This was the scene as we were returning from a gondola ride in Venice one night. As you can see there was a bit of a traffic jam and I managed to capture an image or two among the commotion. I was on a tour and there was a large group of us so we had formed a flotilla of sorts as we wound our way through the narrow back canals of Venice.
It was an experience unlike anything I’ve ever done. The impression I had was of some type of ride in Disneyland or Las Vegas. But I had to pinch myself because this was the real thing; this was Venice and these were real gondoliers and we were in the real canals of Venice with houses on either side. It was better than anything I might have imagined.
We travelled through dimly lit back canals as a tenor on one of the rigs sang Italian songs that echoed off the high stone walls. All the while there was a constant banter among the gondoliers as they slowly navigated our route. Everyone was in a pretty good mood.
This is the spot we started and stopped and as I was in the last gondola I could watch the turning and docking maneuvers ahead. Now that I’ve done the real thing Las Vegas will never be the same to me. But I suppose that’s a good thing.
I never saw the old one, but this is the new Path Station at the World Trade Center. I used to ride the Path train every day from Jersey City to Penn Station. That was years ago when I worked in midtown. On a recent trip I walked by this station after visiting One World Observatory. The new station is amazing to look at under the massive ribs of Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus. Santiago is a Spanish architect and you should check out his work (https://www.calatrava.com/projects.html). I first became aware of him through a building in Lakeland Florida that I’ve driven by many times. I stopped by once to take a few images of that as well (https://justenoughfocus.smugmug.com/Portfolio/Florida/i-5mk5vvr/A). Then, several years ago when I saw the construction of the Oculus I knew it must be the same architect. By the way, I added the red color in post-production just because I liked the effect, in reality it’s white.
This station is connected to a mall with high-end shops. There’s a nice bistro where I had a coffee before checking out the two-level Apple store. If there are two things New York has no shortages of, it’s coffee and Apple stores; and I mean that in a good way. My first Mac was purchased from the flagship store on 5th Avenue. There’s something fun about getting a Mac from one of these big stores. However these days I just order it online because it seems like less hassle.
The mall is impressive whether you shop or just walk around and take pictures. I came here on one of the hottest days of the year so just having an air-conditioned place to hangout was a bonus. I’m due for a new Mac soon so maybe I’ll use that as an excuse to come back up here and go to the Apple store. Not that I really need an excuse but it sounds like a fun idea.
This is the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice, Italy. I took this from a cruise ship as we pulled out of Venice in the evening. One advantage of coming and leaving on a large ship is it provides an aerial perspective of the city. The ship I was on is about twelve to fifteen stories high so it easily rises above the buildings of the city. The only other way to get such a perspective would be to use a drone but they are illegal here.
There is a lot about this sixteenth century church that I should probably know but my short stay prevented me from exploring it. However I do know that it was built after the plague when nearly a third of the population died. When I hear things like that it makes me feel fortunate to live in an age of medicine, technology and science.
It boggles my mind that such buildings were even constructed. What would it cost to build something like this today? The closest example we have is the Sagrada Familia in Spain and construction for that has been ongoing for decades. We are now a quickly evolving society that is constantly in a race with obsolescence. The commitment to build a structure like this is counter to our planetary pace.
So maybe that’s why we find these old architectures so fascinating. They are monuments of a time when progress was measured in decades and the order of things did not change much from one century to another. I am happy I live in the present time but the artifacts of our evolution as a society also fascinate me.