Waterfalls Made Cash Flow? City Says Art Project Brought $69 M.

Apparently waterfalls are good for business. At least that’s what the Bloomberg administration says.

The Olafur Eliasson-designed set of four waterfalls that landed on New York City’s harbor this past summer–the public art viewed by its critics as bulky, water-spewing scaffolding that acted as a giant defoliator to trees under the Brooklyn Bridge–cost $15 million to build, funded through the Public Art Fund.

But it’s all worth it, the city said today. The project brought an additional $69 million into the city economy, the Bloomberg administration tallied, as residents and tourists poured cash into ferry boat operators, hotels and cultural institutions–cash that otherwise would not have been poured.

For example, the Bloomberg administration said of the 1.4 million people estimated to view the waterfall, about 79,000 would not have come to visit otherwise. Ferry operators saw their weekly ridership jump 123 percent; hotel rooms downtown saw disproportionate business; as did cultural institutions nowhere near any waterfalls, such as P.S.1 in Queens.

[Correction: this article initially said that the city paid for the cost of the waterfalls.]

Waterfalls Made Cash Flow? City Says Art Project Brought $69 M.