Yesterday, the Kingdom of Netherlands officially unveiled a $2.3 million pavilion at Peter Minuit Plaza in Manhattan, a national gift to New York designed to honor the city’s rich Dutch history. The 5,000-square-foot pavilion was the work of the Amsterdam starchitects UNStudio and will house an organic food vendor and a tourists’ information booth. What’s more, every night at midnight, it’ll blast a light show as an homage to Minuit, the Dutchman who purchased Manhattan from Native Americans in the early 1600s (“minuit” means midnight). Cool! Weird! Which got us wondering: What does the U.S. think of its shiny new present? Here, we imagine a conversation between the Netherlands and America at the moment of the unveiling:
“Hey, hey, America,” the Kingdom of Netherlands said, “we got you a present!”
America eyed its gift. What was it? A windmill? A whirling alien spaceship? A flattened tulip?
“It’s a monument to our colonial history in New York!” the Netherlands explained, a little hopeful.
“Right, right,” America said, turning it over. “It’s ” it’s just what I wanted.?
The Netherlands beamed. “We make nice present, yes?”
What the hell do I do with this thing? America wondered to itself. Why can’t the Netherlands be more like other countries? Austria got me those crystal chandeliers. France got me the freaking Statue of Liberty. The Netherlands gives me this artsy-fartsy crap. Just get me something in the airport gift shop next time, okay, Wim?
“Of course!” America said. “You really shouldn’t have.” Maybe I can put it in Jersey.
“Also!” said the Netherlands. “It makes crazy color every night at midnight! Like Pink Floyd laser show! You like Pink Floyd, yes?”
“Boy, Netherlands,” America said, putting the gift back in its box and checking discreetly for a receipt. “You really know us. We’re speechless. Utterly speechless.”
[Images courtesy of UNStudio]