Patti Smith, Resilience of a Dreamer (detail)
Fort Tilden Beach, Rockaway Queens.
Hurricane Sandy occurred nearly 2 years ago, tearing up the East Coast and ravaging the Rockaway Peninsula of New York City. Thousands of homes were lost to the deluge and then a fire, and much of the remaining natural sand dunes were washed away forever. Until this summer, Fort Tilden Beach had been closed due dangerous debris left in the storm’s wake.
To celebrate Fort Tilden’s reopening, and recognize the ongoing recovery of the Rockaways, MoMA has sponsored Rockaway! an arts and performance event running now until September 1st.
The stone above, carved with the poignant words of Walt Whitman is part of a large installation Resilience of the Dreamer conceived by musician, writer, and Rockaway resident, Patti Smith. One of five such stones placed around the park, this stone is placed near the shore, close to one of Fort Tilden’s many decommissioned military buildings, also pictured above.
Whitman himself was a naturalist, poet, and longtime New York City resident. The opening began with an incredible reading of his poetry by Smith and the actor James Franco.
Hurricane Sandy created surges of water 14 feet higher than normal low tides. It began as a tropical wave in the Caribbean, then quickly turned into a tropical storm and raged up the East Coast and then took an uncharacteristic turn westward near the Carolinas, which directed it straight into the New York Harbor. The timing of the storm was terribly perfect, in that it churned toward the metropolis during a full moon, raising the waters another foot.