrates Sculpture Park already has it all: good art, free yoga in the summer, scuba divers (?!)–but the one thing it doesn’t have is a Christo-designed floating pier at the water’s surface. I mean, no other waterside location is more relevant for hosting a work of a contemporary art master. And of all the locations that would host the pier, SSP is the one most likely to preserve the pier for posterity.

#8: North Side Riverside Park out on the Hudson River

A bit of a cop-out, perhaps, seeing as so many piers already venture over the Hudson River downtown, but what about uptown on Manhattan’s west side? It could be great to have a floating walkway out on the Hudson for a few hundred feet at least for the quieter side of Riverside Park to get its own alternative views of New York out on the Hudson (without needing to spring for a dinner boat ride culminating in a blaring loudspeaker bleating out Sinatra’s ‘New York New York’.)



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