Victory! Taps tightened on tree-killing ‘Waterfalls’

Art attack! Waterfalls are killing DUMBO trees
Leaves like these are prematurely dried up, thanks to the “New York City Waterfalls” exhibition.
The Brooklyn Paper / Jessica Firger

Under fire from local groups and one of the city’s most-romantic restaurants, city officials have cut the hours that the “New York City Waterfalls” exhibit can propel its salt-laden water onto nearby trees — but the decision many not come in time to save some of the victims of Olafur Eliasson’s four-pronged arborcidal artwork.

Just as the city decided to tighten the faucets on the project, cutting its hours of operation from 101 to 50, the manager of the illustrious River Café in DUMBO told The Brooklyn Paper that salt water seepage from one of the waterfalls damaged the eatery’s climate-control system and may have irreversibly damaged soil in the restaurant’s lush garden.

“We’ve already been warned that our soil may be damaged beyond repair and we would have to replace it,” he said.

The city’s Saturday announcement of a scaleback in the $15-million project came after arborists from the Parks Department beg an rinsing trees along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and beneath the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO with fresh water to flush salt from the soil.

The cut in hours did not satisfy Brooklyn Heights Association Executive President Judy Stanton, who had called on the city to cut the water pipes after Labor Day to save the trees.

“It seems … preposterous to keep the falls going and then to keep hosing,” Stanton said. “How can you justify keeping the falls, given what we see here?”

This part of Olafur Eliasson's “New York City Waterfalls” exhibition, plus a second scaffolding near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, will be turned off for more hours after local complaints about tree deaths.
The Brooklyn Paper / Jessica Firger

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