Tuesday, November 01, 2005
A MONUMENT LOOKS AT 40
A view of the 40-year old Gateway Arch from inside the 39-year old Busch Stadium.
Dignitaries, autographs and champagne toasts marked the first anniversary of the Gateway Arch's 40th anniversary. The wife and daughter of the architect were brought into town to mark the occasion; stories were told about how the first prototpye was made out of pipecleaners and the competition that took place for the design.
Barely a 15 minute walk away, another St. Louis landmark won't be allowed to celebrate it's 40th anniversary. At 39 years of age, Busch Stadium has been declared obsolete and, in the shadow of its replacement, it is being dismantled. It's somewhat reminiscent of a middle-aged wife being replaced by a younger, perkier and blonder neighbor.
Halloween Day was cold and rainy in St. Louis. In the late afternoon, I looked out of the window of our offices and saw that the lights were on in Busch Stadium; illuminating a scarred and empty interior. The seats are gone, the flags and pennants were gone; the scoreboard was gone. A lot of the "good stuff" had been sold and packed up and shipped to the fans who had bought them as souveniers and curiosities. In the background was the ever growing new Stadium; its new walls looking as though they were wrapping around the emptying husk of the old Stadium, closing in and sucking out the life of the older place. By turning ever so slightly to the left, the Arch was in my view. Tall, gleaming, proud, celebrated.
As I turned back to look at Busch Stadium, Jimmy Buffett's song, A Pirate Looks at Forty came to mind, especially the line:
Mother, mother ocean, after all the years I've found
My occupational hazard being my occupation's just not around
I feel like I've drowned, gonna head uptown
Two beloved St. Louis landmarks, both in the St. Louis landscape for four decades; but with diverse destinies.