Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Arch

Okay, cheesy but seasonal. But there's a concept behind it.

When I was an undergraduate at St. Louis University lo these many decades ago, all the kids would get bored and antsy in the run-up to Christmas break. True, we were like that all the time but it was worse at that time of year. While sitting around in various states of consciousness, the guys sometimes talked of pulling a Christmas prank at the Arch. We'd get a bunch of lightweight fishing line and real light red mylar fabric or something like that and tie it into this humongous bow and then we'd get some big balloons from somewhere and a tank of helium, see, and fill the balloons up with it and figure out a way to attach them to the top of the bow and then take the fishing line and tie it around the bow and then around a leg of the Arch with a big slip knot and just let the whole thing float up to the top. Wouldn't that be
frickin cool? No one ever got off their rears and did it. No one ever thought about police, either. It worked out okay, though. Eventually, I graduated.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Graph Paper

This is not an attempt to reawaken bad memories of high school math class. The picture was shot inside the Old Cathedral, a/k/a the Basilica of St. Louis, King. It was build in 1834 (ancient by local standards) and stands on the ground of the Arch. King? You knew our city was named after the canonized Louis IX, Roi de France, didn't you? The interior feels more like a colonial-era New England Congregationalist church than a Catholic cathedral, with its plain white walls and clear windows. The window grid reminds me of the Arch's underlying mathematics, which they didn't teach us in high school in The Bronx. I wouldn't have gotten it anyway.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Arch

Slushy snow on the slope below the monument, sun low in the sky all day and an early sunset. Sometimes you just get lucky on cloud patterns.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

From On High

It's rare that I get around to riding the claustrophobic tram to the observation deck at the apex of the Arch. Well, sometimes. The monument's shadow becomes part of the geography, a giant sundial that you can't appreciate from the ground.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Solar Flare

The lens flare in this photo was a happy accident (as are so many of my better pictures). It was shot on a hot, cloudless summer day. As you can see, the camera was pretty high relative to the leg of the Arch. It was taken from Eads Bridge, a good ways up from ground level at the foot of the monument, on the same day as this post on Gateway from November 15. The Arch doesn't look tethered to the earth.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Depressed Lanes

Photos of the Arch never reveal this; certainly none of mine to date. Interstate 70 essentially runs in a ditch between the monument and the rest of downtown, creating a moat separating the two. It is crossed by streets, as at the left above, but it still creates a physical and psychological barrier between the big wicket and its city. The National Park Service, local authorities and foundations with money to donate have debated what to do about this for years. Nothing ever happens. Local traffic reports refer to this stretch of highway as the depressed lanes. Maybe it would help if a truckload of Zoloft got into a wreck down there.

This photo was taken on November 16, 2008, the same day as today's post on my St. Louis Daily Photo Blog. I risked life and limb to get it since there's no sidewalk where I was standing on a narrow curb, beside a traffic lane of Memorial Drive.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Skinny

Shot while lying on my back directly under the apex on a blazing summer day. The Arch has a little of the monolith from 2001 in this image.