Everyday on my way to work I walk through Madison Square Park, at 5th Avenue and 23rd Street, where elegant men in business suits are juxtaposed with the disheveled woman in her bathrobe and slippers taking her rather large dog out to do his own morning business.
This little park, which boasts the famous and exceedingly popular Shake Shack, has committed itself to presenting unique and stunning outdoor art exhibitions. Several months ago I noticed that the trees were sprouting little houses. Each day I'd discover another one and it fed my sense of imagination, fun and curiosity. What was going on?
It turns out they are part of an exhibition by Tadashi Kawamata called Tree Huts. There are no visible means of arriving at these little shelters but it did get me thinking about our childhood (and adult) fascination with living in a tree.
The grandest example I suppose can be witnessed by The Swiss Family Robinson treehouse but we are just as taken with those little Keebler elves who make cookies in a tree. At least I am.
Children's literature is teeming with characters living in treehouses.
There are the lovable Berenstain Bears created by Stan and Jan Berenstain who get along quite well in their treehouse.
Most of the characters in the exquisite Winnie-the-Pooh stories live in trees.
The engineering pigs in Arthur Geisert's Pigs From A to Z build an impressive four story treehouse to live in and the kids in The Bear Next Door by Ginnie Hofmann find friendship under a treehouse.
There must be something about treehouses and forts that children love. Perhaps it is the sense of ownership, the privacy, the 'grown-up' feeling of control over your environment or simply a place to go to be alone. A place of peace with a great view and just a dash of danger.
Where are our treehouses now? What do they look like? How do we get to them?
Perhaps we have out grown the need for them but every once in a while wouldn't it be nice to climb up a ladder and leave the world behind, just for a moment?