FLATIRON — Madison Square Park regulars are furious that a 500-foot-long art installation will hover over their green space for nine months, blocking sunlight and views of natural trees.
The massive installation, called Fata Morgana and funded by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, is made to appear like shimmering canopies that are raised on top of metal scaffolding to hover over various paths in the park until January 2016.
But park-goers are fuming at the timing and size of the piece, saying it's out of proportion and will block out sunlight just in time for summer.
“It’s way too big," said Olivia Larrain, a 46-year-old painter and park regular. “We have a tiny park and we want to be able to enjoy the real trees, we don’t want them to be covered up.”
The exhibit, made by Brooklyn-based artist Teresita Fernandez, consists of mirror-polished discs suspended on six set of scaffolding scattered around the paths surrounding the park's central oval lawn.
The artist could not immediately be reached.
The installation is “the most ambitious commissioned outdoor sculpture” the nonprofit had ever mounted in the park, the Conservancy wrote in a release about the exhibit.
Many residents said they appreciate the free art exhibits, but are worried the scale of it would affect the experience of the park.
“It’s huge, it’s enormous and it also looks like they’re building a shelter. This is ridiculous,” said Wonderly White, a 46-year-old dog walker who has been coming to the park for 20 years.
“The park is not a peaceful and quiet place anymore," said Michael Benabib, a 52-year-old photographer who has been coming to the park since the 90s. "I support the idea of an art project but the scale is the key objection here. I don’t go [to the park] to sit under scaffoldings."
A spokeswoman for the Conservancy admitted that the installations were "monumental in scale," but said that it would leave gaps to enjoy open air. The reason the exhibit is running for for so long is to offer views of the canopies during all four seasons.
"The majority of the Park's walkways remain uncovered," spokeswoman Kelsey Stokes said.
The Conservancy declined to reveal the cost of the project.
Installation of the work was expected to start sooner, but wasn't able to commence until mid-March due to the harsh winter, a spokeswoman said.
The scaffolding has all been set up and now crews are in the process of adding the discs. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of this month. The exhibit will run through Jan 10, 2016, she said.
On top of it all, residents said they have been dealing with the constant noise of construction as Shake Shack continues to renovate. The outdoor eatery, which closed in October 2014, is expected to reopen mid-May.
"There’s always something going on (in the park), and most of the time it involves trucks and generators," Benabib said. "You go to the park to find peace and all you hear is jackhammer noise."