A little more about Albany's floating, burning tulip. Because we just had to know.

WaterFire Providence

A scene from WaterFire Providence in 2006

Like Nicki, we too were intrigued by the thought of a floating, burning tulip. It turns out that floating, burning art is sort of a thing right now.

As far as we can tell, the trend began in 1994, with environmental artist Barnaby Evans. Evans installed a floating, burning art exhibit in Providence, Rhode Island.
Apparently it was such a hit that Kansas City, Missouri and Columbus, Ohio commissioned Evans to create some floating, burning art for them too. The exhibits run for months and are accompanied by classical music. Kind of like Yanni with a lighter.

According to the Times Union, Albany officials approached Barnaby Evans about creating some floating burning art for our fair city, but the price tag was too high. So they're going a more economical $100,000 version. Don't think of it as cut rate floating, burning art think of it as floating burning art for a good value.

photo: Flickr user hlkljgk used under a Creative Commons Attribution / Share Alike license


WaterFire, in Providence, doesn't float. And it's also one of the coolest, most innovative things an American city has done to draw people back to the urban core in a long time....

Innovative would be the operative word here - I think that's Albany's problem. Several cities have already jumped on the band wagon, and to add a touch of irony - rather than commissioning the artwork for several weeks or months, we took the two-hour-light-it-on-fire special. Trust me, I appreciate the cool effects this surely promises - color, fire, water, heat - it's truly tantilizing. The question is, what will it do for Albany specifically? You need a safari-worthy Range Rover just to navigate the pot holes down Western Avenue, and we're spending $100,000 on a burning tulip.

Regardless, the much anticipated day has finally arrived.

Despite my sarcasm and skepticism, I will be at Washington Park promptly at 8:00 p.m. tonight to watch the tulip go up in flames. On second thought, maybe I'll be across the street on Madison Ave. After reading the description of how this is all going to go down, I think maybe standing back is a good idea. Perhaps I'll rub some of Dr. Z's Zel Gel all over myself too. Safety first.

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