If you haven’t already been enticed to go the piers at Brooklyn Bridge Park, with its water park, free kayaking, pop-up pool and $5 million dollar pedestrian bridge, then THE FENCE at Photoville project is probably not the thing to get you there. But, if you’re like my family, this addition to the park gives you a new route through old stomping grounds. Photoville offers an “al fresco” opportunity (read: sunscreen necessary!) to look at art. All levels of photographers were invited to submit images that fit the theme of “community” and winning images have prominent exposure on “the fence” (aka the construction walls surrounding the piers.)
My family tackled the exhibit on a hot summer day by thinking of it as a large-scale scavenger hunt, with the photo walls as our destinations. Entering the piers on Joralemon Street allowed us to start at the “People” photo grouping at Pier 5. We enjoyed playing “I Spy” with these photos–rodeo girls on their horses, Florida snowbird grandparents and Hoboken butchers. My son’s favorite was definitely “Holdup in the Hood” by Francis Crisafio, where the artist collaborated with students holding up self-portraits while he snapped a photo.
This path through the exhibit leads directly to the window of Ample Hills Creamery, selling unbelievable ice cream made completely from scratch in Brooklyn. There are new flavors every day and we were tormented between options like Cotton Candy, Banana Hammock or “Caught in the Rain” Sorbet. My husband ultimately decided on a Mint Chocolate Flake, while my son and I chose Sweet as Honey–which had chunks of ACTUAL honeycomb blended in. Ice cream is a perfect accompaniment for the rest of the walk, so it is worth standing in the long line.
Continuing east on the path toward the next fences called “Play” and “Home,” we soon realized that strolling through a construction site/art exhibit on a blazing June day may have been a bad idea. There are no trees or shade from the soccer fields at Pier 5 to the start of Pier 1. With only our ice cream to hydrate us, we took in the graphic images of baseballs by Don Hamerman, and the underwater photos by Jaka Vinsek (which made us pant for water). By the time we reached the “Creature” fence we were bleary eyed with sweat dripping down our brows. Although my toddler is an astute animal lover, even he begged us to hurry and find some shade.
Like a mirage, we stumbled into the Brooklyn Bridge Wine Bar at Pier 1, a shady oasis in the summer. We cooled down by chugging water (and wine for the adults) while my son played with some toys we had brought. Once we gathered our strength, and the sun started setting, we finished our walk through the piers to the fence on the far side of the carousel. Feeling in better spirits, we all really loved this “Streets” section consisting of peepholes into construction sites (Ian Addison Hall), aerial views of people in pick-up trucks (Alejandro Cartagena) and ‘coming soon’ signage (Natan Dvir). Lesson learned to fully enjoy THE FENCE? Start at the carousel and keep the sun at your back, or visit at a cooler time of day.
The FENCE at Photoville, Brooklyn Bridge Park, will be on view all summer long, at various sections grouped according to theme. PEOPLE is at Pier 5 (from Furman Street to the Soccer Fields); PLAY — Pier 4 (Entrance to Picnic Area); CREATURES — Pier 1 Greenway; STREETS — Empire Stores (off Main Street, DUMBO); and HOME — Empire Stores (off Main Street, DUMBO).