Trunks of redwood trees in a small alley

Redwoods in New York City? They exist. And, surprisingly, they are a part of New York’s natural ecology. What is not part of the city’s natural ecology is ‘Lost Man Creek,’ a new public art project located in bustling Downtown Brooklyn. Artist Spencer Finch’s installation opened in October 2016, and will remain on display through March 11, 2018.

The Story of ‘Lost Man Creek’

Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch is known for his experiments with light, color, nature, and perception. If you’ve been in New York since 2009 and visited the High Line, you may have seen ‘The River That Flows Both Ways,’ another public art project of his that was decommissioned this year. For this exhibition, Finch worked closely with Save the Redwoods League to recreate a 790-acre glen in California’s Redwood National Park. 4,000 dawn redwood saplings are arranged to mimic the topography of the section of the forest.

Viewing and Respecting the Work

To the consternation of some viewers, you cannot walk through ‘Lost Man Creek.’ Nor are you supposed to touch the miniature redwoods. The work is intended to be viewed from the outside rather than explored from within. A retaining fence encircles the entire exhibit, and the closest you might get is touching a pine needle or two. Finch installed a special irrigation system to ensure the trees will be able to thrive in a concrete Downtown Brooklyn. The dawn redwood is a deciduous tree, and the saplings have already shed their needles for the winter. If you want to see the trees in their full coniferous glory, visit in late spring or summer.

What Happens Next?

To comply with zoning regulations and maintain the to-scale ratio set for the installation, the redwood saplings will be pruned regularly so they do not exceed four feet in height. When Finch’s ‘Lost Man Creek’ goes down in March 2018, the trees will be transplanted to new homes.

‘Lost Man Creek’ is just a ten-minute walk from NU Hotel Brooklyn. If you have business at or near Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center, stay with us for a convenient and comfortable experience.