A floating dome made of umbrella spokes and empty soda bottles, bound on canoes from the South Bronx to Inwood, where it would have stayed in a monthlong exhibit, was shipwrecked on Rikers Island this week, causing a commotion among corrections officers, who immediately confirmed that no passenger was aboard and then lassoed and reeled it in and towed it with a truck. In the process, it was pretty much destroyed. DNA Info reports that Amanda Schachter, one of the architects of the “Harvest Dome,” said it was “reduced to a pile of broken plywood and tangled metal.”
Schachter and her husband and architectural partner Alexander Levi were also the creators behind “a floating model of the natural history of the Bronx River watershed by rigging 3,000 spent MetroCards with 30 broken umbrellas and 4,000 empty bottles, plus the elbow grease of 100 volunteers,” reports the New York Times.
Harvest Dome, which got a $5,000 grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, was made partially from collected dead umbrellas obtained by friends and neighbors. When it accidentally landed at Rikers instead of its intended destination, people were surprised. The scene, from the Times,
On Rikers, guards reported that a large, weird object was floating toward the women’s jail. The dome and canoes heaved into bouldery riprap on the island shoreline. “Strangest thing I’ve ever seen,” Elisio Perez, the warden, said. A police harbor unit directed the motorboat back toward the Bronx River. Corrections officers dragged the dome off the rocks, using a winch on a tow truck. The surviving splinters were more umbrella than dome.
Schacter has plans to rebuild and set the dome afloat again, perhaps when it’s a bit warmer, and perhaps in a path that avoids a high-security prison. Fortunately, however, it was only a dome made of garbage. Just imagine how the prison guards would have treated a floating Lego man!