Even a full day after returning from New York City, I still have dreams of billowing saffron in my head.

One of the images I snapped while walking the Gates with Leslee, Elck, and Dave shows two gates coupled like lovers against the twin-towered facade of an apartment building on Central Park West. Although we initially thought the building in question was the Dakota, the famed edifice where John Lennon was shot and Yoko Ono still lives, a bit of online digging reveals that the facade in my photo is that of the Beresford, the largest of the impressive apartment buildings along Central Park West.

Regardless of what my photo actually shows, however, I’ve been thinking of John and Yoko all day: how like a pair of twin towers they were, a tightly coupled pair of gold-glowing souls. Like Christo and Jeanne-Claude, John and Yoko believed that a nation of two could change the world: a pair of idealistic fools–two virgins!–who believed war would be over if we want it.

While ordinary folks continue to debate whether the Gates are “truly” art–while average people-on-the-street voice their opinion on whether a parkful of saffron-draped steel is worth its $20 million price tag–I’ve been thinking of the story of how John and Yoko met. An avant-garde artist in her own right, Yoko Ono was exhibiting her work in a gallery where John Lennon was browsing. One of Yoko’s artworks consisted of a ladder positioned under a note that had been tacked to the ceiling. While other browsers walked past the ladder, John ascended it to read a scrap of paper that simply said, “Yes!” John later remarked that it was this one word–Yes!–that led him to love: had her note said No or Maybe, he wouldn’t have fallen for Yoko as surely as stepping off a ladder.

While ordinary folks on the street argue and debate about the merit of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s vision, why shouldn’t we respond to the question “Is it art?” with Yoko’s simple “Yes”? Given the choice between Yes and No, Yes to me always seems preferable: Yes is the choice of optimism, the choice of possibility, the choice of joy. Whereas No implies a scowling and dour asceticism, Yes implies a wealth of happiness, contentment, and joy. No never has enough; Yes is perpetually satisfied. Given the choice between No and Yes, I will always and perpetually choose Yes: Yes these Gates are art, Yes this art is worthwhile, Yes it is always and perpetually possible for two people to change the world if they want it.

Whether or not a parkful of golden Gates is worth $20 million isn’t a question for me to decide: the money spent on this spectacle isn’t mine, nor did it come from the pockets of New York taxpayers. How Christo and Jeanne-Claude decide to spend money of their own making is their own choice…but now that they’ve decided, planned, and spent such an impressive chunk of change, how very glad I am that they chose to share their vision and their wealth. How many wealthy individuals would have chosen to spend $20 million on themselves, their heirs, or their companies, and how many would have chosen, like Christo and Jeanne-Claude, to spend $20 million on a beautifully silly dream of people walking placidly among gold shadows, their peripatetic wanderings being transformed into the stuff of dreams? For sixteen days, people around the world are turning their eyes toward New York, the urban heart of America, not because it marks the site of human devastation as it did on 9/11 but because it now is the (temporary) site of crafted joy.

Yesterday I wrote about the Art of Possibility, the optimism that led Frederick Law Olmsted to design Central Park on the site of a swamp and that moved Christo and Jeanne-Claude to persevere with their artistic vision despite the derision of their critics. As I’ve repeatedly insisted, I don’t know much about Art in general and contemporary art in particular, but I’m a sucker for Possibility. Walking the Gates with a handful of friends, I marvelled at the crowds of anonymous strangers that peacefully mixed and mingled, a city of diverse individuals who for 16 days are coming together to walkabout as neighbors. Strolling the Gates on Saturday, we overheard the tongues and accents of the world: for 16 days, a parkful of saffron-draped steel is making neighbors of the world, making everyone (even this loyal Red Sox fan) a Temporary New Yorker, citizen of the World’s City.

Is it art? Given the choice between Yes and No, why not choose “Yes”? While the naysayers grouse and grumble, we yea-sayers continue to mix and mingle, strolling through gold-billowing dreams where, yes, two people can change the world. Is Art silly? Are Art and these Gates a waste of time, energy, and money that could be better spent? Perhaps. But if Joy is precious and Beauty priceless, why waste time ranting when one could instead rejoice? Central Park is lovely at any time of year, and right now Central Park is adorned as beautifully as a bride, a beloved one bedecked with gold as for her lover. The world loves New York, and for 16 days New York is returning the compliment, putting on her finest face as she plays hostess to Lovers of Beauty from around the world.

Is it art? Yes. Is it foolish? Yes. Am I deeply and sincerely glad that the world still has some idealistic fools who believe both Peace and Art deserve a chance? Yes, most definitely yes.