Thursday, April 30, 2009
The Stairs To Somewhere
When I was little, this pair of smooth, sinuous staircases scared me. Not to the point of nightmares, mind you. But these twisty flights on the south side of the New York State Museum's vast terrace really did spook me. Maybe because they both led up to windowless doors that seemed as if they were never intended to be opened.
Once, a friend dared me to climb the stairs and see if the doors did indeed open. I refused, of course. Partly because I was ever so slightly afraid of heights and partly because I was the sort of child who didn't want to get caught snooping where she shouldn't. If I'd been a little sassier, I suppose I'd have challenged him to climb the stairs and see for himself!
The glass enclosure seen just behind the stairs on the left side of the photo was built a few years ago as an extension of the Museum's Terrace Gallery and houses a lovely antique carousel.
Years ago, the space between the two flights of stairs was used as a performance space for plays. Two of my first play-going experiences occurred there one summer in the early 1980s when I saw "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and "Tom Paine." To be honest, I don't remember a great deal about either one, but I'm sure that early exposure to the arts contributed to my ongoing love of theatre. Later, the production became the short-lived "Shakespeare In The Park" and staged what remains the best version of "Hamlet" that I've ever seen. Somewhere, in my old armoire, I still have my green-on-white "Shakespeare In The Park" tee-shirt, too. Unfortunately, it's too shabby to be worn now.