Growing up in the 70s, Rockaway Beach lost much of its summer seaside getaway panache peppered with quaint bungalows decades before. The community became the forgotten New York through its urban decay. My grandparents retired in one of the impersonal apartment towers along the shoreline. I never thought much of the area making the long ride on the A train, but the Atlantic Ocean big waves always made up for Rockaway's desolate burnt out landscape.
A Little Understanding
Since the debut of Brooklyn Bridge Park along the gentry borough’s coastline, the reclaimed piers have brought not only recreation but reflection with brilliant sunrises and sunsets against the Manhattan gleaming skyline. Each summer the green park’s curators have brought clever public art that engages and interacts with the landscape and daytrippers.
Summer ’16 has installed the ruby red rotating “Understanding” sculpture by British artist Martin Creed. Perched on Pier 6, at first glance there’s a nostalgic echo reminiscent of factory neon signs that dotted the factory Jersey City and Hoboken coast that glowed viewed walking along Manhattan’s Battery City Park.
Creed’s large scale message at the tip of the pier, has become a beacon attracting park dwellers sitting at the sculpture’s base and lawn may be contemplating their definition. Most engaging is the visually layered effect on top of the city’s ubiquitous skyline that transforms its design.
At dusk, the beaming steel word becomes dominant broadcasting its command programmed by the artist to spin at various speeds. The sculpture’s simple message can be applied to issues big and small, or global and personal while creating a space for contemplation.