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At the Opening Of the Gates - Riffs and Licks
At the Opening Of the Gates

Or, Orange Will Be the Color For Shower Curtains Next Spring

Early this morning (early by my Saturday standards, anyway), bobhowe, shunn and the usual crew of delinquents went to see the opening of Christo and Jean Claude's The Gates in Central Park. We got there just as they were finishing the unfurling, and walked around for a few hours, and came home with sample swatches of the fabric (see right), which is hunting-vest orange (much more orange than actual saffron looks) and made of a tough fabric somewhat resembling what seatbelts are made from.

The Gates The Gates

Intro poster at the entrances to the park.
At the Gates At the Gates

Walking into the park from the E 67th Street entrance.
Unfurling, Step 1 Unfurling, Step 1

The Gates were still being unfurled when we got there. One of the workers wields a ten-foot pole with a hook on the end, trying to catch a loop attached to the covering. This is no mean trick.
Unfurling, Step 2 Unfurling, Step 2

She pulls back a velcro seal, and the covering drops away.
Unfurling, Step 3 Unfurling, Step 3

And the banner falls (!@#$% digital camera with its slow shutter speed made me miss this shot).
Opener Of Gates Opener Of Gates

One of the workers, with the Aluminum Staff Of Power. Yes, the tennis ball cover for the hook is standard equipment.
Out of the Tunnel Out of the Tunnel

The Gates really change the light inside tunnels.
Transverse Road Transverse Road

This double row of gates was really striking.
Awaiting the Burning Hot Dog Of Doom Awaiting the Burning Hot Dog Of Doom

Laura ensures the camera is ready as Barbara prepares to commiserate.
The Fountain The Fountain

Looking west from the plaza around the fountain.
Gates Going Down Gates Going Down

Looking east, near the Boathouse.
Across the Pond Across the Pond

By 1pm the park was getting pretty crowded.
Join the Club Join the Club

The NYPD strikes fear into the hearts of misbehaving golfers everywhere.

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Current Music: "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore," June Carter Cash

6 comments or Leave a comment
rednoodlealien From: rednoodlealien Date: February 13th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanx that was really cool. I can't say I really like the installation, though.
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: February 14th, 2005 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
You can't say that until you've seen it in flesh (or fabric, as it were). The pictures don't do it justice; I thought the whole idea was kind of silly until I actually saw them all, moving together in the wind and catching the light.

Also, the banners are only part of the point. An entire park full of people walking around on a nice day, just to see art, is part of the point. That's maybe the best part, in fact.

You have to see it for real.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 15th, 2005 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)


Your photos Across the Pond, Gates Going Down, Transverse, and Fountain seriously whet one's desire to see the real thing. The billowing fabric actually changes color, depending on how the sunlight is striking it, from the bright Buddhist-monk robe color to the yellow-orange tinge of saffron-colored rice.

According to the Times, 700,000 people on the weekend agreed with your point about sharing the experience.


shunn From: shunn Date: February 15th, 2005 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Gates

I sure am glad we got there early!
rednoodlealien From: rednoodlealien Date: February 13th, 2005 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)


Saffron is red in its natural state, yellow when it dyes rice, but orange much like this when it dyes cloth. It's best known as the color familiarly associated with the robes of Buddhist monks:
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: February 14th, 2005 02:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Saffron

Ah, now I understand. I was thinking of the rice color. But someone else made the same point about Buddhist monks' robes, so now I see.
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