The Gates: A crash course on how she falls.

This weekend marked the opening of The Gates in Central Park. On Saturday, Toby Joe and I got up early to see Christo and Jeanne Claude’s staff let their fabric down. We arrived just after 9 a.m., just in time to find them at the southwestern tip of the park. It was cold and windy but unbelievably sunny. We stepped in with all the cameras, the scarves, the coats, mittens, hats and children and took out our cameras and joined them.

Below, are a few of the photographs I took while there.

(Captions, if any, are below each photograph.)

(Click on each thumbnail to enlarge.)

Walking below them as we entered the park.

A woman poses as her husband takes a picture.

This is what the structures look like before they let the fabric down. One of the staff members uses a tall hook of sorts. Attached to the Gate above, there is an orange string. (Seen ever so slightly in the upper right-hand corner.) They pull the string using the hook and run along beneath the fixture until the fabric unravels and the tub falls to the ground. (The act is sort of like one of those cans of Pilsbury biscuits that scare the shit out of me every time they POP! open. I jump in fright every time.)

Here is one of the staff members getting ready to let one down. (I’ll explain how it works a little bit better a few photos down.)

One of The Gates let down for the very first time.

Here is one falling. The cardboard tube falls to the ground once the fabric is entirely free.

After the fabric falls, another staff member comes by to claim the cardboard roll which falls the ground with a huge “THONK!” It’s best to watch out for any falling cardboard tubes. I hear our lovely Mayor was hit in the head by one. I can’t imagine it feels very nice.

I turned around to get some reactions. This guy was looking at something entirely different. As a matter of fact, he looked kind of lost. Had he not been sharing the moment with a smoke, I may have asked him if he was O.K.

This picture makes me tear up every time I look at it. I’m not sure if it just makes me happy, or if I want to go back to that very moment and give her a HUGE hug. She was alone, standing there smiling. I love this woman.

Here are some of The Gates from afar.

Another onlooker’s reaction. It’s kind of funny how many reactions I caught on camera where the person is looking away from what it is that pulled us from our beds so early on Saturday morning.

A Gate from below. Like I said, it was windy.

For those of you who wish to see a fairly uneventful (nearly) 360


  1. This is so cool! I can’t wait to see them. We have our tickets and already have a room at a hotel very close to the park the nights of 2/25 and 2/26.


  2. Yay! Yeah, it was kinda cool. If we were so hungry, we would have stayed longer. The goal is to go on the last day as well. I must frame the event. :] Can’t wait to meet you both!


  3. How beautiful. Hubby and I want to eventually take a long trip to NYC. I’ll have to remember this is one place where we need to spend some time. Thanks for the pics!


  4. i am dying to get out there and see it. i am not sure i’ll be able with all these damn kids. thank you, thank you, thank you for the great shots… they have lit a fire in me to get out and get my nyc fix. you know, i am going to find a way. how cool are saffron gates?!!


  5. When I was in Central Park a few weeks ago, they just had the black things that held the poles set up. They looked like little benches, we couldn’t figure out what they were there for. The display is gorgeous!


  6. I knew they would be interesting. I had no idea how beautiful they would be. It’s a shame all that work and it will stay up for only 16 days…am I correct? Thanks Chele and Toby.


  7. It was our pleasure, actually. But there are some absolutely gorgeous pictures elsewhere. I should link to them all. They put my pitiful snapshots to shame. Hehe


  8. great photos. i can’t wait to go see them in person, i watched a thing about them on tv but was not brave enough to venture the trip yet.


  9. Wow, really cool pictures. You’re good at capturing candids of people. I would love to visit NY some day.

    I haven’t read your archives at all, so I don’t know where your name comes from. But every time I see “Mihow,” I think, “MEOW” like a cat. :)

    Looking forward to self portrait day! Thanks for all the organizing you are doing.


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