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On a Bus with Ai Weiwei, Or So I Thought

Bus stop in Harlem. (Photo: Matthew Silver)

Is there going to be food on this thing? That’s my first thought when I board a tour bus with about 20 other journalists, before heading on a trip to see installations from Ai Weiwei’s new citywide exhibition, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. To my delight/surprise, there’s a black tote bag sitting on every seat with some snacks.

Maybe it’s too close to Halloween and I’m paranoid about hidden needles, but I don’t want to eat some random apple or the cheddar-flavored Skinny Pop. Instead, I’ve brought along a breakfast burrito from a local bodega. I can sense my seatmate, a German named Andreas who works for German Public Radio, is a bit jealous.

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The Ai Weiwei Installation in Washington Square Park Already Has People Talking

(Photos: Matthew Silver, unless noted.)

The metal-wire Ai Weiwei installation that will reside underneath the Washington Square Arch from October 12 to Feb. 11 isn’t completed yet, but it’s already garnering mixed reviews from people in the neighborhood.

The project, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” is part of a larger exhibition by the Public Art Fund in celebration of its 40th anniversary, and the tall fence-like structure is just one of more than 300 installations that will be scattered across the five boroughs. Another Ai Weiwei installation is going up at Cooper Union.

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Washington Square Parkour: Traceurs Have Turned the Arch Into a Gym

(Photos: Matthew Silver)

From a distance, the people charging madly at the Washington Square Arch seemed a bit suspicious. They looked like midnight vandals, jumping and clinging to the side of the monument, their long shadows cast spookily on the marble façade. But these gloomy figures weren’t executing some byzantine heist – they were doing parkour.

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