It has been a year since this curious and elaborate collection of saffron-colored robes fluttered through the winding footpaths of Central Park here in New York City. The project was conceived, designed, and installed by the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and was dubbed The Gates.
Several media critics and some of the local aristocracy found the entire thing to be an ugly sham; but the one time I went to see it, I saw beauty and life in the curling trails of orange cloth suspended through the park. And every child I saw there seemed to love the look and the experience of this environmental art. I have learned from my own experience to trust the judgment of children over that of art critics and wealthy penthouse dwellers.
So, for those who were there and remember The Gates, and for those who couldn't see it, here is a brief movie (Quicktime required, click on the graphic above—it's a 4 MB download). For those of you who have never lived here, let me tell you something about life in New York: it's nowhere near as interesting or glamorous as it's cracked up to be (unless you happen to be wealthy). For those of us who work long hours to get by here, there is little glamour and a lot of routine. For most of us, The Gates provided a refreshing and inspiring break from the grind. And did I mention that it was free?