Sunday, July 4, 2010

They'll give just anyone the Key to the City these days...

We were lucky enough to arrive in NYC on the last day of the "Key to the City" public art project.  After a 6 am landing from Cairo, getting through customs, 9 am yoga class in Brooklyn with James and Carrie, and breakfast...we hit Times Square to get our keys!

The Project
One to one, one at a time, all of the time, thousands of keys will be bestowed by thousands of people on thousands of citizens for thousands of reasons that deserve to be recognized.  Keys to cities are traditionally given by a mayor to a hero or dignitary, symbolizing that they can have free entrance to the city.  This new Key to the City belongs to us, and it is awarded among ourselves.  We will give each other the key to our city for private reasons that exist outside of history.  Instead of being acknowledged for landing a plane in a river, we are awarded the key for perfect attendance in school.  Instead of receiving an honor for winning the World Series, we receive the key because of the kindness we showed at the hospital.  And with this new key, we gain an opportunity to step back and reflect on common space in the city.  For not only does the key open up specific sites, but it can also make us aware that the city is a series of spaces that are locked or unlocked.

A public art project to encourage New Yorkers to visit some of the lesser-visited spots in all five boroughs...

The project was conceived/designed by contemporary artist Paul Ramirez Jonas and presented by Creative Time.

We waited in line and, in pairs or two, we received and presented our keys to each other.

James and Carrie sign the book

woohoo!  Have keys!

pit stop for nourishment first

a light pole in Bryant Park 

We found the first lock on a light post in Bryant Park.  Ethan did the honors.  Inside it  had notes and trinkets left by other people with keys to the city.  I think at night your key turned the light on, but we were there during the day.

Trinity Church

A few days later Ethan and I found the second lock on a gate beside Trinity Church in lower Manhattan.  The locked gate let us in to the graveyard where we found, among other things, Alexander Hamilton's grave.  Pretty neat.

unlocking the gate @ Trinity Church

And a few days later we found our third lock inside one of the galleries at the Brooklyn Museum.  It was probably the coolest one we found because it opened a semi-hidden flat panel door between two paintings.  Inside was a small exhibit with some tiny faberge pieces...that only we could see!

In the end we only found 3 of the 30-or-so locks around the city before we had to leave.  However, if you have a key or can borrow one from someone, the locks are active until the end of September.

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