WESTFIELD, NJ — When Bob Zuckerman was appointed to lead Downtown Westfield Corporation last year, he said he wanted to make the downtown “sparkle and shine.”

And shining it is, at least in the North Avenue parking lot of the Westfield Train Station, where 15 lighted seesaws have been set up as part of a playful art installation — Impulse — aimed at attracting shoppers and diners into the downtown during what typically would be a low point for local businesses.

“We’re hoping that this activity will stimulate people to come to downtown — Downtown Westfield — buy things, spend money on food, dine, shop … and really help stimulate our downtown economy,” he said during a brief opening for the exhibit Thursday evening. Zuckerman, a South Orange resident, also serves on the board of South Orange Trustees.

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Westfield’s Ahisha Quallis was among people to test drive the seesaws.

“Just to have a little bit of fun right now is everything that I need,” Quallis said.

Initially launched in Montréal, and created by Lateral Office and CS Design, the dynamic public art installation has visited Australia, London, Boston and New York City — among other major stops. According to Creos, the tour producer, cities that have hosted Impulse have reported business increases in the millions to their local economies.

Councilwoman Dawn Mackey, liaison to Downtown Westfield Corporation, and Erin Ben-Hayon, who chairs the DWC’s promotions committee, mounted one of seesaws and themselves bounced as the fixture lighted up with their motion.

“I haven’t been on one of these in 35 years,” said Mackey, who in jest asked: “Hey Bob, can we keep them?”

Ben-Hayon, who led the initiative, described the initiative as a group effort.

“It was really a team effort by all, and we’re excited to have this downtown,” she said. “We think it will bring warmth, light and happiness in a time that has been challenging.”

Funded by a grant from Main Street New Jersey, with assistance from Columbia Bank and the food delivery service Wonder, the seesaws will be open to the public Friday, March 5, through Sunday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

A series of promotions surrounding the installation are slated for the coming weeks, including bagpipes, a pizza challenge, a cocktail tour and chocolate specials.

Click here to read about the specials on the website of Downtown Westfield Corporation.

 

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