Niagara Falls Freezes Over, Creating Massive Ice Sculptures

Was it Robert Frost who speculated the world might end in ice? While it may not quite be Armageddon, the East Coast north of Virginia is fated to be an ice kingdom, at least for the next few weeks.

Of particular note, Niagara Falls has frozen over, leaving beautiful if incidental ice sculptures in the place of misty, roaring waterfalls.

The iconic tourist attraction will likely present an unfamiliar sight for days to come, as record-breaking cold is expected to continue in the coming days. For the time being, it will look nothing like Frederic Edwin Church‘s 1857 depiction of the landscape, which recently took up residence at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., as one of thousands of works taken on by that museum after the dissolution of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (see Corcoran Gallery of Art Dissolution Leaves Thousands of Orphaned Artworks. Who Gets Them?). Nor will it resemble Zoe Leonard’s artful vintage postcards, exhibited at the Dia Art Foundation in 2008. That project chronicled the evolution of a natural site into a tourist attraction. (Nor will it summon Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Ice Skating Waiter.)

The striking photographs of Niagara do, however, conjure up photographs taken after the Williamsburg warehouse fire just a few weeks ago, when overflows of water from the efforts of firefighters turned parked cars into surreal ice sculptures. Those images, in turn, are reminiscent of photographs taken in 1912 after a fire at the Equitable Building in Lower Manhattan, just a few miles from Williamsburg, when another winter firefighting endeavor had a similar result.


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