Monday, June 8, 2009

Fountain Destination - NYC

OK, turn off/unplug your indoor water fountain and head out to the Big Apple, New York City. There are many publicly and privately commissioned fountains for your viewing pleasure. The city is big, but the public transportation system is extensive and inexpensive. Getting around will take a bit of organizing, but will be well worth the time to do it.

Most municipal fountains in major cities are themed or dedicated to politically, socially or culturally important persons or events in that area. NYC is no different.

There are so many fountains here that I an will only include a few standouts so as to keep this post from turning into a book! Here we go, in no particular order...

The Jacob Wrey Mould Fountain, removed from City Hall Park and transported to the Bronx's Crotona Park in 1920, has been restored and returned to the park, and now serves as its centerpiece.

Originally designed in 1871, this Victorian fountain is a granite basin with semi-circular pools on each side and a central cascade. It replaces the Delacorte Fountain at the park's southern end.

At night the fountain is lit by four gas bronze candelabras, replicas of gas lamps dating back to the 1850's, and underwater floodlights. Just south of the fountain, a medallion, consisting of nine granite panels, traces the history of City Hall Park from its 17th century Dutch origins through the 1999 reconstruction.

In the Bronx, near to the (now old) yankee stadium, is a fountain with a story, the Loreley.

The Loreley fountain celebrates the German poet, Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), author of an ode to Die Lorelei -- a siren from German mythology who lured sailors to their deaths on the Rhine. The fountain was created by German sculptor Ernest Herter for the poet's home city, Dusseldorf. However, political groups opposed to Heine's Jewish origins and political views blocked its installation there. The fountain was finally erected in the Bronx in 1899, thanks to a subscription led by Americans of German ancestry. Funds are now being raised to restore the fountain, the victim of decades of weathering and vandalism, to its former glory.

The fountain outside the Brooklyn Museum is a visually exciting sight. The Gilded Age produced nothing like this aquatic show. Water gushing from a row of concealed jets can be manipulated into different heights and configurations, from low gurgle to Old Faithful. The fountain gets it about gravity. Rising up in pulses, the water seems to hang in the air, as if captured by strobe photography, before crashing to the ground in a percussive, drenching splash. The still photo cannot do it justice so, here are a couple videos. Enjoy:

(day video)

(Night video)

Don't forget the GE Building at "30 Rock" and it's famous fountain depicting Prometheus, the Greek God credited with bringing the gift of fire to mankind (much to Zeus' displeasure). The plaza in front of the fountain is an outdoor restaurant in the summer and transforms into an ice skating rink in the winter.

Next up is the fountain at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the White Fountain. Day and night, especially, the reflections in the galss fronted buildings add to the beauty.

Oh yes, don't forget the display in front of Radio City Music Center.

Lastly, there is a calming fountain in terms of a sound effect.

It happens to be bordering an outdoor restaurant at the 2 World Financial Center Building and is a fine place to relax and enjoy a meal or just a cup of coffee and let the sound contribute to your more mellow self.

And speaking of restaurants, be sure to sample the awesome variety of foods: ethnic of every possible origin, American, fine dining, casual, carry out because you're likely to work up an appetite as you make your way thru the city sights.

So, a small sampling of NYC fountains for you to see at your leisure. As you view these and other offerings, remember that your indoor water fountain at home is a direct descendent of these larger examples and in its own right, also a work of art.

My next post will cover another Fountain Destination - Miami, Florida

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