Let’s talk about the 800-pound gorilla [it literally weighs 800 pounds] on the East River shore of Greenpoint. Artist Noa Bornstein’s Peace Gorilla has found her way home to Greenpoint where she was created. As of August 15, the sculpture is greeting, welcoming touch, and high fiving park goers along the esplanade of Newtown Barge Park–where the East River meets the Newtown Creek. The path from the entrance to the park on Commercial Street at West Street leads directly to her. Peace Gorilla will remain in the park for a year, August 2022—August 2023.
Peace (the sculpture’s first name) extends her arm toward the United Nations building and to her friends at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, where she was installed from 2020-2021 under the auspices of NYC Parks Art in the Parks Program — and now also with the permission of North Brooklyn Parks, in Greenpoint.
The life-size bronze was cast at Bedi-Makky Art Foundry on India street and is mounted on a base with the word ‘friend’ in 90 languages—learned and verified with native speakers, at consulates, and language institutes, including ABC Languages and Endangered Language Alliance in Manhattan. The concrete base was created by Oso Industries, and the design and template for the words by Visual Mechanics. Both companies are based in the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center where Noa also has her studio.
A tactile QR code (laser etched by Visual Mechanics) leads to an audio guide for the visually impaired as well as the sighted. The small plaque in Braille and English next to the code was created by Lisa Yokana and her students at Scarsdale School, under the guidance of Joy Bieder, mobility specialist for the blind.
Walton Hauling relocated Peace from the Wellstone Woodshop, where she was in storage after her nine-month placement at the UN, down to the park. The installation at Newton Barge Park was engineered by Noa’s husband, Eric Batchelor, and accomplished with his Wellstone NYC Custom Woodworking staff, Guillermo Moran and Wilson Chimbo.
“The 800-pound gorilla in the room (or park) may symbolize what we humans have yet to accomplish. Peace Gorilla continues to invite us to make friends and peace with each other, and with hers and other species,” says Bornstein A Celebration of friendship and community with Peace Gorilla is planned for Spring 2023.