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Climbable 'Dragon' Sculpture Arrives in Roosevelt Island

By Shaye Weaver | April 26, 2016 5:28pm
 The 4,400-pound dragon-like sculpture is open for the public to view and for kids to play on.
The Blue Dragon is Unveiled at Southpoint Park
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ROOSEVELT ISLAND — The island's got a dragon, but It's not the fire-breathing kind park visitors might've expected.

The 4,400-pound granite sculpture called the "Blue Dragon" is meant to be an abstract depiction of a mystic sea creature, and takes the shape of dark smooth waves, according to a spokeswoman for Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, which facilitated its installation.

The hulking structure was cut in a Swedish quarry, shipped from Germany and craned into Southpoint Park last month, before it was finally unveiled this week — to the delight of children who clamored onto it on Tuesday morning.

The Blue Dragon, positioned across from the United Nations building on the other side of the East River, was donated to the park by the artists who created it, Ulla and Gustav Kraitz, a couple based in Sweden. They chose Roosevelt Island for its home after Gustav Kraitz visited the park in 2014.

The 10-foot-long sculpture is not meant only as art but also a climber for children, according to the Kraitzes, adding that they chose a spot with a lot of foot traffic, where kids might stumble onto it.

"If the recipients of the sculpture enjoy it, it would make me happy," Gustav Kraitz said through an interpreter. "An artist makes pieces not only for himself. He's transmitting something, from here to there."

He said his many grandchildren "tested" the Blue Dragon and insisted he keep it because they loved it.

But residents of Roosevelt Island have already taken to the sculpture.

"It's wonderful for something like this to happen on Roosevelt Island," Frank Gibbs, 81, said after the unveiling on Tuesday. "We need something like this for the community. It's been a quiet island."