The Moon and New York City

by Kenneth Francis (June 2024)


Anytime I hear the word ‘portal,’ I think of CERN’s creepy opening ceremony in Switzerland and other matrix madness about the nature of reality, despite the mysterious wonderment of some celestial/cosmic phenomena. And what better mad ideas to erect portal ‘art installations’ than in Dublin central and New York City’s Fifth Avenue, where metropolis-diversity-inclusion fail is bound to happen. In terms of public civility, Dublin (or NYC) is no Tokyo.

Such installations, as well as in some other European cities, occurred last month, shortly after the epic lunar eclipse over the east-coast of America, when the installation of visual ‘portals’ allowed people in Dublin and NYC to connect, real-time 24/7, via a live video feed.
In Dublin, the portal’s inner glass screen, roughly the size of a giant tractor’s rear wheel enveloped in a stone ring, is beside the middle of the city’s busy thoroughfare. This location is opposite O’Connell Street’s Spire (a stainless-steel pin over 120 metres high where Nelson’s Pillar once stood), beside North Earl Street; a street, which is unrecognisable from the Dublin in ‘the rare old times’ (1950-1970), which I’ll come to later.

I am reliably informed that North Earl Street nowadays is the most rundown area in the city and an inappropriate location for the portal. It is a busy area where the smell of cannabis permeates the air. So, why pick this poor location?

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland radio show, Nollaig Fahy, a tourism manager with the City Council Culture Company, said: “The reason it’s in that particular location is because we needed several key things to be available for the portal to exist. We needed services for power and Wi-Fi. We needed space and then we needed some iconic imaging for New York—and no better icon in this country than the GPO and the Spire right beside it.” (The GPO, rebel headquarters for the Easter Rising is certainly iconic but the Spire is a monumental eye-sore.)

It is no surprise that a series of incidents at the installation involving such “inappropriate behaviour” prompted a temporary suspension of the live stream in mid-May. These incidents included nudity, offensive gestures, images displayed of pornography on mobile phones and some photos of the burning Twin Towers in New York City on 9/11. A lot of this was also shared on social media worldwide.

One man beside the Dublin portal, who probably had one too many pints of Uncle Arthur’s brew (Guinness), pulled his trousers down and ‘mooned’ to the gathering of people in the Big Apple (it brought a whole new meaning to the song, “Arthur’s Theme [Best That You Can Do”]). And an OnlyFans model on the other side in NYC, flashed her breasts against the portal, later telling her Instagram fans she thought “the people of Dublin needed to see her two, homegrown New York potatoes.”

In another incident, a man in Dublin exposed his genitals at the installation. These puerile gestures resulted in closing the portal temporarily following the lewd incidents.

Speaking in New York, Lithuanian portal artist Benediktas Gylys said there should be some limits, and appealed for people to behave, as there could be children watching on the other side. “I think everyone should think of a seven-year-old child that is in New York that wants to experience and that wants to connect to Dublin and wave to people there,” he said.

I agree with him when it comes to protecting children and displaying sick photos of the Twin Towers burning, as well as flashing body parts. But those incidents aside, there is a part of me that chuckles because of the abuse and ridicule such hideous installations/statues are subjected to. Northside working-class Dubliners, who can see through ideological BS, used to be the wittiest, funniest people on the planet. Although they are no angels and are quite blunt, they also had, and still have, a disdain for the Establishment and State, which have a history of neglect for the inner-city’s northside housing and suburban wastelands.

Examples of inner-city Dubliner wit on the city’s gaudy statues/monuments is when locals christened the Spire on O’Connell Street, “the Stiletto in the Ghetto”; the kitsch Molly Malone busty statue on College Green, “The Tart with the Cart”; the Anna Livia lady-in-the-fountain statue near the GPO, which resembles a Botticelli less-attractive giant sister of Venus, “The Floozie in the Jacuzzi”; North Earl Street’s statue of a haughty James Joyce, leaning on his cane just a few feet from the portal, “The Prick with the Stick.” And the latest installation has been christened, “The Portal-oo.” Unfortunately, this name might tempt drunks to use it as a urinal.

