This, folks, is my only photo (taken this evening) from my trip to New York to see Cristo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates project in Central Park. It’s a swatch of the fabric specially woven for the project. I managed to snag one of the last of the 1 million of these that volunteers handed out, consolation prize for my malfunctioning camera I suppose. (I think it’s possessed by a malevolent alien. It only works when I’m inside my house – perhaps because here it can use my wireless router to download the latest sabotage instructions from the mother ship?) Fortunately there are tons of nice photos of The Gates all over the net, including Newsday.com (click on the photo gallery) and the NY Times Gates coverage.
But my favorite online site about The Gates is The Gates blog, the author of which hosted a little meetup this weekend that included me, Lorianne from Hoarded Ordinaries, and Dave from Via Negativa. Lorianne, who I’d already met at the Keene Pumpkin Festival (another extravaganza in orange, btw), came down from New Hampshire Friday night and we set off from here early Saturday morning for the big city. A mere three hours or so later, we arrived in Manhattan and were welcomed by our host with cups of fresh hot chai, and we met Dave and the friends he drove up with from Pennsylvania. Over a late breakfast of curried scrambled eggs and the bread Dave had baked, we picked up some of the loose threads from online conversations and inferred personalities and began weaving those into the immediacy of physically present human beings. Not that anyone was so vastly different from their online persona, but there’s always so much more color and resonance in person.
In the afternoon, we all wandered through the Gates, the fabric panels lit up by ample sun and fluttering in the brisk breezes. Some of my favorite views were of a couple of vertical orange sentries framed against the façade of the
Dakota Beresford building and farther-off glimpses of sunlit orange looking like wildfires within the smoky-brown of the bare trees. If it hadn’t been so cold, we might have walked around and seen more, but we got a good taste of it – including a great view across Central Park from the Roof Garden at The Metropolitan Museum. The museum itself was mobbed, maybe because people were coming inside from the cold. It’ll be interesting to see how many people they figure came to be part of the whole experience over the 16 days of the event.
Many more fun things followed… great food, used-bookstore browsing (picked up this Eugenio Montejo book of poetry), bead store, video store (we rented Election), wine, talk, talk and more talk… I was exhausted! I still slept fitfully on the floor in my sleeping bag, but that’s not so different than at home lately. After a nice brunch this morning, we reluctantly headed home, tired but happy.
Update: Lorianne has posted her report, with great photos!
(Also thanks to Lorianne for determining that the building in question was the Beresford, not the Dakota.)
Update #2: The blog hall of mirrors continues - Dave has finally posted his report.