One of the many quirky finds on Roosevelt Island is this boat prow that juts out into the West Channel of the East River. It sits in Octagon Park and faces out towards Manhattan, with some light graffiti and usually empty. Is it the remnant of an old boat? Is it an art project?
Turns out, it’s the latter but with some connection to the maritime architecture of the spot. There used to be a boat landing here, and in 1997 a performance stage and observation platform was built in the shape of a boat prow. According to The New York Times there are only two “nautical embellishments,”: “Two small slots near the tip–presumably for imaginary anchor chains…though a few heavy mooring posts have been placed nearby.”
The Times continues that the boat prow is in a rather forgotten area of Octagon Park, near “the vents for the city’s unfinished Third Water Tunnel.” Now that’s pretty interesting.
The prow is a popular graffiti tagging spot (and pigeon dropping spot) and gets cleaned regularly, as reported in The Roosevelt Islander. Just a minute south, you’ll find some Tom Otterness sculptures just off the coast of the island.
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