St. Petersburg Pier Design: Lens or IUD? January 30, 2012Posted by Mary W. Matthews in Humor, Personal anecdotes, Popular Culture, Random Observations.
One of the icons of St. Petersburg, Florida is our Pier, a huge inverted pyramid at the end of a long approach. There are a few shops out there, most of which are more trouble to reach than they’re worth. There are two or three casual eateries, too, one of which may be a bar.
What I love about the Pier is that it’s home to St. Pete’s branch of the Columbia Restaurant — fantastic food since 1903, and a wonderful view, a small sliver of which you see here. Eating at the St. Pete Columbia is like dining on the deck of an ocean liner, but comfortably protected from the ocean breeze. There are always gulls, terns, and other seabirds perched a few feet from your table on a ledge that runs the length of the building about 18 inches from the ceiling; my husband and I always see pelicans, and frequently we see dolphins. The Columbia is our special-occasion restaurant.
So when the city leaders of St. Petersburg began grumbling that the Pier is antiquated and expensive to maintain, some of the pilings on the approach are crumbling, yadda yadda, I could accept it. They formed a special panel and sought new designs. The three “finalist” designs were the Eye (shaped like a cream-filled donut, “the Eye” looks both like a flying saucer AND like the logo of a famous Tampa sex club); the Wave (my favorite, it looks like Skateboard Heaven); and the Lens.
A five-member jury voted, and the Lens won unanimously. The Wave came in second, and the Eye a distant third. The jury chose the Lens in part because, unlike the other two designs, it focuses not on shopping or eating, but on St. Pete’s strengths as a city. “For me,” said one of the judges, “the Lens really invites everybody to the waterfront. It is an opportunity for people to experience some of what people used to experience, the water, the view, the fishing, the pelicans, not just a shopping and dining experience. There’s also an opportunity to address the boating issue,” she said.
During the review process, the only “view” that was published of any of the three designs was from ground level. It wasn’t until the selection process ended and the Lens was chosen as the new design of the Pier that the Tampa Bay Times ran an image of the Lens visualized from helicopter height.
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope it’s just me — but to ME, the “Lens” looks like an IUD!