Last week I took a ride out to Crissy Field with Brian Lee, a partner at the soon-to-open Spoke and Hub in North Beach. On the way, he suggested we take a quick detour out to the Wave Organ. “The what!?!” I replied. I’ve lived in SF for 16 years in the same location, have skated or biked past the Marina Green hundreds of times and never have I heard a word about a Wave Organ and besides that, what the heck is it!? Well, it’s kinda difficult to find, first of all. You have to go past it and access it by the Marina Yacht Club and then go some distance down a paved sea wall. If you can find it, there at the end, is the Wave Organ. I found this link by Roadtrip America. www.roadtripamerica.com/places/waveorg.htm A google search on [wave organ + san francisco] brings up a lot of results. I was apparently completely in the dark on this little SF gem.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
• The Wave Organ is a work of environmental art created by Peter Richards and George Gonzales in 1986. Peter is Artist-In-Residence at the Exploritorium, San Francisco’s hands-on science museum.
• “It’s best at high tide,” he said.
• “I do environmental sculpture,” he said. “I’m sort of a cross between a landscape architect and a sculptor.
• “The whole thing is constructed from stones that came from an old Gold Rush-era cemetery north of the city,” explained Peter. “It was moved to make way for a housing development, and the stones were brought here.” Sticking up like periscopes among the carved granite blocks were over a dozen listening tubes. We tried them all, and then took turns in the ‘stereo booth,’ where the sounds from the pipes emanate from three sides.
• And the sound? It’s like listening to the world’s largest sea shell. It’s like distant drums, muffled cymbals, quiet thunder. The variety is endless, and the sounds of the pipes are punctuated by the cries of gulls and the barks of sea lions. The sounds of ships’ horns drift across the bay, and little waves slap against the stones.
• We sat and listened as the sun rose over the bay. The Wave Organ’s music is a symphony of land and sea, complex, subtle, powerful, hypnotic.
• The Wave Organ is art at its best, well worth a journey anytime, even an hour before sunrise.
Here’s a pic from Brian that shows his retro cruiser and Pinkie at the Wave Organ. Thanks!