Second Time’s a Charm! Water “Moves” Down Pearl Street

Second Time’s a Charm! Water “Moves” Down Pearl Street

The Alliance for Downtown New York has installed its latest Re:Construction piece, Water Movements, at the site of the future Pearl Street Playground. Located at Fulton and Pearl Streets, this piece was previously installed last year across the street at the now completed Titanic Park, but had to be removed due to high winds.

“An expanded Pearl Street Playground will reopen in 2012 as another state-of-the-art park for Lower Manhattan’s 56,000 residents, 309,000 workers and nine million annual visitors,” said Elizabeth H. Berger, President of the Downtown Alliance. “But for now, we can all enjoy – once again – this vibrant piece by Lordy Rodriguez as part of our program to recast construction sites as canvasses for innovative public art and architecture.”

In June 2010, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation began the reconstruction of Pearl Street Playground, the area’s third park along the transformative Fulton Street Corridor. This new playground is one of several downtown public spaces and parks being rebuilt thanks to funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC).

Re:Construction – which is funded by the LMDC – is a public art program produced by the Downtown Alliance. Engaging, thoughtful and whimsical, the temporary artworks are creating colorful landmarks and brightened streetscapes as they help mitigate the impact of Downtown’s numerous building projects. The program began in 2007 and has produced now 29 installations, including Water Movements. Approximately half of these pieces are still up for viewing.

In Water Movements, Rodriguez uses the language and pattern of cartography to make drawings of imaginary terrain. He explores a body of water’s ever-changing relationship to its environment, inventing a river that snakes around frozen lakes with tributaries that look like capillaries over a variety of topographies. Without the context of symbols and text usually found on a map, it’s up to the viewer to interpret the familiar cartographic iconography for rivers, mountains, valleys, and other land formations.

"Sometimes water is still and quiet like a frozen pond, and other times it's so ferocious whole towns can be swept away,” Rodriguez said. “Water is as influential to its environment as it is influenced by it.”

Independent arts curator Abby Messitte consulted on the project for the Downtown Alliance.

Previous Re:Construction projects – which you can learn more about at – have been installed at:

  • Liberty and Church Streets: Men at Work*
  • Broadway and John Street: Corbin Building Architectural Rendering*
  • Canal and Varick Streets, LentSpace: half awake, half asleep*
  • 55 Liberty Street: Monk Parakeets with Mourning Doves and Red Wings*
  • Nassau and Fulton Streets: Sour Gum Tree: Seasonal Glory*
  • 24 John Street: Drift*
  • Hubert Street between Washington and Hudson Street: Aquatic Dream
  • Grand and Lafayette streets: Downtown Dogs*
  • 50 West Street: Life, Actually*
  • Hudson Street between Franklin Street and Ericsson Place: Star Sun Burst*
  • W Hotel New York – Downtown: Hours of the Day
  • Chambers Street: Secret Gardens*
  • Fiterman Hall: Restore the View*
  • Titanic Park, Fulton and Pearl streets: Water Movements
  • East River Waterfront Esplanade, South Street: Fence Embroidery with Embellishment*
  • 99 Church Street: Walking Men 99*
  • 56 Leonard Street: Rendering Leonard
  • West Thames Park, Battery Park City: It Takes Time to Turn a Space Around
  • Hudson River Park: Botanizing on the Asphalt*
  • 99 Washington Street: Flying Animals*
  • 50 Trinity Place: Poster Project at 50 Trinity
  • Louise Nevelson Plaza, Maiden Lane and William Street: Rainbow Conversation
  • AIG building, 175 Water Street: Green Gate, Summer
  • Street reconstruction site at Houston and Broadway: Houston Fence
  • Goldman Sachs headquarters, 200 West Street: Untitled
  • Fulton Street Transit Center, John Street at Broadway: Best Pedestrian Route
  • Fulton Street reconstruction site, between Broadway and Nassau: Fulton Fence
  • Fulton Street Transit Center, Broadway between Ann and John streets:
    Concrete Jungle

* Currently up for viewing

The Downtown Alliance additionally is installing temporary signage— also funded through the LMDC as part of the Re:Construction program– to help visitors to Lower Manhattan navigate around construction sites. In the last several weeks, such wayfinding – featuring Downtown Alliance maps – has been installed at 26 Federal Plaza and 50 Trinity Place. The Downtown Alliance previously installed wayfinding at Broadway and Dey Street, and Broadway and Fulton Street.

Re:Construction is just one of the ways the Downtown Alliance is promoting the area. Recently, the non-profit issued the State of Lower Manhattan 2011 report – – to provide a comprehensive review of the district’s remarkable economic and demographic changes, leasing, development, and market trends over the last decade.