Tied Down With Thick Ropes

Not me! The park. What are you thinking?


It’s another cripplingly cold morning so in an irrational fit of optimism, I’ve decided to post something that’s been sitting in my draft folder since last AUGUST. Maybe it’ll rekindle my long-abandoned dream of warm weather. Because at this point, I’ve pretty much lost hope.



One of the things I love most about summer are the big-space art exhibits that pop up all over the city. Some ideas and schemes  are so ambitious that they can’t be constrained by four museum walls. Some of the best ones can be found in Madison Square Park off of 23rd Street and 5th Avenue.


Last summer, they hosted contemporary American sculptor Orly Genger’s installation Red, Yellow and Blue.



Walls of undulating, layered nautical rope were constructed and then painted. It looks like it was tedious, hard work to mount but I liked the end result. When you turned a corner, it was a pleasant shock to see these bright colors pop out where you weren’t expecting to see them.

Genger1 Genger12

It’s a nice, warm environmental piece. The rope worked well with the surrounding flora, fauna and lawns.

Genger15 Genger9

I didn’t intend for it to look this way–I’m not that clever–but the rope looks like it’s floating!



A little painting, a little sculpture, a little arts-n-crafts. I wonder what they did with all that rope at the end of the exhibit?


Did that whet your appetite for big art? Would you like to see another one? Here’s a really cool exhibit that ran at the Guggenheim last summer the same time this was up at Madison Square Park. What a great town!


Guess how much maple syrup is in this bottle of Aunt Jemima’s Original pancake syrup?



None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nil. Not a drop. Nada.


It’s all corn syrup + crap. My Bride brought home some authentic Vermont maple syrup and I’ve been so brainwashed over the years by consuming this rotten corn by-product that the real thing tasted kind of odd to me. And I thought it was thin, too. Thank you, Quaker Oats, for ruining maple syrup for me!

I am never putting this swill in my mouth again. You shouldn’t, either.

99 thoughts on “Tied Down With Thick Ropes

  1. Incredible stuff. The best we get for public artwork around here is the occasional splatter stain of vomit on the sidewalk after the bars let out. I never knock any kind of art…. but… Anyway, as I’ve said before, I’m so jealous of your NYC existence. I would love to experience things like this, and to have my kids experience them too. I guess I’ll live vicariously through you – so any more that you want to post, please do Mark. And by the way, yeah, that red tangle of ropes really does look like it’s levitating.

    As a true Canadian (whatever that means), corn syrup-based “maple syrup” makes me sad. It tastes like crud. The real stuff is so much better. I had a small job at a corn syrup plant once, and they had a spill of corn syrup; it leaked out of an outside transfer line, down a small hill, and into a stormwater pond that outletted to a stream. The stuff looked like concentrated ooze, and it truly did have the smell of corn – but burnt, warmed corn with a hint of rat feces. That company got nailed by the regulator, and rightly so. The smell is never coming out of my nostrils, though. It’s with me forever. I don’t know how they change that smell to make corn syrup products (of which there are so many)…. and on that note, where I live, the Mennonites engage in similar asshattery, except they heat brown sugar in vats and add a bit of flavour, then peddle that off as maple syrup. Also totally wrong.

    If you’re ever in Ontario, and haven’t seen one before, there are abundant sugar bushes hereabouts. You can taste the syrup from the trees directly (a bit dilute), or wait until they heat it up and concentrate it and put a dollop or two into the snow – instant real maple syrup lollipop. To die for.

    • It’s funny you should mention that because yesterday morning I had to do a dance around a large puddle of vomit in the subway station. A few day earlier I came across a guy who was pissing on the stairs that lead down to the same subway stop. So I guess that would be performance art.

      Living out here can be a massive pain in the ass but there are some fringe benefits. Ironically, the kids are going through a phase whereby they’re kind of bored by this stuff but I’ll keep at it and they’ll come around.

      I’m through with inauthentic syrup. Do you hear me, Quaker Oats!? THROUGH!

