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About the duck

| Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
The 40-foot-tall Rubber Duck is pulled up the Allegheny River near the North Shore on Friday Sept. 27, 2013. The duck is the creation of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and kicks off the American debut of his Rubber Duck Project and start of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
People flock to the North Shore on Friday Sept. 27, 2013, as the Rubber Duck arrives in Pittsburgh.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
The three-story-wide Rubber Duck floats up the Allegheny River as it makes its arrival in Pittsburgh on Friday Sept. 27, 2013.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
The Rubber Duck produced makes a tight fit beneath the Fort Duquesne Bridge as it makes its way up the Allegheny River on Friday Sept. 27, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
The Rubber Duck is pulled up the Ohio River near the West End Bridge, Friday Sept. 27, 2013. The duck is the creation of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman and kicks off the American debut of his Rubber Duck Project and the start of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Susan Eperthener of Bethel Park (left) and Stephanie McElheny of the North Shore, wait with their duck hats the Rubber Duck being pulled up the Ohio River toward the North Shore, Friday Sept. 27, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Hugo Robbibaro and his daughter, Ruby, 8, of Brighton Heights get a good vantage point on the West End Bridge to watch the Rubber Duck head up the Ohio River on Friday Sept. 27, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
The Rubber Duck is pulled up the Ohio River near the West End Bridge, Friday Sept. 27, 2013.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
The three-story-wide Rubber Duck floats up the Ohio River before its arrival in Pittsburgh on Friday Sept. 27, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Zara Hickman, 26, of Denver waits for the 40-foot-tall Rubber Duck with her own rubber duck, 'Chuck' on the North Shore, Friday Sept. 27, 2013. Hickman traveled to Pittsburgh to see the duck.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman watches his creation, the 40-foot-tall Rubber Duck as it makes its way up the Allegheny River to the North Shore for its debut in America, Friday Sept. 27, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
A giant 40 foot-tall Rubber Duck is pulled up the Ohio River near the West End Bridge, Friday Sept. 27, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
A man walks down the main cable of the Clemente Bridge during an event featuring a giant 4- foot-tall Rubber Duck being pulled up the Allegheny River near the North Shore, Friday. It was unclear what the man was doing on the bridge, but officials said he was not part of the entertainment.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
The four-story high Rubber Duck floats up the Ohio River before its arrival in Pittsburgh on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
The Rubber Duck floats up the Ohio River past the USS Requin on the North Shore on Friday Sept. 27, 2013.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
The Rubber Duck produced by a Dutch artist floats up the Ohio River before its arrival in Pittsburgh on Friday Sept. 27, 2013.

Just what is so captivating about a 40-foot-tall rubber duck? I lived in Hong Kong when it made an appearance there in the spring, so I get asked all the time.

When I moved back to the Pittsburgh area earlier this summer, it was surreal to see that the duck would be making its U.S. debut here.

Just a few months ago, I stood at the Star Ferry Pier among a crowd of size I'd never seen, all clamoring for a chance to snap a picture of a giant rubber duck. I found myself there after the South China Morning Post front page read “bath time,” displaying a large and charming duck I remember from my childhood bathing habits — a sentiment hundreds of thousands of fellow visitors shared during its time there.

It's a strange thing, that duck. Often the first reaction is to laugh, to sneer, to have a certain disbelief that a giant rubber duck is actually going to sit in the Allegheny and so on, yet everyone attends.

Countless crowds gathered in Hong Kong to see this megalith, this personification of childhood memories or the current indulgences of their children.

As I walked around the pier, I saw vendors selling souvenirs, professional photographers making sure a young couple's photo with the duck is worthy of framing, people of all ages marveling.

The Dutch artist's creation is brilliant, silly, tawdry, unusual, a metaphor for this, a scathing criticism of that, inspiration for countless jokes from the 96.1 KISS “Morning Freak Show,” and a delight to children.

So the answer to the question is simple: The giant rubber duck, this bastion of opaque yellow dye, is all things to all people.

John Frazier

East Washington, Pa.

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