Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Go Team Gay!

The plan: see all the Manhattan sculptures supported by the Public Art Fund. Time Out New York, your maps and pictures are too tempting to pass up.

Using the actual map from Time Out, I plotted which subways to take where. I played with the idea of a side excursion to Highline, but that was too far to the West. I played with the idea of a surprise walk and back across the Brooklyn Bridge to get to see Brooklyn Bridge Park once more. That plan dissipated when we hit City Hall, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Last year, all the statues were in the vicinity of Madison Square Park and the Flatiron Building. Eddie and I hopped around the city and found them all and then drove back to Brooklyn with only a little bit of sweating involved. Not so for this trip.

We boarded the train at VS and heard people saying to each other, Happy Pride Day. Huh? Then the couples were talking about how they'd gone to California to get married when it was legal there and who they were marching with.

Eddie turned to me and said, Umm, today is the Gay Pride Parade.

We had already postponed our sculpture excursion because of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. The city is crazy when there's a parade. So here we were, heading into the city for a crazy parade day. Happy Pride!

When we stepped out into the city with his idea to walk up to Central Park instead of using my first mapped out idea of taking the NR, we were in a flurry of rainbow flags, glitter, and beads. We noticed that while we were walking uptown, everyone else was walking downtown. We figured that we would definitely miss the crowds. We got the best of both worlds--avoiding crowds while seeing marchers walk towards the start line decked out in all their gay glory. Feathers and leather--it was a trend.

Another trend I noticed--us attending quite flamboyant parades.

When we got up to 5th and 59th, I was sweating as per the usual and Eddie's back was hurting, stupid lady who smashed into the back of his car's fault. We made our way into Central Park. We walked around the pond. We sat on a bench. We walked further and heard a man teaching people how to play some sort of instrument fashioned out of some twine and a twig. We walked over a bridge. We walked the other way over the bridge which had quite a nice view, I'm told, since I was tall enough to see only the stone wall in front of me and not over it. We walked back past the music lesson man, at which point Eddie declared, That has to be the worst instrument in the world. Heh heh. It was pretty annoying. Think about someone who can't play violin playing the violin. That's what was happening.

So then we walked out of the park and looked at a map. We backtracked and then I realized, hey, wait, isn't that across the street Grand Army Plaza? Eddie was like, Maybe we don't need to go IN the park.

Then we saw our first sculpture on the street in plain sight. I hate the park, btw. It is not my friend. What is my friend is Eva Rothschild's Empire, which is not a spider but is her interpretation of tree branches forming a canopy.

Across the street, again in plain sight, was sculpture number two: Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, for which there were t-shirts being sold. Lot of sketchers were sitting around, some with stick-on name tags attached to their shirts so they may have been an art class, and Eddie felt bad walking up to the sculpture because he was in their way. I was like, don't feel bad because that happens all the time; they're artists. We double checked his Chinese sign and found that it's a tiger, and he likes tigers, so that's fitting. I'm a horse. I hate horses. They're stupid. Of course, the horse head was the most ridiculous head there. Stupid stupid horse.

As I clicked away, aiming at the fountain, I realized--Hey honey, you know where we are? He didn't. I was like, we're at the fountain where we took the picture when we came in to see the windows and the lights in the winter! It all looks so different during the day in the heat. And we'd taken this walk before. I guess the cold blocked out the pain and suffering of the walk. Plus, that was pre-stupid lady in the Honda Pilot ramming the back of Eddie's car, so that could be the difference too.

We headed back downtown on foot to Madison Square Park. We didn't know exactly where the sculpture was and as we crossed the street, Eddie was like, are we sure it's here somewhere? Then we both said, There it is.

"It" refers to the massive head in the middle of the park. It's called Echo, product of Jaume Plensa, based on the daughter of someone in his hometown of Barcelona as a monument to ordinary people.

I was completely bummed out when we found I wasn't tall enough to plant a kiss on the head. But I was thrilled that Eddie was exactly the right height to have a faceoff.

It should be called Great Big Asian Head. It looks Asian, not Spanish. It also is not ordinary. I mean, come on, I know people who have big heads, but a head like that? No.

We sat and had lunch after ditching the idea of grabbing something from Shake Shack as the line was wrapping around half the park. Instead, we ate what we brought and listened to the many, many motorcycles parading down 5th Avenue. I don't know why it sounded like everyone had a motorcycle in the parade. It was loud as was the cheering and singing. Quite entertaining. Through the trees, I caught some glimpses of pink and silver and more feathers.

After a much needed rest and in the hopes of not killing my boyfriend before day's end by making him walk too much, we headed down a few more blocks to Union Square. We hit a few obstacles in the heart of the parade route. Crowds on every corner. But once we threaded our way through, the city was practically empty. It was odd. We were one street over and the parade was a low din, sounding as if it were miles away. That's the magic of NYC, I guess.

We came upon Andy Warhol quickly and directly. He was shimmering and shining in the sunlight and no one was really paying him any mind: Rob Pruitt's The Andy Monument.

Also in Union Square was an organization and event to, from what I gathered, celebrate water. People were on stationary bikes, pedalling away. We could sign up to pedal if we chose to. Some tables were asking people to stop fracking. Then some woman started spraying water out of a hose. We hopped on the subway to City Hall and skipped the upcoming concert for water.

We found City Hall Park easily. Finding the sculpture in the picture from the magazine was not as simple. We found two sculptures and one was pyramid-like but it wasn't on grass as the it was in the picture. Eddie was like, that's probably it. I was like, it can't be! Look at the picture! I became completely obsessed with finding the exact one in the picture.

The sculptures were scattered throughout the park so we walked around, through, and around again. The exhibit was Sol LeWitt: Structures 1965-2006. They were all white and squarish with hard angles except for one which totally did not go with anything else.

This is not a piece of art. It is a human being on a leash.

Anyway, then when we were walking back through the park, I saw it through the trees. The pyramid from the picture!

Ahhh, obsession satiated.

We took the subway straight back up to Penn. As we waited for the track to be called, we witnessed people running through the station proclaiming that they had only ten minutes to catch the train! (1) That was the train we were waiting for that had yet to be on a track. (2) Only ten minutes? Really?

Arriving home, we were only a little bit beat up from the day. Because he'd trekked all across the city and back with me, I agreed to do something nice for him and drive out to Sonic with him for a burger. Since Sonic has opened on Long Island, it is on the list of places we must go. I told him how far it would be to drive there and then factored in the wait time--the line, I've been told, is insanely long--and he decided that perhaps we should do Sonic on another day.

Instead, I took him to American Burger. It looked closed when we pulled up. It wasn't. They were open and not very busy as we were the only people in there aside from the staff, one of whom was sipping on a pina colada. Ahh, midday pina coladas. I'd work on weekends if I could do that. It filled up while we were in there, but that didn't affect how quickly the food came. I didn't get anything, but I sampled his mozzarella sticks. I liked them because they weren't greasy at all, which is why he didn't think they were great. He ate and almost finished the massive burger they'd served him. I don't know what was more tiring--walking over four miles through the city streets or finishing that huge meal. Even watching him eat that meal was exercise for me.

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