We took ourselves on a Field Trip earlier this week. The Pier in Saint Petersburg has been under construction for three years. We’ve watched with interest from our home, The Perch. Fortunately, we recently had a couple of cool days, so we wandered over to see how the project turned out. The Pier project cost $92 million dollars and covers 26 acres.
One of the most high profile additions to the pier is Janet Echelman’s Bending Arc, an aerial net sculpture. The Clearwater Audubon Society had concerns that local birds would get caught in the netting, however that seems not to have happened. The large net is installed over a family play area. It billows in the breeze, it’s gradient shades of blue supposed to give the effect of gazing at clouds. At night, it’s a whole different experience when LED colored lights in a palette of magentas and violets transform the sculptures physical color.
Pretty dramatic, right? But during the day, in my never-to-be-humble opinion, the net doesn’t evoke a feeling of gazing at clouds so much as a feeling of gazing at odd litter in the sky.
It was an interesting wander. I found myself thinking, “Why didn’t the Saint Petersburg Pier planners consult Chicago’s Millenium Park designers prior to breaking ground?”
Other interesting art installations are Nathan Mabry’s monumental red metal origami pelican sculpture near the pier’s entrance. Two realistic red statues of pelicans are perched on top of the sculpture, as well in other places along the pier.
From the pier, we could look back at the city skyline and see our home! I’ve labeled in here, but I see now the words look like wee-teeny ant-droppings. The left-hand building is where we live. The condo is small, but happily, the views are vast.
We took ourselves out to a late lunch. This was our first restaurant experience since the shut-down in late March. Our favorite waterfront restaurant, Fresco’s, has beautiful outdoor dining. The place was deserted, so we felt safe removing the masks and enjoying the breeze as well as the ceviche.
This restaurant is just next to the Pier entrance. Step out the door, take a right, and you’ll be gazing at the red origami pelican. It was delightful to feel somewhat “normal” again. This pandemic shut down has been difficult. Floridians have been at odds as to wearing masks and socially distancing. Mixed messages from leadership have created the tension.
Sadly, yesterday there was rioting along Beach Drive. What started out as a peaceful protest following the Breonna Taylor grand jury announcement that no police officers were charged with her death, turned ugly as diners suddenly found protesters sitting at their table and refusing to leave. Further, some protestors blocked traffic, and jumped on top of a Mercedes as well as throwing a skateboard at the car. Damage was done, but no charges were pressed.
Racial tensions are heartbreaking. I naively believed that upon electing an African American to the Oval office our country had turned a corner. I was wrong. I wonder what it will take? What I do know for sure is I’ve enjoyed a lifetime of white privilege. I hope, eventually, we will all realize human beings are all God’s children, regardless of the color of their skin. Call me a crazy optimist, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Enjoy this last weekend of September 2020!