New York will finally join the ranks of cities such as London, Montreal, Sydney and Berlin this week as it kicks off a three-day Festival of Light.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, the Manhattan Bridge will light up from the inside. High-powered lasers, created by Canadian artist Howard Ungerleider, will bounce off mirrors while music plays, and artists from around the world will project pieces on the bridge’s facade.
“It was strange there was nothing like that in New York,” says Ira Levy, co-founder of the festival. “New York is a funny place. It’s very progressive and takes a lot of chances but at the same time there’s a lot of bureaucracy and people seem to want to get involved with something after it’s established.”
Levy and his partner, Liam O’Braion, have been trying to put together the festival for some years — last year they did a small-scale preview event at the Elizabeth Street Garden in Nolita. (See video above.)
But when it came time for the big show, Brooklyn was the place to be. “Art is part of Dumbo’s neighborhood DNA,” said Kristin LaBuz, the Dumbo BID’s director of marketing and events. “Our plaza space is the ‘living room’ of the community. There’s nothing more beautiful than bringing the community together for a shared experience in shared space.”
Among the festival’s highlights will be “Sounds of Nature,” an installation by British artist Tupac Martir consisting of LED umbrellas that respond to the surrounding weather, sounds and movement, and create different patterns as visitors walk by. Artist Nancy Burson’s piece — the first part of which was projected at the Berlin Festival of Light in October — will mix the word “love” with light. And Dr. J.R. Rizzo will present the Eyeronman, a navigation system for the visually impaired.
For the complete lineup of artists and DJs, visit the festival’s website.
New York Festival of Light, Nov. 6 from 7pm to 11pm and Nov. 7 and 8 from 5pm to 11pm, in the archway under the Manhattan Bridge and Pearl Street Triangle (Pearl and Water St.)