06 May 2008

Robert Moses, Reveal Your Secret

Van Voorhees Park is situated at Congress and Hicks streets in Cobble Hill. Being so close to the docks, it features a number of nautical and oceanic touches. A metal fish kids can hop on. Four sprinklers in the shape of large snail shells.

It's all very nice. But one adornment perplexes me: a sort of flagpole, topped with a sculpture of a snail shell, from which a flying bird is emerging. Huh? Is there some allegory I'm missing here? Since when do birds fly out of shells? Why is the sculpture so tiny, and at the same time so prominent, being set eight feet in the air. Robert Moses was famously particular about the decorative details of the many parks he created in New York. What did he intend here?

For some reason, the thing reminds me of the Bernini's famous "Snail Fountain" in the Village Doria Pamphili, one of my favorite fountains in Rome.

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