Bryant Park

The switch at Bryant Park.

24 July 2010, 2:00 PM (day); 3 September 2010, 8:00 PM – Midtown Manhattan

“Many things we own in common are invisible, yet in plain sight.”

I think I should make known the fact that trying to see a light in broad summer daylight is pretty ridiculous, if not sometimes impossible – especially if it’s a streetlight in the middle of Bryant Park.

It makes even less sense if it’s at night and the switch is broken.

Kelly and I originally went there in July, along a huge eight-lock journey, really just to say we were there. Not much happened – after looking for the specific streetlight for about five minutes (not helped by the fact that there are two ‘wichcraft kiosks), we flipped the switch for the light-post, after which nothing seemed to happen. When I returned on Friday, on a walk from the West Side to the East (though I only really got to Midtown, in the end), the light-post was surrounded by three fellow Keyholders, all trying to figure out how to put the key in.

Well, that was impossible, as part of a key was stuck in the keyhole, basically as a hint (saying “I pity the foo’ who try to unlock this box!), and I walked away.

But I think there’s a greater correlation between that and the clue in the Key to the City handbook. The main reason why these “things we own” are invisible, are because they’re meant to be that way. They aren’t truly public because they’d probably be messed with fairly easily. Simply put, infrastructure should be the public’s responsibility through words and funds, while leaving the deeds to the professionals – otherwise, we run out of light bulbs for streetlights.

The journey ended the next day, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights.


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