We saw this in Pittsburgh-they had just had the “International Festival of Firsts” to welcome him. Here is some news about it:
The first U.S. version of the 40-foot-tall rubber duckie that’s made a splash in harbors from Hong Kong to Sao Paulo since 2007 has appeared in Pittsburgh.
Each city builds its own duck from the plans of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, and the whole project includes massive pontoons, crews to inflate and deflate the duck, and in this case, alerting organizations such as the Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Hofman has said the duck has “healing properties” because it knows no frontiers, doesn’t discriminate and doesn’t have a political connotation.
The project began when Paul Organisak of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust saw pictures of other duck events and sought Hofman’s approval for the first U.S. duckie.
But even after agreement was reached, Organisak was in for some surprises about its creation.
“I just thought you blow up the duck and put it in the water,” he said, but in fact there’s been a secret months-long construction process, including 14,000-pound pontoons.
It’s no secret that the large inflatable bird, an absurd creation, caused a bit of a pop culture frenzy in Hong Kong. “Countless duck-themed products have shown up at shops and restaurants.Teenagers are wearing duck-themed outfits, and tourist kiosks are selling rubber duck postcards,” writes the New York Times’ Joyce Lau. “Its smiling face was even seen at the Cheung Chau bun festival, a 200-year-old tradition on an outlying island.”
When the balloon sculpture was deflated for maintenance earlier this month, the duck’s temporary demise prompted pure panic (particularly on Twitter), with one disappointed bird fan stating to AFP, “The sky looks like it is crying for me-I took time off from work just to see the duck and now it is just a blob”.
Hofman’s beloved masterpiece was eventually revived, and the world hopped on the gigantic waterfowl wagon once again — even going as far as involving the Rubber Duck in a viral campaign to commemorate Tiananmen Square.
“It’s a big yellow rubber duck. You’ve got to have a sense of humor about a thing like this, or you’re missing the point” muses one observer in Pittsburgh.
excerpts from : NY Daily News 9/28/13 and Huffpost 1/3/13