Reading the Streets: Ivan Navarro water towers of NYC

Ivan Navarro, ‘This Land is Your Land, New York City.’ Photo by Ilana Novick.

Ivan Navarro, ‘This Land is Your Land, New York City.’ Photo by Ilana Novick.

NEW YORK – Water towers are one of my favorite features of the New York City skyline, but trying to explain why sounds downright silly. I’m always thirsty and it reminds me of water? Maybe it’s just because I love the architecture of the buildings they’re on?

Chilean artist Ivan Navarro likes them too, but because he’s an artist and not a writer, he skipped clumsy explanations and showed his appreciation by building water towers of his own, on view through April 13 in a Madison Square Park exhibit, “This Land is Your Land.”

Coming out of the subway from 23rd Street, it appeared as if the towers were growing out of the lawn like wooden plants. It was a bit of a surprise to see structures I always look up at right at eye level, the skyline merging with the street. There are three towers, which you can walk under to see mirrors with infinitely repeating neon reflections. My favorite was of a ladder, which of course I wanted to climb.

Aside from the mirrors, Navarro’s towers are made of the same shapes and materials as the real thing, wooden huts with conical roofs, like crowns for buildings. Maybe this crown shape is the key to water towers appeal. They are useful structures, bringing much needed water to city buildings, but they’re also decorative, making the buildings look royal.

For more information on the artist an the exhibit, visit http://www.madisonsquarepark.org/art.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Ivan Navarro, ‘This Land is Your Land, New York City.’ Photo by Ilana Novick.

Ivan Navarro, ‘This Land is Your Land, New York City.’ Photo by Ilana Novick.

Ivan Navarro, ‘This Land is Your Land, New York City.’ Photo by Ilana Novick.

Ivan Navarro, ‘This Land is Your Land, New York City.’ Photo by Ilana Novick.

 Ivan Navarro, ‘This Land is Your Land, New York City.’ Photo by Ilana Novick.

Ivan Navarro, ‘This Land is Your Land, New York City.’ Photo by Ilana Novick.

Ivan Navarro, ‘This Land is Your Land, New York City.’ Photo by Ilana Novick.

Ivan Navarro, ‘This Land is Your Land, New York City.’ Photo by Ilana Novick.