WALKING ON AIR
Inaugural procession for the Walkway Over the Hudson. October 3, 2009.
CONCEPT and DESIGN: Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles
WALKWAY OPENING CELEBRATION DIRECTOR: Jeanne Fleming
Act One: Water
The Great Seal of New York depicts two vessels on the Hudson River off Beacon landing, near the point where the salt water of the sea meets the fresh water from the mountains. The two vessels – one a three-masted schooner and the other a smaller sloop, reflect the estuary's dual identity as a conduit of global maritime commerce and as a resource for local freshwater livelihoods.
Act One of the procession opened with a living animation of the "River that Flows Both Ways" (or Muhheakantuck, as the Lenape natives called it). Performers set out from opposite ends of the bridge, animating 300-foot long waves of blue silk, along with an array of elements drawn from the history and ecology of the River. Elaborate head-pieces and giant windsock puppets of sturgeon, shad, and other Hudson River fish teemed among the waves, while replicas of historic Hudson River vessels – from Lenape canoes to the River's legendary steamboats, from Henry Hudson’s Half-Moon to the sloop Clearwater – floated on the surface.