Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

This Bird Is the Word Forget the Pirate Parrot and the Pittsburgh Penguin. One Big Bird Is Painting the Town Quack and Yellow

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

This Bird Is the Word Forget the Pirate Parrot and the Pittsburgh Penguin. One Big Bird Is Painting the Town Quack and Yellow

Article excerpt

The Giant Rubber Duck's fans were not disappointed.

Those fans -- gathered on the Clemente Bridge and the Riverwalk and the steps of Point State Park by twos and threes, and then dozens and hundreds -- numbered in the many thousands of people all packed together and squinting downriver into the sun on Friday afternoon to await its arrival.

And then, just as the tempers of hot children and harried mothers began to fray, bored teenagers returned their attention to their smartphones and grandparents began looking for a place to sit down, a flash of graceful yellow floated into view from around a bend in the river.

"There it is!" "Look, there it is!" "It's here!" people shouted, nudging their friends and pointing downstream. And then, laughing and cheering and clapping and capturing videos on their phones, they watched entranced as the 40-foot-tall, 30-foot-wide rubber duck and its placid smile drew closer.

Alex Bouchard, a freshman at nearby Pittsburgh CAPA who had come to the Clemente Bridge with a friend, was exultant at the sight.

"I've been, like, waiting all day for this," he said with a grin. "You don't understand."

What made him so excited to see it?

"I mean, it's a giant rubber duck," he said, explaining the obvious without a trace of sarcasm. "It's just so cool."

The giant duck, a unique creation built slightly shorter than usual by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman so it could fit beneath Pittsburgh's bridges, is the first to appear in the United States after similar creatures have created an international sensation in France, Australia, Japan, Brazil and five other countries since 2007. In Asia, Europe, Australia and South America, the rubber duck has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors and has become so popular that it even has its own Facebook page and Twitter account.

In Pittsburgh, the duck's arrival began with the arrival of its frame Tuesday, followed by the duck himself Wednesday, at a remote part of the Alcosan property on the Ohio River, said Alcosan spokeswoman Nancy Barylak. …

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