The Christos Gates in Central Park
February 19, 2005

As it is with many of my questionable ideas, this one began with a magazine article that I didn't expect to read. For some reason, I received a free issue of The Smithsonian Magazine and inside was an article on this event in New York City.

Christos is an artist that paints in broad strokes on a life sized canvas. He has done a half dozen or more enormous art epics, including two in California. I missed them both. This was my chance to see a Christos installation live and in person so I took the opportunity to go there. He takes an large geographic area and does something unusual with it. This time he took Central Park in February and, for two weeks, installed bright orange drapes hanging from bright orange uprights. The effect was stunning for several reasons. First, seeing 7532 bright orange drapes on 23 miles of paths is pretty impressive in itself. Secondly, the orange stands out against the brown of leafless trees. Finally, as the sun moves against a cloudless blue sky, the orange changes luminosity and brilliance. Since I was there for most of the day, it was a never ending spectacle.

Other links for more information:
New York Magazine:
CBS News:
Meaningful Connections:
Other Photos and Map:
Prints for Sale:
New York Times articles:

I've divided this page into several sections of coherent sub-topics. The things that caught my attention changed throughout the day. Naturally, the Gates occupy the most space. However, other small nuances compete for your attention. I hope you enjoy these photos.

Quick links to the photos:

The Park The Gates Clothing Photos Events Rubin's Favorites

(As usual, click on the little picture to see the big picture.)

The Gates in Central Park
I entered the park at 59th Street and 5th Avenue. You could enter at any portal and be amazed by the gates. I left twice, once at 72nd Street and again at 67th Street.

You're in NYC anyhow and there are lots of bright spots of color wherever you look. This was on 63rd Street by the park.

This gallery has "official" Christos prints for sale. They are displaying some of the original drawings from 25 years ago.

At the 72nd Street portal into the park.

The ambulance is heading into the park to pick up someone who was overcome by the emotion of the event.

Even the skaters get a good view. The ice gives you an idea of the temperture... cold!

The skyline with orange highlights.

The park is monochromatic and the highlight of orange is striking.

When you go around a corner you see sun through the fabric and the color changes.

Me with a cuppa... cold and uncomfortable with bad hat and gloves but lots of artistic fervor.
The Gates
The actual number of gates is somewhere around 7532. They were made in Queens, across the river. The fabric was sewn locally and Christos spent over 20 million dollars on the project. The gates are all 16 feet high but are different widths to accommodate the path. The gates were brought in by truck and installed by several hundred volunteers who could be identified by their gray vests and painter's sticks with tennis balls on the top.

The Gates rest on a base that makes no marks on the path. One reason the project took so long was that the original idea called for drilling holes into the ground and mounting 2 inch tubes. NYC didn't want holes in Central Park.

The fabric is, well, orange.

One of the volunteers who wandered the path. This fellow helped setup the entire thing.

Each gate is 16 feet high and the fabric is 9 feet tall. The gates are built for the width of the path. This is a wide one.

This is a narrow one.
Many people, whether on purpose or by accident, dressed in orange. Scarves, ear muffs, jackets, gloves... just about everything served to heighten the experience.
When you are traveling with a camera, you quickly become aware that almost everyone around you has one, too.
Cram a million people into a small space and some have a natural tendency to entertain.

Sometimes a few hundred thousand people make you sing.

It helps if they are enthusiastic and applaud.

Sometimes a few hundred thousand spectators bring out the skate in you.

Well, perhaps not you, but certainly them.
Mike Rubin represents my company in New York, which is a good thing because he lives in New York. He and his wife Laura came to Central Park for a sales meeting. Really. I wouldn't kid you. We actually worked while wandering the path. Then we went to dinner with his daughter and her boyfriend. We worked there, too.

"What kind of a car is a Pontiac?"

Ask Rubin for the story. You'll laugh.

The family Rubin with boyfriend.
My Favorites
When you take 386 photos, some become your favorites. These are mine.

My all time favorite photo of the day.

If you want a good laugh, read the sign on the bus and look carefully at the photo. I howled!

My kind of art.


Moon over Fabric.

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