      I’ve been to Ontario a few times! When I was in high school, one of my pals had relatives in Kitchener. We used to go up there in the summer for a week and chop wood for them. His uncle would let us borrow his Corvette at night and we’d go to a strip club called The Breslau. Now long gone, I suppose. One evening, we got backstage (because we were young, cute American boys, I suppose) but some of the strippers had their kids with them. It sucked all the eroticism out of the room. Snap.

      • Keep at it, man, the kids will appreciate it I think. Sort of. The Quakers… Mennonites faking syrup here (they’re similar)… I’m sensing a pattern here… what gives???

        Dude, I live in Waterloo, which is basically the city adjoining Kitchener to the north. Been here 10 years now. The Breslau is long gone (last I saw of the sign, it was advertising, “every night, 20 beautiful girls and 1 ugly one”… always hated that).

      • No worries. Those poor kids don’t stand a chance. I’m on mission.

        How’s this for my Canadian bona fides: We drove to Guelph one night for a Rush concert. And growing up in Cleveland, CKLW was one of the pre-set buttons on my radio.

      • I once watched a documentary about prostitution in Iran– the women often bring their kids with them and if hired by two men they take turns watching the kids while the other utilizes the services. It was the strangest babysitting situation I’ve ever seen.

      • I don’t understand how guys can perform under those conditions. In my experience, first, an expensive dinner had to be purchased (often times, more than one). Afterwards comes the incessant begging until I’ve worn down her reserve. I was well into my 20s until I realized that pleading was not a legitimate aspect of foreplay.

  2. The rope is really cool; it surprises me no one messes with it. What makes it stay up (the one that looks like a wall)? Did you touch it I would have had too…..

    • The walls were a couple feet thick, so they stayed up of their own accord. And I think the paint acted as a kind of glue. It was on pretty thick. There were ‘keep off the artwork’ signs scattered around but the little kids couldn’t help themselves. Most everyone was respectful, though.

  3. Awesome art/park pictures EoPS. I’ve never seen a display on such a scale before. Amazing – thanks for sharing. Did you take the pictures? Well done. And as far as syrup goes – High fructose corn syrup is in many foods these days and has a very dubious health impact. If you want a real syrup, you should try Canadian Maple Syrup – the best. Our good friend Ned over at Ned’s Blog can help with some steps in opening the syrup package – http://nedhickson.com/2014/01/31/you-cant-be-too-careful-when-it-comes-to-packages-from-canada/

    Hope your day gets warmer EoPS!

    • I did, in fact, take those pics. Thank you very much! It’s so easy with digital photography. Of the 50 or so pics I took, those are the ones that worked. Do you remember when we had film photography? There were 12 shots on a roll and you had to make each one count.

      Eating maple-only syrup is my new mission in life. I wonder what ELSE I’m eating that’s corrupt?

  4. When Grendel invades Manhattan, we’ll be ready!!

    Maple Syrup is the black gold of Canada– remember the $18 million syrup heist of 2012? FYI, Costco has the cheapest (real) maple syrup I’ve seen in these parts.

  5. Wow, that looks like it was amazing (the art, not the “syrup”).

    I need to put together a list of museums I need to visit when/if I get to NYC. Supposedly MegaBus will get me there for less than $20, I really need to look into that.

    • It’s worth the trouble, especially if it’s nice out. This summer will bring a slew of outdoor exhibits like this one. Not all of them “work” but they’re worth checking out. Also, there’s always an interesting installation on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Don’t know what they have planned this year but it’s something to look forward to. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano.

      • Sorry man, I still struggle with the whole time difference thing…am I ahead? Am I behind? I don’t know…it doesn’t really matter, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you New Yorkers are very accommodating. Love yer shit Mark, cheers buddy!

      • If this were a race you would’ve placed, you thoroughbred. Easily. Thanks for your kind words. If I were a cat, I’d be purring. If I were a girl I’d be swooning. If I were a can of petrol, I’d combust. etc., etc.

