Saturday, November 8, 2014

Rickety Old Gate of Love

I was walking across East 9th Street yesterday. Each time I pass this fence/gate that I call "East 9th Street, West Virginia", I take a picture of it. There's always a new angle, the light is different, cars aren't blocking the view, something…

Why do I do this? I do it out of concern, I do it out of love. I'm like Linus with Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. So with that in mind, let's begin.

I didn't intend to examine this gate, I opened it to walk up the steps and get a picture of what's behind the picket fence, when it started.

The gate doesn't just look rickety, it is rickety! When I went to open it, both sides shook!

If you look at the first step, where the gate meets the railing — those supports do not go into the step! The connection between them is completely severed! The diagonal braces are the only place where the gate is embedded in the step!

The diagonal brace is the only support.

Likewise for the other side:


The only difference is that the supports are slightly less corroded at the bottom (even though the step is more damaged), so they don't move as far out of place, as on the other side, when you touch them.

Here is a close-up (top row = right side, bottom row = left side):


Here is a picture of the braces:

Right-side braces are all that holds this up.

Likewise with the left-side braces.

The base of the railing on the left side is even worse. Much of it is completely missing, and what remains is hanging on by just a thread (wire):

Hanging on by just a thread (wire).

It's no exaggeration to say that this gate is the very soul of the East Village Yesterday: old, decrepit, hanging on by a thread, but still hanging on. Do not go gentle into that good night!

This is where the comparison to Charlie Brown's Christmas tree ends, and Sydney Pollack's movie "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" begins. This gate cannot be revived — it will only get worse. One day soon, those braces will weaken (or the steps themselves), and the gate will crash onto the sidewalk.

What lesson can we learn from this? Everything falls apart? Yes. But also: metal and wood can be preserved with paint! Paint doesn't just make something look better, it forms a protective seal that keeps out the elements: rain; sun; noxious gasses; particulate matter; etc. This gate fell apart because of neglect.

If you want something to last, you have to take care of it… in the East Village!

Oh, and here's the picture I wanted, that started all of this:

Behind the picket fence.

It's not even that interesting!

#eastvillage #9thstreet #disrepair #paint #westvirginia

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