Animal Estates

In 1609, when Henry Hudson and his crew of the Halve Maen sailed past Manhattan Island, the crew was impressed by the land, which was "pleasant with Grasse and Flowers, and goodly Trees, as ever they had seene, and very sweet smells came from them." Early European visitors noted that the island was home to wild turkeys, wild-tailed deer, elk, wolves, black bears and mountain lions, as well as less lyrical creatures such as mosquitoes and horse flies.

The artist Fritz Haeg wants to make Manhattan hospitable to at least some of its former inhabitants; I’m guessing that the wolves and the mosquitoes are not welcome to return. As part of the Whitney Biennial, Haeg has initiated a project called Animal Estates, a sort of public housing project for the more aesthetically discerning species of wild animals. Haeg’s inspiration for the elegant structures is the Mannahatta Project, which tries to recreate the landscape Henry Hudson’s crew first gazed upon 400 years ago. He describes the project in this video:

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