Monday, April 1, 2013

Eight views from Boylan Avenue Bridge, and one nearby

I walked across Raleigh's Boylan Avenue Bridge, a place where you can catch a perspective of the town that differs greatly from most.

If you are inclined to immediately look down from a height, you might get a first impression like this. The paths of the rails clearly connect "here" to "there", the latter obviously downtown, judging by the relatively tall buildings. The two routes look as if they must surround and corral the buildings, though the lines actually go through downtown Raleigh, not too far from the very center.

If your eyes are drawn to the sky, you might see this above Raleigh's nascent skyline.

With this much vertical coverage, we might say that the clouds are beginning to show pathways almost as clear as the tracks below.

Pivot your head tourist style and you can take in an even wider view.

Railroad lines often pull together industrial areas and business or even residential zones. A long view compresses the perspective, exaggerating proximity.

I'm drawn to document scenes like this, both because I hope that eventually things will improve and people won't hang out in such surroundings for lack of a better place to be and better things to do, and also, frankly, because I find an odd kind of beauty in scenes of urban decay, graffiti, trash, etc.

The contrast of complementary colors (blue sky and orange tower) cried out for a photo.

More compression. More unadorned concrete and corrugated metal, against brick, against glass and steel towers.

At one end of the bridge is the Boylan Heights Historic Neighborhood, where beautiful old homes hide in the bushes. I hope that our homeless people are never hidden from our sight. Much of our life is what we make of it, but there are many factors over which we have little or no choice. We can't all live in restored Victorian houses, but no one should be without shelter. That miniature soapbox rant was evoked by a quick look at a neighborhood of contrasts. I'll save those concerns for another day and a better forum. For now, I'll stick to visual exploration and pleasure. I hope the viewer can find some enjoyment in my photos.



  1. ..."I hope that eventually things will improve and people won't hang out in such surroundings..." An idealistic view which is very difficult to support given that this country seems to moving in the direction of a two-class society.

    1. I agree with you. In the half century that I've been paying attention to what goes on I haven't seen much evidence of progress in this area, and in our own country we seem to have regressed in many ways. I can't kill off the optimist-idealist inside me though. I take heart from the knowledge that overall violence has declined, contrary to common opinion. I recommend Steven Pinker's "Better Angels of Our Nature" to anyone who hasn't already read it.


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