4. EL DORADO – The New Forty Niners

El Dorado the new Forty Niners installation
EL DORADO – The New Forty Niners at the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. Photo by Argenis Apolinario.

Artist Cecile Chong’s installation EL DORADO – The New Forty Niners pays tribute to the 49% of New York households that speak a language other than English. The installation features 100 colored “guagua” sculptures meant to represent a community of people from around the world, with 49 being painted in gold. Each sculpture varies in height from 8 to 24 inches tall. Chong derived the title for the installation from a story taught to her while growing up in Ecuador, with “El Dorado” meaning “the golden.”

Since 2017, EL DORADO – The New Forty Niners has been displayed in every borough of the city. Currently, it is in its fifth and final iteration at the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza at 47th Street and 2nd Avenue through August 30, 2022. For this version of the installation, the sculptures have been arranged on 17 colored planks to represent the 17 UN sustainability goals which seek to bring developed and developing countries together in a global partnership to reduce inequality and spur economic growth.