      • Okay purring, swooning & combusting aside, this is something I’d love to experience with my Queen one day…New York with Mark, whaddayareckon?

      • Lots of folks pass through NYC. I’ve had PLENTY of blog meet-ups. They’re great! It’s easy to show someone a good time when you got all of New York City at your disposal. As I’ve always said, this place might not be to your liking, but you should see it at least once anyway.

      • I’m hearin’ ya man, I plan to be at Sturgis next year…might just hafta put a wee trip to NY on the agenda as well eh?

  6. I saw that last summer – we were in that area for the food truck festival – delicious!
    I didn’t see the point of that installation. Overall, I thought it was nice that they did it, but it mostly just left me with a feeling of “meh”.

    • I never look for a point in these things. Why be so fussy? If it pleases my eye, that’s good enough for me. You need to lower your standards, my friend. I did many years ago and I’ve never been so happy! Everything is awesome.

      The food truck festival is HEAVEN on WHEELS. And I love that space in front of the Flatiron Building where it’s held. That’s one of my favorite buildings and one of my favorite public spaces. Closing off wide swathes of streets and turning them over to the public was pure genius. I’m just waiting for an out-of-control cab to plough through a bunch of people minding their own business.

      • Stand behind of the donut truck. Those fluffy bastards will absorb just about any shock.

        Your attitude about the art leads to things like Cristo taking over Central Park.
        I still don’t know what the hell that was.

      • We should totally meet for this year’s food truck fest. The only problem with that festival is that my stomach can only hold so much. Do you think they could install a vomitorium in the park? What?! They had them in ancient Rome.

        Maybe I’ve got an underdeveloped frontal lobe but I loved the Cristo project. It thew a lot of bright, orange color onto a dreary, brown and dead, February Central Park. I thought it was fun.

      • I thought it was pretentious, sound and fury signifying nothing.
        Just didn’t grab me the way, say, Dali or Mucha does.

  7. It does look like that rope is floating. Cool pic.

    As for the syrup, whenever I go visit my mom and step-dad in New Hampshire, my step-dad makes his wonderful waffles. But he cringes to see my sons and I use the Aunt Jemima syrup (or some other store-bought equivalent) when he has the real thing in the cabinet. But after years of consuming the fake, that’s what we’re used to and that’s what we prefer. Scary. (But I use sugar-free syrup which is even further from the real thing…)

    • Resist! Don’t be a slave to our corporate taskmasters! I said at the end of my post that I’d never eat it again and I meant it. Believe me, after a few servings, the fake corn syrup will be as repugnant to you as the real stuff is right now. You’re poor step-dad! His heart must break.

      • There’s a really nice Van Gogh exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art right now. Up thorough May 16th. Why don’t you visit that and spray paint a bunch of his canvases. It’s no different that what you’re doing to those poor waffles.

  8. That big art reminds me of giant pieces of candy. They are all in true Skittles colors! Real maple syrup is so sweet it tickles my throat. I usually opt for low-sugar Aunt Jemima — everything else is too sweet. But then again, I’ve probably only eaten pancakes twice since my kids moved out of the house. Which reminds me I should probably throw out that bottle that’s sitting in my cupboard.

  9. Once again, you’ve brought NY to me. For all the wonderful; things I do see when I’m there, I can ALWAYS count on you to take me to the ones I miss.
    As for phony syrups and oils -blerchw! Actually, that might be a Welsh word!

  10. I like the rope-art, reminds me of the last Bondage seminar I didn’t go to.
    Totally agree about the maple syrup.
    Years ago they used to sell stuff called Mapleen Syrup, which I thought tasted good on waffles with butter, but my Beloved bought me some real Maple Syrup from Canada, and I’ll never touch the synthetic stuff again, especially as the various processed carbohydrate constituents are now being tagged as dubious to our health, if not actively dangerous.

