A Park Visit on the Rocks
By Jason Burgos
A few hundred New Yorkers invaded the Naumburg Bandshell section of Central Park on February 11 to see an uncommon sight: craftsman from Long Island City’s Okamoto Studios carving blocks of ice into original works of art.
Using a variety of tools, ranging from chisels to chainsaws, the sculptors turned over 6,000 pounds of ice into iconic characters from Lewis Carroll’s classic tale, Alice in Wonderland.
The roar of chainsaws could be heard from several hundred yards away as the artists manipulated the blocks into their pre-determined shapes. Yet getting an up-close look at the works in-progress was no easy task.
While the park did have several police officers and organizers nearby, the event was far from a smooth undertaking for visitors. As one would expect with a free event, there was not much in the way of organized lines. People had to push and pull their way through a mass of humanity to get closer to the stage, where the show took place.
The MC during the event did keep on-lookers entertained with Central Park Conservancy trivia questions. Ranish, a 24-year-old visitor from Portland, Oregon, appreciated that aspect of the event. “I liked how it was interactive with questions,” he said.
Ranish came with his friend Prithvi—a Seattle, Washington, native who now lives in Washington Heights. “It clearly takes a lot of skill to do what they do,” said Prithvi as she watched the ice sculptors in action. However, the event was a bit chaotic. “It was a bit of a mess,” said Ranish.
If the stress of fighting to see statues made of ice was too much, visitors could visit a sculpting station where kids and adults could make their own works of art. There was also a plethora of food trucks to fill bellies on a chilly day.
After the sculpting finished, patrons in the park were able to attend a silent disco. A silent disco is similar to any party out in the park. However, the 80s and 90s tunes being spun by two DJ’s were filtered into headphones supplied by Quiet Events—specialists in the field of silent parties.