Saturday, March 31, 2007
There is iconic architecture that needs no explanation, no location tag; you see a silhouette of the Washington Monument, the Eiffel Tower, the Space Needle and you KNOW what you are looking at without being told. The Arch in St Louis is one of those pieces. Flying in from the East you are able to see it briefly before passing the city to land at Lambert airport, north-northwest of downtown. Driving into the city i kept waiting and waiting to catch a glimpse of it, but it is right on the riverfront so you can't see it until you are in the city proper. One curve of the highway and there it was. Even from a distance you get some sense of how large it must be, but nothing had really prepared me for the sheer size of it (go ahead boys, insert "that's what she said" comment here; just know that Matt already beat you to it on the day i was there via text message). I am from the Baltimore-Washington Metroplex. We have crazy big monuments here, but wow, at 630 feet the Arch is freaking ginormous! Before i left Erin was incredulous that i was taking this crazy last minute trip. (has she ever MET me??) She demanded that i produce a picture of me gesturing to the arch as proof. I tried to figure out the timer on the new camera, but to no avail. So i asked a nice gentleman who was unlucky enough to be walking by me to take the photo. English wasn't really his strongest skill and i am pretty sure he had never seen a digital camera before so the results are less than stellar, but here you go Erin: You will notice in the picture that you can only see a tiny portion of one side of the arch. Did I mention that it it is enormous? Most of my favorite pictures that i took at the Arch - both digital and film (yes, i already have the 4 rolls from the trip developed; come over and i will show them to you) - were actually of only a portion of the Arch. It was a cloudy, but bright day leading to a lot of nice contrast and gleaminess off of the steel. Built in 1965 the Arch is part of the much larger Jefferson National Expansion Memorial located on a much larger (and expanding) St. Louis Riverfront. Next time I would like to have the time to tour all of the museum and go to the top. This time, however, paying $10 for the tram and waiting hours was just not a good option. As i said at the beginning, the Arch is iconic. In St Louis everything somehow has an arch (or a cardinal) incorporated into it. I saw lots and lots of logos and designs and souvenirs with arches while i was there, but my favorite was found by accident. Driving along the Riverfront looking for parking i happened upon a huge mural that combined graffiti and images along a long retaining wall. There was no signage for it and it was located in an interesting industrial area so it jumps out as a complete surprise. Come to find out it was done as part of a graffiti summit called Paint Louis in the late 90s. Cool.