August 2008 - Central Park

Batman in Central Park

Performance artist and magician David Blaine plans to entertain audiences in September by hanging over Central Park like a bat. The “batman” stunt will feature Blaine hanging upside down for three days and two nights in a performance called David Blaine: Dive of Death.

The new endurance test will take place above the park’s iconic Wollman Rink in full public view and will see Blaine go without food for the roughly 60-hour period, though not liquids, provided he’s able to pull himself upright to imbibe the fluids. The end of the endurance event will be broadcast in a two-hour US television special on September 22. Blaine plans not to eat during the stunt and will sleep upside down.

Hmmm. I’m all for a variety of entertainment in the park. SummerStage, for instance, provides an eclectic and varied lineup of acts throughout the summer months. I’m not sure that the macabre spectacle of a human being hanging upside down above Wollman Rink is really appropriate for Central Park. What’s next – a reality show? Someone spends a week on the Carousel?

And we have the Chanel spaceship landing in Rumsey Playfield in October.

We suffered through the seventies when the park was rundown and under funded. Now it is beautifully rebuilt, perfectly groomed, safer than ever – and increasingly tacky. The 150th anniversary of Olmsted and Vaux’s Greensward Plan is being celebrated this year. Somehow I don’t think this was what they had in mind.


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