A New York memory

One of my finest memories since moving to New York City was on Valentine’s Day 2005. Despite (or was it because of?) the gray misty day, the then-boyfriend/now-husband and I rode our bicycles through Central Park to take in the full scope of The Gates, all 7,503 vinyl panels. Thanks to the ribbons of saffron popping across the otherwise dreary park paths, a place that had long ago become familiar was transformed – still known, but new again. Different. Magical.

As we pedaled down the west side of the park, we spotted an impressive Maybach coming our way. My husband, who works at the Metropolitan Museum, recognized the car that had been shuttling the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude around the neighborhood.

As the Maybach passed, we yelled “bravo” and blew kisses, rising from our bicycle seats like two exclamation points. The back window of the Mayback slowly lowered. We caught a glimpse of a camera filming inside. Then we saw a shock of pinkish red hair. Jeanne-Claude waved appreciately. As the window closed, I swore I saw her blow us a kiss.

This morning I learned that Jeanne-Claude passed away from complications following a ruptured brain aneurysm. RIP, Jeanne-Claude, and thank you for a wonderful Valentine’s Day memory.