Monday, September 19, 2005

"Oh, it’s a snug little island!"


At long last, I found Smithson's Floating Island. It was meandering its way around Pier 45 this evening, with the aid of its faithful tug, the Rachel Marie. For the record, there were no pirates or land grabbers or any sign of forced embarkation.

The "island" swayed back and forth beside the pier, the trees staying always perpendictular to the barge, lashed as they are with thin wires. I kept hoping for some birds to alight on the trees, but it didn't happen. Standing at the railing, snapping photos of it, I thought of two things: How it is not all that strange to create new land; just think of Battery Park City, hidden in the back of the frame. It was created out of landfill dredged during the creation of the World Trade Center. And also, I thought of the fable of "The Sixth Borough," probably one of the better, simpler and more honest works by Jonathan Safran Foer, in which the origin of Central Park is explained via the existence of a mystical, forgotten other borough.

I'll be posting more shots to the "floating island" tag on Flickr.

[The title quote is by one Thomas Dibdin.]

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