Monday, May 8, 2023
Morning clouds with afternoon sun. High 77 degrees.
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By Carol Tannenhauser
It was thrilling to attend the opening party at the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation last week. West Side Rag has written dozens of articles about the conception and somewhat difficult birth of this building, located on the Columbus Avenue side of the American Museum of Natural History. In fact, it is much more than a building, standing like a massive sculpture and a monument to science — but also to human agency and brilliance.
I was the little older woman at the party, wearing appropriate New-York black, walking around with my dear older brother and my eyes wide open. It was a classy affair, and one of the best things about it was the absence of speeches; we were free to roam around and experience the many wonders of the Gilder Center, unattended. There were wonderful people, wearing tags that said, “Explainer,” and they did. Particularly mesmerizing, as I watched through clear plexiglass, were the workings of an enormous ant colony. And the slightly psychedelic Invisible Worlds immersion experience, which you entered through a dark tunnel and knew was special when you stepped across the threshold and your foot created patterns of colored light on the floor. Two lucky little boys were rolling around in the center of the room, seeing what designs they could make with their whole bodies. I might have stayed there all night, exploring the interconnectedness of unseen networks of life on Earth… but then I would have missed the butterflies!
I was so blown away by the spectacle — the live jazz and opera in the background, the passed hors d’oeuvres, the champagne — that I actually forgot to take pictures. Luckily, I bumped into Roberta Semer and Barbara Adler, members of Community Board 7, and Barbara took and shared some wonderful shots. Until you get a chance to go yourself — and you must — here’s a look inside the Gilder Center. (Photos below by Barbara Adler.)
“I told Jeanne [Gang, the architect,] that her building was so alive, so amorphous, that to me it represents science itself,” Barbara Adler said. “Her response was genuine, and so humble, considering that she surely has achieved her place as one of the world’s great architects. She just said, ’I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel.'”
Have a great week!