Battery Park City is the newest neighborhood in New York.
Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1966 created a plan to restore the area using the land from excavation of the World Trade Center site. Battery Park Esplanade is a strip of riverfront parkland and perhaps one of the greatest New York City parks. The Esplanade is somewhat of a "superpark” with sport courts, playgrounds and park, constructed on the edge of the lower Manhattan. Nelson A. Rockefeller Park is located at the northern end of the Battery Park Esplanade.
The park combines views of the Hudson River and Statue of Liberty, a waterfront promenade, a wide green lawn and an open air permanently installed art exhibition, that is open year around and is free for everybody.
The Real World, by American Sculptor Tom Otterness , is an odd little universe installed in 1992 in Rockefeller Park's playground. Otterness is best known to New Yorkers for his 2002 Life Underground installation, which is located in the 14th Street – Eighth Avenue New York City Subway station on the A C E L services. I already wrote about his sculptures in subway in one of my posts. Tom has completed major outdoor commissions not only in US, but in Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.
|Park in Netherland
|Park in Netrherland
When I was in Netherlands , I found Otterness sculptures in the Hague, on the boulevard in Scheveningen, called Fairytale Sculptures by the Sea. These 23 sculptures became a reality as per the initiative of the Museum Beelden aan Zee - the only institution in the country focusing fully on modern and contemporary sculpture.
The Real World in Nelson A. Rockefeller park is one of the Otterness's earliest public art works. In 1990 New York Times wrote : "With his commission for the north park of Battery Park City, Tom Otterness has reached a new plateau. The opportunity to make sculptures for children and adults to live with in a public space has helped him focus the playful, sinister and allegorical impulses of his work".
In one of the interviews with the artist correspondent ask Tom : Your work is displayed all around the world, Which of them top your list? And Tom answered: "Battery Park is the most important for me, and then its the 14th Street subway station. I guess because I get to see them all the time. And the one in Netherlands, its huge".
The artist said : “Sometimes public art functions as an excuse for strangers to talk to one another, through the art. We don’t realize how few places there are where it’s acceptable to talk to people you don’t know. Children facilitate that naturally.”
His latest exhibition was part of the huge multimedia project "The Value of Food" in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine - you can read about it in one of my posts.