I went to see, listen to and walk through Ghost Forest, the Maya Lin installation in Madison Square Park in NYC. In fact, I went twice. I went to the park because I wanted to see/hear/walk through the Ghost Forest, even though I don't need an excuse to go to Madison Square Park. It's always been one of my favorite green spots in Manhattan, not too big, not too pretentious, laid out in a way that is both formal and casual, with just a few heroic statues of historic figures, President Chester Alan Arthur, Senator Roscoe Conklin - both of these lived in the neighborhood - and the very impressive Admiral David Glasgow Farragut Memorial, which was designed by August Saint-Gaudens and Stanford White. Farragut might have lived in the neighborhood as well; there is a memorial plaque in his honor in the Episcopalian Church of the Incarnation a few blocks uptown on Madison Avenue. The Conklin statue is in a shrubbery surrounded niche at the corner of Broadway and E. 23rd St. The Chester Alan Arthur statue is on a plinth just inside the northeast corner of the park near Madison Ave. and E. 26th St. It is fitting that they both be in this park, since they were both residents of the area, and fitting they be placed about as far apart as possible since they became political enemies.
I read only a very little about the Maya Lin work before going to see it. I did not want to predispose myself to have an opinion before I had a chance to experience it, and this for me is the best way to approach new things. After I've had the experience, I go and learn about it, not before.
So as to not bias a reader who hasn't been to it yet, I will only say a little. It stands out on the largest lawn in the park and blends in as well. It is a grouping of leafless trees arranged in a 7x7grouping.
It is possible to sit within the grove without thinking about it, but difficult to approach it without noticing the dead cedars - forty-nine of them - stark and tall, their branches bare, the Flatiron Building clearly visible behind them. She chose these already dead trees from the New Jersey Pine Barrens. They had died prematurely from effects of climate change.
Walking though it, a person should open themselves up to their presence and the way they impose their silence, even in the middle of a noisy midtown Manhattan.
Here are a few photos.