NYC-Dublin art ‘portal’ connects 2 cities, but quickly descends into chaos

Click to play video: 'Crowds in Dublin wave to NYC through ‘Portal’ art installation'
Crowds in Dublin wave to NYC through ‘Portal’ art installation
WATCH: Crowds gathered in Dublin, Ireland, to catch a glimpse of New York City life through a visual portal on May 8 as part of a public art project. "The Portal" art installation features a 24/7 visual livestream, allowing real-time interaction between Dubliners, New Yorkers and visitors to both cities.


Late Monday, the Dublin City Council announced there will be changes coming to the Portal linking the Irish city with New York City via a 24/7 livestream. The modifications, which were not specified, are to do with the “inappropriate behaviour” from a “small minority” of visitors to the art installation.

Though the council noted an “overwhelming majority of interactions are positive,” the authority said instances of bad behaviour, including mooning and other crude gestures, have been “amplified through social media.”

“While we cannot control all of these actions, we are implementing some technical solutions to address this and these will go live in the next 24 hours,” the council said in a statement to the Irish outlet RTE. “We will continue to monitor the situation over the coming days with our partners in New York to ensure that Portals continue to deliver a positive experience for both cities and the world.”

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Thanks to a newly established “portal” between cities, New Yorkers and Dubliners can flip each other off from an ocean away.

The twin art installation, which features a pair of large circular sculptures with screens displaying a 24/7 visual livestream from both cities, opened on May 8. New York City’s Portal can be found at the busy junction of Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, while Dublin’s sits near The Spire on O’Connell Street.

According to a press release from the Flatiron NoMad Partnership, one of the groups behind the Portal, the “groundbreaking” sculptures were created to establish “an unprecedented visual bridge between these two iconic cities.”


A giant portal just opened that connects NYC to Dublin. Check out PORTAL in Flatiron Plaza through Fall 2024 where you can see people on Dublin’s O’Connell street in real-time. Where should the next PORTAL be? #flatiron #portal #publicart #nyc #newyorkcity #dublin #nyctodo #coolthingsinnyc #nycworld #oconnellstreet

♬ Science – ZydSounds

Already, the Portal has allowed for wholesome fun, with Dubliners and New Yorkers waving at one another and showing off friendly signs at all hours of the day. Others have challenged those on the opposite end of the Portal to international dance battles or raised their drinks in collective cheers.

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Though there is no sound in the Portal’s livestream, some long-distance friends even used it to connect with their loved ones across the pond.


#dublin #newyork #portal

♬ original sound – nico !


💌💌💌 #nycportal #dublinportal

♬ original sound – audios 🤍

However, as is usually the way with these things, the Portal has also enticed naughty behaviour from locals at both ends of the installation.

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There are dozens of videos on social media of Portal visitors giving people in their new sister city the middle finger, only to have it returned back again and again. Other crude gestures have come from New Yorkers and Dubliners of all ages, endearing the Portal to those watching videos about it online.

When a reporter for the Irish Times visited the Portal after it was unveiled, he wrote it only took 30 minutes before “a guy in a flannel top on the New York side gave the middle finger to the Dubliners, who repeated the gesture back at him enthusiastically.”


This nyc-dublin portal is too cute😭😭😭

♬ original sound – samuraiume

Some of the lewd jokes went beyond just hand gestures and triggered actual offence.

In a since-viral video, someone in Dublin showed the portal a message from their phone that read “RIP Pop Smoke,” the American rapper who was killed in 2020. After the phone was pulled away from the camera, another was raised showing an image of smoke billowing from the Twin Towers on 9/11.

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Another New Yorker was filmed as he dropped his pants and mooned unexpecting Dubliners, earning gasps and cheers from onlookers.

Some New Yorkers had their own fighting words (or rather, photos), with references to the Irish potato famine that occurred in the country from 1845 to 1852.


Dublin Portal to NYC contact for licensing #NYCPortal #DublinPortal #Dublin #NYC #Potato #FYP

♬ NEWYORK – Simon Estrella

Portals founder and artist Benediktas Gylys called his work “an invitation to meet people above borders and differences and to experience our world as it really is—united and one.”

“The livestream provides a window between distant locations, allowing people to meet outside of their social circles and cultures, transcend geographical boundaries, and embrace the beauty of global interconnectedness,” Gylys said.

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The New York City-Dublin Portal is not the only of its kind. In 2008, a “Telectroscope” was produced in New York City and London, U.K. that facilitated a livestream to allow people to see one another an ocean away.

The Telectroscopes had no audio, and like the Portals, visitors held up signs to communicate with their foreign counterparts. The Portal will remain through fall 2024, with artistic performances from both countries scheduled throughout the summer.

Beginning in July, the Dublin Portal will also connect to other global city destinations in Poland, Brazil and Lithuania.

On Monday morning, the Portal suffered a brief technical interruption when a “technical glitch” caused an outage. told Irish news outlet RTE that its team was working to resume the livestream, which was back online by the afternoon.

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