Chicago

I’ve never been to Chicago before until I did extended layovers between train rides out west and back. Chicago is a pretty neat city. It has a nice mix of old and new buildings. At least one really neat park. [There are probably more, but I didn’t get to them.] It also has a really nice riverwalk along parts of the Chicago River. It is definitely a city that I need to get back to and explore more. Note to any engineers or geeks reading this: If you are in Chicago, go see the historic water tower. It is a gorgeous building that was built to house a standpipe. Across the street is a pumping station in an equally gorgeous building. You can actually go into the pumping station and walk along a small portion of a balcony to see the pipes and pumps.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

The “L” goes by a downtown office building

Floating gardens on the river walk

On the river walk underneath a bridge

River walk

Historic water tower near the John Hancock Building

Historic water tower

Pumping station building across from the water tower

Inside the pumping station building

Oak Street Beach

Buckingham Fountain

Rapid City

I spent a total of five days in the Rapid City area, but I barely spent any time in Rapid City itself. The last day I was there, I spent a little bit of time wandering around downtown Rapid City. It is a rather cute town. I have clear preferences in towns. I like towns that still have some of their old buildings, and Rapid City does. It also has some new art and a town square of sorts. On several street corners, there are statues of various Presidents, presumably with keeping with the theme set by Mt. Rushmore. Most unique, it has an art alley, where people can paint the backs of buildings and evidently everything else in the alley that doesn’t generally move. Permits are required for the painting, which is a rather interesting touch considering some of it looks like graffiti.

Downtown Rapid City

Downtown Rapid City

Downtown Rapid City

Town square of sorts that kids clearly like

Art Alley

Art Alley

Art Alley

Statues of Presidents on most corners

Cheyenne

I spent the night in Colorado, and then it was time to head off to Nebraska to prepare for the eclipse. I stopped in Cheyenne along the way. My initial intention was to walk around a little and see the Cheyenne Depot because I love trains. They also just happened to have an arts festival going on right when so many people were traveling through for the eclipse. Kudos to Cheyenne for timing their arts festival with a day of so much traffic. In any event, Cheyenne is a cute town with many old buildings that are neat to see.

I took a photo of this building, not because it is old because it clearly is not. However I was really impressed with how they made one big parking garage look like several buildings that would fit the architecture of downtown.

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

I’m traveling to the west for the solar eclipse and vacation, and I decided to take the train. I had to change trains in Chicago, so I decided to spend the night and have some time to explore Chicago. I decided to start with a river cruise focusing on the architecture. Like most old and big cities, Chicago has a lovely mix of old and new buildings. It has classic old stone buildings, modern buildings (as in the modern architecture era), post-modern buildings, and whatever era we are in now. I am also curious about the engineering that must have gone into many of the buildings as they were built right on the river’s banks. A cruise on its rivers is a great way to see some of them. A few photos I took are below.

Hive DC

Every year during the summer, the National Building Museum has a summer block party. They have had the Big Maze, the Beach, and last year Icebergs. This year is Hive DC. They used nearly 3,000 wound paper tubes that are normally used for pouring concrete in construction. Unlike at any construction site I have ever seen, these tubes were painted metallic silver on the outside and hot pink on the inside. The tubes were stacked and notched to allow interlocking. In a few places at least, it was evident they needed some reinforcement with screws and nuts and some tension wires for the highest hive. There is a xylophone in a small hive which appears to be made almost exclusively with construction material like tubing, canisters, and pipes. If nothing else, Hive is fantastic to photograph. There were so many cool angles, lines, and perspectives that were just plain fun to photograph.

Hive DC

Second largest hive

Largest hive

Largest hive

Largest hive

Hive DC

Hive DC

Hive DC

Xylophone

Hive DC

Hive DC

Largest hive

Hive DC

Hive DC

Hive DC

Hive DC

Hive DC

DSNY Manhattan 1/2/5 Sanitation Garage

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to visit the brand new DSNY Manhattan 1/2/5 Sanitation Garage with Open House New York. The multilevel building houses three different garages, one each for Manhattan districts 1, 2, and 5. Each garage has its own floor, and there is a shared area for vehicle repairs. The building has LEED certification and includes many green features including a wonderful green roof also. Across the street is a salt shed built to resemble salt crystals. Both the garage and salt shed have really nice, innovative architecture.

