The so-called "Waterboard Thrill Ride" uses the controversial interrogation technique as its theme. Steve Powers' storefront display, among other things, pictures SpongeBob SquarePants saying "It don't Gitmo better!" as Squidward pours water over him.
A stone's throw from the Cyclone roller coaster and Nathan's hot dog stand, the installation costs a dollar to view.
A window with bars offers a look at a Guantanamo-like interrogation, with a robotic figure wearing a hood leaning over a man in an orange jumpsuit, his face covered with a towel and his body tethered to a tilted plane.
Lights come on and water pours into the man's nose and mouth, producing convulsions for 15 seconds.
The political display sits in the midst of New York's decaying entertainment mecca, filled with beloved historic rides and the perennial object of development battles.
Powers says his aim is to provoke people into thinking about the interrogation technique.
"Robot waterboarding became a way of exploring the issue without doing any harm," he told The New York Times. "It's putting a unique experience on the table. And it doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to look in there and say: 'That's really what's going on? That's crazy."'
On Aug. 15, Powers says he and a few other men plan to subject themselves to the real thing: They'll have themselves waterboarded by a professional trained in interrogation techniques.
The sideshow will then be moved to Manhattan's Park Avenue Armory, to be displayed with other projects from Democracy in America, an exhibit series sponsored by the public art fund Creative Time.