Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Th Gates in Central Park

Myron Magnet is not happy with "The Gates" project in Central Park. A sample from his short piece:

The art project—7,500 steel gates, 16 feet high, hung with orange nylon curtains, along 23 miles of the park’s paths—is like an alien invasion, taking over the park from top to bottom. The opposite of cheerful, the gates are oppressive, claustrophobic, even on a brilliant winter Sunday. They crowd as inescapably together as riot police, and are just as lumpish in their inelegant proportions and angular profiles. Like the riot police’s plastic shield and shiny helmets, their materials proclaim Industrial Man’s brute mastery over the elements, producing by unimaginably powerful forces, in white-hot furnaces and giant petrochemical vats that only legions of technicians could design and run, the steel and nylon that shoulders aside the trees and sky.

Central Park, by contrast, is a triumph of man’s ability to cultivate nature, not conquer it. It is dedicated to allowing the citizen, even in the heart of the crowded city, to feel free and large against the trees and sky, to wander at will from prospect to prospect —even, as the name of one area of the park proclaims, to ramble. But as crowds thronged the park to experience “The Gates,” they looked, as they trudged along the strictly delineated paths and disappeared over the crest of a hill, as if they were being herded off to the Last Judgment. They were not enlarged, as is the usual effect of Central Park, but diminished.

Discussions - 2 Comments

I don’t think he’s being adequately complimentary to riot police. Subversive and suspicious!!

Too bad he feels that way. As a trained Environmental educator I see it as something calling more attention to the beauty of nature. This isn’t about conquering, it’s about enjoyment and opening eyes to the beauty enclosed in an urban setting. Good call, however, on the escape from urbania to the natural. Nothing is more exciting than seeing America focus attention on conservation and preservation of natural areas.

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