The Opening

99 Red Ballons for World Love in Times Square

At the end of the video you see the pho­tog­ra­ph­er Adri­an Müller tak­ing the pic­ture below.

A Symbolic Gesture: Love Takes Flight in Manhattan

It turned out that the project took place on May 1st, 2003. We held our grand open­ing on Times Square fea­tur­ing 99 red Bal­loons, love post­cards, and a mas­sive bill­board. The 99 bal­loons were hand­ed out to passers­by with the request to write a love mes­sage before releas­ing them into the Man­hat­tan sky. While this suc­ceed­ed with a small group, most peo­ple were too pre­oc­cu­pied to par­tic­i­pate, as depict­ed in the video.

In a sym­bol­ic ges­ture, this dis­play of love in Times Square was also intend­ed to be placed into the wound­ed heart of the city, offer­ing some heal­ing pow­er after the events of 9/11.

Coin­ci­den­tal­ly, on the same day, George W. Bush declared «mis­sion accom­plished» aboard a large destroy­er some­where in the ocean. What an iron­ic coin­ci­dence! While I had to post­pone my mis­sion to this date, he had already achieved his.

The only acknowl­edg­ment we received that day was from a reporter at, who pub­lished a sto­ry online. Lat­er, we secured a full-page fea­ture in the Scarls­days News because Lar­ry was teach­ing in that city. How­ev­er, The New York Times did not deem it sig­nif­i­cant enough to cov­er, and even the local news­pa­per in my home­town of Lucerne did­n’t report on it until six months lat­er. The tim­ing just was­n’t right.

Nev­er­the­less, for me, it was still a suc­cess. I made it hap­pen, over­came per­son­al fears, and turned parts of my idea into real­i­ty, which made me proud. While it did­n’t reach the world as expect­ed, it still reached many peo­ple. And if not a mes­sage of peace was received, it cer­tain­ly demon­strat­ed that one per­son, with the help of friends, can chal­lenge them­selves and achieve con­sid­er­able progress toward their goal of spread­ing love and peace.

The images below were most­ly cap­tured by Adri­an Müller.