The NYC-Dublin portal is down again, in part due to an OnlyFans model and 9/11 imagery

“Portal,” the viral art installation that provides a real-time video link between Manhattan and Dublin, Ireland, was briefly shut off this week after some “inappropriate behavior” was observed on both sides of the Atlantic, according to a statement from Dublin’s City Council.

It will shut down again at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and turn back on by the end of the week, said the Flatiron NoMad Business Improvement District, one of several organizations behind the New York portal, in a statement.

Since the installation’s opening last Wednesday, people in New York City and Dublin have stopped by, often to share dance moves, display homemade signs or smile at folks in the other city via the portal’s livestream.

Photo by Ryan Kailath / Gothamist

Photos and videos have spread quickly on X, Instagram and TikTok, including one of a woman in front of the Dublin portal being led away by police and one of OnlyFans creator Ava Louise flashing her top from New York City. The creator took to her TikTok channel on Monday to claim responsibility for the portal being shut off in recent days.

“I thought the people of Dublin deserved to see my two homegrown, New York … potatoes,” she said in the video.

One image widely shared online showed someone in Dublin holding up a picture of the Twin Towers on fire during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“Instances of inappropriate behavior have come from a very small minority of Portal visitors and have been amplified on social media,” said the statement from the Flatiron NoMad BID. It noted that the portal had attracted “tens of thousands of visitors” in just the first week and that most “experienced the sense of joy and connectedness that this work of public art invites people to have.”

Photo by Ryan Kailath / Gothamist

On Tuesday afternoon, the portal was once again open to visitors. A few dozen people milled about, and most paused for a few minutes, while some had clearly made a special trip, holding handmade signs or talking enthusiastically on the phone to counterparts in Dublin.

“I saw the drama on TikTok,” said Malachi Bailey, who was accompanying his friend on a job interview. “People doing dumb stuff, dancing, the usual New York stuff.”

But the 9/11 photo went too far, Bailey said, noting: “A lot of lives lost that day.”

Ethan Tolbert, who was visiting from Atlanta with his family, had stopped by to see the portal on Sunday night, only to find it dark. He was glad to find it back online on Tuesday.

“This is amazing, it’s really cool,” he said.

Bethany Kim at the portal on Tuesday.

Photo by Ryan Kailath / Gothamist

Irish-American New Yorker Jenna McGeehen, who works nearby and stopped to see the portal on her lunch break, said that between the 9/11 photograph and the bare chest, she assumed that the installation was shut down due to the nudity.

“That doesn’t seem like the appropriate reason,” McGeehen said. “Honestly, being topless in New York City is legal, so.” (Women have been allowed to go top free in the city since 1992.)

Midtown resident and influencer Bethany Kim had come to meet a friend in Dublin in real time. She was carrying an acai bowl from a major chain and a handwritten sign to promote it with.

After locating her friend on the Dublin side, the two made repeated attempts to film a TikTok transition, tapping their bowls together across the screen.

The low video resolution and time lag on the feed made filming difficult. “We had this whole plan, but it’s not working,” Kim said. “The video quality is really bad.”

The installation is the brainchild of Lithuanian artist and investor Benediktas Gylys, who launched the first portals in May 2021, connecting Vilnius, Lithuania to Lublin, Poland.

“The Portals team and our partners in Dublin are working on additional solutions to limit such behavior appearing on the livestream,” the Flatiron Nomad BID’ statement said.

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