The much anticipated SeaGlass Carousel is opening in The Battery today. The glass and steel chambered nautilus designed for the Battery carousel was designed as a throwback to the original home of the New York Aquarium. The SeaGlass Carousel brings to life an underwater experience, complete with music presented by SiriusXM, with a sound and light system to emulate the feel of an ocean environment.
Ten years in the making, the carousel was opened for the first time at a press preview yesterday. Conceived by the New York based studio, WXY Architecture + Urban Design, who were also the architects for such projects as the Times Square Visitors Center, Hudson River Park Activity Buildings, The Battery’s Bosque, the resplendent interior is by George Tsypin of the George Tsypin Opera Factory and the Artistic Director and Production Designer of the Olympic Games in Sochi, 2014.
The SeaGlass Carousel is comprised of 30 fish sculptures as large as 13.5 feet high and 9.5 feet wide. With a main turntable diameter of forty-six feet, it is powered by four motors and includes three independent smaller turntables, each with a diameter of seventeen feet. Eighteen of the sculpture fish are automated to move up and down, and a swinging motion to mimic swimming fish. This creative installation invites the public to ride inside glittering translucent fish that appear to be swimming through an underwater environment.
Mr. Tsypin has designed for film, television, concerts, operas and Broadway as well, including his 2004 sets for the production of The Magic Flute at the Metropolitan Opera, the Broadway set for the musical Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark and probably most pertinent to this current installation, the Disney Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. Born in Kazakhstan in 1960, he and his family now live in New York. He studied architecture in Moscow and did his graduate studies in theatrical design at NYU. It is interesting to note that for many years, his studio occupied the entire second floor of 5Pointz.
The SeaGlass carousel includes twelve species of fish, including Angelfish, Threadfin Butterflyfish, Red-Lined Butterflyfish, Regal Angelfish, Cold Blue Discus, Angelfish, Blue Ringed Angelfish, Orange-Spot Wrasse, Betta, Clearfin Lionfish, Siamese Fighting Fish and Clown Triggerfish. Each fish is equipped with three stereo speakers and a base speaker. Visitors sit inside the figures, instead of on top, which gives you the feeling of gliding through the sights and sounds of an aquatic adventure. Fiber-optic lighting glows from within each fish, appearing as a bioluminescent organism.
Lighting designed by Kyle Chepulis of Technical Artistry
All mechanisms are located below the floor, with no center post, giving an unobstructed view. The ride movement, lighting and sound system can all be programmed and choreographed to produce a variety of ride experiences for different audiences. The music includes pieces such as Camille Saint-Saens’ Aquarium, Mozart’s 40th Symphony in G Minor, Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and Debussy’s La Mer.
Bubbles are attached to the upper wall, holding names of sponsors
The cost of construction and development has been approximately sixteen million dollars, one-half from private donations and one-half from government funds. There are still are some fish figures available to sponsor, which can be done through The Battery Conservancy.
Claire Weisz and Mark Yoes, Co-Founders, WXY Architecture + Urban Design speaking at the press preview
George Tsypin of George Tsypin Opera Factory – creator of the fish.
Arial shot of the SeaGlass Carousel on August 19, set up for the press-preview
Surrounding the carousel is the 12,000 square foot Tiffany & Co. Foundation Woodland Gardens, which are the gateway to the park’s seven-acre woodlands, and include the Urban Farm and Battery Bikeway.
The SeaGlass Carousel will open on Thursday, August 20th from 1 pm to midnight. After that, it will be open seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm, with a $5 per ride cost, with the ride being approximately 3.5 minutes. The Carousel is located just off State Street. Take the #4 or #5 to Bowling Green or the R to Whitehall.