Monday, 6 October 2008

A Nice Green Leaf: In the green heart of New York

Museumpavilion2By Emma Townshend

Two lots of change to the greenscape of New York City this week. One is the announcement of detailed proposals for the Ground Zero site's commemorative garden and pavilion, which have to be finished before any work on commercial buildings can start, by order of the Governor. 

The roof of the new building overhangs two of the original "tree trunk" columns from the Trade Center, and leaf-like veins will pattern the roof. But the most exciting thing for me in terms of making this a place apart is the idea of an oak grove right in the heart of commercial Manhattan. Overlooking pools filled by long fountains, you can't help feeling the right note of meditation and commemoration has been created.

It will take years to finish though. In the meantime, elsewhere in New York, Mexican artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has made a spectacular set of lights for Madison Square Park that are set off by heart-rate sensors. Light will dance along amongst the trees, expected to attract up to half a million visitors to the park. "It's not like a disco," though, warns the artist, before saying he's aiming for something a little more Steve Reich than Steve Wright.

And if you can't get to Manhattan between the 24 October and November 17 but London seems doable, Lozano-Hemmer is bringing a similar light show to Trafalgar Square from the 14 November until the 23.

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