The Gates

Now that everyone with a camera (including cell phones) along with their pet monkeys have taken photos of The Gates, it’s time to post my set:

(Most of the shooting was done with the 18-70mm kit lens and with the new 80-200mm bazooka. The big Nikkor actually handles well and has a good balance. I’m getting used to shooting with it, so as not to flub the upcoming Alaska photos. In retrospect, I should have also gotten slightly different perspectives by shooting from knee-level.)

The first (sunlit) bunch was taken around and from the Met. The second was during a stroll (along with the rest of the Upper West Side, apparently) from the W. 81st Street entrance, around the south of the Great Lawn up to Belvedere Castle. In retrospect, I like The Gates more from a distance than right underneath them. From outside the Park, those orange/saffron shower curtains have a surprising quality, sitting atop glacial rock outcroppings or glimpsed at between the trees as your bus heads downtown. That particular quality quickly vanishes when you’re walking through them, along with the crowds. They take on the quality of mere pathmarkers, remarkable perhaps for their size than for anything else. Note that the construction netting on the Met’s roof is a similar color to The Gates.

On the southern edge of the Great Lawn, a number of black-clad, black-veiled performance artists were doing some sort of interpretative dance/Simon-Says-game on some of the Gates. This was vaguely interesting, and perhaps would have been more interesting with fewer people milling about, but then we moved on. Someone remarked that this might have been the result of some flash mob.

I think The Gates would have been more interesting if they were done back when they were first proposed. Crime and the perception of crime made Central Park a no-go zone for the City. The Gates would have served some civic function, perhaps, as a first step in taking the Park back. It would have been a grand, confident gesture. Now, they’re sort of just there: one more temporary New York City happening, somewhat more sublime than the naked guy in the tree, but less exciting.

And, no, we didn’t visit New York just to see The Gates; we came to eat at Babbo. Actually, we don’t have much discretion in terms of when Grace takes vacation, and The Gates just happened to be here.

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