Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bridge over some kind of water

It is neither white, nor stone. Please discuss.
New York, NY, March 2011
About this photo: We're celebrating classic this week, and from where I sit few examples of large-scale engineering are more classic that a sparingly designed suspension bright like the Whitestone Bridge seen here. To share your own classic vision, please click here.
Pre-takeoff is an interesting time to be in a plane. Wait, I lie. Any time is an interesting time to be in a plane. Cave-dwelling terrorists and terrorist-wannabes notwithstanding - and for the record, let's state right now that these morons are laughing at us every time a shoe-bomber, underwear-bomber or eyeglass-bomber forces another hideously expensive and inconvenient security layer onto an already-overburdened means of travel - there's a cool feeling of anticipation associated with the few moments before hundreds of thousands of pounds of super-high-tech airplane leaves the earth for a few hours.

I like to stare out the window before the pilot floors it and points us toward the sky. Call it tradition or habit or just plain geek-OCD. Whatever it is, it grounds me and, as a bit of a bonus, often presents decent-enough photo opps. Airports aren't always the prettiest landscapes - and LaGuardia probably takes the cake for ugliness - but even the most forgettable facilities seem to offer up enough diversity to make the effort worthwhile.

For Exhibit A, allow me to present the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. It's a structure I know well from childhood, as we crossed it every time my parents drove us to visit my aunt and uncle. Even if it was the middle of the night and we were sleeping, my father would wake us up so we could stare wide-eyed at this enormously beautiful Depression-era achievement as we slipped beneath its huge cables and towers.

Othmar Ammann* designed this bridge. His work literally dominates the New York area, with a total of seven major spans, all of which reflect a simple elegance that was a total departure from earlier heavy-set approaches to bridge building. I've fast-shot his work before (The George Washington Bridge, blog entry here) and if I'm lucky, I'll get back down there again soon for some more quality time with these icons of engineering history.

Your turn: Got a building or structure that sticks out in your mind? Why?

*Mr. Ammann also wrote an influential study of the collapse of the Quebec Bridge, which I was lucky enough to visit this summer (here). I find it enormously neat how all these little things manage to connect themselves.


Catherine said...

Taking photos from planes is somewhat problematic, given that (here anyway) the flight staff demand that not only cell phones be turned off, but also any other digital devices such as cameras. I've missed quite a few great shots because of that.
If you can get seated quickly enough before they start making such pronouncements, you would be OK, but boarding calls generally seem to be made just in time to stand in jam-packed aisles while everyone else tries to squeeze large bags into the overhead lockers.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I like the roller-coaster feel as the plane accelerates down the runway.

mmp said...

that image is totally calming......

cactus petunia said...

Wow! I crossed that bridge many, many times during my childhood, from Queens to the Bronx to visit my aunt and uncle on City Island. It is a small world, after all.