Dublin-New York portal closed temporarily over inappropriate behaviour

An art installation that connects residents of New York and Dublin has been temporarily closed after it attracted a string of “inappropriate” acts.

The Dublin-New York City “Portal” is an interactive sculpture that uses a webcam to connect the two cities.

But the new art attraction caused chaos when people began exposing their bare bottoms and flashing pictures from the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the 24/7 live video feed.

Now the art project has been temporarily shut less than a week after it was opened due to “inappropriate behaviour” with organisers stating they are trying to come up with ways to prevent bad behaviour, the BBC reports.

Dublin City Council said the installation was turned off on Monday and Tuesday, while the Flatiron Nomad Partnership in New York said it was paused until 03:00 EST (08:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

“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,” said the Dublin City Council in a statement.

It was installed on May 8 in tandem with its sister Portal in Dublin, which faces the city’s bustling O’Connell Street.

Billed by Portals.org, the group behind the project, as a “bridge to a united planet,” each structure enables passers-by in either city to see — but not hear — what’s happening on the other side 24 hours a day on a massive 8-foot-by-8-foot video screen.

But that earnest utopian vision proved no match for the pub-lined Dublin thoroughfare, whose Guinness-glugging patrons were quickly drawn to the futuristic-looking exhibit like moths to a flame in videos circulating online.

Within hours of the Dublin portal going live, a “very drunk” woman in her 40s was led away by cops and arrested after “grinding” her backside against the screen, as Liza Linnane, the woman who filmed video of the incident, explained in the comments of her Instagram post.

“Basically she was there for about 20 mins very drunk and was slapping and grinding against the portal before guards stepped in,” she wrote.

The arrested woman wasn’t the only Dubliner who couldn’t resist using the symbol of international kinship to put their rear end on display.

A video posted on X, formerly Twitter, shows an inebriated-looking man waving at a crowd on the New York side in broad daylight before dropping trou and giving them a Big Apple-size eyeful of a full Irish moon before stumbling away, his dimwitted pals chortling in approval.

Another Dubliner missing the point of the exhibit entirely brandished a mobile phone showing the chilling image of United Airlines Flight 175 careening toward the South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11, with the crowd on the New York side groaning in response.

One imbecile repeatedly flashed a swastika on his phone, ruining a sweet photo op for Matt Shaver, 30, who was visiting New York from Los Angeles and came to the portal to see his sister, who lives in Dublin.

“That sucked. Especially since that was right when my sister came on screen and I was trying to get a picture of her,” Shaver told the New York Post on Sunday.

“I was like, great, this guy is ruining everybody’s moment right now, that’s terrible.”

Adam Nunan, a cruise ship audio engineer originally from Dublin and in New York while the ship is docked here, said, “That doesn’t represent Ireland very well when you do that.

“That was everyone’s thoughts back home, there was a lot of people who didn’t want the portal to be built for that reason, that Americans might look at Irish people in the portal doing weird stuff,” he said. “But in these types of things, there’s always going to be that minority of people who ruin it for everyone, you know?”

People checking out the portal in Manhattan on Sunday afternoon took the rude behaviour mostly in stride, although some exchanged mock lewd gestures and middle fingers with the crowds on the Emerald Isle side.

Catherine Doran, 58, a paraprofessional from Queens, said she was actually surprised there hasn’t been more vulgar behaviour.

“Irish people just want to stir things up. They like to create controversy. It’s not that it’s serious, it’s for fun. Just somebody wanting a reaction,” she said.

She pointed out Dublin Portal’s proximity to Talbott Street, which she said is home to “a lot of anti-social behaviour.

“There is a lot of drugs in that area, a lot of homelessness, all the bars, all the clubs, when they’re all coming out, it’s like, ‘What are we going to do now? We’re going to the portal!’ … They just want to get a rise, they just want a reaction.”

Untoward antics aside, most portal visitors in Manhattan enjoyed themselves.

Some passers-by have been cheekily using it to flirt with counterparts across the Atlantic.

Others have been taking advantage of the unusual opportunity to connect with far-away loved ones in a way that feels “a little more real” than a text or FaceTime, as Mackenna Vickory, 23, a paralegal from Brooklyn, described it.

Vickory was at the portal to see her parents, who have lived in Dublin for six years for her father’s job.

“It’s so funny to be able to see them, it’s very emotional, it’s so nice,” she said. “I think we’re so used to texting and calling and FaceTime that this feels a little more real and exciting to see them in their element and up close.

“It feels really exciting and strange and serendipitous and lucky just to have it pop up between two cities where I live and my parents live.”

New York’s and Dublin’s portals are the third and fourth exhibits to be set up. The first matching pair went live in May 2021, connecting the European cities of Vilnius, Lithuania, and Lublin, Poland.

The Manhattan portal is scheduled to remain in place until November.

Until then, try to keep your arses in your trousers, would you, Dublin? We’re trying to do a thing here.

-With the New York Post.

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