Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ingenuity Festival

The Veterans Memorial Bridge was constructed in the 1910s at a cost of over $5 million. The top (open) deck provided a vehicular and pedestrian connection from Downtown Cleveland (Superior Avenue) to the west side (Detroit Avenue) over the Cuyahoga River, while the lower deck was for streetcar traffic.

VMB Into the abyss
Lower deck, Veterans Memorial Bridge

In the 1950s, streetcars no longer operated along the bridge so access to the lower deck was closed off, while the upper deck remained in use.

VMB Bench

Several times per year, the closed off lower level is open for tours and art exhibits, like the Ingenuity Festival: The Bridge Project this weekend.

VMB End is Near
The end is near...

The beautifully dreary, misty weather served as a perfect prelude to Electric Junkyard Gamelan, a percussive band using pots and other apparatus (similar to Einst├╝rzende Neubauten's music from the early 1980s). The spacious, practically underground auditorium couldn't have been better aesthetically and acoustically.

VMB Canoe
...or just some people passing by on their bicycle

The footpath along the bridge that crosses over the river consists of wood boards laid over metal grating. If you walk over the dark edges shown in the pictures you are able to see the river ~100 feet (~30 m) below. The Superior end of the bridge turns into dirt.

VMB Rapid
Rapid stop

Half way across the bridge, the gaps between the beams and the wood boards along the center walkway become wider so I had to jump to get across. The grating was still under the boards, so a toddler wouldn't plummet between the boards, at least not a chubby one. Someone could lose their cuff links, ring, or keys, however.

VMB Bootie
Adorable booties

VMB End Zocalo
Zocalo (Superior end)

There seemed to be a lot more activity along the Superior Avenue (Downtown Cleveland) end of the bridge, with more artists hanging their artwork and a busier bar.

VMB End Bar
Bar (Superior end)

The atmosphere was more what I'd imagine the scene in Berlin would have been like 25 years ago with bands playing in abandoned industrial buildings lit only with a couple of stage lights.

VMB Another Stairwell to
Watery grave

The atmosphere is dank in the furthest reaches of the Superior end of the bridge, since there are areas that are submerged like the stairwell. To my disappointment, I was unable to take my camera, which has an excellent motion stabilizer, since my battery was drained and, instead, took Bug's camera.

VMB Public Square Car
Street car named Expired

A stage was set up in front of one of the streetcars. Several nooks were utilized as stages for other spoken word performances.

VMB Outside
A sliver of the Downtown Cleveland skyline (Detroit end)

The hearse in the picture is awesome.

- Cassaendra

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