Sunday, October 21, 2007

Riverside Art

Views of the Hudson River reward the bicyclist who pedals beside the West Side Highway, but from West 95th Street to West 135th streets there are now artistic attractions as well: driftwood sculptures.

I've seen them from the window of a car racing down the highway, but they are best enjoyed with close and quiet contemplation. And that happens only for walkers, runner and cyclists who take the paved riverside pathway that is one of the recreational glories of Manhattan.

I saw similar sculptures alongside San Francisco Bay more than thirty years ago, but noticed the Hudson's equivalent only recently. Our sculptures--cobbled together mostly with driftwood and twine--are a creative recycling of our river's offerings. In a few places, people have also arranged rocks in artful patterns.

The riverside sculptures are not equally memorable. I would like to forget the stick with styrofoam jammed on its tip and the driftwood wrapped in ribbons of foam insulation.

But the best pieces--which beautifully catch the light of the setting sun--marry nature and culture in ways that bring out the best in both. Even if you're not a walker, runner or cyclist, the sight of these driftwood creations will make your excursion to the banks of the Hudson well worth the trip.

If you're reading this and you happen to be the creator of these works, of if you simply know something about them, drop me a line. I'd love to learn more about them.

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