The Dance Chimes in Battery Park

You might recall how I got excited about the interactive musical surprise in Battery Park after Andrea wrote about it on her blog, YYZ to NYC. If you don’t recall the post and you’re intrigued by the idea, go read it and then visit the park without reading any more of this.

Because as promised/threatened, I’m going to reveal what that surprise is. But first, in case you haven’t really understood that this is a minor spoiler, here’s a photo of my dog, Howard, packing himself in our dogsitter’s suitcase.

OK then! Warrie Price of the Battery Conservancy says they’re called dance chimes—the one I loved was a three-foot-deep sound box with nine bronze plates on springs that, when you step down on them, strike musical chimes. It and its partner (there’s another one in the park) were designed by Alfons van Leggelo. “When Alfonse came and showed the idea to us in 1998, I said we had to do it,” says Price. “A true musician can even play a tune on them.” My friend Lisa was evidently inspired to channel Anna Magnani.

And to give you a sense of how magical they are for kids, here’s a video from [a reader who has decided her name should be redacted] and her son and her niece.

After reading about the second set of dance chimes, Andrea returned to the park to check them out. She sent a photo…

…and a video.

Even if the surprise is shot, go check them out. Better yet, take someone who doesn’t know about it and watch the look on his/her face. Who cares if the chimes have been there since 2005? They’re a great example of how New York City is full of surprises even when you think you’ve discovered all there is to discover.


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