Battery Park City’s Brookfield Place is making a name for itself when it comes to presenting fresh, fun — and frequently interactive —  art installations the whole family can enjoy. Past hits for us have included beautiful and magical wishing stations and oversized, illuminated bunnies. Now, the downtown spot is hosting The Swings, a playful, musical sculpture that invites the public to  collaboratively create an urban symphony. Read on and then get swinging — it closes July 7!

The Swings at Brookfield Place

Collaborative Art
Walk into Brookfield Place and you find an oasis of calm away from the business and tourist bustle of the World Trade Center area — as well as some refreshing A/C and a killer food court if you need to recharge and refuel.

Step outside to the public plaza you’ll discover the center’s latest installation, The Swings. This interactive art exhibit brings music, collaboration and a little bit of physical activity to the space, turning it into a fun place for kids and adults alike.

Getting Into the Swing of Things
The Swings exhibit is the creation of Daily tous les jours, a Montreal-based design studio whose works aim to bring people together through collaboration and art. The exhibit is a giant swing set, designed to look, feel, and sound aesthetically pleasing. Each swing emits a sound when it’s used, and represents one of four instruments: piano, harp, guitar, and vibraphone.

A poster displaying the rules points out that The Swings are an art installation, not a playground; that is, they are meant to be played with collaboratively. (Most of the time, though, kids — and adults — just seem to swing to have fun, rather than composing a new musical masterpiece. That said, even with each visitor doing their own thing, the swings emit a pleasant tune, like a set of wind-chimes swaying in a gentle breeze. The effect is especially soothing thanks to the outdoor, waterfront location of the exhibit.

The Rules of Swinging
A set of swings naturally attracts plenty of kids, but adults are welcome to swing, too. Note: no matter how old you are, before you enter the area of the installation, you must sign a waiver. The waiver contains the usual “if you get hurt, it’s not our fault,” disclaimer and parents or guardians are required to sign for children under 18.

The installation is made up of 10 swings, so there is usually at least a short wait, and during peak hours, time on the swings is limited to five minutes per person. However when we stopped by, exhibit personnel were still determining when “peak hours” were, exactly. In other words, if you see an unusually long line, try coming back another time for a longer turn at the swings.

The exhibit area itself is large, with plenty of space in front of the swings to park your stroller, or stand back and let the kids enjoy themselves. Parents of kids shorter than 36 inches are required to swing with their kids on their laps. The rules also ask that all participants remain aware of their surroundings, don’t stand or horse around on the swings, and take turns. Of course, parental supervision is mandatory.

Swing Time
The Swings are open from Noon to 8 p.m. daily, but they close in poor weather. Stop by before July 7th to make some music, and keep an eye out for Arts Brookfield’s other exhibitions, artwork, and musical experiences throughout the city this summer.

The Swings
June 10 – July 7
12 p.m.- 8 p.m. daily
Brooksfield Place
230 Vesey St.
Battery Park City

Have you and the kids visited The Swings? Tell us about your experience in the comments! 

—Yuliya Geikhman