New York City has recently introduced a new monument that pays tribute to one of the city’s most enduring legends – the presence of alligators in its sewers.
The Union Square Partnership has released a press statement announcing that a life-size alligator wrapped around a New York City manhole cover is now on display at Union Square Park in Manhattan. The bronze statue, created by Swedish artist Alexander Klingspor, is a stunning work of art.
According to the artist’s website, the theme of this artwork revolves around the popular urban legend of the alligator inhabiting the sewers of New York City. As someone who has lived in Manhattan for more than ten years, the artist wanted to pay homage to the city they love by creating a visual representation of this fascinating story.
According to the artist, this piece of art explores two intriguing aspects of our world. Firstly, the human inclination towards creating gods, myths, and legends, which has been a common practice in all civilizations throughout history. Secondly, it highlights our tendency to introduce invasive species by relocating animals from their natural habitats to human environments. As the artist expressed, “This artwork deals with two interesting aspects of our world; our need for gods, myths, and legends much like any other civilization prior to ours, and our habit of creating invasive species by moving animals from their natural habitats to human environments.”
The Union Square Partnership has appropriately labeled the sculpture as “N.Y.C Legend.” As per their announcement, the artwork will be on display until June 2024.
The collaboration between the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Union Square Partnership resulted in an impressive artwork, as stated in the news release. The project was made possible thanks to the sponsorship of the Swedish Mollbrinks Gallery.
In New York, it’s illegal to own alligators as they go against both state and city laws. These reptiles are cold-blooded and can be usually found in the southeastern parts of the United States, thriving in warmer climates.
Although rare, alligators have been spotted in New York, as was the case earlier this year when a gator was found in a lagoon within Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Unfortunately, the reptile was discovered to be an escaped pet and despite attempts to save it at the Bronx Zoo, it did not survive.
In the 1930s, The New York Times reported that an alligator had been spotted in the sewage by some youths in Harlem, who had then quickly beaten it to death. This incident is believed to be the origin of the rumors about alligators living in the sewers.
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