Windows on the downtown neighborhood
London, ON, July 2007 [Click to embiggen]
I took this image two minutes and five frames after this one. I quite literally stood in virtually the same spot, only instead of pointing north at the red metal tree, I shot south at the really beautiful old brick building. I was walking with my wife on a gorgeously sunny afternoon. She gets that I often - and very suddenly - "see" things as I'm walking. I guess part of me is always looking for the unique and the memorable, and when I see it, I almost always want to lock it in my camera and bring it home.
This afternoon was no different. We were on a street corner, King and Talbot, that's possibly one of the most interesting spots in London's downtown.
- The northwest corner, where I was standing when I captured these frames, is home to the very new and expensive John Labatt Centre - think a really large arena/multipurpose facility where the city's London Knights hockey team plays when washed up musical acts like Stevie Nicks aren't testing the sound system.
- On the northeast sits the similarly new and expensive Covent Garden Market. It's a great place to grab some non-fast food, then sit on the patio and watch it all go by.
- Both southern corners present a different perspective. To the southeast sits a funky snack-style restaurant, J-Dees, with old-style windows overlooking the time-worn sidewalk. The resulting tone on this corner is much dimmer than the brilliantly-reflected concrete by the market and the arena. Dimmer, but more fascinating in so many ways. I think this stretch has so many more stories to tell than the newer stuff across the street.
- Finally, the southwest corner is home to the lovely old building pictured above. The second and third floors of so many downtown buildings are abandoned, likely no longer up to code. It is for this reason that I traditionally don't look up when walking downtown: the old facades often seem too far gone to be worth capturing. But on this brilliant day, the bricks seem to be telling a different story. Perhaps they point to a brighter future for this building, for this neighborhood, and for the rest of the folks in this town who seem to look to this rundown/in-transition street corner as a barometer of the entire city's future.
Your turn: Crossroads. Please discuss.