Richard Serra sat outside Gagosian Chelsea with two assistants in a truck.
Above him, two miraculous firetruck red suspension cranes smoothly erected condominiums across 24th Street.
Serra's show had opened the night before: two dozen tons of rippling rust, now just punctuation marks to Ground Zero.
A few blocks south at Feigen Contemporary, sex symbol Jeremy Blake sat on a bench chatting with Yvonne Force, looking at Jeremy's three seamless DVDs, which esthetically summarize five decades of Ab Ex/Color Field history, referencing Kelly, Louis, Gottlieb, Noland, Frankenthaler and Motherwell with breathtaking refinement and motion.
Yvonne Force breathlessly contemplated the new star's work in basic black -- black sweater, black pants, black shades, black Beatle boots and a black telephone.
In the right panel of Blake's new masterpiece, downtown Los Angeles melted under a "chemical attack" out of Rothko.
Presciently, Julian LaVerdiere installed a sterile, sealed, germ-proof room in his downtown studio last spring, in which to conduct his experiments.
But that's not enough for the artisan Edison. He recently purchased a top of the line hazardous materials bodysuit and a raft.
The Armory Show returns to Piers 88 and 90 next February. I'm looking at the invitation, chock full of top international galleries. The text promises that "New York is now the center of world contemporary art."
A thousand years from now, some humanoids will excavate the tombs of Chelsea, designed by Richard Gluckman and his mimics, and the visitors will wonder, "If these were tombs, how come there's no one buried inside?"
Perhaps they rose from the dead, like the ghosts in the smoke of Ground Zero, still blowing through my window at night, five weeks after.
Cheim & Read opened a nifty new mausoleum on 25th Street. All the rooms interlock like a puzzle.
A yellow Jenny Holzer zippers overhead. I never realized how much her work looked like spreading anthrax before.
There are armies of people working worldwide around the clock gleaning meaning from abstract images, red rod-like anthrax spores and Afghan bombing runs.
Elizabeth Peyton just opened at Gavin Brown, but all the people in her portraits seem to be missing.
Hope is the glue that keeps us together, and, whatever lies ahead, real hope in New York is pretty much gone.
So we just keep going through the motions, because it is all we know.
Bob Dylan put it best way back in the last century -- "I'll let you be in my dream, if I can be in yours."
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).