Rivers Alive! is the outgrowth of the collaboration between Al Landzberg, a sculptor, and Anthony Walmsley, a landscape architect. Landzberg’s model for a previous interactive environmental artwork, “Sky River”, was exhibited in White Plains, NY and Bronxville, NY in 2005-06 and reviewed in the New York Times. Like Rivers Alive! it was focused on the intersection of the water and the sky. Clean-up of the Hudson River and adjoining waterways has driven a great interest in the rivers and provided a compelling reason for interactive environmental artwork that could provide direct public access to the water.
New York City has focused on the transformation of its waterfront for more than a decade, providing an opportunity for a large scale waterfront proposal. Anthony Walmsley became a collaborator in Rivers Alive! because of his interest in landscape architecture and rendering. The collaborators had worked together previouly on the Westchester 9/11 Memorial. After first looking at the west side of Manhattan, the emphasis shifted to the East River, which was still in the planning stage, in March of 2007.