Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘city

A City and its Lake

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Cleveland is one of a handful of large cities situated on one of the Great Lakes, in this case Lake Erie.

Although the city sometimes has acted as though the lake wasn’t there, particularly in downtown Cleveland,  it did establish a lakefront park just to the west of the central city area.

Edgewater Park is known for its beach, but at the western end of the park is a bluff overlooking the lake.

It also affords a sweeping view of the downtown city skyline and the lake.

The Edgewater Park beach can be seen to the right. With temperatures on this late September day soaring into the 90s, it was a popular place to be.


New York at Night

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I made my first and only visit to the observatory of the World Trade Center in early November 1981. I was visiting a friend who lived in the Big Apple although we had met back in Springfield, Illinois, when we both worked for the state.

We visited the WTC twice on the same day. The first visit occurred during daylight hours. I might have said something about what a nice view it would be at night.

Whatever the case, we returned that evening and I made this image. I don’t remember having a tripod. Perhaps we went back to Mark’s apartment to get one. I can’t imagine that I was traveling with a tripod.

This image was made on slide film and over the years it has badly faded. I scanned it anyway and through some Photoshop work was able to regain some of the image.

It would not only be the last time I visited the WTC it would also be the last time that I saw Mark. In fact, I can’t remember his last name or how to get in contact with him. Our last visit, though, was a memorable one.

Beauty Along the Flint River

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The Flint River water crisis was still nearly three years into the future when I made these images of the Flint River in downtown Flint, Michigan.

For years the Flint River has been one of the most polluted in the state as a result of decades of dumping industrial waste into it.

Then the waterway made national news in 2014 when Flint began drawing its drinking water from the river. News stories told of high levels of lead in the blood of children and residents were given bottled water to drink.

The top photograph shows Riverfront Center, which is now part of the University of Michigan-Flint complex along on the Flint River.

The 16-story building has academic space, student housing and banquet/conference facilities. Owned by the Upton Reinvestment Corporation, it was donated to UM in 2015.

Prior to that UM had been using the building, which houses the business school. Upton had purchased the building in 2009. It had been built in 1981 as a Hyatt Regency Hotel and soon became a landmark building in downtown Flint.

The bottom photograph shows the Garland Street-Beach Street bridge over the river in downtown. The building in the distance is the Northbank Center on the UM campus.

Roots of General Motors

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This building in Flint, Michigan, is part of the heritage of General Motors. Built in 1896, it served as the headquarters of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company.

Although the company ceased making carriages in 1917, it transitioned into making automobiles and became the Dort Motor Car Company

This building was its headquarters until 1925. A historical marker notes that many decisions were made here that led to the forming of General Motors.

Nearby, is a statue of William “Billy” Durant and J. Dallas Dort, the founders of the carriage company known initially as the Flint Road Cart Company.

That company went out of the carriage business in 1917, but Durant and Dort went on into the business of making automobiles.

This statue of the two men stands next to the Flint River in the area where their manufacturing plants were located. Dort’s plaque had been removed at the time of my visit in October 2011.

City of Many Bridges

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With three rivers flowing through it, it is no surprise that Pittsburgh has a lot of bridges carrying highways and railroads.

You could spend days in Pittsburgh just making images of bridges because there are that many of them. There also is a wide variety of bridge designs to be found in the Steel City.

Shown is the Smithfield Bridge in a view made from Mount Washington. It was built in 1846 and designed by John Roebling.

This bridge was the first wire rope suspension bridge over the Monongahela River to carry a highway. It is still a widely used bridge today that also is open to pedestrian traffic.

Roebling is probably best known for having designed the Brooklyn Bridge but he also designed bridges in Cincinnati and Niagara Falls.

Some Free Jazz in the Crescent City

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We were walking around in the French Quarter of New Orleans when we came Musical Legends Park, a plaza dedicated to the history of the music of Crescent City.

There were statues of Antoine “Fats” Domino, Al “Jumbo” Hirt and Pete Fountain. Most people probably go to New Orleans to eat and drink and, maybe, listen to live music. It is a city, after all, that has a long association with jazz.

The plaza is set up for free concerts given by local musicians. But if you look carefully, you’ll see a large tips jar placed in front of the performers.

We’ve been to New Orleans three times in the past decade and each time we say we’re going to go to a club and listen to live music. But for various reasons we’ve never gotten around to doing that.

The only music we’ve heard in a city known for music has been whatever we’ve heard on the street.

Alas, on this day, the performers shown here were wrapping up their last song. Shorty after I made this image, they packed up and went home. And so did we without having heard much in the way of live music in New Orleans.

Yeah, that is a Looonnnngggg Way Down There

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The Willis Tower observation deck in Chicago has a cutout on the west side with glass walls and a glass floor.

It just out a few feet from the side of the building and enables visitors to feel like they are standing in mid-air more than 100 stories above the street.

I have a love-fear thing about height. I love the view you get from way up there, but I fear falling to the ground.

When I initially saw the glass porch jutting out from the side of the Willis Tower, I kept a healthy distance from it. Slowly, I edged closer, but never could bring myself to step all the way out into it.

The logical part of my brain tells me that this structure would not be open to the public if the engineering behind it wasn’t solid.

But the emotional part of my brain tells me that glass is fragile and it doesn’t want to risk the glass cracking and collapsing as I stand there.

What you see here is as far as I was willing to go even the name of getting a good photograph.

I managed to get one foot onto the glass floor of the porch, but not both of them. Maybe next time.