Spruce Street Harbor Park, at the foot of Spruce Street on the Delaware River, is Philly's latest pop-up beer garden. A couple of months ago, this was an unused dock behind the highway; a couple of months from now, it will probably return to nothingness. But for the summer of 2014, thanks to landscaping and logistics from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, it's drawing crowds.
It's also drawn a lawsuit, from folks who would rather the crowds spend their money in established bars and restaurants. Plaintiffs claim that the "special event" loophole in the city's liquor laws was never intended to legalize semi-long-term operations like the Horticultural Society's beer gardens.
The idea behind the pop-up gardens was booster-ish. By demonstrating the potential of vacant lots around town, it was hoped that developers might invest in permanent improvements. Meanwhile, people could enjoy themselves under the stars.
But with the lawsuit looming, somehow, it just seems like we can't have nice things any more.
On November 15, 1805, Lewis and Clark first saw the Pacific Ocean here, at the mouth of the Columbia River. It was raining. The expedition hunkered down across from a headland that English sailors had already named Cape Disappointment; it rained on them that day and the next day and the day after that, and all but twelve of the succeeding days for five months straight.
In May, however, as this photo proves, disappointment is no part of the scene.
We head westward this morning for another of Lewis and Clark's campsites: Missoula, Montana, which they called Traveller's Rest.
These here Good Mornings are unlikely until late in the month.
Click on the picture to, um, biggenize it, to glimpse what's on display in this souk and also, perhaps, to check the accuracy of our unofficial count: mounted on rooftops visible here are at least 104 satellite dishes.
As today's contribution to the occasional series "Places We've Not Been and Have No Business Trying to Write Anything About," please consider this roofscape scene taken in Lijiang village, a UNESCO World Heritage site high in the hills of southwest China, near the border with Myanmar.
Human habitation in Lijiang has been continuous since before there was such a thing as a roofscape, or even a roof; paleolithic cave-dwellers were here. The ancient Silk Road passed through here. Townspeople grew wealthy through trade and tribute, and they began to rebuild their town in more elaborate, decorative styles.
Civilization was flourishing here in the thirteenth century. And fortunately for some, within about eight hundred years, give or take, the tourists showed up.
5:30's not bad. Really. We don't have to pay any attention to that groundhog behind the curtain: spring is coming.
Still have to wear a coat, though.. . .