East River Roundabout: Finding Art in Unexpected Places
I had some time to spare after work and before meeting a friend one evening, and decided to walk along north on York Avenue. While waiting at a traffic light, I saw someone turn into what looked like a construction side road along the Queensboro Bridge, and was wondering if they were even allowed on it. I then saw a couple of people walking down the road – all this before the light changed – and decided to take a chance and figure out what lay ahead on this road. Turned out to be a great decision as I discovered the Andrew Haswell Green Park with a public art installation called East River Roundabout, along with fantastic views of the Queenboro Bridge.
East River Roundabout is an 80-foot long aluminum helix sculpture by artist Alice Aycock, which is attached to the skeletal steel roof supports of a former waterfront garbage transfer station. The sculpture was commissioned to transform a defunct Department of Sanitation facility into a public plaza.
Resembling a roller coaster, the sculpture was also inspired by the weightlessness of Fred Astaire’s dancing. Her design is intended to stand out in a highly competitive visual environment. When the sculpture was installed, Aycock described the project as an “opportunity to galvanize this extremely dynamic situation, calling attention in a dramatic way to the visual forms of movement inherent in this very active place. The Roundabout is a theater around which New York City enacts itself. And the viewer becomes a spectator in the play of the city as well as an actor in the spectacle.”
Andrew Haswell Green Park has amazing views of the East River, and lies under the line of the Roosevelt Island Cable Car as you can see below –
I love chance encounters like this that make me discover a little more of New York, one public art installation at a time.