Today I got a key to the city designed by artist Paul Ramirez Jonas, and a ‘passport’ with pages full of the mysterious places that the key will unlock, all over NYC. Ever curious for locating public creativity in all forms, art that is inspiring, art that says anyone can experience, I came upon the Creative Time Kiosk this morning after a chiropractor appointment. The kiosk would open at 2pm so I put it in my head to return. What I didn’t know was the project opened last night, nor that my back was too sore to really lug my EQ to Grand Central Station for my allotted gig 12-3pm.
Guilty for canceling my gig, I thought “well I can stand,” so I headed to Times SQ at 43rd ST and got in line. It was pretty long, began chatting with now new friends Margit and Alexzandra and later joined by Luz Maria. In order to receive your key it has to be ‘bestowed’ upon you by someone else, you can’t just pick up a key, but also have to add in an ‘in consideration of’ clause. Alexzandra gave me my key, writing in my passport, in consideration of “the fact that she is NYC Subway Girl!” I gave Alexzandra hers in consideration of “her moving to NYC and needing special secret places to discover.” What a great form of community. I recommend going with friends, a partner, a family member, or just go it alone if you can, and meet someone like I did. At least chat with the people waiting there, find out a bit about them. We all have our reasons to want a key to the city. We all have stories to tell.
For me the fun will begin as I try to unlock all the wonderful places my key will unlock, like a lantern on a lamp post in Bryant Park, or a padlocked gate at Trinity Churchyard. Gracie Mansion?! Louis Armstrong house museum?! How about a mailbox in the Bronx! and meeting other key holders....more stories to tell!
I met curator Nato Thompson, and many of the crew of Creative Time who were about as buzzed as I was. The best part is I chatted with the artist Paul Ramirez Jonas and he gave me his own inspiration for a clip I've yet to finish, but I'll give you a hint...monuments...more later.
Go get your key and get started unlocking NYC secrets
Alexzandra ponders where she'll go first to use her key..
Margit bestows Luz her key