NYC and Dublin now have a permanent virtual connection, Source: Twitter

Dublin gets permanent connection to New York City through a virtual portal

Dublin gets permanent connection to New York City through a virtual portal

This is city twinning for the 21st century

The older cultural solidarity concept of city twinning has started to take on a much more contemporary form thanks to modern technology. Following in the footsteps of Vilnius and Lublin, now Dublin and New York City have also installed a matching pair of virtual portals allowing their residents to peer into the daily life of the city on the other side of the screen.

The portals are akin to round sculptures featuring a round screen in their centre. They are installed in public places - in the case of Dublin, that’s O’Connell Street and for NYC, that’s Flatiron Plaza in Manhattan – offering real-time unfiltered livestreams 24/7. In essence, they are a window straight into the other city through which passersby can look into what the weather is over there or even communicate with other passers-by on the other side of the screen.

A window across the Atlantic Ocean

The two portals form part of a public art project aiming to unite citizens via technology on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. The project was launched on 8 May and has proven to be a curiosity for the inhabitants in both cities, even if the technology itself is commonplace these days – after all everyone has a phone equipped with cameras in their pockets.

Yesterday, however, the virtual portal suffered a “technical glitch” and stopped broadcasting the livestream.

The nature of the project, providing a 24/7 livestream, is such that sometimes interruptions will occur due to technical glitches, maintenance or simple software updates,” explained the technical team from, as quoted by RTE.

The European cities of Vilnius (Lithuania) and Lublin (Poland) were the first to get connected through a virtual portal in 2021. Recently, it was used in the promotion of the Pink Soup Festival taking place on 1 June in Vilnius.

Edit: Shortly after the publication of this article, news emerged that the portal was to undergo "technical solutions" due to "inappropriate behaviour" on the Dublin side, as per various media reports. It turned out that while on the New York side there was security, the portal sculpture was unattended on the Irish side.

Dublin City Council was keen to emphasise that the majority of interactions at the Portal have been positive, with a successful marriage proposal among the highlights since it began operating six days ago



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