Growing up near Murray Hill, I never paid much attention to the historic neighborhood. Well, at least until the murals began popping up. Like a child, I am drawn to colors and works of art, no matter the medium. More importantly, I am drawn to the messages that hide in art. Perhaps it is as simple as, “grow” which could mean multiple things depending on how you see it. Regardless, Murray hill looks a lot brighter with it’s decorated murals and their messages.
I’ve lived in Jacksonville, Florida, my entire life, and I’ve always known the bridges there to be pretty because of the different colors they’re painted. Every couple of years, the bridge undergoes a makeover for a new fresh coat. I didn’t mind it until I started truck driving. I drove through other cities besides my own, and I see bridges in their original form, and they seem fascinating than the painted dolls back in my city.
Recently I drove across the Twin Bridges (aka The Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges) in Kentucky. From a distance, I could see how vintage-like they appeared, and it blew me away. In my imagination, they looked like time portals that would take me back to a different time when I drove across them. The closer I got to the bridges, the more excited I became. It felt like the same feeling I got every year when my mother would drive me across the Dames Pointe Bridge for my birthday.
I couldn’t pull my phone out of my pocket long enough to snap photos of the rustic sister bridges. I love bodies of water too, and I’m sure the scenery of the river running beneath it was just as exciting, but I could care less about that river as long as I got the bridges. I took as many photos as I could as I drove through the bridge. The beauty of original metal and the rust taking over the exterior brought to life a greater love for bridges.
The average lifespan of a bridge is about seventy years, with proper upkeep, most bridges can live well past 100 years. I know that rust is the enemy of metal and that eventually, the city will have to treat the rust if they plan on using this bridge for many years to come. I can’t help but feel sad to know that sometime in the future, these beloved beauties will be coated in bright colors or twinkling lights stripping away their originality. Oh, what a world that will be.
Every month, the Downtown Jacksonville Public Library changes up their exhibitions on local art. This month brought awareness of poverty. Local artists of Jacksonville have the opportunity to display their vision of homelessness and people living in poverty through their artwork. The best part about this particular display is that one it gives attention and recognition to artists who are trying to make a name for themselves. Two, it educates visitors on the issues over poverty that is heavy in our city.
The cardboard info art was a nice touch to the collection because it gave facts to homelessness that is evident not only in our city but in other cities just as significant as Jacksonville. The facts touch upon LGBT teens, Veterans, and ordinary citizens who are driven into homelessness.
Keith Doles’ paintings were my favorite because of the realism. I don’t know much about artwork and I couldn’t write a art piece critique even if I tried, but his work is astounding. He paintings reflect the livelihood of living in Jacksonville whether good or bad. He is one artist we should definitely look into. Check out his portfolio on his personal website.
The downtown Jacksonville Public Library is one of the gems of the River City. Every floor of the library has its little world. Anything you wish to research, discover, read, or find, you can find it at this library. Through the main entrance of the building, you will find a themed art display that changes every month. There is an entire room dedicated to teens. Teens can sit on cool bean bags and read teen fiction. If they wish to get on the computer, they can do that too. If you have little ones, there is an entire floor for them to find every child book you can think of plus games and other hands-on entertainment. If you’re a college student, you can rent out private rooms for studying. It is truly the bees knees.
My favorite room is on the fourth and final floor. The Morris Ansbacher Map Room. Yes, it is precisely that a room of maps. Maps taken from different books and other sources, framed and displayed for all to see. Some of the maps are so large they take nearly a quarter of the wall. Some of the maps presented are basic and may have come from some sort of magazine, while others you could tell may have come from some private collection.
I once had a small collection of maps I hung on every wall of my bedroom, but this takes it to another level. As of now, I’ve been collecting maps I find in books stores, magazines (National Geographic specifically), shift stores, and craft stores. Since stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Joann are always running 50% off deals on their frames, it won’t be long before I have my own collection.
When I was younger, I was like most teens thinking that shopping in thrift stores was lame and for “poor folks.” My mother took me to my first one, and good God did I get hooked. I found things in there that I could never find on the shelves of stores in the mall. You can imagine what life became like for me when I visited my first antique shop. My first real antique shop was in North Georgia, headed to Talulah Gorge State Park. I spent nearly $100 in there. It was heaven on earth to be surrounded by artifacts of history. It didn’t take long for my love of antique shops to stop short. That pissed me off.
On my second visit to North Georgia, I tried to find the same antique shop I had found the first time. The prices were high for the items in the store. You could imagine my surprise when I found out that the store was shut down. The new owner of the store had bought the old inventory and jacked the prices sky-high. So now, instead of paying seventy-five cents per vintage postcard, I was kicking out nearly three dollars for each. What the hell? That’s a 300% increase in price!
I paid attention to other antique shops I visited and noticed the same ridiculous pricing. I understand that because an item is no longer in production or hasn’t been in production for years, but to slap an outrageous price on an item assuming that someone will pay any price for it is terrible business. The worst part is, most of the inventory in these shops aren’t antiques. They’re just items that maybe didn’t sell well through a company, for example, a tall lamp pole covered in different seashells (the most hideous thing I’ve ever seen). And for the love of God, if I see one more massive collection of Coke Cola glass bottles…
My visit today at a rather famous antique shop in North Florida nearly made me want to start a strike. The items were beyond overpriced. They wanted five dollars for vintage postcards, twenty dollars for supposed “Free-Trade African Seaglass” beaded necklaces, and $210 for a large wooden sailboat. Like, are you kidding me?
I love antiques with a passion because they tell the story of a time I never got to live through. Not only that, but they showcase the evolution of art and design. To be simply put, it’s history! These antique store clerks are the gatekeepers to new generations, discovering another time through these artifacts. It would only be fair if they priced each item by their value and not because they want to overprice because it sits merely inside of an antique shop.
When I took a picture of a massive cluster of water lilies, I didn’t realize at the time that I was looking at one of the oldest plants on planet earth. How silly I feel for just simply snapping a cute photo of it and walking away as if it meant nothing. I’ve seen my share of water lilies but never took the time to admire their actual existence.
Water lilies are one of the oldest aquatic plants on this earth. Early lilies were huge in size with fossils showing lily pads up to four feet wide. As these plants evolved over several thousands of years they morphed to the size we see today. Evidence of water lilies have been found in european pre-ice age cave drawings and these drawings show the early types to have been of the same basic form that exists among hardy species today.
FOSSILS! Seriously? I realize that roaches are as old as dinosaurs as well so I shouldn’t be surprised to be around something that has survived all the changes the Earth has been through, but lilies are so peaceful and quiet. They just grow and bloom and float on the surface of still waters. That is all they have ever done.
With the way the world is changing again (and not for the better) with the crisis of Global Warming and animals going extinct at a rapid pace, we are at high risk of losing these ancient gems just as fast. It may seem so minimal now, like who would miss a water lily? But, once it’s gone, it’s gone, and a Google Image search will be the only way future generations will ever know the prehistoric water lily ever existed.