December 25, 2000 |
A dominant feature of Prague is the Gothic tower of the Cathedral of St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert. That tower is now wrapped in scaffolding because it is being renovated. Temporarily, the scaffold conceals the tower's beauty. That concealment, however, is designed to preserve this beauty forever. Perhaps this scaffolding serves as an analogy for our world, and particularly that of the post-Communist countries. If some of our best features are not quite visible for the time being, it is because the societies are undergoing change, striving anew - this time in complete freedom - to rediscover and restore our true identities.
December 13, 2000 |
Philadelphia's grand center of government is in many ways a reflection of the political culture it hosts: noble, public-spirited ideas whose effect is tempered and sometimes thwarted by fiscal need and political rivalry. Mayor Street has ignited a new burst of optimism about renovations to City Hall, but somehow, the grand building has a way of inspiring dreams that turn into dust: In 1986, scaffolding went up around the City Hall tower and the statue of William Penn. But costs were so high and bidding so cumbersome that the tower was shrouded in staging for more than a year before any work started.
April 18, 2000 |
Lynn Schultz is not at all sure that she wants a half-size version of the Washington Monument, particularly one wrapped permanently in aluminum-pipe scaffolding with blue plastic panels and lighted at night, in what is virtually her backyard. "It's an intrusion," says Schultz, who thinks of Washburn Fair Oaks Park, a two-square-block rectangle of green on Minneapolis' south side, as an extension of her yard. "You want to see trees here, not a tower. " But others think building a half-size replica of the monument, complete with a portion of the decorative scaffolding that covered the original during its recent two-year renovation, is an idea meant to reward this neighborhood, not punish it. "It is an eclectic neighborhood," said Patty Morris, a spokeswoman for Target Corp.
February 5, 2000 |
A quarter-century after it opened, the federal courthouse in Center City will again be veiled in scaffolding as workers prepare to strip off and replace the brick skin that covers most of the 22-story tower. The long-awaited $17.8 million, 18-month project will, federal officials hope, solve a problem that has been getting noticeably worse for six years: loose bricks, some of which have fallen on the building's lower rooftops. No one has been injured, and contractors have stabilized the facade by periodically replacing patches of loose brick.
February 4, 2000 |
Philadelphia may be the city that loves you back, but some tourists may ask, "What's love got to do with it?" when they get a gander at the grimy edifice wreck that is City Hall. The grandiose Second Empire-style building completed in 1901 is a monument to Philadelphia's glory days. Like the city, the building's ornate marble halls and carved figures are gritty and worn. "The building is a civic eyesore," Kevin A. Hammond tells the Philly Whip. To visualize City Hall's former grandeur, visitors and residents must look at the tower and clock topped by the statue of Philadelphia founder William Penn.
January 4, 2000 |
My favorite story from Ed Rendell's just-completed mayoralty remains the time he got the scaffolding taken off Independence Hall for the Liberty Medal ceremony. The nation's most historic building was undergoing repairs in the summer of 1993, and the mayor realized that when the nation tuned in to watch the President of the United States honor Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, the ceremony would look as if it were taking place at a construction site. The Park Service didn't have the money to take the scaffolding down and put it up again afterward, so the mayor got on the phone.
November 11, 1999 |
Five months, 3,500 square feet of pine siding, one roiling storm, and 60 cans of ranch-red paint later, the only covered bridge still standing in Philadelphia has been restored. The Thomas Mill Covered Bridge, or the "red covered bridge," which spans the creek in the Wissahickon Valley section of Fairmount Park between Bells Mill Road and the Valley Green Inn, is still not ready for the public yet, because of some extra work that has to be done. That's why gates at either end of the bridge and a Johnny on the Spot remain on the site.
September 27, 1999 |
Dennis P. Dougherty Sr., 63, a former Abington Township commissioner and a volunteer firefighter who lost a son to a fire, died Friday of sarcoma at his home in North Hills, Montgomery County. Mr. Dougherty, who was in the business of manufacturing scaffolding, served three terms as a Democratic commissioner in Abington, from 1969 to 1981. When he wasn't dealing with the township's day-to-day affairs, he was riding to its rescue as a member of the Edge Hill Fire Company in North Hills, where he had lived since 1965.
August 18, 1999 |
Internal Affairs is relocating from Center City to the Northeast, something that Police Advisory Commission members, and others who monitor how the department polices its ranks, say is a bad move. The advisory commission says moving to the Northeast will discourage civilians, especially minorities living closer to Center City, from pursuing complaints against the police. "The more difficult you make it for people to file complaints, the lower the probability that you will file a complaint," said Hector W. Soto, the commission's executive director.
May 27, 1999 |
In the course of a long-running major repair job on the venerable Washington Monument, a lot of people in this staid old city have fallen in love with . . . the scaffolding. Some are even discussing the possibility of leaving the scaffolding - designed by noted postmodern architect Michael Graves - in place after the repair job is completed next year, or moving it to another prominent location. This being Washington, a town not noted for doing back flips over the nouveau, there is also a solid minority that hates the new structure.