On the edge of Central Park, at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 64th Street, is a building that looks like a medieval fortress: the Arsenal. The Arsenal has served many roles over the years (National Guard munitions depot, police precinct, and the city’s first Museum of Natural History, among them), but now it is part of Central Park.
On the third floor, the Arsenal has a small gallery with rotating exhibits. It’s not really something big enough to make a special trip for, but if you are visiting that part of Central Park, it can be a fun thing to do. Right now, the Arsenal Gallery is host to the 33rd annual exhibition of wreaths made from unconventional materials. The exhibit is something very different – don’t expect traditional holiday decorations here! But it made for a fun visit. Here’s a few of my favorites, based upon their use of unconventional materials and themes.
My favorite, made by Penelope Coe, is called “Lost and Found Gloves.” And that is exactly what it is made of – lost gloves that were found in New York City.
Although this one definitely doesn’t fit the traditional idea of a Christmas wreath, I also enjoyed it. Made by Edward Gormley, the wreath weaves together power strips and is called “Reset.”
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene sponsored this wreath, made entirely out of packaged condoms. It was made by Caroline Burwell, Regina Gourdin, Veronica Lewin, Jennifer MacGregor, Jennifer Matsuki, and Estella Yu. Quite unexpected, but also entertaining.
This last one has an underlying thread of political/social commentary. By Nadia Jarrett, it’s called “I’ll be home for Christmas … maybe.”
Headed to this part of Central Park by public transportation? The M1, M2, M3, and M4 buses all have stops close to the Arsenal (if going North, on Madison Avenue; if going South, on Fifth Avenue). It’s also not a far walk from the subway. Take the R train to the 5th Avenue/59th Street station, the F train to the Lexington Avenue/63rd Street station, or the 6 train to 68th Street/Hunter College.
The Arsenal Gallery is only open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and the Wreath Exhibit continues until January 7, 2016.