Young gave me a tour of his creations, which number about three times what you see in this picture and the previous one. This piece represents the endless cycle of water flowing to the sea, evaporating, and returning to the earth as rain.
Young retired in 2007, and ever since then he's been coming to the park every day — rain or shine, summer or winter — to work on his "garden" (my term, not his) and spend time walking in the woods. He says he can feel a tremendous power coming from the earth when he is forming these shapes and patterns. To my eye, they are beautiful works of art, but I think to Young they are much more spiritual in nature.
Inwood Hill Park contains the last real forest in Manhattan. The towering trees, rock outcroppings, and isolating topography make it the only place on the island where you can really get a sense of what things were like before the arrival of the Europeans. It's an extraordinary enclave of rooted history in a city that's constantly in flux. Could Young's work exist anywhere else?
The vulnerability of these pieces to the weather and other natural processes is integral to their power, and it also means Young has an ever-changing canvas on which to work. If you're ever in the area, just head down into the valley between the two ridges in the park. Keep walking along the main north-south trail, and you'll find the garden soon enough.