Wednesday, December 2, 2015

St. Pete's Iconic Inverted Pyramid

Of probably no interest at all to anyone outside the Tampa Bay area is the somewhat long and unfortunate recent history of the locally iconic Pier in St. Petersburg.  It is in the midst of a make-over.  The old inverted pyramid is being torn down and something new will be put in its place.  Don't feel bad, though.  It was basically an expensive tourist trap.  It housed an aquarium, a couple niche restaurants and a few shops that sold sweatshirts with "I Heart St. Pete" and other crap like that.  Few real Floridians went there.     

People who are crying about it are those who are really crying about landmarks that fall victim to age.  The Pier footings had begun to crumble and the cost to rebuild was exorbitant.  It was also supposed to be self-supporting but in recent years the city had had to fork over a million a year just to keep it open.  I kind of liked the inverted pyramid thing and frankly, they should have kept it going as it was as close to a symbol representing the waterfront.  Seattle has its Needle, St. Louis has its Arch and so St. Pete had the Pier.  Landmarks aren't disposable. They build our national landmarks to last.  Alas, the city of St. Pete seems to not have a history worth preserving so out goes the Pier and some godawful thing totally unrepresentative of anything will take its place.  Not that an upside down pyramid represented anything here except maybe in a hallucinatory nightmare coming off something you ingested to keep the truth of where you live out of your consciousness.  But I digress.      

I visited Vinoy Park - that most exalted place where you see everything and your blood pressure drops by 20 beats per minute.  I spied the demolition.  I'm a little sad.  Somewhere on this blog I posted my visit to the last day the Pier was in business. It was here that I pedaled my bike to welcome the Privateer Lynx to the area and she fired a couple salvos in salute.  This was where Kenzie and Drew brought me on my first ever visit.      

It was also the subject of my first plein air painting. Did the city fathers screw this one up?  Sure.  It also cost the last mayor his job.  You simply don't tear down the landmarks you want the world to remember you by.  My guess is St. Louis will do whatever they have to in order to keep the Arch. Washington, D.C. will keep Washington's monument. Emerald City here will keep the clock.  To you future city planners - you want something to last forever?  Make sure your landmarks last longer than 40 years.    

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