Welcome back to the age of jive

Friday afternoon we got into the car, and the car took us to a train. On the train my lovely bride made the Lord of the Flies joke.

She thinks I don’t like mass transit. I’m not sure why she thinks that, except for my dislike of mass transit. OK, that’s not fair. It’s a dislike of buses, and an intense dislike of subways. Have you ever looked at the people on buses and subway cars? The vacant look, the hollow, sorrowful, dead eyes. They all left their souls at home that day. They all left their souls at home because they knew they had to take a bus, or catch a subway train.

But trains, that is trains trains, can be quite nice. They can only get so crowded, and they seldom seem to reach that capacity. This train, for instance, had about two people on it. And a conch shell. And look who has the conch shell.

The mostly empty train took us to New York. We visited the High Line, a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, a greenway, built on a former spur of the New York Central Railroad in Manhattahn. Designed as a “living system,” Wikipedia tells us the High Line draws from multiple disciplines which include landscape architecture, urban design, and ecology. It was inspired by a similar project in Paris. And this one looks much more like New York than Paris.

For instance, instead of a tree, we have a sculpture of a tree.

What’s New Yorker for Le Sigh?

For the third High Line Plinth commission, Rosenkranz presents Old Tree, a bright red-and-pink sculpture that animates myriad historical archetypes wherein the tree of life connects heaven and earth. The tree’s sanguine color resembles the branching systems of human organs, blood vessels, and tissue, inviting viewers to consider the indivisible connection between human and plant life. Old Tree evokes metaphors for the ancient wisdom of human evolution as well as a future in which the synthetic has become nature. On the High Line—a contemporary urban park built on a relic of industry—Old Tree raises questions about what is truly “artificial” or “natural” in our world. Made of man-made materials and standing at a height of 25 feet atop the Plinth, it provides a social space, creating shade while casting an ever-changing, luminous aura amid New York’s changing seasons.

It raises questions for me, but not that one.

That sandwich board says that maintenance of the sculpture is in progress. They are repainting it. It’s only been in place for 11 months. And it will come down this fall. That’s the synthetic becoming nature, for sure.

A bit farther down we found some lovely little building art.

In between we found some ridiculous stuff that was either art or a multimedia mixture of yard sale offerings that someone spray painted at the last minute.

There’s a lot more miss than hit in public outdoor art.

Oh, look, here’s another tree, one evocative of modern wisdom and human evolution, backdropped by the not cold and not sterile brick wall of earlier craftsmen synthesizing nature into domesticized bits of symbolism that people live and work in. It is a grouping that resembles places every other city in the country sees regularly, inviting viewers to consider the indivisible relationship of pink parts and some other nouns we threw together.

There’s no artist or art writer in the world, however, that can summon the language to satisfactorily why we brick in windows.

The purpose of our visit, to see the conclusion of a popular concert CBS aired recently.

That’s right, the Piano Man, in his 101st sell out of Madison Square Garden, one of Billy Joel’s last performances in his residency here.

The Yankee brought her parents to a show last year. He was celebrating 50 years of music and they were celebrating 50 years of marriage and isn’t that something, here’s an act who’s been around, or part of, the entirety of their adult lives.

He’s beginning to show his age, which, hey, he turns 75 next month. He still sounds fantastic.

He played most of the hits and some deep cuts. (I was hoping for “Matter of Trust” and “Lullaby,” respectively. The Yankee was hoping for “The Downeaster Alexa.”) He did some covers and introduced a bit of opera. He played all the familiar songs he needed to play. His 30-something daughter came out to sing to him. When he did “Uptown Girl” the cameras found his ex-wife, Christie Brinkley in the crowd. She was having a ball.

I recorded a few things, just because it feels almost musically historic, I guess. I’ll back them up to an external drive, perhaps. But here’s the big finish.

It was a fine show. A lot of fun. It was me, my lovely bride, her god-sisters and her college diving coach. Everyone had a great time. Everyone that hangs out with Christie Brinkley was having fun. After that, a late train back to the car and then back home.

And that was just the beginning of the weekend!

But, for now, I have to go to campus.

Next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways last class of the year for me.

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