DSNY Manhattan 1/2/5 Garage on left, salt shed on right, with Holland Tunnel ventilation tower in back

Salt shed

View of garage from salt shed, all floors of garage are different colors to emphasize different garages and functions

Slats in gate turned to spell DSNY

View from office area looking south, metal fins help let daylight in but keep building cool. The Statue of Liberty can barely be seen on the far right in far background.

View from garage office area of Hudson River and Holland Tunnel ventilation tower

Garage area

Shovel and broom storage (there must be a story for the front broom with the metallic confetti)

Ventilation and other mechanical structures in the repair area

Parking in the garage area

Mechanical penthouse

Green roof with Hudson River in background

Green roof

View from green roof of salt shed

Salt shed packed high with salt

Duquesne Incline

This is the Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh. It is considered part of the public transportation system of Pittsburgh.
IMG_2897It is also a wonderful place to view Pittsburgh, especially downtown, and many of its bridges. If you are ever in Pittsburgh, go there. The ride is fun, and the view from the viewing platform at the top is amazing. As a side note, Pittsburgh has a lot of bridges, and they are all lovely.
IMG_2863 IMG_2865 IMG_2869 IMG_2871 IMG_2878 IMG_2884

PPG Place

It is probably a photographer thing, but sometimes I see something, and I just have to take a thousand photographs of it to capture how interesting it is or the cool way it looks. This is particularly true when I see really interesting architecture with interesting lines or reflections or curves or whatever. The Comcast Center in Philadelphia was one such building because of the way it almost disappeared into the sky. PPG Place in Pittsburgh is another such piece of architecture. It is not so much the shape of the buildings, but it is the way they reflect the buildings around them that I find so interesting. I love reflections. I love photographing reflections. I also love how somewhat similar to Comcast Center, it almost blends into the sky by reflecting the blue. So while in Pittsburgh, I took a huge number of photographs of PPG Place because I was just so intrigued and captivated by the way it reflected its surroundings. IMG_2791 IMG_2795 IMG_2800 IMG_2804 IMG_2808 IMG_2809 IMG_2810 IMG_2817

Pittsburgh

I wanted to get away for a short vacation, so I went to Pittsburgh for a day. Why Pittsburgh? Well, why not? Also, getting to and from Pittsburgh involved two very pretty, long train rides, which was half the reason for the trip. Anyway, Pittsburgh is an amazingly walkable city, especially downtown. You can walk across all (I think) the bridges, and there are pedestrian and bike paths everywhere. Downtown has a lovely mix of old and new buildings. Basically I could wander around for a day taking photos, which was exactly what I wanted and what I did.

Building reflections downtown

Building reflections downtown

Old tiled building juxtaposed with PPG glass building

Old tiled building juxtaposed with PPG glass building

Rather unique old building tower

Rather unique old building tower

Art deco (?) building

Art deco (?) building

Fort Pitt Bridge over Monongahela River

Fort Pitt Bridge over Monongahela River

Point State Park

Point State Park

Heinz Field

Heinz Field

Fort Pitt Bridge over Monongahela River with downtown in background

Fort Pitt Bridge over Monongahela River with downtown in background

North Shore Riverwalk with Fort Duquesne Bridge in background

North Shore Riverwalk with Fort Duquesne Bridge in background

Downtown viewed from across the Allegheny River

Downtown viewed from across the Allegheny River

Robert Clemente Bridge and downtown

Robert Clemente Bridge and downtown

The white in the background is the convention center roof, which I assume was designed to have the same catenary curve as the suspension bridges seen in foreground

The white in the background is the convention center roof, which I assume was designed to have the same catenary curve as the suspension bridges seen in foreground

 

Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge

I have this thing for bridges. I love them. However, I have a particular thing for cable-stayed bridges. They are my favorite. I love the simplicity of them. They are modern, sleek, functional, graceful, and gorgeous, all at the same time. Boston has a cable-stayed bridge right next to downtown, the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, by which I-93 crosses the Charles River. So naturally, while in Boston, I took a lot of photos of this bridge. Here are just a few.

IMG_2228 IMG_2308 IMG_2414 IMG_2424 IMG_2436 IMG_2443 IMG_2447 IMG_2454 IMG_2461