CLOSE

Artist Plans to Put a Pedestrian Walkway on Top of New York Harbor

When artist Nancy Nowacek moved to the Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook, she could see Governor’s Island from her home, seemingly only a stone’s throw away across the river. At the time, the area was just being turned from a Coast Guard station to a public park. She felt a “secret intuition that we should be able to walk there,” she told mental_floss in an interview.

As she became more interested in how people connect to nearby waterways, she came up with an idea: what if you could walk there? Since 2012, she’s been trying to figure out a way for New Yorkers to walk on water. Her Citizen Bridge, now raising money for a pilot run on Kickstarter, would be a modular bridge structure, allowing people to walk across the approximately 1400-foot span between the Brooklyn waterfront and the nearby park of Governor’s Island.

The Citizen Bridge would be a one-day-only event, since Buttermilk Channel—as the strait is called—is actually a working commercial waterway. The bridge would be assembled and disassembled for one day each year, ideally, and could travel around the world for similar events, Nowacek says. Surrounding that one-day event—planned for August 2017 right now—would be a month of programming designed to connect people to the water, such as boat-building classes, lectures on futuristic aquatic robots, and more.

While it would be nice to have a permanent way to walk across the channel, the short time span of the event is actually an advantage, according to Nowacek. The limited run “adds to the art-ness of it,” she explains. “It makes it a really much more intimate and powerful experience.”

The Kickstarter, with a goal of $25,000, would pay for a proof-of-concept for the project, the last stage before launching for real. Nowacek has already amassed a team of some 200 volunteers over the last four years, and has gotten in contact with regulatory agencies and authorities from the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers to New York’s Mayor's Office of Sustainability (and its Bloomberg-era predecessor, the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination). She admits that the process of gaining approval for her project is a maze of bureaucracy, but remains hopeful that it can happen. "No one has said no yet,” she says.

As climate change brings the waterfront farther inland and makes flooding more regular, it’s important to help people understand how waterways affect our daily lives. “The water is coming back to us,” Nowacek says. “Most people see the water as an inconvenience or a threat. We need positive experiences with the waterways to catalyze our engagement.” And walking on water is one way to do that.

All images via Kickstarter

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
fun
Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
iStock
iStock

Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
arrow
Art
A Secret Room Full of Michelangelo's Sketches Will Soon Open in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Parents all over the world have chastised their children for drawing on the walls. But when you're Michelangelo, you've got some leeway. According to The Local, the Medici Chapels, part of the Bargello museum in Florence, Italy, has announced that it plans to open a largely unseen room full of the artist's sketches to the public by 2020.

Roughly 40 years ago, curators of the chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo had a very Dan Brown moment when they discovered a trap door in a wardrobe leading to an underground room that appeared to have works from Michelangelo covering its walls. The tiny retreat is thought to be a place where the artist hid out in 1530 after upsetting the Medicis—his patrons—by joining a revolt against their control of Florence. While in self-imposed exile for several months, he apparently spent his time drawing on whatever surfaces were available.

A drawing by Michelangelo under the Medici Chapels in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Museum officials previously believed the room and the charcoal drawings were too fragile to risk visitors, but have since had a change of heart, leading to their plan to renovate the building and create new attractions. While not all of the work is thought to be attributable to the famed artist, there's enough of it in the subterranean chamber—including drawings of Jesus and even recreations of portions of the Sistine Chapel—to make a trip worthwhile.

[h/t The Local]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios