Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Horsing Around on the Lawn

You never know what you are going to see out your window at the Big J. Seriously. One day it was POTUS, another day it was a Passion Day parade for Holy Week. The Halloween costume "parades" featuring students from the two local high schools are some of the most "interesting" displays ever of the sublime, slutty, and the ridiculous.

But then there are just the normal view of every-day events on the Lincoln Center plaza and lawn. Last year, Lincoln Center officially opened the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn,

"an elevated, 7,203 square foot expanse of public green that slopes gracefully toward Paul Milstein Pool and Terrace. Technically described as a hyperbolic paraboloid, the Illumination Lawn brings another dimension of visual interest to Hearst Plaza—its texture contrasting with the surrounding materials, and its unexpected shape setting off the linear quality of the buildings around it. Designed to provide a tranquil, verdant oasis for students, artists, and visitors, the green serves as a dynamic gathering space, as well as the roof of a pavilion housing the new destination restaurant ..."

Whatever (pretentious architects). We that look at it every day call it the twisty, tessellating, or rolling lawn where all the tourists and half naked kids go to sprawl about. It's also the destination of choice for the early childhood classes and nannies, so it's not uncommon to just get caught up watching little kids run about with glee, and the adults chase after them with some concern. Some of those corners dip suddenly, and we're just waiting for the day when someone launches over the sides or the glass gives way.

This great rolling expanse of green (or brown depending on the season) across the way has been closed for the winter and for the spring so that the grass could grow. [For a New York Times article on the special art of this particular lawn's care, click here.] One day earlier this month, however, we noticed a flurry of activity near the entrance stairs. With a big red bow, it could only mean a grand opening! YIPPEE.

This wasn't just a normal grand opening, with human beings cutting the bow. Nope. This year, the giant puppet war horses from the production at the Lincoln Center Theater made it a synergistic opening. Not only were the two featured horses there, but the teeny tiny ballerina girls from the School of American Ballet were there to frolic together on the lawn. Seriously, all they needed was Brunhilde from the Wagner opera at the Met and fancy canapes from the seriously overpriced restaurant to overload on the cross-constituent promotion.

But, more to the point, it was a fun view minutes for all of us peering through our windows. Tickets for the show are selling out very quickly, so this was probably our only opportunity to see the stars of the production. Those puppets are amazing. When the 3 puppeteers are manipulating the horses you almost can't believe that they aren't real. They snort, prance, and rear just like real animals, and if you don't think about it too much, you can believe the illusion. (Also a point of pride, a few of those puppeteers are Big J trained actors.)

Anyway, here's my pictures of the great lawn opening of 2011, as snapped via the zoom, from across the street and through a large dirty pane of glass. Better media can be seen here, courtesy of Lincoln Center Theater, or go to http://lct.org/showMedia.htm?id=199 or http://youtu.be/qw8ruoIqGxI.

I also have to report that standing barefoot in that grass without having to be concerned about what real horses would leave behind is very nice indeed.

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