Sunday, February 13, 2005
Observing The Gates, in no particular order
Dogs do not ignore them. They lift their hind legs and pee on them, marking their territory, their own particular gates.
Children stand on their bases, leap up to touch the fringes of the fabric.
Around the Jackie O reservoir it feels empty because it is a huge vista without any saffron. And the view from the top of the Met museum isn't that great. You climb up the crowded staircases, only to start wishing you were back down on the ground -- among them, instead of above them.
Lots of bundled babies, some of them sleeping in their snuggly carriers. Years from now, their parents and guardians will show them pictures and say you were there, but now they're gone and you're still here and all we have are the pictures and our memories of them and of you.
A guy snapped a photo of B. and me. He asked if we wanted to kiss, but added that it would be better with a video camera. We didn't kiss; we just smiled. Later, we wondered how he knew we might kiss if prompted. What if we were just friends?
They strike me as abstract. They are not actually like gates. They don't close from the top or from the sides, like swinging gates or a portcullis. They stay open and let you pass through.
Even the food nearby is good for everyone (cheap). We drank coffee and ate a honey bun for a dollar from a window at the North Meadow rec center. At first, I gave the man a 10, and he said do you have anything smaller, and I said all I have is one 1-dollar bill and he said that's what it costs and I smiled and gave it to him.
The Gates are welcoming. You can touch them; there are no signs telling you not to. Which makes you want to touch them all the more. In fact, we only saw one sign actually telling us what we were looking at, even though we knew. The sign that said "The Gates" and "Christo and Jeanne-Claude" just sat in the middle of the park, not at the entrance or the exit, just in the middle -- as if someone had placed the title plaque on one of the arms of a Calder mobile or actually in the pond with Monet's waterlilies. If English-speaking aliens came down amid the park they'd have to go searching for that one sign to understand what's up with all the saffron foliage.
The workers/guards/helpers have special gray and saffron smocks, and many of them got C&J-C to autograph them; the couple seemed to pick the same place each time: right across the shoulders, and in exactly the same scrawl as you see on all the prep drawings and on all the merchandise.
We each got a piece of the fabric. The workers were handing them out to those who approached them and asked. They dipped their hands in their smock pockets and pulled out little squares of saffron. I'm keeping mine in my wallet for the time being.
Today, I went to go visit them while I was eating my lunch. I'm going to try to visit them as much as I can.