The Gates: Monitoring Day 2 - Back in the Hood

February 23, 2005

I arrived at the BoatHouse a little late. I wasn't looking forward to the pre-work ritual. During installation I always showed up early to drink coffee and hang out with my crew. I liked talking to them. During monitoring, I wanted to spend the smallest possible amount of time with my crew, so I was trying to show up right when I had to, and not a moment earlier.

As I walked in the door, the Gates project scheduling queen, whom I like, walked up to me and told me that one of my old zone supervisors (from the installation week) had requested that I be moved to their section but that this move depended on another worker showing up. I thanked her for that and assured her that I would cooperate no matter what ended up happening.

So, I stood for a few moments on the periphery of my group waiting for the news. It was so symbolic, the rest of them sitting at the table, talking amongst themselves, avoiding eye contact with me. I felt as though I were living in a badly directed school play. Then I got the good word--I was transfered. Everything changed.

The supervisors for whom I had worked during installation wanted me back in their section. There was good reason for this. I worked hard. I poured my heart into the job, I did everything I was asked to do and then I did things I knew they wanted done but hadn't asked me to do. I read the website. I read their biography. I studied the project technically and I learned it's detailed history. I came early and stayed late. I brought my best game.

It was so nice to be back among people who noticed it.

I picked up every last bit of trash in my section of the Park. I mean every cigarette butt, every pile of dog feces, every indistinguishable decomposing pile of paper, every bottle cap. I got it all. Then, I went around and adjusted the base covers on every Gate so that they lined up flush with the steel base. I greeted every single person I saw, I handed out swatches of fabric. I even had an encoutner with a famous TV Star or two (three, actually).

It was fun to give it everything I had to give. The weather was fairly calm, if cold. There wasn't snow to shovel. My section of the Park was not busy, though there was a steady stream of visitors. The other worker in my section was a very pleasant young woman from Brooklyn, DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), to be exact. She was fun to talk to when we crossed paths

The day went well, but I have to admit that I missed the number of people I encountered in the other section of the Park. So, while I enjoyed my co-workers up here more, this area of the Park didn't as thoroughly satisfy my appetite for talking to people about the project. It was a trade I was happy to make, but I did miss something about the swath of the public I encountered in the other section.