In a fascinating little NYT piece on how wood from the Coney Island boardwalk wound up as flooring in the new Barnes Foundation, there’s another one of those little whoops-you-just-saw-our-civic-soul moments:
In Coney Island, the boardwalk once offered the working class a cheap escape from the heat and a glimpse of carnival freaks; at the Barnes, it offers an exclusive entrance to Matisse and Picasso and their brethren in a billion-dollar collection of masterpieces.
In lieu of a plaque, museum officials often walk around and tell patrons the story of the wood. “We get all sorts of comments,” Andrew Stewart, a museum spokesman, said. “People ask, ‘Can we have a hot dog on it?’ ”
Sigh. We suppose you may, if we can have one, too.