If I had to choose one picture to sum up the contradictions of the
buildings of downtown Cleveland, this would be it. The pretensions
to nobility of some last-century industrial magnate, translated into a
decorated skyscraper named as if it were a manor house, coexist
uneasily with the present use of the bottom of the building as commercial
space for businesses barely scraping by. No Stopping Any Time, the sign
reads as it points mutely to the
fallout shelter sign,
the failed hope for security of a now-distant era.
The glossy Walking Tour Guide of the city says that many people of the
city think of this abstract sculpture as "justice going down the drain",
perhaps because it's in front of one of the main justice system buildings
in the city.
The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial honors those from Cleveland's county that
fell in the Civil War. It's really too bad that, so many years later,
racial segregation is omnipresent in this area. Without exception, every
person who I saw working as a waiter or waitress in a restaurant, working
at the desk of a hotel, or walking in a suit to the courthouse was white.
With only two exceptions, every person working in maintenance or cleaning
rooms at a hotel, working a minimum-wage job at a fast food or drugstore
counter, or homeless or begging on a streetcorner was black.
But the segregation that exists in reality can be chased away on murals.
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Copyright 2001 Rich Puchalsky