    It’s nice to be back, and I’ll be spending a lot of time roaming through your posts since August 2013

    • Nice to see you back, sir. hope all has been well. I’ll hop on over and, hopefully, get the story.

      I plead complete and total ignorance about they syrup. I never read labels so How was I to know?! Someone pointed it out to me. But I’ve taken appropriate action. I’ve instructed the Missus to never purchase that crap again My body is a temple. I won’t foul it with inauthentic corn by-products.

  11. G’day! I’ve just popped in from Jerry’s blog, and I’m glad I did. I hope you don’t mind my doing so, uninvited…it’s something I never do in the “real world”…probably because I’m not sure where the real world is these days!

    Wow! Wow! Wow! It looks like NYC was wrapped up in a giant woolen scarf to keep it warm through the winter. The winter you guys have had up your way this year, a giant scarf like that might have come in handy!

    • Woo hoo! Fresh meat! Welcome. Please wipe your feet on the mat. Be mindful of the dog. She’s tiny but she goes for the throat.

      You are correct that we have had an intolerable winter. Cataclysmic snow and cold. I’m pretty much at the end of my ROPE. (Ha. See what I did there? It ties in with my post). But you guys have had some horrific heat + floods this summer, am I correct? We’ll all get through it. What other choice do we have?

  12. Wow– that rope art looks incredible. I wonder what happens to something like that when the exhibit is over?
    And– Maple Syrup. I know. I had the Grade B kind a few years ago and was like “what is this trickery?” It’s kind of scary how little food we are often eating while eating.

    • Hi. Actually, I happen to know that after the exhibit finished in Madison Square Park, it moved up to Boston for a few weeks. I don’t know what they did with it after that. It’s probably on some landfill somewhere.

      Reading the labels is a double-edged sword. Am I better off in my usual state of blissful ignorance? I’ll tell you one thing…I’m through with Aunt J. and her crappy syrup. I’m reformed.

  13. All that rope looks like it was knitted…..! It is really so very original and clever—really Beautiful and what I love about it most, is that I’ve never seen anything quite like it, anywhere! I would love to have seen it and have been able to sit there being surrounded by this most unusual work of Art! I love that you find all these very special ‘happenings’ and then share them with all of us.
    I remember the post you did on that show at the Guggenheim—Another one I would have LOVED to have experienced!

    I have never had the Maple Syrup you showed us—-I remember it well—Seeing it in the Market with Aunt Jamima looking quite different—-But somehow we always had The Real Stuff, though we did not use it very often….Talk about addictive….lol! But Oh So Truly Yummy!

    • I am continually astonished at the level of creativity that some of these artists exhibit. I don’t have an ounce of imagination as compared to some of these people. At least I have an appreciation for their work. That’s something. Remember: as with any art form, the artist is NOTHING without an appreciative audience. That’s where I come in.

  14. In some of the big London parks we often get art installations like that. A while ago when I was there, they had these huge free-standing curved mirrors here and there throughout the park (I think it was Hyde Park), they reflected what was around them of course but in strange ways and created odd illusions as you approached them and they kind of merged with the background, and your own reflection might be in a different part of the mirrors than you were expecting. And from a distance you weren’t sure if there was a mirror there or not. I love big art. And now you’ve made me crave syrup and I haven’t got any, maple or crap!

    • I wonder if there are any pics of that exhibit from Hyde Park anywhere? It sounds pretty interesting. It would have made a splendid BLOG POST, don’t you agree?

      Living in a large city can be a massive pain in the ass. But it’s these special exhibits that make it worth the bother. For me, anyway. Load of people don’t see it as fair exchange.

  15. Cool art exhibit! We have some office spaces around here (dallas area) that have rotating big art exhibits. It’s so beautiful! I genuinely appreciate art out in the open like that.

    AND OHMYGOSH with the syrup! My husband started buying the real stuff lately (which I happen to like) but the kids don’t cuz they’re accustomed to the fake stuff. CAHrazy.

    • Hello, Beth. Nice to see you. Please wipe your feet on the mat.

