Somehow several times a year, I feel compelled to write a post about something going on at Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
For one thing, it is an iconic space in the heart of this global capitol city. It is vast and beautiful. The Main Hall ceiling, which I've written about before, is famously "backwards" in that the astrologically gorgeous stars are painted on the ceiling as if viewed from above, not below as we see them. Yes, they are painted as God would see them. Or astronauts --if they were to travel that far away from their earth home--on a ride back towards the earth.
Conversations of all types occur in Grand Central, from the mundane and practical like those between people making plans to catch trains or subways, to the serious business transactional-focused exchanges between executives walking through the space or having a meal at one of its restaurants, or the instructional and sales-focused exchanges between customers and Apple Store employees at the wonderfully positioned Apple store at one end of the concourse.
But now for a week all Grand Central conversations will no doubt have one thing in common: some mention of the horses galloping and trotting and sashaying through the terminal.
They are horses created as part of a public performance piece by Nick Cave in collaboration with dancers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Each of the horses--Cave calls them soundsuits--are occupied by two dancers, one in the front, one in the back. The horses themselves are colorful apparitions made of raffia, so they rustle when the dancers move.
People stop, literally, and are transfixed by the horses who perform twice a day. The rest of the time the costumes are on display. I imagine that virtually every commuter who sees the horses on the way to or from their home has engaged in conversation with others about "What I just saw in Grand Central..."
It's the talk of the town. A public display that leaves even jaded New Yorkers speechless. For a moment or two.
Thank you, Nick Cave, for your gift to New York City and the world. You've got us talking. Here is a New York Times video about this once-in-a-lifetime performance: