About a mile south of the George Washington Bridge along the Hudson River, strange sculptures rise from the shoreline. They are taller than a person, many of them, and seem to defy physics, as large hunks of granite balance on a thin edge of stone.
The rocks are stacked on top of each other by self-taught artist Uliks Gryka, 33. He's been decorating the water's edge since one day last August, when he was riding his bike at sunset along the Hudson River Greenway in Washington Heights.
Gryka is Albanian and notes in the video below (from Fred Soffa) that the stones remind him of the tales he heard in childhood, in which rocks had formerly been living beings. It pained him that they were being taken for granted and overlooked.
"I was observing faces in the stones that I was looking at—I convinced myself that I had to give them a chance of breathing. The only way I could allow them to breathe was to elevate them," he says as he hefts one stone upon another. "I am literally building a body. I gave them presence."
On a trip over there this weekend, we saw dozens of them, as well as a sign near the sculptures identifying them as "The Sisyphus Stones." The sign also warns people to take care, and to keep children out of the area. The stones are easily toppled, as has been proven by vandals over and over again. But whenever they're pulled down, Gryka puts them back up (hence Sisyphus).
You'll find them on along the Hudson River Greenway in Fort Washington Park. Atlas Obscura has some handy directions: "From downtown, take the 1 train (red line) to 157th St. Walk one block north to 158th and turn left. Go all the way to the end and under the Hudson Pkwy to the Greenway. Turn right (north) and walk along the river for a while. Paths there diverge only to come back together, so at forks you can take any path. The stones are after the softball fields but before the bridge."