Monday, October 6, 2008

Viewing the City

On their daily journeys into the city, lightrail commuters see a variety of scenery such as buildings, houses, nature, and artwork. The St. Louis skyline with the Gateway Arch is perhaps one of the more distinctive shared scenes that riders witness. As Illinois travelers approach Missouri from East St. Louis, they have an especially scenic view of the skyline.

The Arch is actually an important business enterprise for Metro as the organization “operates the Gateway Arch Tram and ticket center” for the thousands of tourists who visit. The Arch is a popular tourist designation for many one-time visitors to the area, but what do the Arch and, more broadly, the St. Louis skyline mean for daily travelers?

Daily commuters have likely grown accustomed to this sight that so often leads tourists to snap photos. For the transit riders headed toward Missouri in the mornings, approaching the St. Louis skyline means that work is fast approaching.

And perhaps the association to work diminishes some of the skyline’s glow. For daily commuters from Illinois, it is perhaps preferable to be traveling away from the St. Louis skyline, away from work, and toward homes, toward families.

But then, the view of the city holds a special interest for baseball fans traveling from various parts of Illinois to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play. Glimpses of the Arch in the distance mean that the city approaches, and with the city comes the game.

One recent evening, we traveled from the SWIC College station headed west. At each stop, more and more Cardinals’ fans boarded the train. As we moved toward the city, the skyline came into view.

The Cardinals’ faithful had no doubt seen the view of the city countless times before this journey. Still, the particular lights and shadows produced by the clouds and the setting sun gave us reason to take notice and look upon the skyline with renewed interest.

Image: View of St. Louis from East St. Louis while traveling along the light rail. Courtesy of H.R.

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