Monday, May 21, 2018

Madeleine Monday

We have a very good children's science center. Madeleine wanted to visit on Saturday so off we went. The amount of stuff competing for attention can be dizzying. General admission is free but all the stuff they really want to do has an extra charge. One small step for a kid, one giant leap for my credit card.     

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dinner And Opera

Last night was a big one in our annual calendar, opening night of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis season. This is our 40th or 41st - we've lost track. One of the delightful features is that it takes place on a suburban university campus, set up for picnic dinners before the performance. We usually do that and leave a bottle of wine on the table for intermission.

The first production was La Traviata. It's an old chestnut but we've never heard a better performance. Violetta was sung by the spectacular young soprano Sydney Mancasola. She worked her way up from the chorus to the foot lights, giving the role an emotional intensity that's hard to match.

Afterwards, the company invites the audience for a glass or two of prosecco under the picnic tent. I got a shot of General Director Timothy O'Leary, who will leave us after this season. He's been here for 10 years and has brought OTSL to ever greater heights.                

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Other Direction

Follow up to yesterday's photo. This is the view to the east from the top of the Arch, across the Mississippi to East St. Louis, Illinois.

The river is pretty high but not flooding. You can see how close it comes to its banks. The white vertical column in the center is the Gateway Geyser, a water jet directly across from the Arch. It goes off at 12, 3 and 6, and we were fortunate to be at the top at noon. How high it blasts depends of the wind. If the air is still it blows as high as the Arch itself. The water spreads too far when it's windy to go to full height. It looks a lot better from down close.


Friday, May 18, 2018

From Above

View from the top of the Arch facing west into downtown. The main development is that the the depressed highway lanes no longer act as a moat between the city and the park grounds. The new park extension covers the road and creates an inviting path to the entrance to the new and greatly expanded museum. That's the circle near the center.

Here's a link to a similar photo from 2015. Although the picture doesn't come as close to the feet of the monument, you can see how access has changed for the better.     

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fun Facts About The Arch

Since we were at the Arch anyway, the family of course took a ride to the top. While waiting in line to board the tram, streaming LED signs on the wall feed you tidbits of information, interesting or useless as you prefer. One passenger didn't give a hoot about the data and just wanted to get on with the ride.           

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I Could've Been A Contender, I Could've Been Somebody

So said Marlon Brando about his boxing career in On The Waterfront. The same might be said about our city. This was once a boomtown, the center of the great inland waterways and the fourth-largest city in America. Then the railroads took over and the mid-continent hub went to Chicago rather than here. Just heard that we slipped from twentieth to twenty first place in population among US metro areas. But, you know, maybe we're better off this way. We're big enough to have plenty of facilities and small enough to be manageable.       

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


The Finnish-Americam architect Eero Saarinen (in the center of the circle above, with glasses) was the principal designer of the Arch. He won a competition in 1948 for a monument to America's westward expansion. The engineering techniques that made construction possible did not come about until the 1950's. The structure was topped out in 1966. I showed up here for college in September 1967 and made a bee line straight for the riverfront. As with most teenagers in the 60's, my reaction was probably something along the lines of "oh WOW."  

If you are ever in this part of the world it is worth visiting the museum just to learn about how the thing was eventually put together. The statement in the third photo is completely true.

Gee whiz fact: the Arch is exactly as wide as it is tall. It's an inverted catenary arch.