Thursday, May 8, 2008

The View from the Top

Sorry for the lag in blogging lately. I was away from my computer for several days while visiting my old hometown, Atlanta.

I was there to celebrate the joyous union of two of my best friends; and while I'm now tackling final papers and job interviews, they are honeymooning in New Zealand.

I also took the opportunity of this trip to introduce my boyfriend to my parents, a first-time experience for all four of us. I think that the meeting went well and I hope it will foster greater understanding between my parents and myself. While I came out during my undergraduate years, they are still coming to terms with the idea of a gay son.

At any rate, I also used this too-brief respite from my studies to do a few things I'd never done as an Atlanta resident. One of those things was to ascend to the 72nd floor of the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel to view the Atlanta-scape during the daytime. I had been up at night (it's free after 11), but never during the bright hours. The view is spectacular, even though many of the buildings still show damage from the Tornado which struck the city in March.

The Westin from Centennial Park

The Equitable Building was hard-hit
by the Tornado, Downtown is in
the background--looking South

I also visited the world's largest aquarium, located just north of Centennial Park. The 8 million gallon facility houses much marine life and was impressive. My favorite exhibit involved going through a 'tunnel' directly under the waters of the largest tank.

Fish swim overhead at
the Georgia Aquarium

My wanderings through showed me how quickly the urban environment is changing. Already, several new condo towers are climbing into the skies above Midtown. Soon, I don't think I'll recognize the skyline. Underground is still declining. Even though I was there on a weekend, I've never seen the place so empty. And traffic is worse than ever. Part of the problem is the removal of the 14th Street Bridge (for replacement) and the ongoing repaving project on the Downtown Connector.

1010 Peachtree rises
from the Midtown Mile

I did have the pleasure of visiting one of my favorite Atlanta restaurants for a Raspberry Turkey Wrap. Front Page News is as good as I remember, and I only wish I'd had a chance to sample their marvelous Bloody Mary on this trip.

I rounded out my visit to the gleaming heart of the Southland with a visit to one of my favorite urban spaces, Piedmont Park. The park was surprisingly full for a Sunday afternoon, and the people watching was excellent. I think this Olmstead park is one of the greatest emeralds in America.

The high-rises of Midtown are reflected
in the ripples of Lake Clara Meer

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Hey Matt,

Thank you so much for making the trip for our wedding! You're one of our best friends and brothers, and it wouldn't have been the same without you there. I'm sorry we didn't actually get to hang out with you or talk to Ryan much, but I will be in VA from June 1 to August 9, so just let me know which transit system to hop on. :)