Seen & Heard: The Roar of Starlings at City Hall Park

••• A reader-sourced shot of Raccoon Lodge‘s final night.

Raccoon Lodge's last night••• And the bar’s subsequent farewell message. (I did my best but the bars made it rather difficult.)

Raccoon Lodge farewell••• If you happened to read the first post about plans for the Cercle Rouge space (involving the owner of the Brass Monkey), but not the second (involving two chefs from Keith McNally’s operation), please do read the follow-up.

••• We’re deep into chugger season, so let me remind you: Those annoying people (charity muggers, or chuggers) asking you to donate to good causes must be avoided at all costs. They work for middleman companies that take most of the donation; the charities are happy with a small percentage (which is better than nothing) and your contact info. Not only are chugger companies deeply self-serving, they take money that could actually be doing good.

••• The Public Art Fund’s new sculpture show at City Hall Park, The Language of Things, has opened. Can’t say I was moved. Meanwhile, C. was outright aggravated by Chris Watson’s “Ring Angels”: It’s “a sound installation which is four loudspeakers playing a really loud recording of a flock of starlings. It’s at the west entrance, just where someone entering might hear the sound of the splashing fountain, or real birds, if only they could hear it over the roar of starlings recorded  in England. How are the real birds and squirrels going to sleep through this—it’s still going strong at 10 p.m., creating kind of a weird roar coming out of the darkness.” Sometimes they make a weird clucking noise, too. Below: The speakers and the exhibit’s description of the work.

Ring Angels by Chris Watson at City Hall Park Public Art Fund explanation of Ring Angels by Chris Watson at City Hall Park



  1. I am so not a fan of the art in City Hall park. It’s a beautiful space, particularly in summer. Why must we add neon lights (last summer) or speakers to it? Can’t we just leave it be or make the art installations for winter when no one wants to be there anyway? Why must I be forced into viewing art that isn’t particularly meaningful or moving?

  2. That is exactly how I feel about Brookfield Place ‘art’ installations

    • I spoked to a “docent” about the large rabbit installation at Brookfield. This was an installation created in Australia to bring attention to the growing menace of rabbits, a foreign species that were devouring vegetation down under at an alarming rate. Thus the name “Intruders.” Brookfield licensed the exhibit to send to many of their commercial properties around the world. Most people taking selfies with the rabbits, had no idea. A few of the things Brookfield brings are interesting, and overall any art in public space is better than none. But sometimes it seems to be the degree to which people take photos and share those, is the defining criteria for art in that space.

  3. I agree with C, extremely annoyed by Ring Angels. How does an installment like this make it to the finals, let alone win the placement. Let me see….hmmm visually ugly, audibly disturbing, it’s in! My two boys make better noise when they aren’t even trying to annoy me.

  4. A lot of crap.

  5. Can someone tell me a little more about these “chuggers”? THe save the children people were outside of whole foods just the other day.