Sunday, March 13, 2005

Backscape Revelations

Motorists driving downtown rarely venture onto Lucas or St. Charles Streets. More like alleys, Lucas and St. Charles run north and south of Washington Avenue, acting as service entrances for the once-thriving garment and shoe manufacturing district, these narrow passages nowadays are crowded with construction equipment from the many loft developments that are changing downtown's character. Walking through this hubbub at noontime, you can glimpse time merging with patterns of everyday life. Fire escapes, iron lattices, dissect the sky with web-like lines. Broken patches of asphalt reveal previous surfaces of brick and cobblestone. Dumpsters, askew, brim with discarded things of the past, no longer valued. Fashionably-clad women busy themselves in the windows of a real estate office, as a disheveled woman leans against a brick wall behind the Missouri Bar and Grille, crying.