      Dallas is a pretty good hub for art. You’re lucky to be there. Did they get that mess with Museum Tower straightened out? The reflection? It was in the paper a lot and then kind of dropped off the map.

      My two daughters won’t eat real syrup either but they’re either going to have to get used to it or do without because my wife is NEVER bringing that crap-ola in the house again.

      • The genius architects who designed the tower didn’t take into account the hot, bright Dallas sun. To wit:

        “A new building in downtown Dallas is sparking complaints from city dwellers who say they are blinded by the harsh glare that reflects off its mirrored walls.”

        “The design of Museum Tower, a 42-storey condominium, has outraged staff at a neighbouring art museum who have been forced to take down precious pieces to protect them from the glare.”

        “Residents near to the $200 million tower are also complaining that they cannot look outside their windows in the morning without being blinded by sunlight.”

        The photos were pretty spectacular. It’s like staring into the sun.

    • Hello! Nice to meet you. I am still here holding down the fort. Come back! It’s never too late!

      Stuyvesant. You must be a smart cookie. Did you read Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure? He’s a Stuyvesant alum. I just finished it. Very enjoyable. Very New York.

      • Huh. I’ll have to chk it out. Flagging it right now for the next library trip. Thx. We were on 1st Ave and 15th St back then. Gee, I feel jurassic. I went to Univ of PA and have friends who are now in NJ,

        You know, just assuming everything from the title you suggested, I wonder what you’ll think of this:


        Parents and teachers had a lot to say, pretty categorically in agreement of the study I cited.

        Failure/success is a theme I circle back to in the writing. Might be a Stuy thing. =)


      • That’s an interesting post. While being supportive, I’m careful not to lather my daughter’s asses too much. I meet too many kids who think rays of sunlight radiate from their heads but are, in my estimation, just regular. I would encourage you to read Shteyngart’s book. The middle section that deals with his years at Stuy will definitely hit close to home for you.

        Speaking of home…1st and 15th is a nice place to live. Wish I had a little pad there in addition to my suburban NJ digs but that’s well outside my range of affordability. I’m doing okay, but not THAT okay.

    • Love that you use a “u” to spell colors. That’s so international! I didn’t realize maple syrup was a luxury item. It’s flows like water up here so it’s not so expensive. Count my blessings, and all. I think Vegemite is really expensive here, so we’re even.

      • Everyone has a spam guard. There is a box where these spam comment are collected and can be un-spammed. You also have a blog email account, which I know you never look at, because I sent a couple of messages there. When you’re writing a new post, there must be tabs on your screen that will take you to these mysterious caverns.

      • Would you look at that! Hundreds and hundreds of comments in that spam folder! From bitcoin, and Free iPhone 5 and Michael Kors Handbags. Many more. Boy, have I got a lot to learn. But I didn’t see any of yours. Curiouser and curiouser. And you are correct that I don’t look at my blog email account. That’s my next stop!

  16. I thought we were going to see some really perverted dark side of you there… I mean ropes, in a park and maple syrup… I could write a porn script with that idea… 😉

    My son brought me a small bottle of Canadian Maple Syrup some years ago when he visited Montreal. Loved it – like you say finding the real deal is hard – esp here in the UK where only a few of us get the point of putting it on your pancakes

    • It’s a play on words. Designed to titillate my readers, all it did was encourage a bunch of spam and weird search terms. Serves me right for trying to be clever.

      What do you mean “our” pancakes? Did we invent those? Hard to believe. Most of our culinary contributions lack grace and simplicity.

    • Well I posted my comment several days ago, so maybe it’s been deleted from your spam box. I’m going to re-post my original comment so you can de-spam it.

  17. I love artwork like that, that is just out in the open for everyone to enjoy. That syrup stuff though, look at the ingredient list, it is a bit scary what is allowed to be sold as ‘food’.

  18. Pingback: Death! Destruction! Pestilence! Some light summer reading. | Exile on Pain Street

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