Mad about saffron
This weekend, after decades of planning, Christo opens a massive installation in Central Park. The Bulgarian-born “environmental artist,” best known for wrapping Berlin’s Reichstag in 1995, has draped 7,500 16-foot-tall structures in saffron-colored fabric to create The Gates. New York officials originally rejected the artist’s plans in 1980 due in part to environmental concerns. So he modified the structures to sit on the pavement instead of in the soil, pledged to avoid paths with low-hanging branches, and shifted the two-week event from fall to comparatively quiet winter. Its materials — including 5,290 tons of steel and more than 1 million square feet of fabric — will be recycled, and proceeds from related merchandise will be donated to Nurture New York’s Nature. Hundreds of thousands of tourists are expected, and everyone seems to be on the bandwagon now, with nearby hotels offering binoculars in every room and serving saffron soup.
But do I have to like it?