A Sparkly Bus Trip In Search Of A Floating City


Double-decker tour buses are hardly a novel sight in Manhattan, but if you bedazzle the bus with sequins and glittering streamers and load it up with a rowdy, pajama-clad brass band, even the most jaded New Yorker will stop and look. We know because we were there, squeezed in among rowdy musicians atop a bedazzled bus that wound its way through the city streets on Friday afternoon. The traveling performance was part of an effort to drum up publicity and support for a public art installation that two artists want to bring to Central Park. Nope, it’s not The Gates Part II. It’s a miniature floating city called Chili Moon Town.

Regina Geisler

Created by Anna Galtarossa and Daniel Gonzalez, Chili Moon Town made its debut in Mexico City on Chapultepec Lake in April 2007. Measuring 26 feet long, 26 feet wide and 29 feet high, the city is composed of steel and vinyl skyscrapers that float on 90 plastic barrels. Visitors can take boat rides to view the interior, a sparkly cavern covered in sequins and neon lights.

Regina Geisler

Galtarossa and Gonzalez conceived Chili Moon Town as a city that migrates to the people instead of the other way around. If the artists get permission to bring their floating city to New York, it would be moored in the center of the west wing of the Central Park Lake.

Friday’s bus ride was as whimsical and weird as the floating city it was meant to promote. The musicians, members of Brooklyn’s own Hungry March Band, played on the upper deck, occasionally ducking to avoid decapitation by traffic light. People on the street waved and danced as we drove by, and the bus made a few stops to entertain curious crowds and hand out yellow balloons. A stop at the Union Square farmer’s market was cut short when a security guard put the kibosh on a pillow fight; the SoHo crowd was more enthusiastic. Scroll down for more scenes from our strange trip.

Bryan Derballa