Announcing Portal: Connecting New York and Dublin

Supported by the Simons Foundation, a large-scale sculpture placed in the heart of the Flatiron district connects the two iconic cities via livestream.

The Portal sculpture in the Flatiron District connects New York City to Dublin, Ireland, via livestream. Emily Tan/Simons Foundation

On May 8, 2024, a massive interactive sculpture was unveiled at the Flatiron South Public Plaza, a few blocks from the Simons Foundation offices and adjacent to the iconic Flatiron building. Called Portal, this public sculpture that incorporates science and technology connects the cities of New York and Dublin, Ireland. Passersby in both cities will encounter a 24/7 livestream, offering a real-time view of life across the Atlantic Ocean.

The New York City Portal is a collaboration between the Simons Foundation, the Flatiron Nomad Partnership, and the New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program. The Portals project was founded and conceptualized by Benediktas Gylys, a Lithuanian artist, as a network of visual bridges that transcend borders and foster connection among people living thousands of miles apart.

An identical structure was placed on Dublin’s historic O’Connell Street and features breathtaking views of some of the city’s most recognizable buildings and monuments. The Dublin Portal is presented by the Dublin City Council.

The public unveiling of the New York City and Dublin portals took place on May 8 at the Flatiron Public Plaza. The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Daithí de Róiste, and Ya-Ting Liu, NYC’s Chief Public Realm Officer were on hand, in their respective cities, to commemorate the trans-Atlantic ceremony. Simons Foundation president David Spergel also gave remarks at the New York event. Programming around the New York City Portal, led by the Flatiron Nomad Partnership and including art and cultural events, will commence later this month.

David Spergel, president of the Simons Foundation Emily Tan/Simons Foundation

The New York City Portal is supported by the Simons Foundation’s Science, Society & Culture division, which is driven by the ethos that science is part of culture and that science can and does happen all around us. Portal is an extension of that belief and follows in the rich tradition of art, performance, installation, and more in New York City’s public spaces. Happening upon something unexpected, on any given corner, is part of day-to-day life for New Yorkers.

“Public spaces are what make New York City so vibrant and exciting,” said David Spergel, president of the Simons Foundation. “From music to art, the use of public spaces amplifies the collective voice of our city. We’re committed to ensuring that science and technology continue to be part of that voice.”

The intersection of art and science has been, especially in recent years, an area of great interest for Science, Society & Culture at the Simons Foundation. Launched in 2023 to coincide with “In the Path of Totality,” the foundation’s Triangle Program seeks to bring together artists, scientists and producing partners to spark connections and creativity. The goal is to produce new artworks, spanning several different mediums, inspired by scientific phenomena.

The foundation has also supported art-focused incubator programs through its Science Sandbox initiative. This includes MAX, an organization that fosters collaborations between artists, scientists and producing partners, and the Creative Science track at NEW INC, which supports creative practitioners working across science, art and culture.

Located steps from the Simons Foundation’s offices, the Portal installation reflects the foundation’s continued commitment to New York City, especially to its neighbors in the Flatiron district. The New York City Portal will be on public view until November 2024. Visit the Flatiron Nomad Partnership site for updates on programming and events.

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