Overflowing Balloons Will Delight Children and Instagrammers

Hundreds of balloons were installed this week in front of Kidville on Amsterdam and 88th, creating a dramatic spectacle. It took a designer from Balloons Ink a full day to put it together, according to Jackie Leitzes, who spoke to her and sent us these photos.

ART | 33 comments | permalink
    1. dc says:

      Sure they look great, but after the hoopla they’ll simply add more pollutants to our environment and possibly harm wildlife, too. Not a fan.

    2. Toni Rabin says:

      Very attractive & creative but after balloons deflate who, how and where are they disposed of? Will they be environmentally considerate about polluting our delicate planet?

    3. Christine E says:

      We met the designer/artist Tommi last night just as they completed the installation. Apparently she does these beautiful sculptures around the country. See more on Instagram at @balloons_ink.

    4. Wijmlet says:

      waste of human energy. tho lovely

    5. PeterPan says:

      Pity there are some Scrooge’s responding. I’m too often disappointed by the negativity in WSR responses. The balloons are beautiful and it is nice of Kidville to do this. .

    6. liz says:

      wonderful! a touch of whimsy and free for all!

    7. I agree. Balloons are a severe hazard to wildlife.

    8. Sharon Lowe says:

      Sad day for our planet. I wonder how many animals will die after I eating the ones that will inevitably blow away.

    9. Catherine says:

      I hope none of these escaped into the atmosphere. Hoping they did the responsible thing, but even so all these balloons created debris that probably will go right into the ocean? We have to come up w biodegradable balloons.

      • Jay says:

        Educate yourself people! These are air filled!They aren’t helium. They are biodegradable. You pop them and toss them in the trash. Go after the millions of plastic bottles that people don’t recycle instead…

    10. T. Erlich says:

      Oh dear, as much as kids love balloons, and as pretty as these are, balloons are severely dangerous to the environment and to birds. I would educate my children to make their party choices accordingly. Perhaps a child will invent an alternative.

      • Balloons_stink says:

        One already exists- origami balloons. You will need to attach it to a stick instead of a string, however.

    11. Rochelle says:

      I agree with dc
      We are having so many problems with waste in our environment and you should see the balloons that wash up on the beach
      Yes they look so cool but then what ?

    12. Stef Lev says:

      Fun, but bad for the environment!

    13. brutallyfrank says:

      Enjoy the balloons! Why must everything be a problem? I’m sure they’ll dispose of them properly. Just relax for once.

    14. Jackie says:

      Per Tommi, the owner of balloons_ink (and amazingly talented artist), the balloons are all natural biodegradable latex – not plastic!!!

      • NN says:

        I was excited to read this because I was just thinking about balloons for an upcoming birthday, but a quick google shows it’s not really true. 🙁 “Although latex balloons are considered bio-degradable, this will take anywhere from 6 months to 4 years to decompose and they can wreak a lot of havoc before they do.”

    15. Eric says:

      Sigh. There is not a balloon in this world that someone on the upper west side does not have a pin for.

    16. John A Hayes says:

      These balloons are not helium filled, they will not fly off. I’m sure they will be disposed of properly when they are done with them. This is an excellent way to use balloons but NOT create a threat to wildlife.

    17. UWS Craig says:

      I am disgusted by the use of plastic which destroys our ecosystem – – we want our children to have an environment, right?
      That is why I support the switch to straws that naturally dissolve in water, and I endorse balloons that quickly decompose into organic dust.

      • Isaiah says:

        These are latex balloons, not plastic and biodegradable. All latex balloons are. Granted they can take a long time to degrade but they do, and there are over 50 microbes that can metabolize latex, and if you ask I can provide the study.

        • az says:

          Maybe the latex eventually breaks down, but not before it kills the fish or bird that ingests it.

    18. Burtnor says:

      Pretty, but I agree with all the comments about the deleterious effects of the plastic. Nice to see west siders so eco-conscious.

      Maybe West Side Rag could ask for comment from Balloons Ink or from Kidville, or both. Perhaps they have some environmentally responsible disposal plan.

    19. Isaiah says:

      My name is Isaiah and I am a Balloon professional. I am also a member of two balloon Environmental groups. We are against balloon releases. However, we are not for banning balloons, especially latex balloons. Obviously, we have our business to protect, but even in that, you do not go into balloons for the money, you go in because you love the work. It’s our passion to make wonderful things from balloons.

