#meltedaway #peoplesclimatemarch #publicart
This post is under construction! In the meantime, quick context: The 3 AM guy & I spent two hours, 6-8PM Sunday 21 September during the People's Climate March, watching Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese's 3,000-pound ice sculpture THE FUTURE [first photo below] melt to nearly nothing in front of Manhattanworld's famed Flat Iron Building. I'd been asked to generate a bunch of Twitter & Facebook & Instagram posts about what I saw and thought and felt and did, and here's a mash-up of those posts, with images to follow (if I can figure out how to put images in Ello's text; if in fact it's possible). Here:
The 3 AM guy is planning my outfit for the giant melting ice
sculpture at the Flatiron Bldg., where we'll be anon. He's going as a
polar ice cap, of course. I want to go as him, which he's not crazy
[Second photo below]: Me photographing people photographing melting ice, aka The Future.
The wifi is wonky at THE FUTURE, so forgive me if I've posted this
already, but: I'm at THE FUTURE, at the Flatiron Building, watching ice
melt. THE FUTURE is a big ice sculpture, and it's been here since 9 AM,
soaking up exhaust fumes from 5th Avenue and delighting European
tourists streaming out of Madison Square Park. The sculpture was made by
Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese. I don't know them. Neither does the 3
AM guy, who isn't here yet. He decided he's a polar ice cap, and he's
up north where ice caps live, waiting to melt. It won't be long! He'll
wash up here in a minute, I think, clogged with whatever garbage he
collects along the way.
The 3 AM guy just washed up on a
tide of ice water from the increasingly-less-frigid north. He picked up a
couple of stripped cars along the way and some of those
6-pack-beer-can-plastic-holding-things that choke swans, and he is
clutching a Big Gulp (the 3 AM guy is nostalgic for Mayor Mike) that's
been empty for quite a while, and he is already engaged in an argument
with a perfectly nice man in cargo pants and a pressed shirt who asked
him in an "I'm-not-starting-a-fight-or-anything" tone if the 3 AM guy
really knew what the hell he was talking about with this quote climate
change unquote thing, and the 3 AM guy said, "Beats me. All I know is it
isn't as cold up north as I thought it would be, and then - whoosh! - I
was floating in the Hudson with the other garbage, and I thanked
Congress and the wealth of nations for the quick commute!"
[Third photo below]:THE FUTURE is backwards, because I'm behind it, a moment before the T in THE collapsed.
Now THE FUTURE, which is missing THE's T, is lit up from below as night
falls in NYC, and the 3 AM guy doesn't like that sentence, he says it's
faux poetic, so here: I'm in a metal chair on a concrete slab of
traffic island that splits 5th Avenue from Broadway. The Flatiron
Building's not flat, it's a triangle curved at the apex, the 3 apices,
and the sky above it is della robbia blue, blue of the robe, with white
Cirrus clouds? I wish I knew the names of clouds! "Cirrus" means
"ringlet of hair." The sky's robe blue with curling locks of hair, and
the traffic on 23rd Street is continuous and loud, and there's a
billboard for the iPhone 6 jutting at an angle down Broadway, and fairy
lights are strung around the lemonade stand in Madison Square Park.
People with cellphones are standing in front of the melting ice
sculpture taking pictures of what they can't see because they're busy
taking pictures of it. Later, they will turn up in your Facebook feed.
The pictures, not the people. Though maybe also the people.
The 3 AM guy
loves climate change, he loves floods and famine and ruined tunnels for
the R train, which I took here, because they just fixed the
ruined-by-Hurricane-Sandy R train tunnel under the river from Brooklyn
into Manhattan last week, and I like the R train! The 3 AM guy says,
"Let it flood, you've got your mother's car, what are you complaining?
Pump exhaust and carbon monoxide fumes into the air while you cry about
dry lakes in the Levant, hypocrite."
I've got 30 minutes
left to watch THE FUTURE melt and think deep thoughts - Ha!, says the 3
AM guy - and I'm thinking about the last full night I remember spending
in Manhattanworld before I moved to the Republic of Brooklyn, BKNY, 18
months ago, after 33 years - lifetime of Christ! - living in one illegal
sublet or another up and down Melville's Island of the Manhattoes.
lived in two different apartments on West End Avenue, I lived on Avenue A
with a boyfriend (as close as I'll ever get to married), I lived in
somebody's mother's temporarily empty apartment (she was in Florida) in a Brutalist apartment complex under the Brooklyn Bridge, I lived on First
Street in EVil for 13 years in an apartment that was painted bubble gum
orange, I lived with 2-lawyer families in a building on Columbus
Avenue, and the last place I lived in Manhattan was in BatShip, 47th
Street & 10th Ave up the Street from the Battleship Intrepid, in a
railroad flat between two gay bars, Hardware and BarTini, and that's
where I was when Hurricane Sandy happened, and Manhattan was blacked-out
from the Battery to about 28th Street, for like a week.
Manhattan was dark! I went out one night from 47th Street at about 9PM and walked
downtown, through Hell's Kitchen into Chelsea and the West V and then
across town to the East V, and then all the way down to
the Staten Island Ferry, and then I walked home, and the only light I
saw was a pizza parlor on 24th Street whose industrious owners had
hooked up their generator, and they were pumping a circle of
light and a lot of pizza into the darkness, Edward Hopperishly.
restaurants in the West V were open and lit by candlelight, and there
were men in yellow safety vests standing around the R train entrance at
Whitehall in Lowest Manhattan, pumping water out of the tunnel and
barking at me to get away, so I got away. On the way home, I
stopped at the intersection of 7th Ave & Greenwich Ave & 11th
Street, stood in the middle of the street, there were no cars, no
lights, it was kind of thrilling, and the big wrecked remains of St.
Vincent's Hospital were gaping and mouthy and visible against the sky.
It was the intersection where I met my first boyfriend, and where my
best friend died, and though I'd lived in Manhattan for three decades,
and my father worked for 45 years in the RCA Building - if I have a
center it's Rockefeller Center - : though I tell myself I've known
Manhattan in pretty much all of its moods, since I was 3 months old,
nonetheless, I had never stood in the middle of the empty street in the
dark of night surrounded by unlit buildings in the silence of 11 PM,
with my arms out, thinking of my friend who died in the hospital that
was no longer there, and there was a mild breeze, and somewhere in the
ghostly past poor Herman Melville, failed novelist, was trudging home
from his dreadful job at the Customs House at the foot of Gansevoort
Street - named for his father-in-law's family! - and I thought, well,
even Hermie must have had gas lights.
And I mean thirteen years ago I was living a
mile from the Twin Towers and walked down there on 9/11 in time for the
second Tower to fall, and people were walking uptown towards and away
from me in face masks and covered with white ash, and the East Village
was patrolled by armored tanks for maybe a month afterwards, but even
that was not as scary and weird as the whole thumb-stump of Lower
Manhattan dark and underwater.
And you make of disaster what you can!
You go for a long walk and think about the dead, and stand in the middle
of the street. But I wouldn't want that opportunity again, which is why
I'm posting this, and the 3 AM guy agrees.