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Apart from chocolate rivers (particularly those with an appetite for chubby, evocatively named German youths), waterfalls are surely the most mesmerizing of nature’s wonders, even if they are not so much natural as the spirited creations of a Danish/Icelandic artist and stop running at the stroke of 10 p.m. every night. Today saw the launch of Olafur Eliasson‘s monumental, multi-site public art project, “The New York City Waterfalls,” four cascades rising as high as 120 feet out of New York Harbor. Announced in January, the Public Art Fund project was realized in eco-friendly collaboration with Tishman Construction Corporation and a team of nearly 200 designers, engineers, and construction workers.

In the press release issued today from his office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the waterfalls “a beautiful symbol of the energy and vitality that we are bringing back to our waterfront.” Meanwhile, Eliasson says, “they will give people the possibility to reconsider their relationship to the spectacular surroundings…and evoke experiences that are both individual and enhance a sense of collectivity.” But our favorite description comes from New York Times art critic Roberta Smith. “They could almost fool King Kong into thinking he is back home,” she writes in her review published today. “They are the remnants of a primordial Eden, beautiful, uncanny signs of a natural nonurban past that the city never had.” The watery paradise lasts through October 13.