Friday, February 25, 2005

Christo's Gates

"The Sun's Not Yellow, It's Chicken" -- Bob Dylan

My wife and I walked through Christo's Gates in Central Park on Wednesday.

I work in an office overlooking Central Park, and in the days leading up to our walk, I looked out the window, and wondered why someone was hanging orange sheets all over Central Park.

I was assured the experience would be much different when I actually walked through the Gates.

Oh and by the way, I was told, the Gates' not orange, it's saffron.

Well, my wife came up to look at the aerial view of the saffron gates and said that it looked like a Home Depot store under construction.

There is so much construction going on in New York City all the time. Lots of people joke that, "I'm not coming back to New York City until they finish it."

And all those construction sites have orange, um, I mean, saffron, pylons that mark off the construction site.

Walking through the Gates felt like walking through all the construction scaffolding that was recently in the neighborhood, for years, while they were building the Time Warner Center.

On the whole, the biggest problem with the Gates was a problem I could not have foreseen when I was looking down at them from the 30th floor.

The Gates block your view of the sky. In Central Park you have one of your few opportunites to stand in Manhattan, amongst the trees, look up, and see a view of the sky. The Gates took that away from me.

Every once a while, the Gates are spaced apart a little more, and the wind blows in such and such a way, and the light hits in such and such a way, and it looks nice. And people who have gone through the Gates a few times tell me you never know when that nice effect might happen from day to day. But I'm sorry, that's just coincidence, that's just trying to take some lemons, and, you know, make some lemonade, um, I mean orange-ade. Is there saffron-ade?

Some die-hards tell me that I am missing the entire point. Yes, the Gates make Central Park feel like its under construction. But next week, when the Gates are gone, I'll feel like the Park has completed a renovation, a face-lift. I will have the rush of enjoying the "new improved Central Park." And that rush, that afterglow will be attributable to the Gates.

Well, maybe so. But mostly it reminds me that my own house is under renovation, and that I need to get to Home Depot this weekend.