May 15, 2020

     The governor's quarantine hit downtown in late March.  Like most places, people went home, except for a few panhandlers.  You could still buy a slice of pizza, or a beverage for a hot day, but you had to take it outside.  Most retail stores were closed.  A few were open to receive packages from UPS or FedEx, but were closed to customers.  Construction on the new nine story...

April 1, 2020

     There is a lot of "wall art" around town.  Legal?  Sponsored?  Encouraged?  Tolerated?  Permitted?  All of the above or none of the above?  The chalkboard on the downtown pedestrian mall is an official scribble site.  The rest?  Who knows?  The retaining wall at the new 5th street shopping center was painted before the mall was barely open.  Is it a blight?  Is it art?  Can anyone decipher wh...

April 15, 2019

     The color photos of William Eggleston were something of an inspiration for the present website.  His oeuvre of photographing the ordinary offered a rationale for documenting the world around me -- just photograph the world as it appears.  And the world appears in color.  But most of the work of the great 20th century photographers was in black and white.  There is a directness...

March 15, 2019

     Recently, in a blog post about reflections, the post featured a picture of skaters on the indoor downtown ice rink.  Alas, the ice rink is no more. Mechanical jaws ate the steel structure.  The pace of change in Charlottesville feels unprecedented.  New houses are gobbling up the woods and fields.  Old structures are falling for new.  The fences keep you at a distance, but if y...

February 15, 2019

     The eye and the brain want something to look at, and sometimes a puzzle is just the thing. That's what reflections do - they give the brain a problem to solve. What's going on in the reflection? Where am I standing? What am I supposed to be seeing? Am I looking inside or outside? Am I missing something? Does any of it matter, or is it enough to have some pleasing color and light? Here are som...

August 15, 2018

     State and local officials prepared for the one year anniversary of the Antifa riot in Charlottesville by declaring a preemptive state of emergency for the weekend of August 11-12, 2018. The downtown pedestrian mall was fenced off, roads were blocked with dump trucks, parks and recylcing centers were closed, and a long list of "Instruments of Riot" were banned in the city. The Governor and cit...

August 1, 2018

     The edges of downtown fray rather quickly. A few blocks off the downtown mall puts you in the working areas. There you'll find the side streets, back streets, back doors, back walls, small businesses, apartments, parking lots, restaurants, unfinished buildings, and the daily life of the city. From the tops of the parking garages you can scan the surroundings and see the rooftop lawns and a bi...

January 1, 2018

     The downtown pedestrian mall runs from 2nd street to 7th street. The Omni hotel anchors the west end, and the open air pavilion anchors the east end. There are 120 shops and 30 restaurants on the mall, as well as an indoor ice skating ring and several theaters. Main street was converted to a pedestrian street in 1976, and the mall thus began life as a closed venue. Today, several cross street...

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