An old NYC legend claims that alligators live in NYC’s sewer system.
The way the story goes is that wealthy New Yorkers would head to warmer states to vacation, bringing back baby alligators with them as souvenirs. Once the alligators grew too big to live in an NYC apartment however, they were flushed down the toilet to live, and ultimately reproduce, in the city’s sewer system.
Of course the story has been denied by the city, but we all know how entertaining old legends can be. So it’s no surprise that, to this day, whispers of the legend still find their way around New Yorkers.
And now the legend has come to life by way of a new sculpture that’s just been unveiled in Union Square! The bronze sculpture, created by Swedish artist Alexander Klingspor who’s famous for working with bronze, depicts a life-sized sewer alligator sitting atop a manhole cover.
Titled NYC Legend, a smaller version of the reptile was first unveiled at the London Art Fair last year, but the life-sized version now stands in its rightful home.
Alexander Klingspor stated:
The theme of this piece is depicting the legend of the alligator in the NYC sewers. Having lived over a decade in Manhattan I wanted to pay tribute to the city I love by depicting one of its most popular urban legends. This artwork deals with two interesting aspects of our world; our need for gods, myths, and legends much like any other civilization prior to ours, and our habit of creating invasive species by moving animals from their natural habitats to human environments. As late as 2020 New York Times reported of actual Florida alligators on the loose in NYC.
Who knows, maybe the 4-foot-long alligator that found its way into Brooklyn’s Prospect Park last April proves the legend is true?
Either way, New Yorkers can head to Union Square’s Triangle Park and get a look at the sewer alligator shining in all its bronze glory now through June 2024.
A public art exhibition featuring more work from Klingspor will also be on display at the Thompson Central Park New York’s ground floor atrium through November. The exhibition will give New Yorkers a behind-the-scenes look into how Klingspor brought the NYC Legend to life.