Photo: + Pool

This New Installation Illuminates NYC’s East River Based on Water Quality

New York City News National Parks Art + Architecture
by Eben Diskin Oct 7, 2019

The dirtiness of your local river is one of those things you might prefer to ignore, but this light installation in NYC’s East River will make that pretty much impossible. Just north of Pier 17, this LED light installation will indicate exactly how clean or dirty the river’s water is, changing colors based on water quality. Quality will be measured using data pulled from sensors set up at Pier 17.

Jeff Franklin, a designer of the + POOL light installation, said, “The design recognizes the ‘+’ sign as a symbol of positivity, indicating the positive steps we have taken to improve water quality since the Clean Water Act of 1972. Conceptually, it’s also a symbol of inclusivity in that the water that surrounds us belongs to no one single group, but to everyone.”

View of NYC

Photo: + Pool

To create the water quality algorithm, + POOL tested bacteria samples using the same system Paris uses to test for swimming water quality in its canals. To monitor the river’s water quality in real time, you can check out the online dashboard. “We wanted to figure out a way to empower people with the data,” said Kara Meyer, managing director of Friends of + POOL, “and engage them visually with what is happening in the water in front of them.”

The installation comes after the Economic Development Corporation called for applications from pool operators to build a filtering pool system between the Brooklyn Bridge and Pier 35, and + POOL plans to apply.

The lights will remain on display through January 4.

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