Irked about West Palm Beach’s downtown construction? Lighten up with new ‘Cone-y Island’ maze

Irked about West Palm Beach’s downtown construction? Lighten up with new ‘Cone-y Island’ maze

Attack of the cones? Decorated traffic pylons will be positioned along the downtown West Palm Beach waterfront for its summer public-art project, "Cone-y Island." (West Palm Beach DDA / Courtesy)

West Palm Beach is aware of your downtown construction woes – the sudden detours near Brightline, the Rosemary Square facelift – and wants you to go play in traffic.

As its tongue-in-cheek apology for the ongoing roar of jackhammer noise, the city will debut its public-art project “Cone-y Island” on Thursday, June 6, along the city’s tony waterfront. Built by Palm Beach County prop artist Frank Navarrete, this construction-themed pop-up will be a literal playground maze of orange cones, road barriers and other traffic-themed objects.

Not ironically, “Cone-y Island” will open across the street from actual construction, a Clematis Street streetscaping project taking over the 100 and 200 blocks of the city’s busiest, touristy drag.

“Cone-y Island” will be part of West Palm Beach’s Summer in Paradise series, a lineup of family-friendly events that will include live music, free movie screenings, dance performances and giveaways that will last through Aug. 1.

A rendering of Palm Beach County prop artist Frank Navarrete’s "Cone-y Island," a public-art playground featuring a maze of orange cones, road barriers and other traffic-themed objects. (West Palm Beach DDA / Courtesy)

Not really, although we get why you’d think that. (We’re looking at all those construction cranes, Fort Lauderdale.) “Cone-y Island” is a glorified playground with sandboxes and makeshift tunnels, and adults and children can crawl through a maze of traffic-themed obstacles, including red-striped guardrails and hundreds of orange rubber cones. Yellow caution flags provide shade, and there are even palm tree-shaped sculptures made of recycled orange pylons.

Summer in Paradise, hosted by the city’s Downtown Development Authority, will kick off 6-10 p.m. June 6 with free Clematis By Night music by Disco 54 Band, the Spazmatics, Rock the 90s and Peace of Woodstock. Meanwhile, actors from Lake Worth’s Take Heed Theater company will introduce themselves as “Clematis Cone Heads,” a posse of costumed pylons who will “spread spontaneous cheer” during several downtown events this summer, according to the city’s website.

It’s true. Last year’s Summer in Paradise centerpiece was an installation of 15 fairy tale-themed homes, a nod to the city’s lack of affordable housing. In 2017, the main draw was “Aesop’s Tables,” a series of 25 picnic tables that reinterpreted Aesop’s fables as modern-day teachable moments.

The West Palm Beach 4th on Flagler fireworks display will return to the West Palm Beach waterfront. (West Palm Beach DDA / Courtesy)

The waterfront events, located at 101 N. Clematis St., West Palm Beach, will include Cone Checkers (11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through Aug. 1), a lifesize checker board with cones as checker pieces; and a Kid’s Cone Zone (various events June 6-Aug. 1) with city trucks and construction vehicles the public can touch.

On SnowCone Saturdays (noon-2 p.m. weekly through July 27), all waterfront visitors can claim a free snow cone by following the city’s social-media pages, which will announce the exact locations.

The Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach (411 Clematis St.; Monday-Sunday from June 9 to July 31) will offer prizes in exchange for the public scouring the bookshelves for its hidden decorated traffic cone, Mr. Coney McConerson.

The city will host its annual 4th on Flagler Independence Day bash, returning 5-10 p.m. Thursday, July 4, with live music and an 18-minute fireworks display.

Meanwhile, the city will screen free movies on June 14 (“The Lego Movie”) and July 12 (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”) for its Screen on the Green program. The Summer in Paradise will culminate the with Clematis By Night Back to School Bash from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 1, featuring DJs, a pep rally, games and prizes for schoolchildren.

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