Some negative theories about the installation in Dublin are that it might be used as a surveillance camera and/or a distraction from the thousands of homeless people sleeping rough in tents on the overcrowded littered streets where small businesses lie vacant and boarded-up due to the lockdowns, and violent crime and drugs are rampant (same with NYC). Also, a distraction from the massive perpetual political failures in improving the city. But it was not always like this.

During the 1970s, the late Dublin composer Pete St John wrote a great song called “Dublin in the Rare Old Times.” In the song, the fictitious narrator, Sean Dempsey, a working-class Dub, reflects on the changes that have occurred in the city since his boyhood days in the early-1950s/’60s before the aesthetically pleasing, but politically teasing, Nelson’s Pillar was blown up by an alleged anti-British Irish nationalist.

Dempsey, who feels ‘progress’ has made a ‘city of my town,’ dislikes the “new glass cages,” the modern office blocks, and flats being erected along the quays. One wonders what he would have thought today about the portal and a once-beautiful city now overcrowded and in spiritual and physical ruins. A cold city without a soul.

The last-remaining old Dubliners believe their city needs an installation hole in their street like a lobotomised hole in their heads. They also see a city that has more foreign asylum-seekers and immigrants than any other city in Europe. As for the cost of the portal, it is difficult to get this information but no doubt the Irish taxpayers will foot the bill.

It is the same for the older native New Yorkers. I’m sure they also lament on the golden years in the Big Apple during a vibrant and transformative era during the 1950s to the end of the ’60s. From the bright lights of Broadway, NYC was a secular epicentre of artistic expression in musicals, theatre, cinema, Beatnik writers of literary counterculture, rock’n’roll, jazz, Art, post-war economic boom, golden age of boxing, iconic fashion trends, and much more. Now, the city is an urban sanctuary shipwreck flooded with tens of thousands of illegal aliens, homeless people living in tents, with random stabbings and muggings on the mean streets. A city where the National Guard, and NYS Troopers, conduct random bag checks at Grand Central Station on the main subway line in Manhattan.

Meanwhile, the portal in Dublin, which will remain in place till the autumn, has since been ‘reopened’ but has reduced operating hours and new ‘blurring’ technology to help combat the inappropriate behaviour that led to its temporary shutdown. The livestreams will run daily from 11am until 9pm in Dublin and 6am to 4pm in New York.

Additionally, fencing has been installed in front of the New York and Dublin portals (I thought borders were not inclusive) and more signage will be erected in Dublin. I wonder will one of the signs have a trigger warning stating:


This portal includes images and/or the odd cultural stereotype that are inconsistent with today’s
standards of inclusion and tolerance and, if there is a glitch in the blurring, may offend some viewers.


In my opinion, the council should ditch the portal and concentrate in cleaning up the city. But it will not do that. Instead, this month its woke army of virtue-signalers will put most of its energy and time into flying rainbow flags and multi-coloured bunting around the city as Pride Month kicks off. And if the portal ‘blurring’ fails momentarily due to some technical glitch, let us hope that the folk in the Big Apple won’t get caught between the ‘moon’ and New York City.


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Kenneth Francis is a Contributing Editor at New English Review. For the past 30 years, he has worked as an editor in various publications, as well as a university lecturer in journalism. He also holds an MA in Theology and is the author of The Little Book of God, Mind, Cosmos and Truth (St Pauls Publishing) and, most recently, The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd (with Theodore Dalrymple) and Neither Trumpets Nor Violins (with Theodore Dalrymple and Samuel Hux).

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


One Response

  1. I grew up in New York City, the Bronx specifically, and to be truthful, nobody in Manhattan thinks of the Bronx as part of NYC. As a lad, my fondest hope was to see the Bronx in the rear view mirror. No longer a native, when I have to go to the “city,” as Manhattan likes to call itself, I stay in the flower district where you get all sights, smells, and flavors of liberal urban decay; carnations, hookers, pools of urine, chewing gum sidewalks, and a fashionista ballet – as the lovelies of FIT (Fashion institute of Technology) dance their way around piles of litter, drunks, junkies, and assorted derelicts on their way to class. NYC is still big, but there’s no apple anymore.

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