Giant Rubber Duck Makes a Splash in Pittsburgh
Ellisha Rader Mannering
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Sometimes bigger is just better and who can resist a giant rubber duck? You won’t find this rubber duck floating in any bathtub. Thousands of people flocked to the Clemente Bridge and the Riverwalk and the steps of Point State Park, where they watched the 40 foot duck be towed down the Allegheny River on Friday afternoon.
The duck was built by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and was actually shortened so it could fit underneath the Clemente Bridge. It is the first time a duck or any similar giant animal has appeared in the United States, although they are very popular and common in France, Australia, Japan, Brazil. The duck is so popular that it even has its own Facebook page and Twitter account.
Getting a giant duck to float down the Allegheny River isn’t an easy task. The duck arrived in pieces and had to be assembled by a special team. The frame arrived on Tuesday morning and the actual duck arrived on Wednesday morning. The duck was covered in a silver tarp for protection during its assembly and many people wondered what was really being built. Many speculated that it could be a spaceship, resulting in the assembly areas being referred to as Area 51.
Cold air and a generator were used to inflate the duck on Friday morning and it was towed with a pontoon from the West End of the Ohio River, up the Allegheny River. The duck is 40 ft. tall and 30 ft. wide.
“The duck was impressive and amusing to spectators. The sight of the cheering crowds was an amazing experience,” said Ms. Barylak, who rode in one of the boats towing the duck.
“There might be frustration with your day-to-day job and sadness and tragedy in the news, with all these standoffs lately,” she said. “This was something happy everybody can rally around.”
The reaction to the duck may spark the interest of other artists and cities and perhaps giant rubber ducks will begin showing up in the waterways of the United States more often in the future.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.