Just after Mr. Trash Wheel got a fresh pair of googly eyes, the Inner Harbor water wheel isn't seeing as clearly.
The left eyeball of the water wheel, overseen by Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore's Healthy Harbor Initiative, was declared missing in action Saturday night after high winds blew it off. (You can watch a slow-motion video of the traumatic incident above.)
The eye was found days later in the Jones Falls, according to Healthy Harbor Initiative director Adam Lindquist.
The 5-foot aluminum eyeball was found Tuesday afternoon by the National Aquarium and Clearwater Mills, the company that invented and operates the water wheel. Using the aquarium's underwater camera, a grappling hook and a boat hook, the eye was found at the bottom of the stream close to the wheel, Lindquist said.
Key Tech, a technology solutions company, installed the decorative eyes — which had LED lights powered by the wheel's solar panels — days before the start of Light City Baltimore.
The googly eyes became a hit among residents when they were first installed temporarily in October as a way to generate more interest in the water wheel, which collects debris and trash in the waters of the Inner Harbor, Lindquist said. Healthy Harbor Initiative decided to bring them back as a fun way to engage with the many illuminated installations and performances of Light City.
“This obviously revealed some flaws in our design approach and we are making modifications," Lindquist said. "We plan to have the eyes back up and running in a couple weeks."
Mr. Trash Wheel himself made light of his temporary impairment on social media, comparing his one-eyed look to that of the Natty Boh mascot. He's also sporting a pirate-like look in his profile picture.