Portal connecting Dublin and New York shuts down

The Portal bridged New York City and Dublin and it's already been shut down temporarily.

The Portal bridged New York City and Dublin and it's already been shut down temporarily. Photo: Getty

An innovative live-stream connecting Dublin and New York  – intended to foster trans-Atlantic connections between the cities – has already been shut down after a string of lewd and cruel acts.

On the New York side, The Portal was unveiled last Wednesday next to the famous Flat Iron building.

The circular screen had a companion in Dublin, on the Irish capital’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, allowing both sides to see plenty of faces and local landmarks through The Portal.

Lithuanian artist and entrepreneur Benediktas Gylys was behind the artwork, which was presented by a New York non-profit group, theFlatiron NoMad Partnership. It was intended as an “invitation to meet fellow humans above borders and differences and to experience our world as it really is – united and one”.

However, the sweet concept of a 24/7 live-stream bringing about unity was quickly corrupted.

It included a video circulating on social media of one woman flashing her bare chest to those staring back at her on the other side.

Another woman was escorted away by Irish authorities, after she was seen grinding up against the installation with her backside. One onlooker who captured video of her alleged the woman was very drunk and had been there for some time.

Limerick Live reported the woman was arrested and subsequently charged.

There was another disturbing incident when someone in Dublin flashed up an image of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York’s Twin Towers. Reportedly, a swastika was also shown on the live feed.

Cities work on Portal solution

The inappropriate behaviour led to The Portal‘s abrupt shutdown as both sides try to figure out how to deal with the inappropriate behaviour.

Flatiron NoMad confirmed on X the installation would be temporarily unavailable. According to the BBC, the group stressed that only a handful of individuals were exhibiting “inappropriate behaviour” on the live-stream.

“Our goal is to open a window between faraway places and cultures that allows people to interact freely with one another,” Portals, the group behind Gylys’s other similar exhibits between Vilnius in Lithuania and Lubin in Poland, wrote.

Dublin City Council has been working on a solution, which would have involved blurring and been in place by Tuesday. But it was ultimately deemed not to be “satisfactory”, CNN reported.

Reportedly, Portals is also trying to figure out a way to bring an end to the lewd behaviour.

But while The Portal certainly brought out the worst in some, there were wholesome moments.

There was dancing, plenty of waves and even a few games of rock, paper, scissors.

Two best friends, one in New York and the other in Dublin, saw each other through the device. Two sisters were also able to connect on other sides of the world.

Before it was shut down, 30-year-old Dublin man Killian Sundermann waved at and spoke to his girlfriend at home while on a visit to New York. But he questioned the wisdom of The Portal‘s Irish location.

“I don’t think you could have picked a worse spot for late-night drinking crowds,” he said.

“I don’t know what I would have done as a young lad walking past it after I’ve had a few too many pints.”

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