Farewell to 2010

[Click image to enlarge.]

This is not a convenient day for the year to end.

January 1, 2010, was a calm, and truly monochromatic day, which set the initial tone for the year and the first photo I posted reflected the tone.  It was turning away from the excitement and adventures in 2009 towards a more inward and local focus on creativity and relationships…and finding a new job.  And at the end of the year, much of that remains true: more creative output, both musically and visually than ever, new friends (and deepening ties with old friends), and I did get that new job.  But the pace and energy are anything but calm.  Life has been hurtling forward at a faster and faster pace, with an ever higher density of activity and experience, and that can’t keep going forever.  There are limits.  Limits in time, in resources, and in my body.     Slowing down is not easy, and may not even be necessary, but this coming year is going to be about doing the best I can within those limits. In terms of this site, there is always the tension between experiences and writing about those experiences, and lately I have been erring on the side of experience versus writing about it.  It’s a continuous process to learn how to balance that.

Things don’t always look particularly bright when you’re in the middle of them.  This year (like most) was riddled with mistakes and failures, missed opportunities, and more.  But if, say, “2008 me” got to look ahead and see “2010 me”, he would probably be amazed at how much has changed…mostly for the better.  I saw another interesting perspective yesterday when a friend, in saying good riddance to 2010, pointed around the table and said (and I paraphrase) “your 2010 sucked”, “your 2010 sucked” and then when she pointed to me said “yours was actually pretty good”.

So tomorrow I will simply pick up where things left off today…and keep in mind the phrase from a show I saw at the beginning of the year (by Anthony Discenza), “Everything Will Probably Turn Out OK.”

Transbay Terminal overpass demolition

I often walk by the overpasses that connect (or once connected) to the soon-to-be-defunct Transbay Terminal here in San Francisco, including the Fremont Street “bridge to nowhere” and the curving elevated road over Howard Street. Both have been featured in Wordless Wednesday photos on CatSynth the posts Fremont Street Overpass and Shine.

[Click the above images to visit the original posts.]

The bridge to nowhere used to connect the Fremont Street exit off of I-80 to the Transbay Terminal. The Fremont Street ramp, which included the last remaining pieces of the Embarcadero Freeway, was truncated and left this bridge hanging. It was a particular favorite “architectural feature” of mine in the city, and in fact qualified as a “Thomasson” or hyper art structure in that was present and maintained but served no purpose.

The elevated road over Howard Street continued to function as a bus entrance to the terminal.

This past week both structures were demolished, as part of the project to replace the entire Transbay Terminal with a new modern transit center. Thanks to a tip from a close friend, I went to shoot some photos of the demolition in progress.

The Fremont Street bridge is completely orphaned on both sides. Only the single arch remained.

In the second photo, one can see the “Buses Only” ramp that temporarily replaced the bridge. That ramp was completely gone already.

The Howard Street overpass was being dismantled in pieces.

One could see the metal skeleton amidst the remaining concrete sections.

Here is a short video of the Howard Street overpass demolition in progress:

By Monday, the Fremont Street overpass was completely gone. And Howard Street structure will be gone soon as well. It is sad to so them go. For me, they were landmarks, part of the architectural landscape of the neighborhood. However, in a city where people get upset easily about architectural changes and preserving landmarks, these seem to have gone largely unremarked upon. I am glad I got a chance to see the demolition and take photos before they were gone. Indeed, some of the images can be quite beautiful in their own way. There is something about aging and decaying urban infrastructure, even when it is being reduced to a pile of concrete rubble and twisted rebar. But I would have rather seen it preserved – I wonder if San Francisco can ever do anything as creative with its old infrastructure as New York did with the High Line.

I may post more images in the near future.