Sunday, August 26, 2012

View From the High Line

An unusual park runs along the west side of Manhattan. Recycled from the remains of the old elevated train line, it snakes along between old and new buildings, offering views of the Hudson River, skinny patches of perfect green lawn and places to lounge in the sun. Everything seems different up there at eye level with all the second floor windows. The train tracks remain, converted into beds for native plants. Flowers bloom, nodding their heads in the breeze. Up on the High Line, you are somehow both in the city and removed from it, experiencing the best of both worlds.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cloud City

Tomas Saraceno's "Cloud City" currently sits on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Constructed from metal, plexiglas, mirrors and cables, it looks not so much like a geodesic dome as something dreamed up in the fevered brain of a rebellious honey bee. There is a carnival funhouse quality to the way the panels reflect people, sky and buildings. Is that really part of the Manhattan skyline or not? If you weigh less than 400 pounds, you can climb up into "Cloud City" and become even more confused by the multiplying reflections. It's geometry in the service of art.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ferris Wheel

All around the country, it is time for the state and county fairs. After dark, the carnival rides become a magic world of colored lights and overlapping musical scores. Many rides are frenetic, whizzing and zipping, flinging passengers up or down. The Ferris wheel is dignified, rotating at a controlled pace, tracing radiating patterns of light up into the dark sky. Feet dangle from baskets that creak and sway. I'll stay down here and watch the wheel go round and round. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Shadow Spirals

Late in the afternoon, I watch the shadows. They move and grow with the angle of the sun. A shadow, flung out across the ground or a wall, is not such a flat thing after all. The shadow of this railing bends back and forth, clinging to the steps. Distorted, it still retains the smooth spirals of its iron source. While the railing is a beautiful piece of ironwork, the zigzagging shadow of the railing is far more intriguing.