To a Great City

Second edition of the Guggenheim Museum's stillspotting nyc project.

Despite what many non–New York residents think, there actually are quiet, serene places in New York City (I'm partial to the North Woods in Central Park), but frankly, I don't think the financial district is the best place to look for them. Arriving in Battery Park to visit the first "stillspot" selected by the architectural firm Snøhetta to provide a space that "transports visitors from the hustle and bustle of the streetscape to an elevated urban experience that makes them newly aware of their sense of hearing," I was skeptical. And that skepticism never quite dissipated. The five To a Great City stillspots vary dramatically in their transportive ability, and the journeys from one to the next are somewhat exhausting.

But then the work concludes with a final stillspot so spectacular that the inadequacies of the previous ones seem irrelevant. In retrospect, I have a niggling suspicion that the show's creators knew that would be the case and didn't bother overmuch with the first four, and that makes me feel a little bit cheap. I can't work up too much indignation, though—not when the memory of that fifth stillspot is so glorious.