The Gates, February 2005

October 13, 2009

SaffronFabric-photoIn February of 2005 I had the occasion to make a short trip to New York. The circumstances were less than ideal – my uncle had died – but I knew that Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s installation, The Gates, was still up in Central Park. I didn’t know what to expect, but I wanted to see it! I flew into LaGuardia and took the bus to Grand Central thinking I would check my one carryon bag in the lockers in the station, walk up to the park and spend a couple hours, head back to GC and catch the train to Pelham. My first surprise was when I discovered that since 9/11, no bag checking at any public transit facility. Okaaay. So I schlepped up Fifth Avenue to the park dragging my suitcase behind me and as always, a camera bag on my shoulder. For a Floridian, the day was cool (low 40’s) but had a soft winter overcast in a NY sort of way. It reminded me how much I love the light of that city.

Trying to accept and understand the Christo installations as art, and they are, is challenging. More than art, they are an event. It was only three years and a few months since that dreadful day when the city saw two of its grandest edifices crumble in a terrorist attack. New York was permanently scarred both physically and emotionally. But you would be hard pressed to see any sulking or mourning in Central Park on this cool winter day. There seemed to be a festival atmosphere in the air. Crowds of people were walking about, taking photos, having a picnic lunch, strolling babies, riding the carousel and eating hot dogs. And it was a Thursday. Yards of flowing saffron fabric lit up the landcsape through the bare winter trees. It also seemed to light up the spirit of the city. I was glad that I went. Really, really glad that I could experience that once-in-a-lifetime event.

After a few hours I walked back to Grand Central Station and warmed away my chill with a dozen Kumamotos and a bowl of chowder at the Oyster Bar before heading for the train.

Just this year, while talking with Tim Rivers at our Photo Salon group, he said he and his wife had also seen The Gates. A couple weeks later Tim brought me a swatch of the saffron fabric which apparently they were giving away samples of on the day he was there. This tangible thing made a nice compliment to my photos and my memories.

They Are Here!


3 Responses to “The Gates, February 2005”

  1. graphicgreg Says:

    More information on Christo and the gates including sketches and plans on the website

  2. kirk Says:

    Thank you for reminding us of the exquisite addition a thread of saffron can make.

  3. graphicgreg Says:

    Thanks Kirk! Especially good in a paella too 😉

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