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Remembering The Gates


Photo by Spencer Tucker/NYC Parks

For sixteen days in 2005 The Gates tempted millions of people to visit Central Park. The 7,500 structures in this epic public artwork – “gates” holding saffron-colored fabric – lined 23 winding miles through the iconic park.


Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

Four million visitors came to see the artwork in its brief run, from February 12 to 28. The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who specialized in temporary public art, explained that “Our works are temporary in order to endow the works of art with a feeling of urgency to be seen, and the love and tenderness brought by the fact that they will not last.”


Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

These saffron gates encouraged visitors to explore the park, take photos, and take new paths through the park. Those paths weren’t just any walking trails: the layout of the installation was designed to ensure that it would only run through areas of the park that had low concentrations of wildlife.


Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks

Every piece of the exhibit’s installation was specifically planned to ensure that Central Park would be maintained. To avoid having holes dug into the ground, each gate was anchored with several hundred pound weights. The show was scheduled for February to coincide with the time of year when the park was the least crowded.


Photo by Spencer Tucker/NYC Parks

In 2004, Christo and Jeanne-Claude were quoted as saying, “All our work is about freedom. Nobody can buy our projects, nobody can sell tickets to experience our projects.  Freedom is the enemy of possession and possession is equal to permanence. That is why our projects cannot remain and must go away forever. Our projects are ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ and ‘once upon a time.".

The millions who visited most likely agree.

Art in the Parks

Want to know more about the art currently being exhibited in our parks? Visit the Art in the Parks page for information.

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