“It’s a one-man show right now,” David Chan told us this morning at the take-out location of Bottino, the Italian restaurant that has been serving the Chelsea art district for years. It was about 11 a.m., and all of its delivery bikes were parked inside. Mr. Chan was handling everything—answering the phone, working the register and making sandwiches. Only French baguettes had been delivered for bread today. (The Soho patisserie Ceci-Cela had also come through, so there were pastries on offer.)
Chelsea is always pretty empty on Mondays, since most galleries are closed for business, but today it was a ghost town. Many of the blocks in the West 20s, between 10th Avenue and the water are in Zone A, where there is a high risk of flooding, and they were largely clear of people, except for a few hearty folks making their way over to the water to take a look at the rising ride.
Entrances to some galleries had been guarded with sandbags or sealed off with cardboard. At Luhring Augustine, on West 24th Street, four art handlers were piling sandbags out front. Next door, Andrea Rosen had already laid out its defenses.
Along the Hudson, waves were just starting to crash over the railings into the park, and there was some very minimal flooding. People snapped photos, and shot videos.
Back on West 25th Street, right in front of the Pace Gallery, a small group had gathered, including a woman with bright red hair. It was Nancy Reddin Kienholz, the widow and artistic partner of Los Angeles sculptor Ed Kienholz. She, Pace’s Peter Boris and a team of art handlers were busy building the couple’s The Ozymandias Parade (1985), a gigantic installation—”a big damn deal,” she said—that includes a bucking horse and a number of menacing, life-size figures.
The show is scheduled to open on Thursday evening and, realizing that the weather may prevent anyone from working tomorrow, they “decided to roll the dice,” she said, to see what they could get done. “We all understand earthquakes in California,” Ms. Kienholz told us. “But we don’t understand hurricanes.” In New York, of course, we understand neither of those things.