Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Gates of Central Park

Thousands of visitors today flocked Central Park today for the beginning of Christo's much publicized art installation of 7500 gates all with saffron hangings. Another Paulist and I spent a few hours wandering among the Gates and the visitors. At first entering the park, I was struck by the immensity of the installation. Everywhere you looked, saffron hung from these Gates. The effect was powerful and people appeared to love the different atmosphere in a very familiar landscape. We wandered toward the Bethesda Fountain, on up around the Great lawn and back to Columbus Circle. After a while the sameness of the Gates did seem to become a bit tedious yet I was far more engrossed with the whole installation than I had ever expected. I am still more taken with the photos of his umbrella installation in Japan and California some years ago but I can confidently say that, at least for this jaded New Yorker, Central Park will never be the same, even long after the Gates come down in 16 days.