Yesterday was overcast but it never rained on us. I wanted a break from the routine and spent time cycling around Bricktown and nearby tourist traps. First up is not too far from the lower end of the Bricktown Canal. You can look it up on services like Google Earth, but you can’t get much from Streetview because too much of it is off-street.
Next to the Cox Arena and a monster hotel is a 5-story parking garage. It’s open for folks wandering around and I took some photos. OKC’s actual train station nestles below the elevated rail line; you can estimate its location by the cover over the boarding area. Said rail line runs north-south and divides between Downtown and Bricktown; the latter is on the far side. There’s a sample of our perpetual construction. It’s permanent feature of Downtown for something to be torn up while lowest bidder contractors take forever to get anything done, only to have another contractor tear it up again soon after because… well, by the time something is actually built, somebody has a brilliant new plan for something else, or maybe the last contractor screwed things up.
I can recall when this Crystal Bridge was first built, how it was hyped to the sky. It’s an over-priced hot-house containing supposedly rare tropical plants and whatnot. I saw it once long ago; meh. The city has done a decent job with the exterior park around it, though. When the weather warms up you would see a lot more bodies crowding the walkways. On the west side is this fancy amphitheater. This thing has become a decent venue for outdoor live performances, but it’s still over-priced. Directly back of me where I took this shot was another open-air thing with a grassy oval in front of it for less formal performances. I captured the semi-artistic stage hood in the foreground while looking at the base of the Devon Tower. Devon is basically a monster petroleum company; that’s big business in Oklahoma. That tower is our newest landmark and the company sponsors all kinds of stuff. I took a lot more pictures but the iPhone is limited and the weather was crappy, so they didn’t turn out well.
To continue in my cynical vein, though, I was trying to capture pictures of the new expressway through Downtown. You see, I-40 once ran a course across the southern edge of the central district, but the elevated highway was ancient (early 1960s) and was crumbling. It was poorly engineered in the first place. So the city and state invested huge sums of money tearing out a new path for I-40 so it could sit on the ground. There was all kinds of wild promises about what to do with the old path of I-40, but they ended up simply putting a new road through it. It starts as a break-off from I-235/I-35 on the east end and runs along the old corridor with an elevated glimpse of Bricktown, then drops below the rail line. For now it stops right there at Shields Boulevard/EK Gaylord Street. Once the current stuff is torn out completely, it will continue curving across the urban landscape until it reconnects with the existing stub on the other side of Downtown around Western Avenue. This expensive boondoggle is called “Oklahoma City Boulevard.” Isn’t that imaginative?
I need to bring my better camera back on a day with clear skies.