Eric Arctander: Nieuw Amsterdam Shoreline

About the Exhibition

Eric Arctander (b.1945, USA) has painted a 7,000-foot double line of green and blue to recreate the original contour of the New Amsterdam shoreline in Lower Manhattan. Aided by a mechanical street marker, the formidable project will be completed in time to add notably to New York’s heady July 4th festivities.

A super-geographic illumination of Manhattan as it was known to the Dutch in the early 17th century, the project—aptly entitled Nieuw Amsterdam Shoreline—is co-sponsored by the Public Art Fund, Inc. and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, with generous contributions from ITT World Communications, Inc., Con Edison, and New York City Department of Transportation.

Described by the 35-year-old environmental artist as his “reflection on our heritage,” the unusual on-site painting will faithfully follow the original shoreline, prior to landfill, across and along present-day streets and sidewalks. The painting, which will consume an entire day’s work of a seven-member highway crew using 60 gallons of deck paint, will be clearly visible throughout the summer, offering a marvelous route for the historically curious.

The mile and a half of vivid green and blue—colors chosen to evoke land and water and to avoid confusion with highway markings in the area—begins at Wall Street, New Amsterdam’s northern boundary, and extends southwest along Pearl Street to Broad Street. The two parallel lines—each four inches wide with a four-inch gap between—will extend up and down Broad Street to a point just north of Beaver Street, designating the man-made canal, called “Heere Gracht” after Amsterdam’s famed waterway, which remained a landfill until 1673. The recreated shoreline then continues down Pearl Street to State Street—originally the southern-most point of the island—and begins its northward climb up through Battery Park, rejoining the pavement at Battery Place and traveling up Greenwich Street to Trinity Place. The blue and green painting complete its meander at Trinity Church.



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