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Artist's waterfalls to flow in New York

January 17, 2008|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Four giant waterfalls will be erected in New York for three months this summer in a public art project city officials hope will create $55 million in tourism revenue.

The waterfalls, including one that will fall from the Brooklyn Bridge, are the brainchild of Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. Installation will cost $15 million, funded by private donations to New York's Public Art Fund.

"It's about seeing water in a different way," Eliasson told a news conference Wednesday. The waterfalls will range in height from 90 to 120 feet -- about the same as the Statue of Liberty from head to toe.

Three of the waterfalls will cascade into the East River and New York Harbor from scaffolding towers that Eliasson said were part of his artistic vision, mirroring the construction scaffolding that sprouts throughout New York. The falls will be in place from mid-July to mid-October.

City officials are hoping to emulate the success of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's project, "The Gates," which drew approximately 1.5 million visitors in February 2005 to view about 7,500 orange cloth panels draped through Central Park.

Increased hotel, restaurant and other business revenue linked to the waterfalls should bring an additional $55 million to the city's economy, Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris said.

The Circle Line boat company will give visitors a closer look at the waterfalls.

But Eliasson said boats would not get as close to the water as tourist boats do to Niagara Falls. "It's quite a lot of water; it would not be good to go under," Eliasson said.

An underwater cage will stop fish from being sucked into pumps that will send the water to the top.

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