Wednesday, January 27, 2010

slippery slope

In fact, it's not slippery, as the snow has melted and the brick sidewalks are dry (if uneven), but Pelham Street is still a slope ... perhaps my favorite slope. There's just something about the way the hyper-blue harbor spreads itself out at the bottom, especially at sunset, especially in autumn, when monstrous cruise ships loom larger than Goat Island (or so it seems) in the bay.

Pelham also happens to be the first gas-lit street in the United States, if we believe what the sign says (and why wouldn't we??) on the side of the building and bar at the bottom of the hill called "One Pelham East," lest anyone forget the address.

And, gee, I'd never noticed that the sign/plaque itself is lit (or lighted), too ... with electricity??

So, with all those extra-special gas lights that glow so nicely if not so brightly day and night (except the ones that aren't working), isn't it a shame that Pelham is also lined with teetering towering telephone poles and lines criss-crossing like so much electric spaghetti?? Yes and no. There's beauty in function — isn't there?? Folks do live here, we all need power (and parking), the lines do connect us, and it'd surely be difficult and unimaginably expensive to bury everything at this point.

Ah, hindsight ...

I can't help but mention a local artist — I don't know her, but I assume she won't mind — who frequently incorporates telephone poles, lines and the like in her work. Far from including them as minor or unfortunate bits of reality (or ignoring them altogether, as artistic license would allow), she features the lines and fills the resulting patchwork of divided sky with various tones to create a subtle mosaic. But wait, stop, enough ... as I have neither knowledge nor right to describe Dora Atwater Millikin's work, presented not so long ago at a gallery down the hill, bottom of Pelham, take a right, along the cobblestones for a few blocks, unless you're in a car, in which case it's a mite more complicated. She also exhibits up the hill, top of Pelham, beware of tricky bricks and/or parking instructions, left on Bellevue to Spring Bull ...