Cliff Diving at Boston’s ICA


Cliff Diving at Boston’s ICA

August 26, 2012
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The Institute of Contemporary Art (or ICA) has been one of my favorite buildings in Boston since its construction a few years back. Something about a good cantilever that gets me all warm and tingly inside 🙂  About two years ago my Mom was given the opportunity via the Cooper Union, her alma mater, to go on a private tour of the facility since 2 out of 3 of the building’s architects also had ties to Cooper (Ricardo Scofidio is a professor emeritus there and Elizabeth Diller is his wife).  Since my mom knows my dad has limited patience for such artistically-themed outings, she bought me along as her plus one.

I will never forget the first time I looked out the row of plate glass windows that line the end of the ICA’s cantilever and hang directly over Boston Harbor. Looking straight  down into the water from about 6 stories up is certainly awe-inspiring, if not, nauseating. It only took my Mom a few seconds before she was saying things like “that’s enough of that” and ducking back into the hallway that led us to the windows. I myself felt fine, but admit that view was a lot to take in at once.

The view of the harbor from the ICA windows. Photo Courtesy of ICA, Peter Vanderwalker

Imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago I began to see advertisements for Red Bull’s Cliff Diving Series— that was to take place on a platform affixed to the top of the ICA. What? How can this be? My Mom couldn’t even look out the windows, and now they are telling me that people would be jumping off a platform ~50 feet above that (or 27 meters in total height)! I couldn’t believe it. For reference, this is what it looked like:

Surely these people must be insane! I just had to see this Cliff Diving experience for myself– I found my way down to the Seaport World Trade Center dock to try to take in some of the action yesterday. Probably not the best vantage point since I couldn’t see the divers land in the water, but I did get some pretty good pictures of these maniacs taking flight.

A cliff diver peeps over the edge before taking his dive

No turning back! Cliff Diving is a one-way sport!

Don’t worry, he managed to get turned around to go in feet first (which is necessary when diving from this height)

The crowd lining the Seaport WTC dock

Waving to the crowd from 27 meter up!

I wish the light were better, but this is the photoshop montage I put together of a single diver

Pretty crazy, huh? I love how they made use of my favorite Boston building for something so wonderfully insane. I hope they do it again next year!


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