      In that, we agree that balloon litter is a bad thing. Balloons that are released to the wild can cause harm before they degrade. Even a cotton string can cause harm if released before it degrades.

      We all want to fight the misuse of the balloons and get the litter off the beaches.

      First of all a bit on how balloons are made. The highest quality balloons are made with latex and a bit of dye, (Not sure what that dye is based on, but that is something I am looking into) The latex is harvested from the rubber tree located on a plantation, in the rain forest. Some of these even have other wild trees growing in between helping sustain the natural wildlife populations. One of the largest brands, Qualatex sources their latex from Rain Forest Alliance Certified Plantations. These plantations help pull carbon out of the air and are protected from ranchers who want to destroy them for cattle farming.

      The latex is gathered much like tapping a maple tree and it does not harm the tree. These plantations help keep the ranchers who want to simply burn down the forest to raise cattle at bay. They help pull carbon out of the air, and they help save the rain forest and are biodegradable. No plastic is used 🙂

      Now I have heard some people call latex a polymer and therefore it is plastic. This is not true as all wood is a polymer, as is the skin on your milk. Just being a polymer does not mean it is a type of plastic.

      I have read every study I can on the biodegradability of balloons, even ones hosted on the balloons blow website, found here


      and found that they all degrade. How long it takes varies according to the environment, dry, wet, in fresh or salt water, etc. However, they do all eventually degrade.

      Now like anything else, it’s best that they never enter into the environment but are properly disposed of, with the best solution being composting them.

      Yes, you can compost all latex items, balloons, gloves, and even condoms. But you do not have to take my word for it, here is a list of non-balloon websites that state that you can compost latex.





      As for helium MRI machines use liquid helium. Liquid helium has a low boil point and quite a bit of it boils off during transfer. The helium that boils off in the process is often captured and sold as balloon/lifting gas. Yes, it is possible to refine this captured gas and re-liquefy it for use in MRI machines, but the cost of this is so high, that they would take a financial loss to do this. Instead, they sell it for balloons, airships, weather balloons and the like.

      Also, helium is not as finite of a resource as you may have been led to believe.

      We have a production shortage, not a supply shortage. Helium is found alongside natural gas and has historically been primarily sourced as a by-product of natural gas refining along with a few accidental pure heliums finds as well. Matter of fact there are some natural gas producers who do not find it economically worthwhile to capture and sale it, so they just release it into the atmosphere.

      Also according to John Hamak at the Bureau of Land Management whom I contacted on this, party/decor balloons account for less than 1 percent of all helium usage.

      The other thing is that Helium is actually constantly being created, albeit slowly from the radioactive decay of elements such as uranium. This gas slowly raises up to the surface and gets trapped in pockets.

      The crazy thing is, up until only a few years ago, no one actually looked to find these pockets, we have only been using byproduct helium. But a few people and companies started to look for helium and found a massive supply in Tanzania (here https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-07/tanzania-helium-find-may-be-double-first-estimate-explorer-says) and now another one in Tibet. (and here http://www.minagao.com/2018/05/10/the-discovery-of-helium-rich-hot-springs-in-the-ali-area-of-tibet-china)

      So eventually all the easy access Helium may be gone, just as oil is. However, since helium is a product of radioactive decay there are some hopes that it may be possible to generate it from the fusion reactors that are being researched at the moment. No guarantees on that front, however.

      But last I checked we had over a 300 year supply and growing.

      So to sum up, littering is bad, balloon releases are bad, and we need to fight litter and educate people on the damage they cause.
      But we do not need to ban balloons, especially latex balloons.

      Oh, and by the way, I only use helium between 10 and 20% of the time. My biggest seller is a balloon column built on a reusable metal lampstand and they do not move, they are popped and disposed of. I am going to try to work with my local composting plant to start taking them in and promote the composting of them here locally.

      So let us team up to fight litter and debris 🙂

    20. EllenUWS says:

      Why must so many respondents – to nearly every WSR story – always assume the worst? Before bemoaning the death of wildlife and the entire earth perhaps consider the possibility that they might be eco-friendly balloons and/or that they are responsibly disposed of. Why does everything have to turn into a joy killing, depression churning slog in these comments.

      Happy Monday moaners! Sure you can find a lot to complain about that.

    21. Cat says:

      I love it!!!!