After the snow, I found a chance to take a walk in Central Park to see The Gates. People all over the park (including me) were walking around with big smiles on their faces. One big advantage of this installation is that it’s bringing people (non-New Yorkers and New Yorkers alike) into the park in the wintertime, when it’s very, exceedingly, beautiful. For me, that was a big part of what I enjoyed, just the lovely winter landscape.
But the gates really do add something. First (photos don’t really capture this), there are so many of them–but the park is still much, much bigger than they are. That allows long vistas of curving rows of gates, but even more it allows views of the park, long distance, with just a little hint of an orange glow somewhere off in the distance. I liked that–it’s a big park, with so many unexpected vistas, turns around a bend to a surprising nook, or stream, or cliff. That’s part of Olmstead and Vaux’s real genius, to me (and as a Brooklynite, I have to emphasize that it’s just as wonderful in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park).
The other thing that I’ve always loved about Central Park is not just the park…but where it’s placed (location, location, location). It’s a park right smack in the middle of the greatest city in the history of the world, and the views of the buildings surrounding it, the trees counterbalanced by the spires and towers, have always thrilled me. There were many places where the gates somehow echoed those buildings (rectangles echoing rectangles), and in that way they brought the city into the park, and spread the park out into the city, even more than I usually get to see.
In the unlikely event anyone hasn’t seen enough photos of the park this week (I think I counted an average of 2.5 cameras per person when I was walking around), I’ve set up a gallery of my own photos. And if you really want the full (or partial) immersive experience, I’ve posted a large, but low-quality (3 mb) and a small, but higher quality (1 mb) video creation (both are .wmv format).